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Kim Skipping Fed Cup In Protest Of ITF
Clijsters skipping Fed Cup in protest
By BETH HARRIS, AP Sports Writer
November 9, 2003
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Kim Clijsters is skipping the Fed Cup in personal protest against the International Tennis Federation's scheduling of the international team event.
Justine Henin-Hardenne also isn't playing, leaving Belgium without its two best players.
The semifinals between Belgium and the United States are Nov. 19-20 in Moscow -- nine days after the season-ending WTA Championships. The winner faces either France or Russia for the Cup on Nov. 22-23.
Clijsters had played 101 singles matches going into her last one of the year Monday night in the WTA finals against Amelie Mauresmo. She and partner Ai Sugiyama also reached the doubles final. Henin-Hardenne played 87 singles matches and will end the year as the world's No. 1 player.
``If you see the year that Justine and I have had, we've played a lot of matches and it's tough to go home and train for another week before you get to play Fed Cup,'' Clijsters said Sunday.
``We just want to put out a statement towards the ITF showing that this is obviously the only reason we can maybe change the dates or the formula. It's sad that it has to come this far, but I hope for all the other players in the future that it made a difference.''
Even though Clijsters invoked her name, Henin-Hardenne made it clear she isn't part of her compatriot's protest.
``I just need some rest. If I keep playing two more weeks, I won't have enough time to have a good rest and good preparation for next season,'' she said. ``My back is bothering me. Physically and mentally, I am a little bit tired. I think that I deserve to take some holidays.''
She said Clijsters' protest ``is going to be a test, but that is not the reason I am not going to play.''