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'Too old' for tennis, Clijsters set for last Wimbledon

Kim Clijsters.
by Caroline Cheese
Sunday 24 June 2012

Kim Clijsters readily admits her body isn't up to the demands of professional tennis anymore, but she was desperate not to quit without one last taste of the Wimbledon experience.

"The place has a big history for me personally," she said. "Tennis-wise, I love the atmosphere that hangs around the courts here, the history, the tradition. You don't feel that vibe in any other Grand Slam."

Clijsters announced earlier this year that the U.S. Open will be her last Grand Slam tournament.

She has retired before of course, returning from a two-year hiatus in 2009 to win the U.S. Open for the second time, but this time she says there will be no turning back.

At 29, she is "too old''.

"Too old to play the game that I want to play physically," she said. "I've put my body through enough strain and everything.

"I'm not going to be the type of player that's going to change the way I play or the way that I move."

This year has provided a microcosm of Clijsters' injury-punctuated career. At the Australian Open, she battled on to the semi-finals despite an injured ankle. She was denied a last hurrah at the French Open by a hip injury and she pulled out of the 's-Hertogenbosch semi-finals last week as a precaution after an old abdominal injury flared up.

"Nobody knows if they're going to be fit enough for the two weeks," she said. "But I feel like I've had these last few days. I've been resting. I've had treatment. I feel like every day it's been getting better."

The draw gods might have been kinder. She faces long-time adversary Jelena Jankovic in the third match on No.1 Court on Monday.

"It will be tough," she said, before adding: "I look forward to it. Not being seeded, obviously it's possible that you draw a high seed. So you have to be ready from the first match onwards."

Once Wimbledon is over, Clijsters will refocus for a tilt at the Olympics before competing at the final Grand Slam of her professional career at Flushing Meadows in August.

Clijsters and her husband Brian Lynch want to add to their family which already includes four-year-old Jada. Beyond that, she says has made no further plans.

"It's been an incredible adventure these last three, four years," she said. "I feel like I've been able to kind of finish that chapter of my tennis year on a good note.

"I'm going to give 200% these last few tournaments that I have left."

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