Clijsters’ Olympic dream
Originally published on: 22/03/12 13:50
It is 15 years since Kim Clijsters made her debut as a senior player, at an International Tennis Federation tournament in Belgium, but the former world No.1 has yet to play in an Olympic Games. Having missed out on Sydney in 2000, Athens in 2004 and Beijing in 2008 for a variety of reasons, Clijsters made the 2012 Olympic tournament at Wimbledon one of her main goals when she came out of retirement three years ago.
“My deadline was to try and make it to the Olympics, to be ready and in good shape – and not just go there to be a part of the whole experience,” Clijsters said. “I want to try and do really well.”
Nevertheless, the 28-year-old Belgian has other ambitions too. She explained: “The Olympics is what I’m focused on now and where I said: ‘This is the long-term goal that I set when I started playing again.’ But that doesn’t mean that I’m not going to play the US Open or anything. The US Open is a special place for me, so I would definitely like to play there as well.”
She added: “I do plan on trying to play a full schedule this year. If my ranking goes high again I have a chance of making it into the top eight, so it might be nice to end at the [WTA] Championships. We’ll see.”
Clijsters has returned to competition at this week’s Sony Ericsson Open in Miami after taking a break following the Australian Open, where she suffered an ankle injury. “With the French Open and Wimbledon and changing surfaces a couple of times in such a short amount of time, it puts a lot of pressure on our bodies,” she said. “It’s very important to take some time off here and there to physically prepare for what’s ahead.”