Former world number one and four-time major champion Kim Clijsters has announced shock return to the WTA Tour in 2020. The 36-year-old Belgian, who retired after the 2012 US Open, announced on Thursday.
“I don’t really feel like I want to prove something,” Clijsters said on the WTA Insider Podcast. “I think for me it’s the challenge.
“I have friends who would say, I want to run the New York Marathon before I turn 50. For me, I still love to play tennis. Whenever I’m at a Grand Slam playing the Legends, 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.
“The love for the sport is obviously still there. But the question still is, am I capable of bringing it to a level where I would like it to be at and where I want it to be at before I want to play at a high level of one of the best women’s sports in the world.
— Kim Clijsters (@Clijsterskim) September 12, 2019
“I don’t feel like I need to prove anything, but I want to challenge myself and I want to be strong again. This is my marathon. This is where I’m saying OK, let’s try this.”
This marks the second time in the Belgian’s illustrious career that she will return to the tour after an extended hiatus. Clijsters turned pro in 1997 and first reached No.1 in 2003. Two years after winning her first major at the 2005 US Open, Clijsters stunned the world when she announced her retirement at the age of 23 due to injuries and to start a family.
Clijsters – now a mother of three – made her WTA debut at the age of 15 in 1999, and was 29 when she retired.