She was once one of the biggest names in tennis and after retiring from the game several years ago to start a family, Kim Clijsters has announced she is coming out of retirement to return to tennis in 2020.
The Belgian player is now 36 and was once the number one player in the world. She originally took a break from tennis in 2007 but returned in 2009 to win the US Open. She also defended her title at Flushing Meadows in 2010 and took out the Australian Open in 2011 – once again making her one of the top players in the world.
She also has 41 singles titles under her belt, including four majors, three WTA Finals titles and even held the No.1 ranking for 20 weeks in her career.
Sharing a clip on her Twitter page on Thursday, the player once dubbed ‘Aussie Kim’ after a relationship with Lleyton Hewitt surprised fans by announcing her return to the game that made her a household name around the world.
“What do I really want from life? For the past seven years, I’ve been a full-time mum and I love it. I really do,” she said in the clip. Footage of Kim with her family played in the video while the star revealed why she was making a comeback after so long.
“But I also love being a professional tennis player and honestly, I miss that feeling,” she continued. “So what if I tried to do both?”
Kim questioned if she could be a loving mother to her three children and also be the best tennis player she could be. She then promised fans that she was coming back “one more time” and that she would return to tennis in 2020.
She also appeared on the Women’s Tennis Association Insider Podcast and insisted the comeback wasn’t about proving anything but because she still loved the game. The mother-of-three said she wanted to challenge herself but thought playing tennis was impossible to juggle with her family life.
“Over the years I sometimes played with the idea but then I was like, ‘No this is impossible’,” she said. “My life is here at home now and with the three kids, my youngest needs me the most. I couldn’t see that being a part of my life.”
With her children, 11-year-old Jada, five-year-old Jack and Blake, two, now in school, Kim said she’s been working on her fitness and is taking better care of herself.
She explained: “Let’s see if I can get my body in shape to play tennis at a level where I would like it to be at, that I have in mind of where I would like to get to, and see if it’s possible. To see, first of all, if my body is capable of even doing that.”
Kim also revealed she’s reunited with tennis coach Sam Verslegers and that she’s aiming to return as early as January. Of course, she isn’t going to push herself if she’s not ready but said she has plenty of time to improve her skills.
“I still have three and a half months before and so I still think I can have a lot of improvement to go through in these next few months and that I look forward to seeing where that will lead me,” she said.
Delighted fans have taken to social media to praise Kim for her return. One person on Twitter said: “Wow! Kim, wishing you a fun and healthy return.”
Another comment read: “A wonderful mother of 3 children and a brilliant tennis player at the same time? Of course you can do it! Best of luck Kim! You are so inspirational,” while a third added: “Love you Kim. Show these kids how it’s done!”