Kim Clijsters retired
Photo: Tennis365

Kim Clijsters declared on Tuesday that the third and most likely final chapter of her brilliant tennis career had come to an end, bringing a stop to a journey that began when she first became pro 25 years ago and resulted in 52 trophies in all.

Clijsters is a former No. 1 in both disciplines and a six-time Grand Slam champion. Four in singles and two in doubles surprised the tennis world at the end of 2019. She announced plans to return to the WTA Tour for the third time.

She went on to play her first match in over seven years at the Dubai Duty-Free Tennis Championships in February 2020, beating Garbie Muguruza in two competitive sets and giving the tennis world reason to believe that, even in her late 30s, her inimitable ball-striking made her an immediate contender.

After all, this wasn’t the first time Clijsters made an unexpected comeback. Two years after abruptly leaving the sport in 2007, the Belgian superstar returned just as suddenly in 2009, winning the US Open in her third match back.

“I want to share with you that I have decided to no longer play official tournaments,” she 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!”

“Yeah, it’s been on my mind for a while,” Clijsters said about her decision to retire again. “I still love to hit the ball. With my schedule, three or 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 or four weeks. That’s just not possible at this stage in our family life. Life just sort of takes over, right?”

Clijsters’ outstanding career earned her induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2017. That will permanently mark her in the sport. But Clijsters feels she will continue to have a part in the game even if she isn’t playing professionally.

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