• WTA Tour

Clijsters out of Tokyo event over radiation fears

ESPN staff
March 24, 2011
Kim Clijsters will not play in the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo © Getty Images

World No. 2 Kim Clijsters has withdrawn from the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo in September over safety fears.

The nuclear emergency at Fukushima in the wake of the earthquake and subsequent tsunami on March 11 has prompted Clijsters to withdraw from the event, although she promised to return in the future.

"I always have felt that I have a close connection to Japan. I have really good memories of playing doubles with Ai Sugiyama in Japan," Clijsters said in a message to organisers.

"I wish everybody a lot of courage, a lot of strength and I look forward to coming back to Tokyo when it's possible."

Fearing that Clijsters' withdrawal would prompt others to pull out the event, the WTA issued a statement stressing that the players' welfare was their top priority.

"At this time we do not have reason to believe that there is or will be a health or safety risk to our players or others participating in or attending the WTA's events this autumn in Tokyo and Beijing," the WTA said in a statement to Kyodo News.

"We will continue to monitor the situation and take counsel from independent health and security experts."

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