The Washington Post

Roger Federer, Kim Clijsters pull out of tournaments as early-season injuries pile up

Roger Federer’s 2012 season isn’t off to the best of starts. (Fadi Al-Assaad/Reuters)

Only two days after Serena Williams pulled out of the Brisbane International tournament with a sprained ankle, Kim Clijsters retired from her semifinal match due to a hip injury. Meantime, men’s world No. 3 Roger Federer did not take the court for his semifinal at the Qatar Open on Friday, citing a back injury.

“I don’t feel a whole lot of improvement for today, and I just don’t think it’s the right time to risk anything more right now,” Federer said in a pre-match press conference. “I still have pain, and that’s why it was the only right decision, a difficult one for me.”

Federer, who said he still plans to play in this month’s Australian Open, knows he needs to be on top of his game following a season in which he finished outside the top two spots in the ATP year-end rankings for the first time since 2002.

The 30-year-old has been a fixture of good health during his near-decade-long run at the top of the men’s game, but has experienced back problems in the past.

“For Australia, I’m optimistic, just because it’s not very good but it isn’t crazy bad,” he said.

Kim Clijsters was forced to throw in the towel in Brisbane. (William West/AFP/Getty Images)

Clijsters won the 2011 Australian Open title to regain the No. 1 ranking for the first time in nearly five years, but shoulder and ankle injuries derailed her clay court season and forced her to withdraw from Wimbledon. At the Rogers Cup, she retired from her first match due to an abdominal injury that prevented her from defending her US Open title.

On Friday, the four-time grand slam winner took the opening set from Daniela Hantuchova in Brisbane but needed treatment early in the seceond set and retired after falling behind 3-1.

“I felt my left hip was getting tighter and tighter to the point I couldn’t move forward with my upper body,” she said. “So it was the smartest choice to try and not let it get any worse, to be ready for Melbourne.”

Despite the injuries, Federer and Clijsters made no mention of a brewing distaste for the sport they play.

More from Washington Post Sports:

Federer pulls out of Qatar Open semifinals with back injury

Clijsters injures hip, quits Brisbane semifinal vs. Hantuchova

Early Lead: Serena Williams doesn’t feel the love for sports

Matt Brooks is the high school sports editor for The Washington Post. He's an Arlington native and longtime District resident and was previously a high school sports reporter, editor for several blogs and Early Lead contributor with The Post.


Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read


Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Videos curated for you.
Play Videos
Making family dinnertime happen
Deaf banjo player teaches thousands
New limbs for Pakistani soldiers
Play Videos
A veteran finds healing on a dog sled
Learn to make this twice-baked cookie
How to prevent 'e-barrassment'
Play Videos
Syrian refugee: 'I’m committed to the power of music'
The art of tortilla-making
Michael Bolton's cinematic serenade to Detroit
Play Videos
Circus nuns: These sisters are no act
5 ways to raise girls to be leaders
Cool off with sno-balls, a New Orleans treat