The former world No 1 Kim Clijsters has announced a shock comeback to tennis at the age of 36.
Two years after winning her first major at the 2005 U.S. Open, an injury-plagued Clijsters chose to quit the game at the age of 23 to start a family, returning two years later to claim her second U.S. Open as an unranked player in only her third tournament back. "At 36 years old I feel like I'm too young to be retired", she said.
But the four-time grand slam victor has now announced a surprising return and is training with a view to playing again in 2020. In the interim, she gave birth to her daughter Jada in February of 2008, and she came out of retirement to play her first tournaments in August 2009 at the Western & Southern Open and Rogers Cup, immediately tallying two Top 10 wins. "I think for me it's the challenge". 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? En route to the title, Clijsters defeated Venus Williams, Li Na, Serena Williams, and Caroline Wozniacki to capture her the second major title of her career and becoming the first mother win a major title since Evonne Goolagong Cawley in 1980.
Her final appearance on the tour was at the US Open in 2012 and she has been working in punditry and at her tennis academy in Belgium since, as well as playing on the Legends circuit.
"I don't feel like I need to prove anything, but I want to challenge myself and I want to be strong again".
She successfully defended her title in NY the following year to win a third US Open crown and also clinched the Australian Open title in 2011, ascending to world No 1 shortly after.
The WTA said that as a former top-ranked player, Clijsters can receive unlimited wild cards at its tournaments.