March 26, 2009

Former No. 1 Kim Clisters ends retirement

Kim Clijsters, who was the top-ranked women's player in 2003, ended her two-year retirement from competitive tennis Thursday at a news conference in Belgium.

The hunger is back. I look forward to the challenge, she said.

The decision was hardly a surprise. Clijsters said earlier in the week she was having the news conference and had agreed before that to play for St. Louis of the World Team Tennis league this summer. She also said she'd play in a series of exhibitions scheduled in May to test the roof over center court at Wimbledon.

She said she asked to be a wild-card entrant for the U.S. Open, which begins Aug. 31, and join tournaments in Cincinnati and Toronto in August.

Clijsters, 25, left competitive tennis in May 2007, citing a series of injuries. She married professional basketball player Brian Lynch two months later. The couple has a daughter, who was born in February 2008.

Clijsters turned professional in 1997 and won 34 WTA events, including the 2005 U.S. Open. She played in four other Grand Slam finals. Clijsters built a 427-104 singles match record. She was also ranked No. 1 in doubles, where she was 129-50 with 11 WTA titles. She won more than $14.7 million in prizes.