Photo of the week: Comeback kid


Kim Clijsters put in a strong performance in her first WTA match since retiring from professional tennis more than seven years ago

Back in the game

Flemish tennis champ Kim Clijsters made her comeback to professional tennis earlier this week at the Dubai Duty Free Championships. Belgian flags were flying, and the crowd gave the former WTA number one a standing ovation.

Despite an impressive second set, Clijsters lost to Spain’s Garbiñe Murguruza 6-2, 7-6. The 36-year-old made an understandably slow start in her first match in more than seven years. With five double-fault serves in the first set, she soon succumbed. The second set was much more successful, with Clijsters ultimately losing it by one point.

“I kept looking for my timing and my footing in the first set,” she said after the match. “I had to get used to her pace. In the second set, I was really in the match, and I felt like I was dominating some of the points. That was a good feeling to have.”

Clijsters, from Limburg, has returned to the pro circuit following a retirement of seven years and the birth of two children. She is now a mother of three, unheard of in a return to WTA tennis.

It is in fact her second comeback; she retired at age 23, soon giving birth to her first child. But she returned a year later to become the first ever wild card winner of a grand slam tournament.

Clijsters is scheduled to play in the Abierto GNP Seguros tournament in Monterrey, Mexico, during the first week of March. From there, she will move on to the Oracle Challenger Series at Indian Wells in the US.

Photo: Yorick Jansens/BELGA