10 Aug 2009

Clijsters returns to tennis this week

10:38 am on 10 August 2009

The former world number one Kim Clijsters will return to competitive tennis after two years away when she plays Marion Bartoli in Cincinnati this week.

The 26-year-old Belgian, who retired in May 2007 and gave birth to her first child 18 months ago, announced in March that she was going to make a comeback.

Her first match back will be against Bartoli, who beat Venus Williams to win the Stanford title last week.

Clijsters will also play Toronto before the US Open.

Clijsters says she's been practising for a long time and she's now anxious to start.

Clijsters returned to the spotlight in May when she played at Wimbledon alongside Steffi Graf, Andre Agassi and Tim Henman in an exhibition to test the new sliding roof over Centre Court.

But having suffered a series of injuries in the first part of her career, she admitted getting back to the necessary level of fitness for top-class tennis had been a struggle.

Clijsters has won 34 singles titles, including the 2005 US Open, and topped the world for 19 weeks in total.