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Clijsters facing race against time

January 15, 2006 13:53 IST

Kim Clijsters is facing a race against time to be ready for the Australian Open because of complications with her injured hip.

The Belgian said she is still hopeful of playing in the tournament but would need the help of painkillers to get through her first match against Korean Cho Yoon-jeong on Tuesday.

Kim Clijsters"Normally I'm not very big on taking anti-inflammatories or painkillers, but that's definitely something I'll do this tournament," she told a news conference on Sunday.

"I just have to make sure that in my mind I'm ready for being able to play with the pain."

Clijsters said her hip is showing signs of improving after she injured it while warming up for a match at the Sydney International last Wednesday, but the inflammation is still troubling her.

She has been restricted to just 40 minutes training over the past five days and still can't serve or run from side to side without feeling some pain.

"That's the movement where it pinches a little bit so I'm just going to try to hold that off as long as possible," she said.

"I'm just going to build it up gradually. I'm going to have a practice match and see how it feels.

"If it flares up again, that will be disappointing, of course. But hopefully it won't."

Clijsters, who has been plagued by injuries for the past two years, said she would have already withdrawn from the tournament if there was any risk to her long-term health and may still pull out if she isn't happy satisfied with her fitness.

The world number two is one of the favourites to win the first Grand Slam of 2006 after capturing the US Open last year.

"I'm definitely going to go for all my shots. Otherwise, I don't want to play," she said.

"If I'm not able to play like that, there's no use for me being out on the court."

"If there was a tear or if it was a small rupture or something then I would have been in Belgium by now but there's none.

"It all depends how it reacts. If I start to work on the intensity of my game it could definitely get worse.

"Hopefully it won't happen, but I'll just have to wait and see."


Julian Linden
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