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TENNIS > Clijsters sets date to end career

BRUSSELS - Reuters

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Former world number one Kim Clijsters has confirmed that she will bring down the curtain on her second career at the end of this year’s U.S. Open, Belgian news agency Belga has reported. 

The 28-year-old came out of retirement in 2009 after more than two years out of the sport, winning three more grand slam titles to take her career tally to four. 

Injury, which has hampered the Belgian throughout her career, has already forced her to pull out of the upcoming French Open and on May 22 she said the Aug. 27-Sept. 9 U.S. Open would be her last tournament. 

“In principle, I will stop after the U.S. Open. That’s the tournament where I have had my greatest triumphs and it is therefore very special to me,” she told a news conference at the headquarters of her sponsors Galaxo in Paal, Belgium. 

“The (Flushing Meadows) stadium is about 45 minutes from our house in the United States and so my in-laws can be there.” 

Clijsters won her first U.S. Open title in 2005 and marked a sensational return to tennis with a second in 2009 before successfully defending the title the following year. 

She also won the Australian Open in 2011 and, by reaching the semi-finals at her next tournament in Paris, reclaimed the number one world ranking after a gap of 256 weeks. 

The hip injury which forced her to withdraw from this year’s French Open robbed her of a chance to finally win the Roland Garros tournament, where she twice lost in the final. 

She said last month that she aimed to return to action at the Wimbledon warm-up event in Den Bosch in mid-June before having a ninth crack at winning the grasscourt grand slam. 

Clijsters is planning to return to Wimbledon for the tennis tournament at the London Olympics, having missed the 2008 Games in Beijing during her first retirement and skipped the 2004 Athens Olympics because of a row over clothing sponsorship. 

“The Olympic fever is started to build,” she told the news conference. 

Clijsters, who turns 29 next month, has won 41 singles and 11 doubles titles since she turned professional in 1997 and helped Belgium win a first Fed Cup title in 2001. 

Injuries to almost all parts of her body have hampered her ability to play with any regularity since her return from retirement and she is currently ranked 44th in the world.

May/24/2012

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