SYDNEY, Australia -- Kim Clijsters withdrew from the
Adidas International in Sydney and said she's in doubt for the
Australian Open, which starts Monday in Melbourne.
The world No. 2 had planned to play in the
first Grand Slam event of the season, even though her injured left ankle might
eventually require surgery.
Clijsters injured the ankle at last week's Hopman Cup and spent
the next few days on crutches.
The Belgian baseliner was encouraged after a light run Sunday, and she
hoped to get a match in at this week's Adidas International tuneup
event. She hasn't played since last week, but had been confident of
competing in Sydney until a 20-minute practice session Tuesday
confirmed the injury hadn't healed.
"It got a little bit worse this morning, flared up a bit --
that's what scared me a little bit," she said. "I decided that
I'm not going to be able to go out there tomorrow and give 100
Clijsters said she would wait a few days before making a
final decision on whether she would compete in Melbourne but said her chances were now slim.
"It's definitely in doubt," she said. "But I have to think
about my future. I don't want to make things worse."
Clijsters's absence would be an enormous blow to Australian
Open organizers, already missing some of the world's best women
Last year's winner Serena Williams announced last week that
she would not be defending her title because of complications
after knee surgery while Jennifer Capriati, champion in 2001 and
2002, withdrew on Tuesday with back problems.
Four-times winner Monica Seles and 1995 champion Mary Pierce
have also pulled out while Jelena Dokic is unlikely to play
Information from The Associated Press and Reuters were used in this report.