March 17, 2009 / 7:27 PM / 11 years ago

Tennis-Clijsters may make a comeback, says former coach Maes

INDIAN WELLS, California, (March 17) - Former world number one Kim Clijsters may make a comeback to the tour, her former coach Carl Maes said on Tuesday.

The Belgian retired from the sport in May 2007 and had her first child last year.

But Clijsters fuelled rumours of a possible return when she announced last week that she would compete in the World Team Tennis event in the United States later this year.

“When she stopped (playing) I never said it would be the last time (we would see her on the tour),” Maes, now the head of women’s tennis in Britain, told Reuters in a telephone interview.

“I think it’s too early to tell but somewhere in the back of her mind, it must be something that’s she’s considering.

“If she’s fit and wants to play then I think it’s a possibility. I wouldn’t be completely surprised (if she decided to come back).”

Clijsters will also play in a special event at Wimbledon in May to test the new roof over Centre Court, alongside Steffi Graf, Andre Agassi and Tim Henman.

The 25-year-old, who won her only grand slam singles title at the U.S. Open in 2005, was one of the best athletes on the tour but decided to quit two years ago after suffering from a series of injuries.

Maes said that if Clijsters did come back, she had every chance of being competitive.

“What we saw with Martina Hingis and Lindsay Davenport, who came back, is that their best level is probably good enough to win a tournament, and win some matches against the top players,” he said.

“If she is fully fit then I am sure that her best level would be good enough to be competitive.”

Editing by Pritha Sarkar

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