17 Feb 2020

Kim Clijsters' on verge of tennis comeback

9:16 am on 17 February 2020

Four-time Grand Slam champion Belgian Kim Clijsters is making a comeback to tennis after seven years.

Kim Clijsters (BEL), OCT 22, WTA Legends - 2018 BNP Paribas WTA Finals (Photo by Haruhiko Otsuka/AFLO)

Kim Clijsters is returning to tennis. Photo: AFLO 2018

Clijsters first retired in 2007 to have a family and spent two years away from the sport.

After a brief return she retired again in 2012.

Now the mother of three is ready to get back on court for the third phase of her career.

As a former world number 1 she can play in any tournament and her first event will be the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship this week.

A knee injury stopped Clijsters from taking the court at January's Australian Open but she said she still had a lot to give the sport.

"I had a feeling inside, felt like I still had a little bit of good tennis in me," Clijsters said.

"A lot of work ahead, but I felt like although I'm 36 I can still maybe do some damage. I love the challenge of trying to get back in shape and just seeing how I react mentally, physically, emoitionally when I'm out there and how it's different and learn from that."

Her first opponent in Dubai is two-time Grand Slam champion and Australian Open finalist Spaniard Garbine Muguruza.

Muguruza turned professional in 2012 - the same year that Clijsters retired.

"I look forward to it, I think it will be very interesting to stand across the net from such a good player who is playing well at the moment," Clijsters said.

"She's had ups and downs a little bit throughout her career but the way she has been able to play some of her best tennis when she had to, winning those two Grand Slams and losing the final against Kenin in Australia was a tough loss but she still played some amazing tennis."

The withdrawal of world number eight Kiki Bertens from the tournament, who was originally to be Clijsters first opponent, meant a reshuffle of the draw.

Clijsters is not too worried about the change.

"It will be a very tough match but I think no matter who I played I'm still trying to absorb so much and learn things that I still need to kinda figure out and learn to read my opponents ... I'm actually really looking forward to starting the process."