Tennis - Former World No. 1 Kim Clijsters has announced that former ATP pro Fred Hemmes Jr. will be her new coach as she prepares for her comeback to the women's tennis tour in March. The 36 year old Belgian made the announcement while speaking to the media in Bree where she had an open training session and also spoke to the press on Wednesday This is the second time that Clijsters is making a comeback to the tennis circuit.
In 2012, she retired for the second time but in September last year, she announced that she would make another comeback. She was scheduled to start her comeback in January but an injury in training delayed her comeback, which is now scheduled for the WTA event in Monterrey, Mexico in March.
Clijsters is a four-time Grand Slam champion and a former World No. 1. She has also won two Grand Slam doubles titles. Hemmes Jr. has been working at the Kim Clijsters Academy for some time now and in the past, he has worked with Arantxa Rus and Ruben Bemelmans.
The 38 year old., who hails from the Netherlands, peaked at No. 188 in the singles rankings and No. 107 in the doubles rankings when he played on the professional tour. According to the HLN website, Carl Maes, Matthijs Van Speybroeck and Sam Verslegers are also part of team Clijsters.
Maes is the director of the Kim Clijsters Academy and continues to act as an advisor and mentor. Physiotherapist Van Speybroeck will guide the Belgian during her comeback. Verslegers is the founder of the rehabilitation center 'GroepSam' and was already part of the team when Clijsters achieved success in the US Open (2009, 2010) and Australian Open (2011).
Maes, who will remain as the Head Coach of the Kim Clijsters Tennis Academy in Bree, says Clijsters can already play the ball at a level comparable to the Top 50 in the world, but her physical aspect will remain a question mark.
"Kim is doing very well. She started her comeback with some delay, but I dare say that she is already playing at a very decent level. She is already a bit further than in November, when she sustained that knee injury. I think that no one likes to play against Kim because of her experience.
With her quality at the ball, she can already perfectly compete with the top 50 in the world. The physical aspect remains a question mark. Playing a high-level game is one thing, but can she take a few tournaments one after the other? We will have to wait and see."