Clijsters Set to Cash In on US Open Win
After becoming the first mom to win the U.S. Open in nearly 30 years, Belgium's Kim Clijsters is set to cash-in on the feel-good story of this year's Tournament, beyond the $1.6 million first-place check.
Clijsters' manager John Dolan told CNBC he's fielded calls from more than 20 American companies, including a major automaker, in the past 48 hours. Any new endorsement deals are likely to dwarf Clijsters' exiting contracts with Babolat, Fila and Adecco, an international Human Resources firm.
Clijsters was in New York's Times Square for a photo op the morning after her win and said it's all still sinking in.
"I trained really hard since the start of this year and everything kind of fell into place these last two weeks," she said. "You know I played some good tennis and stayed really focused and I think that is really important as well. I still really haven't taken it all in and it's a really special moment to be able to share this with my family."
Despite Clijsters straight-set victory over Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki to cap her amazing run after two-and a half years of retirement, the most-talked-about match at this year's Open continues to be her semifinal win over Serena Williams and the controversy that erupted during the final stages of the match.
Trailing 6-5 in the second set, Williams was called for a foot-fault, giving Clijsters two match points. Williams then launched into a profanity-filled tirade at a lineswoman and earned a code violation, which combined with an earlier warning for racket abuse, resulted in a point penalty, and the loss of the match.
Williams was fined a total of $10,500 for the outburst. A further investigation has been launched, with a suspension and larger fine possible.
Clijsters said she has no position on whether more action should be taken against Williams.
"I don't know," she said. "I mean it's a really unfortunate situation. And now for me personally just being out there I was just trying to stay really focused and trying to win the last point, so I didn't really understand everything that was going on until a couple days afterwards. And I'm sure that's in the hands of other people, and you know rules whatever have to be followed. But they are sweet girls, I mean Serena is a good girl and you know I get along well with her. So you know I don't think they should punish her too much."
Serena Williams will be back on court later Monday for the U.S. Open Womens Doubles Final, alongside sister Venus.
Clijsters will catapult to near number 20 in the world rankings with her win. And while it's hard to say exactly how much the victory is worth in endorsement dollars, many millions are a safe bet.