Indian Wells: A lingering shoulder problem has given world number two Kim Clijsters increased cause for concern with the WTA Tour`s claycourt season fast approaching.
The Belgian has been taking pain killers to cope with a pinched shoulder since before she won her fourth grand slam title at the Australian Open in January.
After losing to Czech Petra Kvitova in last month`s Paris Open final, Clijsters had hoped to regain full fitness while taking a break of almost four weeks from competition.
"I had treatment on it while I was off, and it felt fine," the 27-year-old told reporters after beating Italy`s Sara Errani 6-3, 2-6, 6-4 in the third round of the Indian Wells WTA tournament on Sunday.
"When I`m not training it feels fine but as I got into hitting a little bit more again, it slowly just flared up a little bit."
Asked how long she had been bothered by the nagging shoulder pain, Clijsters replied: "In Australia already I was taking some medication for it. Nothing seriously, just like an Advil here and there, a painkiller."
"With those higher shots against the opponent today, I just feel it more ... pinching a little bit more when I have to do that kick serve and when I have to reach that right arm up higher with the forehand."
Asked how concerned she was by her shoulder problem, Clijsters replied: "On hard courts I know that I am able to control it. I`m concerned for what`s coming up next, and that`s the claycourt season."
"I have had my osteopath who travels with me and he`s been paying close attention to it. We have been keeping it at a level where it`s not getting worse."
Clijsters said her osteopath was not with her at Indian Wells but would join here in Miami for the WTA tournament starting in two week`s time.
"So he`s got some extra work to do," she added with a smile.