Tuesday, 17 September, 2019

7 years after 2nd 'retirement,' Clijsters returns to tennis

Clijsters sets sights on 2020 comeback after 7-year absence Former top-ranked Kim Clijsters planning return to tennis
Sidney Guerrero | 13 September, 2019, 05:29

Clijsters, the 36-year-old four-time Grand Slam champion and mother of three, stunningly announced Thursday her intention to come out of retirement and return to the WTA Tour in 2020.

But the four-time grand slam victor has now announced a surprising return and is training with a view to playing again in 2020.

Clijsters, however, says she will not attempt to return until she is ready. As a former World No.1, she is eligible for unlimited wild cards at WTA tournaments. She hasn't played a professional match since the 2012 U.S. Open.

She stepped down again, apparently for good, seven years ago but now it has emerged she has been planning to return for some time.

"But I also love being a professional tennis player". I think for me it's the challenge.

"I don't feel like I need to prove anything, but I want to challenge myself and I want to be strong again".

"I have girlfriends now who struggle to find "me time", to live for their passion and still balance being a mum", Clijsters said.

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In a phone interview with a small group of reporters, Clijsters said that her primary motivation was to challenge herself. Could I be loving mum to my three kids and the best tennis player I can possibly be? She successfully defended her title in NY the following year to win a third US Open crown and also clinched the Australian Open title in 2011, ascending to world No 1 shortly after. Despite her lengthy time out she still ranks third among active players in terms of tournament success behind the Williams sisters - Serena with 72 titles and Venus with 49.

Clijsters - now a mother of three - made her WTA debut at the age of 15 in 1999, and was 29 when she retired.

"I don't really feel like I want to prove something".

Her return was warmly welcomed by WTA chairman Steve Simon. 4 years later, she turned world No. 1 in each singles and doubles, the primary Belgian to attain both honour.

But Clijsters kept the moniker, feeling she live up to it when she won the 2011 Aussie title.

With a baseline game built on terrific court coverage, the Belgian won another championship at Flushing Meadows in 2010, then added an Australian Open title the following season and moved back atop the rankings.

I'll be the hitting partner for your practice today.

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