'Legendary': Tennis world erupts over Kim Clijsters comeback

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·Sports Reporter
·5-min read
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Kim Clijsters (pictured left) waiting for a serve and (pictured right) shaking hands with Hsieh Su-wei at the net.
Kim Clijsters (pictured left) returned to action for the first time in 2021 during a Chicago tournament against Hsieh Su-wei (pictured right). (Images: Twitter)

The tennis world has reacted with delight after Kim Clijsters made her competitive WTA Tour comeback for 2021 in a hard-fought loss in Chicago.

The 38-year-old Clijsters, who accepted a wild card into the hardcourt event, was highly competitive in her first match of the season but misfired at key moments in a 6-3, 5-7, 6-3 loss to Taiwan's Hsieh Su-wei.

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Clijsters showcased some of her trademarks, which won her four grand slam titles, but unforced errors in crucial moments cost her.

The results means four-time grand slam champion Clijsters remains without a win in four events since her comeback to the WTA Tour last year.

Clijsters has won 41 titles in her illustrious career, but chose to return to the game after more than a decade of retirement last year.

Despite the loss, fans were thrilled to see the 38-year-old Belgian continue to pursue her WTA comeback.

The 38-year-old came back from a break down to force a third set where Hsieh proved the steadier of the two in a match that lasted two hours and 18 minutes.

"Some good things, some bad things, and inconsistency," Clijsters said.

"But I think for me the most important thing is that, what I talked with my coach and my trainer about, my fitness coach, was physically being able to get through these matches without big concerns.

"That was the main goal."

Clijsters said she is hoping to play more matches this season.

"I would like to play Indian Wells if I can, if the body holds up good," she said.

"So, at the moment, it's all fine."

Tennis world rallies around Kim Clijsters

Her return comes two decades after she reached her first grand slam final and one decade after she won her last major singles championship.

Ahead of her 2021 return, Clijsters explained why she had the motivation to keep going.

"I have friends back at home in Belgium who said, 'Oh, before I'm 40, I would like to run a marathon' or something like that,"

"And I was like, 'Yeah, so this is kind of my marathon a little bit.' But I enjoy the challenges.

"I enjoy when I'm out there and seeing how I react the next day. And like, 'Oh, this thing is reacting this way'. Or my anticipation, 'how can I train to improve that?'

"Things were just so normal back in the day. As long as I feel like I'm still improving, that's what motivates me."

Clijsters, now a mother of three, hasn't competed since a first-round loss at the US Open in 2020.

with AAP

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