Injured Clijsters likely to miss French Open
Another foot fault has deprived women's tennis of one of its best players - again.
Kim Clijsters cracked her ankle at a wedding party last weekend, likely forcing the U.S. and Australian Open winner out of Roland Garros.
Her mishap brings back memories of the accident that sidelined Serena Williams immediately after her Wimbledon victory last year. She stepped on broken glass at a restaurant.
Williams' misery was compounded by a series of health concerns and she has not played since. When the French Open starts on May 22, tennis might well have to do without the winners of the last three Grand Slam tournaments.
On Saturday, Clijsters was wearing high heels when she stepped on someone's foot at the wedding of her cousin Tim. In tennis shoes, it might have been bad but the heels compounded the freak accident.
The complicated injury - ligaments were stretched on top of a torn ankle joint capsule and tendon sheath - will force her to keep her right ankle immobilized for several days and will leave her on crutches.
''Kim faces a recovery of at least four to six weeks,'' a statement on her website announced. ''Since the French Open starts in literally six weeks, Kim's presence in Paris is very uncertain.''
Even in the best of circumstances, she would have to come in cold on her least favorite surface - slow, red clay.
On top of the ankle injury, Clijsters had already said she would take a month off to deal with shoulder and wrist problems sustained during the wear and tear of a hectic spring schedule.
She has been ruled out of the Fed Cup semifinal against the Czech Republic this weekend, which Belgium was favored to win until she withdrew.
The 27-year-old Clijsters has returned after taking a 2 1/2-year break from tennis to start a family. She still wants to shine at the Olympics in London next year before retiring for good.
A succession of injuries was Clijsters' worst fear when she came back on the tour, with multiple injuries often slowing her since she rose to prominence.
As much as Belgium will miss Clijsters during the Fed Cup, so will the U.S. team miss Serena Williams when it faces Germany in a World Group playoff.
The 13-time major champion needed two operations for the foot injury sustained at the restaurant last summer. And she was diagnosed in February with a blood clot in her lungs, then needed treatment for a hematoma.