Kim Clijsters withdraws from women’s tennis tour for third time

ATLANTA, GA – JULY 25: Kim Clijsters plays a point against Sloane Stephens during the Truist Atlanta Open at Atlantic Station on July 26, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Casey Sykes / Getty Images)

Four-time Grand Slam champion Kim Clijsters is retiring from tennis for the third time.

The 38-year-old made a surprising comeback to the sport two years ago, but her plans were hampered by the Covid-19 pandemic, which caused tournament cancellations and postponements. After last playing at the Indian Wells Masters in 2021 and undergoing knee surgery, she has not decided to stop forever.

Clijsters previously retired on the edge of 23 before returning two years later. She then competed until 2012 and withdrew for the second time due to a combination of injury problems and a desire to spend time with her young children.

Over the course of his career, Clijsters has specialized in hardcourt and won the US Open three times and the Australian Open once. She also reached two French Open finals, the first at the age of 17 and two Wimbledon semifinals. Clijsters now says she had been considering her final retirement for a while.

“It’s been on my mind for a while,” she said in a farewell interview with the WTA. ‘I still love hitting the ball. 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 chose Australia, it’s three, four weeks. It’s just not possible at this point in our family life. Life takes over, doesn’t it? ‘

Clijsters is number 12 on the list of best-earning women in professional tennis measured by prize money, and spent a total of 20 weeks as world number one on the rankings between 2003 and 2011.

“From the moment I stepped onto the pitch, and whether it was training or combat, I was engaged,” she added. ‘I was there to do my best. My passion for tennis never goes away no matter what I do. I feel a very great need to give back to tennis because I have gotten so much out of it. So yes, it’s going to be the next stage, to see where I can go? ‘

In between her games, Clijsters has acted as an expert as part of the BBC’s Wimbledon coverage, and her insights have been popular with fans. She says she would not change anything about her career.

‘None [regrets]’, declared Clijsters. ‘None. I’ve always made career decisions about how I felt at the time – not what was good for my career in the long run. I’m happy with how it all worked. ‘

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