//Kim Clijsters returns to tennis with renewed energy the overriding goal

Kim Clijsters returns to tennis with renewed energy the overriding goal

The former world No 1 tasted defeat after her latest comeback but has found returning to training transformative

When Kim Clijsters announced her first comeback in the summer of 2009, the news was met with joy. It seemed right and just. In the first stanza of her career she established herself as one of the best players in the world while surrounded by legends but her career was always defined by what it lacked: she was a freakish athlete who made crowds gasp every time she routinely slid into full splits at full speed on hard courts but she had lost her first four grand slam finals. She was a choker, people said. After finally winning her first grand slam at the US Open in 2005, Clijsters departed two years later at the age of 23. It felt like she still had more to give.

Clijsters’s comebacks took even herself by surprise. She had been invited to the opening of the Wimbledon Centre Court roof in 2009 for an exhibition with Steffi Graf, Andre Agassi and Tim Henman. As she worked herself into shape for the match, the joy of discipline and setting goals returned. She made her way back into the sport just a couple of months later, embarking on one of the most memorable comebacks in the process. In her third tournament, still without a ranking to her name, she beat Serena Williams in a controversial US Open semi-final and went on to win the tournament, beating the 19-year-old Caroline Wozniacki in the final.

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Read more: theguardian.com