Ivo Van Aken, the former Fed Cup captain and current technical director of Tennis Vlaanderen, says former World No. 1 Kim Clijsters may be mentally ready for her comeback but it would take her a few matches to become match-fit, in an interview to Sporza.
Clijsters makes her comeback after more than 7 years away from the tour on Monday when she takes on Spain's Garbine Muguruza in the first round of the WTA Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. Van Aken says, "I have followed Kim's comeback from a distance in recent weeks.
I was lucky enough to be able to partly see one training session a few weeks ago, but that was still early in her recovery period after her knee injury. Yet you could already see that the quality of Kim's strokes was still very high: both in strength and accuracy.
The quality of her balls will have remained stable, the only question is whether Kim will reach the same level as before in an unpredictable competition situation. Yesterday, she said it herself " I need competitions."
Her strong point in the past was that she was able to impose her will and play on the opponent, as a result of which that opponent could not immediately play her own game. I can't rule out Kim being able to do that this afternoon, but if that didn't work out, we should give her a few games.
We can't be blind that Kim was out for more than 7 years. Whether she is mentally ready? I'm not afraid of that. Kim has always been mentally strong. She was always there at the important moments." Van Aken adds that Clijsters it would be interesting to see if Clijsters can win on her comeback and bring some stability to the WTA circuit, which has been lacking a stable star like the ATP Tour has in the Big Three - Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.
"The women's tennis is a little less stable at the top than the men's tennis. I think the WTA would be happy if Kim could get some stability in her matches, because then that would also be nice for the WTA. On the other hand, there will be some mixed feelings in the circuit.
If Kim returns after more than 7 years - with all her talent and hard work, because I certainly do not want to take that away from her - and she can win immediately, then that may also say something about the circuit. "