Clijsters' Open doubt

The former champion, Jennifer Capriati, yesterday joined a growing list of big names who have withdrawn from next week's Australian Open - and Kim Clijsters could be next.

The Belgian world No 2 yesterday withdrew from the adidas International in Sydney and is a major doubt to take part in the opening Grand Slam of the season in Melbourne, which starts on Monday.

Clijsters, who injured her ankle at the Hopman Cup in Perth last week, is reluctant to play at the Australian Open unless she is fully fit. "Since it happened, a lot of people have been telling me you shouldn't wait if you want to be ready for Melbourne - which will definitely be in doubt now," she said.

Capriati pulled out of an exhibition event in Hong Kong last week for further treatment on a back injury. Capriati follows the defending champion, Serena Williams, and the 1995 winner, Mary Pierce, in withdrawing from the Melbourne event. Jelena Dokic is also not expected to play. In the men's draw, the world No 13, Younes El Aynaoui, rates himself no more than a 50-50 chance of playing after withdrawing from the Commonwealth Bank International in Kooyong yesterday.

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