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.
First Published: Monday, March 14, 2011, 15:23