Belgian four-time major winner Kim Clijsters, who retired for the second time in 2011, confirmed on Monday that she would officially return to tennis in March 2020.
In a video posted online, the 36-year-old Clijsters said that "the absence from the tennis court was long enough," adding that she will be ready to go in a few more weeks.
The former No 1 in female tennis has 41 career titles since she joined the professional sport in 1997. She won the US Open three times - in 2005, 2009 and 2010. In 2011, she triumphed at the Australian Open.
She retired for the first time in 2007 to give birth to her first child. She quit her career for the second time in 2012.
Clijsters confirmed that if she was not held by a knee injury, she would have made a comeback at the beginning of 2020. She now indicated plans to compete first in Monterrey, Mexico, and Indian Wells in March and then in Indian Wells and in Charleston, South Carolina, in April.
Kim Clijsters, nowadays living between Belgium and New Jersey, and a mother of three, said that her biggest motivator was the personal challenge, both physically and mentally. Inspired by all the playing mothers, she wanted to test her abilities once again.
Clijsters will play in Charleston for the first time in her career. She will join her fellow Grand Slam winners Ashleigh Barty, Simona Halep, Sloane Stephens, and Garbiñe Muguruza in the 2020 Volvo Car Open tournament.
Eleanor Adams, Volvo Car Open Tournament Manager, commented that it would be an honor for her to welcome Kim Clijsters in Charleston. In Adams' view, Clijsters is a "joy to watch on court',' and her presence would be a gift for all tennis fans.
The Volvo Car Open will mark its 20th year in Charleston next year. The nine-day event is the largest women's -only tennis tournament in North America. Every year, it attracts nearly 90,000 visitors from all over the country, and more than 100 of the top singles and doubles athletes.
Clijsters' former coach, Wim Fissette, who is currently working with Naomi Osaka, said that he was surprised to hear that the Belgian is returning to tennis. In his view, the tennis has evolved since she last played and she was no longer the only one who moves well and hits the ball hard. Referring to her age, Fissette also pointed out that Kim Clijsters is now more prone to injuries.
What is your opinion? Do you think that Wim Fissette has a point?