Clijsters rushing home to be with her dogs

MIAMI: Kim Clijsters’ semi-final exit at the hands of Serena Williams at the Miami Masters just gives the animal-loving Belgian time to nuzzle up to her three dogs back home. 

The teenager admitted that she’s been pining for her pooches – a Saint Bernard, a Newfoundlander and a new bulldog, apparently a favourite of boyfriend Lleyton Hewitt. 

“I miss them a lot,” admitted Clijsters, heading home to Belgium for a month off from the game after a three-tournament run which produced a title (Indian Wells), final (Scottsdale) and Thursday’s semi-final. 

How much does she miss them? “I’ve been speaking with them on the phone, that’s how much,” she said. 

Amassing her personal kennel has been an ongoing exercise for Clijsters, who received a dog after winning the season-ending event in Los Angeles over Williams last autumn. 

The English bulldog named Beauty was presented to the player during a surprise on-court ceremony at an exhibition at home.  

“The lady from a sponsor walks out holding a big basket with a bow on it.  

“All of a sudden, a little head pops out. I’m just completely in shock. 

“It was a very nice surprise, she was only four weeks old.” Clijsters said she accumulated her other two pets after seeing ones owned by friends. 

The only problem with the expanding menagerie: Hewitt’s allergic reaction to her four-legged friends. 

“That’s not a great thing,” Clijsters admitted.  

“But he does love the bulldog, she shared the room with us at the Antwerp tournament (February).” – dpa 

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