Kim Clijsters has made another return to action -at the age of 38 – to play in the WTA Chicago Fall Tennis Classic, which begins today.
Clijsters has received a wildcard for the event and will face Australian Open quarter-finalist Hsieh Su-wei in the first round.
“I have friends back at home in Belgium who said, ‘Oh, before I’m 40, I would like to run a marathon’ or something like that. And I was like, ‘Yeah, so this is kind of my marathon a little bit.’ But I enjoy the challenges,” Clijsters said.
“I enjoy when I’m out there and seeing how I react the next day. And like, ‘Oh, this thing is reacting this way’. Or my anticipation, ‘how can I train to improve that?’
“Things were just so normal back in the day. As long as I feel like I’m still improving, that’s what motivates me.”
Clijsters, now a mother of three, lives in New Jersey. She hasn’t competed since a first-round loss to Ekatarina Alexandrova at the US Open last year.
Elina Svitolina is top seed for the Chicago event, with two-time Slam winner Garbine Muguruza No.2.
Belinda Bencic, French Open finalist Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Elena Rybakina, Elise Mertens, Ons Jabeur and Bianca Andreescu are also in the 56-strong field.
Jessica Pegula, Sloane Stephens, Madison Keys, Ajla Tomljanovic, Anett Kontaveit, Jil Teichmann, Danielle Collins and Victoria Azarenka are also in draw.