Kim Clijsters comeback tour was put on hold as the coronavirus pandemic swept across the globe, but the Belgian Hall of Famer has returned to the court during this year’s World TeamTennis (WTT) season, and has been one of the league’s best players thus far.
Clijsters’ excellent play was on display in the New York Empire’s 21-15 victory over the Springfield Lasers on Saturday night as she scored a 5-1 win over Olga Govortsova. Clijsters also paired up with Neal Skupski to win at Mixed Doubles, and her Empire squad is sitting at 3-2 on the season and have its grips on a playoff spot.
“Kim brings the most knowledge, along with our coach, to the team,” her teammate Jack Sock said. “Her wisdom, her knowledge out there is amazing. Having her back there in the back of the court with you, pumping you up, is definitely extra special. She’s a legend in the game, but we don’t want to say that because she’s still playing, still balling out.”
Clijsters has scored victories over her younger counterparts throughout the early part of the WTT season, including Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin and last year’s Australian Open semifinalist Danielle Collins. Those victories demonstrated that Clijsters wasn’t just able to hold her own with some of the game’s brightest young stars, but also still has the talent to beat the best.
“She’s brought her team here. She’s into it,” said Empire head coach Luke Jensen. “There’s a reason why she’s back playing professional tennis. There’s a desire in there before that window closes to say I want to give it one more shot. Now she’s just proven herself in WTT against the No. 4 player in the world.”
Clijsters game appears to not have missed a beat despite being retired for a few years. She still has the power and relentless consistency from the baseline, and it has been on display through the first two weeks of the WTT year.
The Empire will look to bolster its record on Monday evening when it takes on the Orange County Breakers at 7:00 p.m. on the Tennis Channel.