Tuesday, August 3, 2004

Injured Clijsters joins fiance Hewitt at tourney


Wrist surgery sidelines former women's No.1 player

By Neil Schmidt
Enquirer staff writer

MASON - Tennis' First Couple is in town for the week. No, Steffi Graf isn't here watching her husband, Andre Agassi. The other First Couple.

Agassi
Andre Agassi returns in the third set against Mardy Fish during first round play at the Western & Southern Financial Group Masters.
(Craig Ruttle/The
Cincinnati Enquirer)
More photos from Monday

TENNIS COVERAGE
Mason showcases stars
Agassi wins after vow to go down swinging
Relaxed Federer has tight grip on top spot
French champ seeks success on hard courts
Haas reaches goals as quickly as he sets them
Injured Clijsters joins fiance Hewitt at tourney
Russian ends losing streak with first win in two months
Fish's bad back serves up another loss
Masters results, schedules

Kim Clijsters cheered on fiancÈ Lleyton Hewitt to a 6-2, 6-4 victory Monday over Alex Bogomolov Jr. in the Western & Southern Financial Group Masters. It's Clijsters' second trip to Cincinnati - she accompanied Hewitt when he played here in 2001 - and Clijsters raves about the event and the facility.

So much so that the former world No. 1 said she wanted to play here in the W&SFG Women's Open, Aug. 16-22, had she been healthy. She is rehabilitating after surgery in June to remove a cyst from her left wrist and won't return until at least after the U.S. Open.

"I was really thinking about playing it," she said of the Women's Open. "I'm not playing the Olympics, and because Lleyton was having the week off as well, we could have stayed here for another week."

This inaugural Women's Open is a Tier III event, which usually means a lesser field, but Clijsters played a couple of Tier IIIs last year.

"I don't look at a tournament for how high it's ranked," she said. "I enjoy the Tier III tournaments. They're a little cozier than a lot of the really big tournaments, and I really enjoy that."

Clijsters predicts the women's event will succeed because of the experience these tournament officials have compared to most startup events.

"Here, everything is perfect," she said. "The facilities are great. Everything is close by."

Though she is 18-1 on the year, Clijsters dropped from No. 2 to 5 this week in the WTA rankings because of inactivity. She lost in the Australian Open final to Justine Henin-Hardenne and played on and off through wrist pain until May.

She and Hewitt announced their engagement late last year but haven't set a wedding date. She said they would likely wed in early 2005.

Clijsters said she would be in town as long as Hewitt is alive in the tournament.

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E-mail nschmidt@enquirer.com




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Photos from Monday
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Relaxed Federer has tight grip on top spot
French champ seeks success on hard courts
Haas reaches goals as quickly as he sets them
Injured Clijsters joins fiance Hewitt at tourney
Russian ends losing streak with first win in two months
Fish's bad back serves up another loss
Masters results, schedules

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