TORONTO, (Reuters) – Belgium’s world number two Kim Clijsters yesterday shot down talk of retiring after next year’s London Olympics and said she would rather have a much lower-key farewell.
The four-times grand slam winner, who returns to action at this week’s Rogers Cup in Toronto after missing Wimbledon with a foot injury, said the Olympics were the last big event she is focused on.
“I am not saying I am done after the Olympics but that’s where so far I have set my schedule towards and what I am building towards and then we’ll see what happens from there,” Clijsters, 28, told reporters. “I might choose to end (my career) in a smaller tournament just to have it a little more personal and where I can really enjoy it with my family, my friends and coaches.”
Clijsters said it was too soon to determine what tournament would be her last but the three-times U.S. Open winner did say she felt a special connection to Flushing Meadows, where she won the first three grand slams of her career.
“I have done so well there for many years, my husband’s family is there and we could have a very personal tournament there besides all the craziness … we will have when we go to the Olympics,” said Clijsters.
The popular Clijsters, who triumphed at the 2009 U.S. Open three tournaments into a comeback from a two-year retirement in which she gave birth to a daughter, said she was fully recovered from the injury that kept her out of Wimbledon.
But the current U.S. Open and Australian Open champion, who had a first-round bye in Toronto, hinted that she could lighten her schedule next year in preparation for the Olympics.
“You kind’ve just set you’re goal to a few big events and I think for me at the moment the Olympics are the last kind of big event that I am focused on right now,” said Clijsters, who will play qualifier Zheng Jie of China in the second round.
“But that doesn’t mean come January or February that I am going to play the full season.”