Sunrise, sunset: With both Venus and Serena Williams slated to compete at Wimbledon 2011, the women's tournament is assured of a more interesting draw than that fielded at Roland Garros. But Kim Clijsters, one of the very strongest all-round players in the game with perhaps the best chance to beat either sister on any given day, will be notably absent from this year's Championships thanks to a recurring foot injury. The World No. 2 released a statement reading, in part:
At this moment I feel frustrated that it has to happen now before one of my favourite tournaments. I’ve always enjoyed being a part of the Wimbledon atmosphere but I have no other choice now but to rest, recover and to not play tennis for a few weeks.
Losing Clijsters is bad business for the tournament, but recall that she returned ahead of schedule from an injury to compete at the French Open and pursue a Grand Slam, and was summarily bounced by an unseeded second-round opponent. More rest is clearly needed on her part, and as the reigning U.S. Open and Australian Open champ, it's not like Clijsters isn't used to returning to form.
The lingering question now is what this does to Clijsters' retirement timetable. She's openly pondered hanging up her racquet for a second, presumably final time after the 2012 Olympics, and with a summer of rehab, could conceivably notch a calendar Grand Slam before doing so. In that scenario, Wimbledon 2012 would be her final Slam tournament, and what a note that would be to go out on: Winning at the All-England Club would be the Belgian's first advancement past two semifinals berths in 2003 and 2006.
Tournament play at The Championships, Wimbledon will begin Monday, June 20.