2011 likely to be last full year on tour, says Clijsters

Updated: 2011-01-28 14:56


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2011 likely to be last full year on tour, says Clijsters
Kim Clijsters of Belgium plays a shot to Vera Zvonareva of Russia during their semi-final match at the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne Jan 27, 2011. [Photo/Agencies]

MELBOURNE - Kim Clijsters, who takes on Li Na in the final of the Australian Open this weekend, said on Friday that 2011 would probably be her last full year on the women's tour.

The 27-year-old, who returned after a two-year retirement in 2009, said earlier this month she hoped to play on for four more years but on Friday indicated her involvement in the game might be reduced after this year.

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"I know this is probably going to be my last full season on the tour, and then we'll see," she said. "You know, it's nice that I'm in this spot to reach the final, to play for the title."

Clijsters, who will be playing for her fourth grand slam title against China's Li on Saturday, originally retired in 2007 after suffering a string of injuries.

She returned in August 2009 and won her second US Open in her third event back, going on to secure her third title at Flushing Meadows last year.

Inspired by Clijsters, her compatriot Justine Henin also made a comeback for last year but the seven-times grand slam champion retired for a second time this week on medical advice because of an elbow injury.

Clijsters, who lost to Henin in the 2004 Australian Open final, said she accepted injuries as part and parcel of being a top athlete.

"I had injuries before, so I knew when I started again I knew that that could be part of the second career as well," she said.

"It's not just all the beautiful things that I thought of when I started again."

The former world number one has also made it quite clear, however, that her family - she had daughter Jada during her two years off - were now her absolute priority with tennis coming a very poor second.  

Clijsters' defeat of Russian Vera Zvonareva in the Melbourne semi-finals on Thursday ensured that she would replace the Russian as number two in the world.



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