Belgium's Kim Clijsters accepts wildcard to make comeback from retirement in Dubai

  • Kim Clijsters is scheduled to play her first competitive matches in 7 years in Dubai

  • Clijsters had initially planned her retirement comeback for the Monterrey Open in Mexico

  • The Belgian, mother of three, is making a third return from retirement

Kim Clijsters has had a couple of hiccups in her journey to return to the tennis court but surprisingly has pushed the comeback by 15 days. The Belgian has accepted a wildcard to feature at the WTA tournament in Dubai instead of Monterrey.

 Belgiums Kim Clijsters accepts wildcard to make comeback from retirement in Dubai

File image of Kim Clijsters. Reuters

Clijsters, who made the surprise announcement of a return to tour for the first time since 2012, will play the tournament in Dubai, starting 17 February, for the first time.

“I am really excited to be getting back to the match court. I know it’s a special anniversary for the Dubai Duty Free Championships so it’s a honour to be making my return to the game and debut in Dubai at the same time. I can’t wait to return to the game I love and play in front of the fans again - the support and encouragement that I’ve received since the announcement has been overwhelming,” she was quoted as saying by WTA Tour.

The 36-year-old will have her work cut out in trying to return with a title courtesy a strong line-up of players, which includes 2019 Wimbledon champion Simona Halep, US Open winner Bianca Andreescu, 2020 Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin, defending Dubai champion Belinda Bencic, Karolina Pliskova and Elina Svitolina form a strong field of players.

World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty, however, has withdrawn due to a foot injury.

Clijsters is one of only six women in tennis history to simultaneously top the world rankings in singles and doubles. She comes to Dubai having won four Grand Slam singles titles – the 2011 Australian Open and 2005, 2009 and 2010 US Open – and two doubles titles, the 2003 French Open and Wimbledon, as well as three WTA Finals singles titles.

The Belgian's last competitive appearance came at the 2012 US Open following which the mother of three retired. She focused on her family and academy in Belgium before opening doors to a comeback in September.

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Updated Date: Feb 09, 2020 14:20:50 IST