Clijsters may reconsider tennis plans with Olympic medal beckoning


Melbourne : The weekend title success at the Australian Open may have Kim Clijsters even more confused than ever about her tennis future after the 27-year-old beat China’s Li Na to win her fourth major trophy.

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“I do think this is probably my last full season that I will be playing,” said the Belgian mother of one who quit once to have her child and then returned in 2007.

But to that familiar refrain, the winner of four Slams has suddenly added an intriguing twist: “I also would like to try and keep going until the (2012) Olympics. I have never played the Olympics, which is little under a year and a half. Then we will see after that.”

Clijsters said that when she made her return to tennis in the summer of 2009, “I kind of had the Olympics in my mind. I wanted to try to keep going till then.

“I obviously never expected things to be going so well so quickly.

“I thought it was going to take a little bit more time to get back into the rhythm or get back into my routine of traveling with a family and everything.”

A month after coming back to the sport from two years away, Clijsters won the first of two consecutive US Opens, to which she has now added Melbourne honours.

Clijsters is edging toward a return to number one status, with her now ranking up to second as a result of her triumph. With the American Williams sisters missing in action from tennis and looking more and more like retirement material, Clijsters could displace Caroline Wozniacki from the top spot as early as next month, according to calculations.

With her competitive spirit now running in fifth gear, Clijsters cannot help but now look ahead to the dream of a trophy at the French Open, where she lost finals in 2001 and 2003, and even Wimbledon (a pair of semi-finals, the last one five years ago).

“Obviously the French is a Grand Slam where I would like to do well, but I am just excited that I won this one. I am not really thinking in those kind of ways yet.

“That will probably happen after Fed Cup when I am done and home for a few weeks. I am playing Paris (February). After that, I will probably have time to sit together with the team and kind of just re-look at the whole schedule for later this year.”