Kim Clijsters has had her mommy experience, and now she’s back.
The former No. 1, who retired in 2007 to marry and have her first child, announced Thursday that she will resume her pro career once again during the U.S. summer hardcourt season. The 25-year-old says her first event will be at Cincinnati, culminating in an appearance at the US Open.
“The desire is back,” Clijsters told reporters. “I have missed the competition in the last two years. I am training for one goal, to face all these talented girls.”
Clijsters won her only Grand Slam title at the US Open in 2005 when she defeated Frenchwoman Mary Pierce, who is herself attempting a comeback after injury.
“My comeback will be in the United States,” Clijsters said. “I won’t go to these tournaments in the same way I go on holiday.”
Clijsters reached the No. 1 ranking in 2003 and stayed there 19 weeks. Belgian tennis went from the top of the heap to off the radar once Clijsters and fellow No. 1 Justine Henin retired.
“It all started with preparing for the gala match at Wimbledon. It was all pretty laid back. But I liked it so much I was onto my training schedule from my pro days, and then the hunger for more came automatically,” Clijsters said. “I look at this as a second career, not as a comeback, as I am now in a situation where not everything revolves around tennis 24 hours a day. We’ll see how I, Jada and the others in my environment can handle this.”
Not known for her mental toughness in big-stage situations, Clijsters was 1-4 in Grand Slam finals, losing at the French and Australian opens. Clijsters retired at 23, citing numerous injuries, and after going through multiple wrist surgeries.
“It will depend on how well I can find the rhythm to my game,” said Clijsters on whether she could again compete for the No. 1 spot amidst the currently disjointed group of No. 1 competitors.
She is scheduled to play Cincinnati and Toronto prior to the US Open.
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