Tennis-Clijsters opts out of Fed Cup showdown with US
( 2003-10-08 10:28) (Agencies)
Belgium will face an uphill task to progress beyond the semi-finals of the
Fed Cup after world number one Kim Clijsters joined compatriot Justine
Henin-Hardenne in opting out of next month's tie in Moscow.
US Open champion Henin pulled out of the event last month citing a back injury,
while Clijsters had previously hinted that she may withdraw after the final was
awarded to Moscow by the International Tennis Federation.
captain Ivo Van Aken instead selected a second-string squad, spearheaded by the
84th-ranked Els Callens, on Tuesday.
She will be joined for the event,
starting on November 17, by Caroline Maes (ranked 243rd), Clijsters's younger
sister Elke (397th), Evelyn Van Hyfte (420th) and Kirsten Flipkens
Russia play France in the other semi-final with the final
taking place later that week.
Flipkens won the French and US Open
junior singles title this year.
Clijsters and Henin led Belgium to
their first triumph in the women's team competition in 2001 but the nation were
knocked out in the quarter-finals in 2002 after both players skipped the