Kim Clijsters withdraws from Western and Southern Open
Kim Clijsters at World Team Tennis last month (Image: Streeter Lecka)

Former world number one Kim Clijsters appears to be a doubt for the US Open after withdrawing from the Western and Southern Open in New York with an abdominal injury.

Clijsters has not played at a Grand Slam tournament in eight years after retiring for the second time in 2012 following the US Open, and only managed to play two tournaments in her second WTA Tour comeback before the tour was suspended due to coronavirus.

The Belgian had received a wildcard into both events, which are both being held in New York this year due to coronavirus restrictions. Flushing Meadows is highly successful ground for Clijsters, who has won three of her four Grand Slam titles at the US Open, though her chances of returning to Grand Slam action now look in doubt.

Clijsters is a three-time US Open champion (Image: Rob Tringali)
Clijsters is a three-time US Open champion (Image: Rob Tringali)

“It's disappointing to have to withdraw but after discussions with medical and my team, I need a little more recovery time,” said Clijsters, who was due to face American Jennifer Brady in an intriguing opening round clash. “I'm grateful to be able to stay in the 'bubble' and continue to prepare with my team here at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.”

Clijsters is the second former world number one and Grand Slam champion to withdraw prior to the tournament, after Garbine Muguruza withdrew early this week due to injury; the Spaniard also hopes to be fit in time for the US Open which starts on August 31st. The USTA will be hoping that both regain fitness in time for the tournament, with several notable WTA stars choosing to skip the event this summer.