''It's the place that has inspired me so much to do well and to do great things. It's hard to explain sometimes why,'' Clijsters said in an on-court interview, her face flushed and her eyes welling with tears.
''This completely feels like the perfect place to retire,'' Clijsters told the spectators at Arthur Ashe Stadium, many of whom rose to shower her with a standing ovation. ''I just wish it wasn't today.''
The 29-year-old veteran finishes her career with a 523-127 career record, notching 41 singles titles and 11 doubles titles along the way.
Clijsters is a four-time Grand Slam singles champion, winning the U.S. Open three times and the Australian Open in 2011.
The Belgian has been a well-respected figure on the WTA Tour throughout her career. She defeated Caroline Wozniacki twice in the U.S. Open final—in 2009 and 2010—and rose above Li Na in last year's Australian Open.
Clijsters—citing injuries—retired for the first time in May 2007, but made a valiant return in March 2009. She ended up going 13-3 that year, culminating in her title at Flushing Meadows. She followed that up with a 40-7 campaign in 2010, winning five singles titles.
Clijsters displayed the kind of heart and dedication to tennis throughout her career that made her an extremely popular player among fans and media. We knew this day would ultimately come, but it's still sad to see her go after giving us so many memorable moments.
The former world No. 1 will go down as one of the premier players of her generation and one of the most respected. It was only fitting that she went out with class after a hard-fought battle against Robson.