Clijsters seeks form and fitness in Eastbourne

Updated: 14 June 2010 12:40 IST

Kim Clijsters is anxious to test her game and fitness at the Aegon International in Eastbourne this week after an injury break that kept her out of the French O

Clijsters seeks form and fitness in Eastbourne

Eastbourne, England : Kim Clijsters is anxious to test her game and fitness at the Aegon International in Eastbourne this week after an injury break that kept her out of the French Open.

The 27-year-old Belgian has not played since injuring her ankle in late April, and admitted on Monday that she is still wary of how it will stand up to the rigors of competition at Eastbourne this week. However, she has put in a lot of preparation and is keen to find out how the ankle will cope with match action.

"I got here on Tuesday and I've been practicing ever since," said fifth-seeded Clijsters, who will face fellow Belgian Yanina Wickmayer in her opening match Tuesday. "I've been saying to my coach that I really want to play a match now.

"When I got here, for the first few days I was really trying to just test my foot still and it was the first time I was trying to go full-out. I've needed the time to also mentally get past the injury and just forget about the way it happened. I'm still wearing a tape and I think it's a few more months I'll have to wear it.

Despite the improvement, Clijsters admits that the injury does make her think twice in certain situations.

"Obviously there's still moments if I have to go for a wide backhand that I'm a little bit more cautious, but I think on grass you automatically have that intention anyway. I think if it had been on hardcourt it would have been a little bit of a different story, but I think the grass definitely helps to make you move a little bit more carefully."

Proof of her physical and mental recovery will only really come, though, with an encouraging week in a tournament which provides a useful warmup before Wimbledon.

Clijsters clearly knows what she wants from the event on England's south coast.

"To me it's really important to be back on court and playing a match and to mentally step over that boundary and not playing with any fear," she said.

"I think that's obviously going to be my main concern. I've played some practice sets here this week, but to play an official match you can press yourself a little extra if you need to, and that's what I need now."

Defending champion Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark is seeded No. 1 in a field that features six of the world's top 10 women. French Open champion Francesca Schiavone of Italy is No. 2, ahead of third-seeded Samantha Stosur and Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland.
Topics : Tennis Andy Roddick Lukas Dlouhy Rohan Bopanna Leander Paes Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi Maria Sharapova
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