Fri, 10 Apr 2020

Dubai - Four-time Grand Slam champion Kim Clijsters revealed on Sunday that a persistent inner feeling and advice from her husband served as the key to her WTA return at the Dubai Championships.

"It was a feeling that I had inside, a feeling that I had inside for a little while," the 36-year-old mother-of-three said.

"Once in a while that feeling would go away when I was home with the (three) kids. A couple times it would come back. It got stronger and stronger."

The Belgian has been handed a tough first round assignment against last month's Australian Open finalist Garbine Muguruza for her first match since the 2012 US Open on Monday.

Clijsters retired initially in 2007 to marry and have her first child, returned in 2009 winning three of her four titles at the Majors.

"I talked to my husband. He was like, 'stop worrying about why and ask yourself why not.'

"He made a very good point. I was like, 'There is no 'why not'. Why wouldn't I do it?"

Clijsters, playing as a wild card entry at her debut in the emirate, added: "I've enjoyed the challenge since the day I've decided to go for it. It's been with ups and downs.

"Being 36 years old, you know that's how it's been for your whole career. It's how you mentally stay through it, how strong you stay through those kind of situations."

Clijsters had originally planned to return for the Australian Open last month, but the date was put back due to an elbow injury.

"When things don't go well, that's obviously when you have to be committed and focused. I've been doing that.

"It's been an interesting but very challenging process that I'm really enjoying," said the winner of 41 singles titles.

Wimbledon champion Simona Halep takes the top Dubai seeding, with Czech Karolina Pliskova on second, Elina Svitolina the third seed, Swiss holder Belinda Bencic fourth and Australian Open winner Sofia Kenin of the United States fifth.

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