Published: Fri, September 13, 2019
Sport | By

Kim Clijsters announces return to tennis at 36

Kim Clijsters announces return to tennis at 36

Two years after winning her first major at the 2005 U.S. Open, an injury-plagued Clijsters made a decision to quit the game at the age of 23 to start a family, returning two years later to claim her second U.S. Open as an unranked player in only her third tournament back.

Former world number one and four-time Grand Slam singles victor Kim Clijsters has announced she will be making a return to tennis in 2020.

Clijsters is eligible for unlimited wild cards in WTA tournaments but needs to play in three events to get a world ranking.

Notoriously friendly, down-to-earth, and a favorite amongst her peers in the locker room, Clijsters hung up her racquet for good - or so she thought - after the 2012 US Open.

Clijsters followed up her US Open title by adding five more titles in 2010, including the successful defense of the US Open.

"Whenever I'm at a Grand Slam ... if somebody asked me, 'Hey, do you want to hit some balls?' I'm the first one to be like, 'I'll hit; I'll be the hitting partner for your practice today.' I still love playing tennis", she said.

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

"And I do feel like".

For the past seven years, I've been a full-time mom, and I love it.

"But I also loved being a professional tennis player".

After competing in her final U.S. Open in August 2012, Clijsters officially retired from the sport and placed expanding her family high on her priority list, having her second child, Jack, in 2013, and third child, Blake, in 2016.

She returned after a 26-month hiatus and won the 2009 US Open, becoming the first mother to win a Grand Slam title since Evonne Goolagong at Wimbledon in 1980.

"I can't wait to get back on the match court and see what's possible after having three children".

Clijsters could play in the Australian Open, a tournament she won in 2011, next January. She said she began training for a comeback months ago and still isn't there, but likes her rate of progress. In May 2007, she stepped away from the sport, marrying Brian Lynch and giving birth to her daughter Jada in 2008.

She is one of just six women to be simultaneously World No. 1 in singles and doubles.

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