• Australian Open

Clijsters insists she has no fitness concerns

ESPN staff
January 13, 2012
Kim Clijsters insists she has no fitness concerns © Getty Images

Defending Australian Open champion Kim Clijsters has insisted she is completely fit and healthy ahead of the start of the first grand slam of the year.

Clijsters, 28, sparked concerns about the defence of her title in Melbourne after she was forced to withdraw halfway through her semi-final against Daniele Hantuchova at last week's Brisbane International with a hip injury. But the Belgian insists she has shaken off the issue and is fully fit and raring to go.

"I didn't play many matches in the second half of last year and missed most of the American summer but I have trained hard in the off-season," said Clijsters, the 11th seed.

"I am feeling good and ready to go."

If she is to win again in Australia, Clijsters will have to come through a difficult draw which could see her meet last year's finalist Li Na, world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki and world No. 3 Victoria Azarenka on the way to the final.

While her first round opponent is yet to be confirmed, she could also end up facing British No. 1 Elena Baltacha in the second round of the tournament. Baltacha would relish the challenge - but is concentrating on getting past Stephanie Foretz Gacon first.

"We'll see how both of us go in the first round but obviously it would be great to play Kim," Baltacha said. "I've got a good record of winning matches in grand slams over the last couple of years and I'd like to keep that up, so all I'm thinking about at the moment is that first round match."

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