Kim Clijsters retires with a right shoulder injury up 6-3, 1-3 against Marion Bartoli in the fourth round of Indian Wells on Tuesday. Clijsters called for the trainer down 1-2 in the second set and had her shoulder worked on, but no avail.
With Clijsters' retirement, Caroline Wozniacki is guaranteed to hold on the No. 1 ranking until at least the end of the Miami tournament.
Four-times Grand Slam champion Clijsters has been taking medication for the injury and said that she was concerned about how it would hold up during the upcoming clay court season. She said she began to take pain medication during her run to the 2011 Australian Open title. The Belgian is going to try defend her title in Miami, which begins next week, but is unsure whether she'll be able to complete the tournament.
"After Miami we have Fed Cup, which I'm taking very seriously," Clijsters said. "And also obviously the clay court season, which i a very tough part of the season for the shoulders. And I'm gonna have to make sure that I'm, fully healed until I start playing on that surface.
Clijsters said the main reason behind her retirement was that she didn't want to risk a more severe injury. She also revealed that she suffered a bad neck injury at the Paris Indoors last month, which she believes in related to her shoulder problem.
"I have been feeling it in my practices when I'm just hitting with my coach. Mostly it's with the serve, but with the higher forehands," she said. "Couple times a day when she wrong-footed me and I went out for my backhand where I tried to [stretch] I could just feel it in the back. Is it something where I can take some painkillers for it and not feel it during a match? Yes, I think so. But then I don't want to risk tearing it. In my stage right now, I don't want to be in that position where I'm taking medication to cover the pain and not knowing if it's getting worse during my match."
Clijsters' osteopath, who travels with occasionally, was not at Indian Wells, but will travel to Miami. —Matthew Cronin