Former world number one Clijsters plans shock WTA Tour comeback

Tennis: Ex-world number 1, Kim Clijsters, announces surprise comeback

Tennis: Ex-world number 1, Kim Clijsters, announces surprise comeback

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.

"I have girlfriends now who struggle to find "me time", to live for their passion and still balance being a mum", Clijsters said. Sitting in a commentary box, watching others command the big stages, has only fuelled her desire to return to the locker-room.

Embracing reduced schedule in 2010, Clijsters conquered Brisbane, Miami, Cincinnati, the US Open and the WTA Championships, proving her class again and adding the fourth Major crown to her tally next January in Melbourne, becoming world no.

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.

The 36-year-old four-time singles Grand Slam champion said she loved being a mum but missed the adrenalin of the tennis world tour. "I think for me it's the challenge", Clijsters said.

Next year, she's going to try, Clijsters shared.

Clijsters is eligible for unlimited wild cards at WTA tournaments because of her former world number one status, but she will have to play three tournaments or earn 10 points to re-establish a ranking. We can talk about the start of 2020 and see where can we get a wildcard, but if I feel in December that I'm not even near to where I want to be, then I'm not going to go just for the sake of going somewhere.

But the 36-year-old has now made the shock decision to return to action next year. "And with so many inspirational athletes and moms competing, I can't wait to get back on the match court and see what's possible after having three children".

"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".

Her return next season was warmly welcomed by WTA chairman Steve Simon. "I wish Kim all the best in this next chapter of her playing career".

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