Tennis fans have been left saddened after Kim Clijsters announced her retirement from the sport for the third time.
The former World No.1 announced on Tuesday that she's retiring once again after her latest comeback was hampered by the Covid-19 pandemic and injuries.
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The four-time grand slam champion returned to the WTA Tour in February of 2020.
However her comeback coincided largely with the Covid-19 pandemic and she was only able to play five matches.
"I want to share with you that I have decided to no longer play official tournaments," the Belgian 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!"
The 38-year-old originally retired in 2007 to start a family, before returning to the tour two years later.
She won four grand slam titles - three at the US Open in 2005, 2009 and 2010 as well as the 2011 Australian Open - before hanging up her racquet again in 2012.
After returning in 2020 she struggled mightily and failed to win any of the five matches she played.
But Clijsters, who was World No.1 on four different occasions, said she has no regrets.
"I think my determination was something as a little girl that was a huge factor," she told the WTA website.
"This is something that came from my parents - they always pushed me in believing, 'OK, what you do for your sport, you have to do it 100 percent'.
"And out of everything, that's probably what I'm most proud of - that I really did that.
"From the moment I stepped on court and, whether it was practice or a match, I was committed. I was there to try my best."
Tennis fans saddened by Kim Clijsters news
The mother of three revealed that stepping away from tennis again had "been on my mind for a while."
"I still love to hit the ball," she said.
"With my schedule, three, four days was enough to keep my rhythm under control but definitely not good enough if I decided to play another tournament.
"Say, if I picked Australia, it's three, four weeks. That's just not possible at this stage in our family life.
"Life just sort of takes over, right?"
Clijsters' final WTA match was a three-set loss to Katerina Siniakova at Indian Wells last October.
She won 41 WTA singles titles, including the season-ending Tour Finals in 2002, 2003 and 2010.
She also won 11 doubles titles - including the French Open and Wimbledon in 2003 - rising to No.1 in the world the same year.
Fans flocked to social media to express their sadness for Clijsters and wish her the best in the future.
She won 3 Gland Slam titles and was World Number 1 after she came back the first time.
— Colin Lynch PLY (@FormerTTchamp) April 12, 2022
— Simon Cambers (@scambers73) April 12, 2022
Sad to hear …
— Armando Madero (@MaderoArmando) April 12, 2022
Kim Clijsters has just announced that she will no longer play official tournaments. She is once again a retired player.
It's sad because I'm sure that it would have been very different without the pandemic! 🙁
— Quentin 🇧🇪 (@QuentinDybak) April 12, 2022
The game retired her. Good luck in the future tho
— DON SAKA (@upthething) April 12, 2022
Was a fine tennis player..
— T.I.💎♣️ (@mainezman) April 12, 2022
miss her on Tour ♥️😪
— TennisFanVRN (@FanVrn) April 12, 2022
Always loved watching Kim Clijsters play, good luck for the future @Clijsterskim
— Simon (@Simon147__) April 12, 2022
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