The first sign that 37-year-old Kim Clijsters wasn’t coming into the US Open bubble in perfect knick was when she and World Team Tennis teammate Hailey Baptiste withdrew their entry into the doubles.
And on Friday, the Belgian, who is trying to return to the WTA Tour for the third time, announced she was withdrawing from the singles as well.
“I’m grateful to Western & Southern Open for the opportunity to play the tournament once again. I have great memories from playing in Cincinnati and was looking forward to being a part of the event this year. It’s disappointing to have to withdraw but after discussions with medical and my team, I need a little more recovery time,” was the statement from Clijsters, via the tournament.
Tough first round
Clijsters, who received a wild card into the singles (she also received one for the upcoming US Open, and is scheduled also to play doubles with Baptiste), had drawn a tough one in the first round.
She was due to play Jennifer Brady, the in-form American who just won her first career WTA title at the Top Seed Open in Nicolasville, KY. But the way she was striking the ball during World Team Tennis, you wrote her off at your peril.
It was just the latest in a number of tough draws for Clijsters, whose planned return to the game has been slowed by injuries suffered in training, notably to her knees. And now, the abdominal issue.
The ab problem meant she found herself relegated to the role of cheerleader as her team, the New York Empire, defeated the Chicago Smash in the WTT final in sudden-death, dramatic fashion.
Hopefully the extra time to heal it will mean she can return to the US Open able to compete at the level she expects of herself.
Bubble sponsor for Clijsters
Clijsters, long sponsored by FILA, has interest in remaining visible during the US Open bubble period.
She announced she would be sponsoring a new lifestyle clothing brand, Full Court Sport, during her stay in New York. It’s an American brand, sourced and produced out of Portland, Oregon.
Clijsters’ spot in the draw will be taken by a lucky loser or qualifier.