Tuesday, 17 September, 2019

Clijsters sets sights on 2020 comeback after seven-year absence

Kim Clijsters Clijsters won the last of her Grand Slam titles at the 2011 Australian Open
Shannon Reynolds | 13 September, 2019, 01:43

This will be Clijsters' second comeback, as 10 years ago she already made a triumphant return to the court claiming three out of her four Grand Slam titles.

The former Belgian professional tennis player, 36, announced Thursday with a video on Twitter that she will be returning to the sport in 2020.

In a phone interview with a small group of reporters, Clijsters said that her primary motivation was to challenge herself.

Clijsters won her first Grand Slam title at the US Open in 2005 after four runner-up finishes in majors in her "first career" and after 26 months away from the tour launched a successful comeback.

Clijsters has since had two more children, but in announcing her return she revealed she had been inspired by the success of mothers on tour, such as her contemporary Serena Williams.

"I don't really feel like I want to prove something", Clijsters told the WTA Insider Podcast. "I want to see how far I can push myself and what level I can get to - and embrace all the positives and negatives along the way". But the question is, am I capable of bringing it to a level where I would like it to be before I play at a high level of one of the best women's sports in the world.

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With 41 titles to her name, Clijsters hung up her racket after the 2012 U.S. Open and later worked as a tennis commentator.

"Of course, if you want to go through a marathon you're not going to have the whole media in your face", Clijsters said.

She successfully defended her title at Flushing Meadows in 2010, and her 2011 Australian Open victory returned her to the top of the rankings. And honestly, I miss that feeling. Could I be loving mum to my three kids and the best tennis player I can possibly be?

"Driven by her love for the sport, this wonderful champion continues to inspire women and men in all walks of life - and she only adds to the compelling wealth of talent in women's tennis".

According to the WTA, Clijsters, who has three children - Jada, Jack, and Blake, is eligible for unlimited wild cards at WTA tournaments but will need to play three events to regain a world ranking. "For me, I still love to play tennis", she said.

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