Clijsters to compete in Eastbourne for first time
By Ossian Shine | May 24, 2005
PARIS (Reuters) - Former world number one Kim Clijsters will compete in the Eastbourne grass court championships for the first time this year as part of her pre-Wimbledon preparation.
Clijsters, who romped through her first round match at the French Open on Monday, is still seeking her first grand slam title.
"I've never played the tournament before but I've heard a lot of good things about Eastbourne from a lot of the players. I'm really looking forward to it," Clijsters said on Tuesday.
"For me it is a great way of preparing for the Wimbledon fortnight. I'm really motivated and ready to play the grass court season."
Previously Clijsters, 21, has competed at Den Bosch in the Netherlands, reaching the final in 2001 and winning in 2003.
Both times she played fellow-Belgian Justine Henin-Hardenne in the final. Three-times grand slam winner Henin-Hardenne has also switched to Eastbourne this year.
Clijsters, a grand slam runner-up on four occasions, joins world number three Amelie Mauresmo, U.S. Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova and Daniela Hantuchova at the $585,000 grasscourt event.
Eastbourne takes place from June 13-18, finishing two days before the start of the Wimbledon fortnight.