Clijsters marries in secret ceremony

Brussels, July 13:

Retired tennis star Kim Clijsters and US basketball player Brian Lynch married on Friday in a secret early morning ceremony.

The civil ceremony was officiated by Jaak Gabriels, the mayor of the northern Belgian town of Bree, who confirmed to local media that the ceremony had taken place at 6 am. “This has been organised on the request from Kim, to keep the ceremony as low key as possible,” Gabriels said.

Clijsters’ Web site confirmed that the couple was married on Friday, adding a reception was planned for Saturday. “Kim chose for the early hour because she wanted to conduct her nuptials with the American Brian Lynch within a small circle of people,” said a statement posted on her site.

The wedding comes just days after Clijsters announced she was pregnant with her first child.

Clijsters, 24, called an end to her illustrious career in May, saying a string of injuries had led to fatigue, a lack of motivation and a decline in play. Clijsters said she wanted to focus on her wedding and a new life with Lynch, who plays professional basketball in the Belgian league.

Clijsters was Belgium’s first tennis player to reach the world No 1 ranking, holding it for 19 weeks in 2003.

A left wrist injury last year stopped Clijsters from defending her 2005 US Open title, her only Grand Slam win, and from playing in the Fed Cup final. She won the 2002 and 2003 WTA Championships as part of her career 34 singles titles.