On this day: Kim Clijsters announces return to tennis


Kim Clijsters announced she would come out of retirement on this day in 2009.

The former world No 1, then aged 25, said she would make her Grand Slam comeback at the US Open.

Clijsters had retired in May 2007 and became a mother the following year.

“My comeback will be in the United States,” said Clijsters. “I won’t go to these tournaments in the same way I go on holiday.

Kim Clijsters celebrates winning the Australian Open. Photo: PA Images

“I don’t plan to go there as a tourist and come back home after one or two rounds.”

The Belgian was true to her word, swiftly reclaiming the US Open title she had first won in 2005 by defeating Caroline Wozniacki.

Kim Clijsters won the US Open in 2009 and again in 2010 (Mehdi Taamallah/PA)

Clijsters then successfully defended the title in 2010, before adding an Australian Open victory to her CV the following year.

A second retirement was announced in 2012, this time owing to family commitments as Clijsters did not wish to continue to tour while her daughter started school.

But, after a seven-year hiatus and the birth of her two sons, Clijsters began training in early 2019 and announced the following year she would make a second career comeback at the age of 36.

Clijsters shocked the world with her third attempt at returning to playing on the WTA Tour.

“I don’t feel like I need to prove anything, but I want to challenge myself and I want to be strong again,” she told WTA Insider at the time. “This is my marathon. This is where I’m saying ‘OK, let’s try this.’”

But her return lasted just five matches before she retired for a third time in 2022.

“I have decided to no longer play official tournaments,” she wrote on Instagram. “I can’t wait to see what new adventures will cross my path. Thank you to everyone who has supported me over the past two years!”

In her retirement Clijsters assume the honorary presidency of The International Tennis Hall of Fame.

“I am thrilled and humbled by this new opportunity to serve the sport. The International Tennis Hall of Fame does important, inspiring work through preservation efforts, impactful content, and celebrations,” said Clijsters.

“I am always eager to find a new way to be actively involved in tennis. I look forward to helping the organization continue to grow and thrive, and to connecting tennis fans around the world with our sport’s incredible history.”

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