Kim Clijsters is using Andy Murray as an inspiration as she returns to the tour at the 2021 Chicago Fall Classic on Monday.
The 38-year-old will face Australian Open quarterfinalist Hsieh Su-Wei in the opening round.
The former No.1 announced, who had quit the game in 2012, had announced in 2019 that she would be coming out of retirement.
Thanks for the wildcard @ChiTennisFest – looking forward to visiting Chicago for the first time and getting back on Tour again ! See you 🔜 🎾@wta #BabolatFamily #InnermeEU #4254sport https://t.co/aKZq9IKLhG
— Kim Clijsters (@Clijsterskim) September 9, 2021
With the pandemic stalling her comeback the former Grand Slam champion has been able to play only three matches so far.
“Seeing Andy Murray and the way he speaks about his comeback and everything, it’s so motivating and it gives you a lot of energy too,” Clijsters said of the Brit, who has been grinding on the tour after undergoing two hip surgeries.
“To see him go through the things he’s gone through and be open about the challenges of it and the belief that he has, I feel like it’s something I can relate to.”
The four-time major champion has described her decision to return to the tour as “her marathon”.
While her friends are training to run marathons before they turn 40, Clijsters is pounding the pavement on tour.
Prior to the pandemic, Clijsters kicked off her most recent comeback at the 2020 Dubai Championships, where she drew Australian Open finalist Garbiñe Muguruza and lost 6-2, 7-6(6).
After bowing out in the first round of Monterrey to Johanna Konta before the pandemic shut down the sport for four months, and returned at the US Open that fall.
In New York, Clijsters won the first set of her comeback before losing to Ekaterina Alexandrova 3-6, 7-5, 6-1.
“With me and my stage now, a lot of things are new. Understanding how my body reacts differently after three children,” she said.
“I feel like I’ve been able to play more practice sessions in a row than I have in a long time. So that feels really good, being able to do that.”
“I try to do all my workouts either really early – I’m a 5 a.m. person – doing a workout before the kids wake up, and trying to get everything done when the kids are in school.
“Then I can do all the normal things that parents do: driving them to their hobbies, cooking and cleaning. I love the challenge.”