Hip Injury Threatens Clijsters' Status For Oz Open - TennisForum.com
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Hip Injury Threatens Clijsters' Status For Oz Open

Hip Injury Threatens Clijsters' Status For Oz Open

Photo By Fred Mullane By Tennis Week

Top-seeded Kim Clijsters withdrew from the Medibank International in Sydney today due to a left hip muscle strain that could jeopardize her status for the Australian Open, which starts on Monday. Clijsters felt the hip strain while hitting a practice serve during the warm-up prior to her quarterfinal match with seventh-seeded Francesca Schiavone.

"I need to have more tests done tomorrow," said Clijsters, the 2003 Sydney champion. "I hurt it warming up. I was hitting for about 20 minutes, just my ground strokes, and I was feeling fine. Then all of a sudden I just started to do serves, and as soon as I served I just felt really, really sharp pains."

The U.S. Open champion will undergo an MRI to determine the severity of the injury. Clijsters hopes to play the Australian Open, but conceded the pain she's feeling has increased to the point where walking up a flight of stairs is a challenge.

"I'll probably have an MRI and an echo or a scan tomorrow," Clijsters said. "I don't know what the diagnosis is yet. It got worse. Ever since then, itís gotten worse and worse. I could hardly walk up the stairs."

The 22-year-old Belgian, who announced prior to the 2005 U.S. Open she plans to retire in three years due to the pounding her body has taken over the years, said she was bothered by back pain in recent days, which may have contributed to her hip problems.

"Itís terrible," Clijsters said. "My back has been bothering me the last few days, so I donít know if that had something to do with it ó maybe compensating for my back, maybe pushing. I donít know."

If the MRI shows a strained hip, Clijsters plans to travel to Melbourne, however if tests show she has a muscle tear, Clijsters will skip the season's first major and return home to Belgium.

"That is something I donít want to think of yet," Clijsters said.

Schiavone advances to Thursday's semifinals where she will play eighth-seeded Nicole Vaidisova. The other semifinal sees fifth-seeded and 2004 Sydney champion Justine Henin-Hardenne take on No.6 seed and former U.S. Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova.
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