Former World No. 1 Justine Henin says her countrywoman Kim Clijsters may want to push her limits as far as possible after becoming a mother and thinks the key to the Belgian's performance at next week's US Open will be her ability to remain fit and healthy.
Clijsters, who is 37 years old and a mother-of-three now, returned to the circuit earlier this year in February after more than seven years away from the tour. In the first two events of her comeback, she was beaten in the first round of the Dubai and Monterrey WTA events to quality opponents - Garbine Muguruza and Johanna Konta.
She did compete at the World TeamTennis event in July but suffered an abdominal injury there which forced her to pull out of the ongoing Western & Southern Open event.
Justine Henin says Kim Clijsters wants to push her limits as far as possible
According to Reuters, Henin says her former rival probably wants to push her limits, which may have been the motivation for her to comeback.
"I’ve not spoken to her for the last few months so only she knows what the motivation is. But I think she always loved being on the circuit. Maybe she had the feeling she stopped a little too early. She’s got her kids but it’s not always easy to start a new life.
Then she probably sees Serena with her age, and thinks that maybe I can do something interesting. I’m very curious, I’m sure she can do something. I think Kim wants to push her limits as far as possible”. Henin, who is now a tennis commentator on Eurosport, is very familiar with Clijsters' game - they played 25 times on the WTA Tour - with Clijsters leading their head-to-head 13-12.
She says that if Clijsters can remain fit and healthy, she can do well at the US Open. "The main question of course is physically. I’m sure she can play at a very good level, and push her opponents and give them trouble, I’m sure of that.
But will she be able to play match after match? That’s the big question. She has always been good physically, naturally. If she can stay away from injuries that’s the key”. Kim Clijsters, a three-time US Open winner, received a wild card at this year's event and is unseeded in the women's draw.
She will meet 21st seeded Ekaterina Alexandrova in the first round with a possible third-round meeting against fellow Belgian Elsie Mertens, the No. 16 seed, and a possible fourth-round showdown against Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin, the No. 2 seed.