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Clijsters out of Australian Open
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January 07, 2005 19:17 IST

Kim Clijsters [Images], last year's Australian Open runner-up, will not take part in this month's Melbourne Grand Slam, the Belgian said on Friday.

Clijsters underwent surgery on her left wrist last year and has not recovered enough to play in the first Grand Slam event of the year which runs from January 17-30.

"The recovery of the wrist injury is going well, but Kim doesn't feel like putting too much stress on the joint that early and wants to avoid any possible risk," a statement on her website said.

The 21-year-old aims to be back in action at February's Antwerp Proximus Diamond Games.

Clijsters' absence from Melbourne Park will avoid any awkward off-court moments with ex-fiance Lleyton Hewitt [Images] from whom she split last October.

Certainly the former world number one is happy to put behind her the travails of the past year.

"I'm glad a new year has started so I can forget...2004," Clijsters wrote in her first web diary of the year.

"On the other hand, I learned a lot, especially about myself."

Clijsters often used to see in the new year with Hewitt and his family in Perth, Western Australia when the pair were playing in the Hopman Cup.

This year's new year was spent at home.

"I celebrated...with about 20 friends in Bree," she wrote. "It was very nice and cosy...good food, loads of chatter and dancing."

While Clijsters has retreated into the bosom of her friends and family, Hewitt has a new girlfriend in the shape of Australian soap actress Bec Cartwright.

Cartwright, who appears in 'Home and Away', cheered on the Australian number one at the Adelaide ATP event on Thursday.

After his victory over Agustin Calleri Hewitt spoke of his break-up with Clijsters for the first time.

"I think I was as mentally tough as I've ever been," he told the Herald Sun newspaper.

"I felt like I handled the situation both on and off the court extremely well. I felt like I needed to."

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