Clijsters excited for US Open swansong
Originally published on: 28/08/12 00:00
“I'm excited,” the Belgian said. “I'm obviously very excited to be back here after not being able to participate last year due to an injury in my stomach muscle. I'm really excited to be here. Obviously this place is magical for me. I have had so many beautiful memories. I have enjoyed coming here from when I was a junior.
“I love the surface, I love the atmosphere, and I'm excited. I'm not really thinking about retiring yet. I'm still focusing on trying to be in the best shape that I can be. When I start on Monday I want to be playing well. I'm focusing on that for now.”
Clijsters, who meets the American Victoria Duval in the first round, has an extraordinary record at the US Open, having not lost a match at the year’s final Grand Slam event since losing in the final to Justine Henin in 2003. She has since played the tournament only three times – and won on each occasion, in 2005, which was her first Grand slam triumph, in 2009, when she made her comeback after her first retirement, and in 2010.
How would she prepare for this year’s tournament? “Just like every other Slam: just take it one match at a time and go from there,” she said. “I just try to be as ready as I can be. I'm not looking too far ahead. I have an opponent first round up, a girl who I obviously don't know and have never played against. They can be tricky as well.”
Clijsters agreed that the US Open can be tough for many players. “I think the surface is more grinding,” she said. “It's I think maybe a little harder on the body, as well, though maybe not so much for me this year. It’s the last Grand Slam of the year. A lot of players have been playing for a long time, had a tough season. It’s been a tough summer this summer as well with the Olympics being added in. Physically I think and mentally as well it's a tough one to deal with at the end of the season.”