'This is bonkers': Tennis world in frenzy over Kim Clijsters news

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Kim Clijsters, pictured here in action at the Atlanta Open in 2020.
Kim Clijsters in action at the Atlanta Open in 2020. (Photo by Casey Sykes/Getty Images)

Kim Clijsters will make her latest return to the WTA tour on Monday, two decades after she reached her first grand slam final and one decade after she won her last major singles championship.

The former World No.1 and member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame is in action at the Chicago Fall Tennis Classic, in her latest comeback to the sport.

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The 38-year-old, who received a wildcard into the event, will face Australian Open quarter-finalist Hsieh Su-wei in the first round.

"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," Clijsters said during a video conference on Sunday.

"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.

Kim Clijsters, pictured here with daughter Jada after the US Open final in 2009.
Kim Clijsters and daughter Jada pose with the championship trophy after the US Open final in 2009. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

She was 0-3 last season after she made a comeback that was interrupted by knee surgery in October and when she got Covid-19 this January.

Those were her first matches since 2012.

Before that, Clijsters originally left the game in 2007, then made her way back in 2009.

She made it to the final of the French Open as a teenager in 2001, part of a 0-4 mark in grand slam title matches before a triumph at the 2005 US Open.

Then came titles at Flushing Meadows in 2009 and 2010 and an Australian Open trophy in 2011.

Tennis world excited for Kim Clijsters' latest comeback

The 38-year-old admits isn't sure how long her latest comeback will last.

That, she said, depends on whether she enjoys the work necessary to remain on tour.

"I've been practising for so long that I'm just super excited to start playing a match and start getting the match routines and the match rhythms, just to teach my brain again how to do that," she said.

"I've been playing sets in practice, but when it's an official match, it's always a little bit different, anyway.

"So I'm excited to start that new chapter in my career right now."

Tennis fans were also overjoyed to hear that Clijsters is back in action.

The Belgian star is one of the most popular players in recent history and was affectionately dubbed 'Aussie Kim' when she dated Australian great Lleyton Hewitt.

with AAP

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