March 25, 2006

Defeated Clijsters keen to return to winning ways

MIAMI (Reuters) - Kim Clijsters knows from bitter
experience that it take more than practice to make perfect.

The defending champion found that out the hard way when she
was beaten in her opening match at the Nasdaq-100 Open 7-5 3-6
7-5 by American Jill Craybas on Saturday.

"I need my matches. You don't get (form) back one-two-three
by practicing well," said the second seed, who was playing in
her first tournament in over a month after being sidelined with
a recurring ankle injury.

"You don't get it back straightaway. Matches are what I'm
definitely lacking."

The Belgian insists that her self-imposed deadline of
retirement sometime in 2007 still stands.

However, after her latest injury problems, the deadline
might be more flexible.

"There's definitely a possibility," she said of the early
retirement option. "I would love to for the amount of time that
I'm going to be still playing, play the best tennis that I've
got left."

Clijsters, who confirmed that she would be back in Miami
next year, is keen to recapture the form which helped her to
capture her first grand slam title at the U.S. Open last

"It's frustrating at times because you feel like you can't
really play your best tennis.

"That's the motivation, to try to get myself back to where
I was when I was playing before the U.S. Open, at the U.S.
Open. You need those kind of feelings sometimes.

"Maybe in a way this will set me back on track and work
hard and I'll try to get back."