Kim Clijsters pulls out of U.S. Open tuneup with abdominal injury

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NEW YORK — Four-time Grand Slam champion Kim Clijsters withdrew from the Western & Southern Open on Friday because of an abdominal injury she wants to rest before the U.S. Open.

The 37-year-old Belgian already is a member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame and came out of retirement this year.

The U.S. Open, which starts Aug. 31, would be her first Grand Slam tournament since she competed at Flushing Meadows in 2012, losing in the second round.

The Western & Southern Open begins Saturday in New York, at the same site used for the U.S. Open. The hard-court tuneup normally is held in Cincinnati but was moved this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I have great memories from playing in Cincinnati and was looking forward to being a part of the event this year,” Clijsters said. “It’s disappointing to have to withdraw, but after discussions with medical and my team, I need a little more recovery time.”

Clijsters said she will remain in the “bubble” set up by the U.S. Tennis Association for the two tournaments and “continue to prepare with my team.”

Clijsters used to be ranked No. 1 and won the singles championships at the U.S. Open in 2005, 2009 and 2010, along with another Grand Slam singles trophy at the Australian Open in 2011.

She was given wild-card invitations by the USTA for both the singles and doubles events at the U.S. Open.