Defending Australian Open champion Kim Clijsters plays down injury concerns
Friday 13 January 2012
Kim Clijsters today shrugged off any concerns over a hip injury and declared
herself "ready to go" as she prepares to defend her Australian Open crown.
The Belgian was forced to withdraw midway through her semi-final against Daniela Hantuchova at the Brisbane International last week, causing fears she may also be unable to compete at Melbourne Park.
But Clijsters today allayed those worries after being paired with an as yet unknown qualifier in round one.
"I didn't play many matches in the second half of last year and missed most of the American summer but I have trained hard in the off-season," said the 11th seed.
"I am feeling good and ready to go."
If she is to take the trophy again she will have to do it the hard way after being drawn in the same quarter as world number one Caroline Wozniacki, who is also under an injury cloud, while a repeat of last year's final against Li Na is scheduled for the fourth round.
Should she come through that then Wozniacki and third seed Victoria Azarenka are scheduled to lie in wait.
An earlier foe could be Britain's Elena Baltacha, who could get a crack at Clijsters providing she beats Stephanie Foretz Gacon in round one.
The Scot said: "We'll see how both of us go in the first round but obviously it would be great to play Kim.
"I've got a good record of winning matches in grand slams over the last couple of years and I'd like to keep that up, so all I'm thinking about at the moment is that first round match."
Wozniacki, whose place at the top of the rankings was guaranteed for a little longer after Petra Kvitova's defeat to Li in the semi-finals in Sydney yesterday, opens against Anastasia Rodionova.
The Dane injured her wrist during her quarter-final loss to Agnieszka Radwanska in Sydney but expects to be fit for Melbourne.
Serena Williams, a winner of 13 grand slam crowns, was paired with Tamira Paszek in the opening round and could meet fourth-seeded Russian Maria Sharapova in the quarters.
2011 US Open champion and home favourite Samantha Stosur meets Sorana Cirstea in her first match after being placed in the same quarter as Kvitova, who opens with a clash against Russia's Vera Dushevina.
Azarenka was drawn against Heather Watson, whose fellow Brit Anne Keothavong was paired with Mona Barthel.
Newcastle 0 Manchester United 1: Louis van Gaal describes performance as 'maybe our best match of the season'
Cristiano Ronaldo: Real Madrid superstar 'sends his hair stylist to look after his waxwork once a month'
Liverpool vs Burnley match report: Reds extend their run after Jordan Henderson's stunning opening strike
Newcastle vs Manchester United match report: Ashley Young scores late winner as Angel Di Maria fails to shine yet again
Brooklyn Beckham to be released: Why Arsenal could regret letting David Beckham's son depart
- 1 Drugs Live cannabis trial: Hash is less harmful than any other drug, expert claims
- 2 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 3 Turkish Airlines flight TK 726 crash-lands on Nepal runway amid dense fog
- 4 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
- 5 The 'sex selfie stick' lets you FaceTime the inside of a vagina
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin and says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'
Boris Nemtsov shot dead: Outspoken Putin critic who had expressed fears for his life is killed near the Kremlin