Paris (AFP)

Belgium's Kim Clijsters, a 36-year-old former World No.1, announced Thursday that she will return to competition in 2020, more than seven years after ending her career, after already making a first come- back.

"I've been a full-time mother for the last seven years, and I love it, but I've also loved being a professional tennis player, and I honestly miss it, what if I try to do both? Can I be a loving mother to my three children and the best tennis player possible? Let's go back again, "she says in a video posted on Twitter.

Clijsters retired after the US Open 2012 at 29, after a successful first comeback. Previously, the four-time Grand Slam winner had interrupted her first career, for two years, between May 2007 and August 2009, an interval during which she had given birth to her first child.

"I have friends who say: + I want to run the New York marathon before I'm 50. I still love playing tennis, I do not need to prove anything, but I I want to challenge myself, it's my marathon, "explains the former N.1 world in an interview published by the WTA.

"The question is: + Am I able to play at the level I would like? +", She wonders.

Clijsters plans to return to the circuit at the beginning of 2020, with a lean and "flexible" schedule, "but if I feel in December that I'm still far from where I want to be, then I will not go at all costs", stresses -t it.

- Mother of three children -

"I still have three months and a half in front of me, I think I can make a lot of progress in the coming weeks and I can not wait to see where it will lead me," says the Belgian, who has for moment concentrated on his physical condition more than on his tennis.

"Let's see if, physically, I can get fit to play tennis at the level I have in mind, if it's possible, let's first see if my body is able to do that," she says.

Clijsters has 41 titles to his credit, including four in Grand Slam, three US Open (2005, 2009 and 2010) and one Australian Open (2011), and three Masters (2002, 2003 and 2010).

By winning the US Open 2009 - then her third tournament only after returning from maternity - the Flemish became the first Grand Slam winner after becoming a mother since Australia's Evonne Goolagong in 1980.

After working for the first time in 1997, she reached the N.1 world rank for the first time in 2003. In total, she occupied it for twenty weeks, the last time in February 2011, the culmination of her first come- back fruitful.

Clijsters, who has three children, Jada (11), Jack (5) and Blake (2), will not be the only mother on the circuit: she will join Serena Williams - who was delighted to this surprise announcement by answering it with four hearts - and the Belarusian Victoria Azarenka. As ex-N.1 world, she will be able to receive an unlimited number of wild-cards.

© 2019 AFP