Dubai: The lockdown period has made sportspersons experiment with various things to fill in for the unusual amount of free time. With World No.7 Kiki Bertens, it was something different as she got herself associated with a book meant to inspire youngsters in her native Netherlands.
During a pause in professional tennis since the past four months, the Netherlands’ top player Bertens has worked with writer René van Hattum and the Royal Dutch Lawn Tennis Association (KNLTB) to produce the book titled ‘Tennis met Kiki’ (Tennis with Kiki). It’s has aimed at inspiring children on court while recounting her own experiences while growing up as a player.
“Very proud to be able to share this with you,” she wrote on Instagram after the book launch last week. “I hope that this will make even more children enthusiastic about this beautiful sport. Because tennis is for everyone!”
There’s another reason for the 28-year-old to smile as all proceeds of the book will go to the Youth Fund for Sports and Culture in Belgium that will in turn benefit young tennis players from families with limited resources.
‘Tennis met Kiki’ is a biography of Bertens, since long an ambassador of the KNLTB. It charts Bertens’s journey and achievements in becoming the highest-ranked Dutchwoman in WTA history, along with her tips for training and competition and her experiences from the biggest tournaments in the world, from the Grand Slams to the Olympic Games.
In 2018, the former Roland Garros semi-finalist became just the third Dutch player to crack the top-10, and after winning her first Premier Mandatory title at Madrid.
That same year, the 28-year-old rose to her career high of World No.4 – beating by one place the previous highest national WTA ranking, Betty Stove’s peak of World No.5 set in 1977.
If 2018 was a great year for Bertens when she made it the Wimbledon quarter-finals to finished on No. 9 in the WTA rankings, the Belgian capped it off when she got engaged to Remko De Rijke in Bali, Indonesia.
De Rijke’s presence in her development as a player has been crucial as he wears many hats. He is Bertens’ physiotherapist, hitting partner and fitness coach.
The two married on November 19, 2019 and Bertens got even better on her form last season as she won two titles – St Petersburg and Madrid – and an amazing 55 matches.
The Dutchwoman played the final at the WTA Elite Trophy in Zhuhai and she had also an opportunity to play at the WTA Finals in Shenzhen after top seed Naomi Osaka withdrew from the competition.