Amidst weeks of swirling rumors, Kim Clijsters officially announced her return to the WTA Tour today in Bree, Belgium after nearly two years away.
The former top lady baller told the press she's ready for what lies ahead:
The hunger is back. I look forward to the challenge. I want to be back at my peak as soon as possible, but I know that is not logical to ask that. I will have to take it match by match.
She also revealed how the idea of a full-time return came about:
It all started with preparing for the gala match at Wimbledon. It was all pretty laid back. But I liked it so much I was onto my training schedule from my pro days, and then the hunger for more came automatically.
But Kimmie's not calling it a comeback saying, "I look at this as a second career, not as a comeback, as I am now in a situation where not everything revolves around tennis 24 hours a day. We'll see how I, Jada and the others in my environment can handle this."
The Belgian baller won the U.S. Open, her only Grand Slam, in 2005 before retiring in 2007 due to injury and her desire to begin a family with husband Brian Lynch. The couple had a daughter, Jade Ellie, in 2008.
Her schedule this year includes:
May 17 - A Centre Court Celebration (Wimbledon)
(exhibition singles match against Steffi Graf, then exhibition mixed doubles match partnering Tim Henman against Steffi Graf and Andre Agassi)
June 14 - Ordina Open ('s-Hertogenbosch)
(exhibition singles match against Michaella Krajicek)
July 21-22 - WorldTeamTennis (with St. Louis Aces)
August 10 - Western & Southern Financial Group Women's Open (Cincinnati)
August 17 - Rogers Cup (Toronto)
August 31 - US Open (New York)
December 10-13 - Diamond Games, Antwerp (exhibition)
I'm sure Kimmie looked at the state of the WTA Tour (read: lame) and figured she could come back, eat up some titles and make some cash with little resistance. But no pressure - it's just good to have her back!
(image via getty)