By Bryan Armen Graham
August 19, 2011

Shortly after Belgian newspaper De Standaard reported Kim Clijsters' withdrawal from the U.S. Open on Friday, the USTA confirmed the news and released a statement.

“Unfortunately, I will not be able to defend my U.S. Open title this year because of a stomach muscle injury (left rectus abdominus strain)," Clijsters said in a statement. " Two weeks of rehab was not enough to heal this injury.  Obviously I’m very disappointed.  I trained very hard this summer and felt in a good shape to play the U.S. Open.

“Now there is nothing else I can do than to rest and have treatment every day.  If a gradual approach is not taken, I will relapse in the same injury, and therefore I have also no other possibility than to withdrawal from the tournaments in Tokyo and Beijing.”

The withdrawal of the three-time U.S. Open champion is a blow to a women's draw already wanting for star wattage.

Clijsters won the Australian Open in January, but lost in the second round at the French Open before withdrawing from Wimbledon with a foot injury.

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