Sharapova had two hard-court tuneup tournaments on her schedule, but pulled out of both with a stomach virus.
"I think it was a sign my body just needed to slow down," she said. "It was a lot of travel, a lot of playing. I had a hectic summer. So, I decided to shut it down until here, because we still have a lot to play towards the end of the year."
Kim Clijsters, on the other hand, doesn't have to save any energy for down the road. Win or lose, she says the U.S. Open will be it for her.
"Here," she said, while pointing to her heart. "You feel when it's right."
Clijsters, who missed last year with a stomach-muscle injury, has won her past 21 matches at Flushing Meadows. In 2005, she won the tournament. She didn't return again until 2009, after she had gotten married and had a daughter, Jada. With virtually no tournament play under her belt in 2009, Clijsters won seven matches to become the first unseeded woman to capture the U.S. Open. It was her first of back-to-back titles.
Because of how busy 2012 has been, she'll do the same as Sharapova — come into the U.S. Open not having played a competitive match since the Olympics.
Is this any way to prepare for her farewell?
"I remember 2009, I didn't have many matches, either," Clijsters said. "So I don't worry about that."
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