Monday, May 16, 2011
Kim Clijsters to play at French Open
BRUSSELS -- Kim Clijsters says she's healthy enough to compete at the French Open.
The Belgian said Monday that she will play with her right ankle taped but added that her shoulder and wrist injuries no longer impede her before the Grand Slam tournament she has yet to win.
Clijsters is a two-time runner-up at the French, and slow clay is generally considered her weakest surface. Until last week, she had been considered doubtful. She had been sidelined since early last month and resumed on-court training two weeks ago. The tournament begins Sunday.
"Playing is going wonderful. I am hitting the ball very well and increasingly I am going for it," she said. "I am not totally without pain, but the strong tape round my ankle gives me sufficient security."
During a busy early spring schedule, she overexerted her right shoulder and wrist and withdrew from the tour last month. Her problems were compounded when she also injured the ankle while wearing high heels at her cousin's wedding.
With a slew of late withdrawals, including the Williams sisters, the French is wide open. And Clijsters, the reigning U.S. and Australian Open champion, is confident she can do well.
"The advantage is that I still have the spirit of the past Grand Slam tournaments. If I play well, I can win. Attitude is very important, even though the situation is physically very different," she said.
The grass of Wimbledon suits her game better and she has already signed up to compete in a warm-up tournament in the Netherlands, which starts June 12.
Clijsters should be rusty coming in. She missed the Fed Cup semifinal against the Czech Republic, which Belgium lost. Then she was forced to skip the Italian Open because of her ankle.
The complex ankle injury -- ligaments were stretched on top of a torn ankle joint capsule and tendon sheath -- forced her to keep her right ankle immobilized for several days.
Two weeks ago, she resumed full training.
"It has been a while since I played a match, let alone on red clay," she said. "We will see where it takes me."