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April 12, 2011

Significance of Kim Clijsters' Ankle and Shoulder Injuries

Kim Clijsters receives

On top of the news that Kim Clijsters was taking some weeks to heal her ailing right shoulder, there is now the unfortunate news that Kim badly sprained her ankle at her cousin’s wedding.  Without going through the details of the injury, suffice it to say that

Kim needs four to six weeks before she can compete again.  So what is the impact of all these injuries on both Clijsters and the rest of the women’s field as the French Open (begins May 22nd) and Wimbledon approach?

Clearly, the extra rest can only help Clijsters rest and rehab her sore shoulder more.  From a match standpoint, even if Clijsters manages to play at the French Open, she will have had no prep and that can’t bode well for her chances on the clay.  However, Kim could possibly decide to skip the French Open and focus on Wimbledon where she may like her chances better anyway.  If Clijsters chooses this route, then she would have sufficient time to play some warm-up matches on grass and also most likely arrive at the All England Club rejuvenated.  A year ago, Clijsters had a foot injury and also missed the French Open and ended up losing to Vera Zvonareva in the quarters at Wimbledon.

On the other side of the net, Clijsters’ likely “absence” from the French Open really opens the door for there to be not only a new French Open champion, but most likely a first-time Grand Slam champion on the women’s side at Roland Garros this year.  The likely contenders include Caroline Wozniacki, Vera Zvonareva and Victoria Azarenka among others.  One could debate whether Clijsters’ injury negatively affects Clijsters more than it “positively” affects the rest of the field.  Regardless, it will have a major impact on the French Open and possibly Wimbledon as well.

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