'Not possible': Tennis world saddened by Kim Clijsters announcement

Kim Clijsters, pictured here speaking to the media in Belgium.
Kim Clijsters speaks to the media in Belgium. (Photo by ERIC LALMAND/BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images) (BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images)

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.

Kim Clijsters, pictured here celebrating with the trophy after winning the US Open in 2010.
Kim Clijsters celebrates with the trophy after winning the US Open in 2010. (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP via Getty Images) (EMMANUEL DUNAND via Getty Images)

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."

Kim Clijsters, pictured here in action against Katerina Siniakova at Indian Wells in 2021.
Kim Clijsters in action against Katerina Siniakova at Indian Wells in 2021. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

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.

with agencies

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