Two-time defending U.S. Open champion Kim Clijsters will not go for three in a row this year because of a stomach muscle injury.
Clijsters, who missed Wimbledon with an ankle injury, pulled out of a tournament in Toronto this month with a muscle strain on the left side of her stomach. In a statement Friday, she said “two weeks of rehab is not enough to heal this injury.”
“Obviously I’m very disappointed,” she said. “I trained very hard this summer and felt in a good shape.”
Clijsters, ranked No. 3 in the world, said she also would pull out of tournaments in Japan and China in September.
Her absence leaves Serena and Venus Williams and Maria Sharapova as the headliners on the women’s side of the U.S. Open, which begins Aug. 29. Serena won in Toronto but pulled out of this week’s event.
Clijsters won the U.S. Open in 2009 — an unexpected run through the year’s final major after a two-year break during which she had a baby girl.
Last year, Clijsters repeated at Flushing Meadows. She won the Australian Open this year for her fourth Grand Slam title.
A pair of tributes marking the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks are scheduled at the U.S. Open before both the women’s and men’s singles title matches Sept. 10 and 11.
For the Sept. 10 women’s prime-time final, and for the men’s late-afternoon Sept. 11 championship match, the numbers “9-11-01” will be added to the Arthur Ashe Stadium court and a 9-11 logo will be displayed on the stadium’s upper ring.
Performers Cyndi Lauper, on Saturday, and Queen Latifah, on Sunday, have been lined up for the two pre-match ceremonies, and Sunday’s men’s final will include an honor guard from the city’s police and fire departments and Port Authority police.