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Clijsters to get back to basics

Written by: Staff
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LONDON, July 6 (Reuters) Beaten Wimbledon semi-finalist Kim Clijsters said she would get the mini-tennis rackets out before she begins the defence of her US Open title.

The Belgian world number two succumbed to the superior flair of compatriot Justine Henin-Hardenne today, before admitting she needed to work on her touch.

''You can always improve,'' the 23-year-old told reporters after her 6-4 7-6 defeat.

''I don't need to work on hitting the ball harder, obviously.

But I need to keep working on the touch a little bit, on the feeling.

''That's something that I wasn't naturally born with, I guess. That's something I try to do, that I try to stick into my practices, do a few slices, some mini-tennis, just work on fun game where you run for drop shots, little things like that.'' Mini-tennis is played on a small court with sponge balls and is popular as a means of introducing youngsters to the game.

Clijsters brushed off her defeat, the fifth in a row by Henin-Hardenne at a grand slam tournament, and said she probably would not even watch the final.

''I don't know. I am planning on going to a wedding, so...

we'll see,'' she said when asked if she would watch her Fed Cup team mate take on Amelie Mauresmo on Saturday.

Despite losing her second Wimbledon semi-final Clijsters remained upbeat, especially as she plans to retire at the end of 2007.

''Every time I step off a tennis court I'm happy, win or lose,'' said Clijsters who battled back from a career-threatening wrist injury last year.

''That's something that gets you through losses like this. I was so close to not being able to play.

''It's maybe the last year and a half I have to play so I enjoy it. Hopefully if everything goes according to plan I'll be here next year.'' In the meantime Clijsters said she was looking forward to the American hardcourt season, particularly in California.

''They're fun, great weather and I'll have my family around me.'' Reuters DH VP0115

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