To kick off the 2009 Western & Southern Financial Group Women’s Open, World No. 4 Elena Dementieva and Kim Clijsters, who is making her return to the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour, played tennis on a specially constructed court in the Royal Fountains at Kings Island theme park.
After travelling across the water by boat with an escort from park life guards, the players climbed a ladder to reach the court. Once there they exchanged some volleys on the short playing surface.
“I wish I could play on water all the time,” remarked Dementieva.
Clijsters retired in 2007 after winning the 2005 US Open title and reaching four Grand Slam singles finals – two French Opens (’01 & ’03), the US Open (’03) and the Australian Open (’04). She also won 34 singles titles (including five Tier I events, now known as the Premier level) and 11 doubles titles on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour.
Clijsters spent 19 weeks at No. 1 and won more than $14 million in prize money. She was the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour’s Newcomer of the Year in 1999, and Player of the Year in 2005.
Clijsters will play No. 12 seed Marion Bartoli on Monday night. The Frenchwoman Bartoli was a winner in Stanford one week ago.
Dementieva has won two Olympic medals in singles, including the Gold Medal at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. She has reached the finals of two Grand Slam events and was ranked as high as No. 3 in the world as recently as April.
In 2009, Dementieva has reached the semifinals at both the Australian Open and Wimbledon.
The fourth seed in Cincinnati, Dementieva has a first round bye and play either Francesca Schiavone or a qualifier in her first match.