Kim Clijsters still on the mend, puts priority on London Games

Tuesday March 6th, 2012

Kim Clijsters is 8-2 on the year, but hasn't played since the Australian Open after rolling her ankle. (Getty Images)

Kim Clijsters is a two-time champion at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, but she's not here this week, opting instead to continue rehabilitation of the ankle she twisted at the Australian Open. Based on a post on her official website, it sounds like Clijsters doesn't want to take any chances with her body in light of the upcoming Olympics in London.

"I know I stand a chance there," Clijsters told Radio Olympia. "As a child I always watched the Olympic Games. And I certainly want to experience it before I truly conclude my career. I want to make sure I'm doing everything I can to be ready for it."

That’s quite the change in tone from 2004, when Clijsters, then the World No. 2, chose to boycott the Athens Olympics because the Belgian Olympic Committee would not allow her to collect a medal wearing her Fila-sponsored kit (the BOC had an exclusive clothing sponsorship with Adidas). The BOC made major concessions in agreeing to allow Clijsters to compete in her Fila kit, but remained adamant that should she win a medal she would have to wear the Belgian team’s Adidas warmups on the medal stand.

“I want to remain loyal to the people with whom I have closed a contract,” Clijsters said at the time. “They were the only ones interested in me two years ago.” Given her expressed desire to be ready for the Olympics, it'll be interesting to see how Clijsters handles the upcoming clay swing. It's a surface that has always vexed the Belgian for no good reason. She's done terrible on clay since her comeback in 2009, and though she was a runner-up at Roland Garros twice (2001 and '03), she only has three clay titles to her name. Can Clijsters make the push to try to grab that elusive title at Roland Garros? Or will she bide her time until the grass swing to get ready for Wimbledon and the Olympics? Her comments seem to indicate that the Olympics are the priority. Let's see if her scheduling bears that out.

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