Clijsters out for a month with injuries
Kim Clijsters will be sidelined for a month with shoulder and wrist injuries, forcing her out of Belgium's Fed Cup semifinal next week against the Czech Republic.
The U.S. Open and Australian Open champion said a busy spring schedule overexerted her right shoulder and wrist. She will not be able to hold a tennis racket for the next couple of weeks while she recovers.
Clijsters will also miss the Madrid Open in the first week of May but hopes to resume her season on clay in Rome on May 9, giving her two weeks to prepare for the French Open.
''I don't want to force anything,'' she said on her website. ''I want to avoid at all cost that this becomes chronic.''
Despite promises to take it easy and limit her tournaments, Clijsters acknowledged she had already taken on too much this year. After she capped a stint Down Under with victory in the Australian Open, she played Fed Cup and Paris in February before moving to the United States for two long tournaments.
First, she pulled out of Indian Wells in the fourth round with a shoulder injury and lost in the quarterfinals in Miami last week to eventual champion Victoria Azarenka with a strangely listless performance.
Even then, the signs were already there.
''I felt something was not quite right,'' Clijsters said. ''There were too many successive aches and pains that just didn't want to disappear. It gets into your head.''
The injury is a bitter blow to Belgium, which face a strong challenge from the Czech Republic at home in Charleroi next week. Early in the season, Justine Henin was forced into retirement because of injury. So instead of featuring two of the game's greatest players, Belgium will be relying on No. 23 Yanina Wickmayer and No. 103 Kirsten Flipkens to face the Czechs.
''I was really looking forward to that Fed Cup,'' Clijsters said.
She wants a good showing at Roland Garros, where she was twice a losing finalist and forced to miss it last year.
At 27, she still wants to shine once at the Olympics in London next year, before letting the pull of family take over again.