PARIS (AP) — Kim Clijsters, herself shaking off an ankle injury, says Serena Williams will have a tough time recovering from a knee operation that has sidelined the former world No.1.
I feel it's a problem getting back into the rhythm after just a couple of days off. Just imagine being off for several months!" said Clijsters, current world No.2 and the top seed in Paris this week.
"You need your matches. The Williams (sisters) are human after all," Clijsters said Tuesday.
Serena Williams is not defending her title at this week's US$585,000 Gaz de France tournament and has not played since winning her sixth Grand Slam title at last year's Wimbledon.
Her left knee was operated Aug. 1. The 22-year-old is penciled in to play at the Qatar Doha Open in March.
, fourth seed in Paris, agreed that Williams faces a tough return.
"She's been out before and come back and even won Grand Slams," said Dokic. "But I think this time will be more difficult."
"She hasn't played for a long time and other players have found a lot of confidence," Dokic said. "This time it will be interesting to see. I think now Kim (Clijsters) and Justine (Henin-Hardenne) are playing as well as her."
Russia's Elena Dementieva
, seeded second here, said tennis is better off with both Williams sisters playing at their peak.
"Most people miss them," said Dementieva. "With the Williams sisters there, tennis is more spectacular. We all enjoy watching them. No question. We hope they'll be back."
"For everyone it's just a thrill to have all the best players out there," she said. "And also for the crowd, all the people who've paid for their tickets, the tournament directors. They want to see as many great players as possible." "And everyone gets better, plays better, when that happens," she added.