Kim:"I'm No Contender"
I'm no contender"
Kim Clijsters refused to put herself in the mix as one of the main contenders for her final Australian Open. The Belgian is the in-form player coming into Melbourne, having topped her winning run in the Hong Kong invitational with a thrilling victory at the Sydney International.
Yet the fourth seed batted away suggestions that she is now considered the front-runner to pick up the trophy on January 27.
"[Top seed] Maria [Sharapova] always plays well here," said the 23-year-old, who will retire at the end of the season.
"She's very good I think also in playing in the heat. This kind of Australian atmosphere, I think she enjoys that.
"She's playing well. She always is capable of doing a little bit more when it gets close, when it gets really important. That's why she's such a great champion.
"Amelie [Mauresmo] likes the higher bounce here on this kind of surface. After winning here last year, I think she definitely believes that this is a good chance for her.
"Those two are definitely up there. I'm not going to name myself," she added with a smile.
Affectionately known as "Aussie Kim" because of her former relationship with Australian Lleyton Hewitt, Clijsters has reached at least the semis in each of her last four outings to Melbourne Park.
Her best result was a runners-up spot to compatriot Justine Henin-Hardenne in 2004 and last year a sprained ankle abruptly cut short her challenge in the semi-final against Mauresmo.
Should Clijsters sign off from Melbourne with the trophy in her hands, it would indeed be a perfect ending for the Belgian in a country where the fans have long embraced her as one of their own.
"I'm very focused on trying to win but everything's possible," Clijsters added.
"There's 127 other girls trying to do the same thing, I guess. Just have to try to be as ready as possible, and we'll see where it ends."