US Open: Kim Clijsters satisfied with Grand Slam return despite early loss
Clijsters played at the US Open for the first time since 2012 (Image: Matthew Stockman)

Former world number one and three-time US Open champion Kim Clijsters has said she is satisfied with the progress she is making on her return to the sport, following an opening round exit to Ekaterina Alexandrova at Flushing Meadows yesterday evening.

Clijsters took the first set against the Russian before falling 3-6, 7-5, 6-1 to the 21st seed, and admitted after that match that she knew very little about Alexandrova ahead of their contest. “I think leading up to the match today I didn't know my opponent. I just knew from last few days watching video on her.”

The Belgian had returned to the WTA Tour after an eight-year absence earlier this season, losing in straight sets to Garbine Muguruza in Dubai and Johanna Konta in Monterrey, and had not played following the restart due to an injury she picked up playing in World Team Tennis earlier in the summer. Despite falling at the first hurdle in New York, Clijsters was encouraged by her performance.

Clijsters in action (Image: Matthew Stockman)
Clijsters in action (Image: Matthew Stockman)

“I think I see it more, yeah, to look at things where I still need to work on. Even my opponent today, the match that I played so far, out of the three matches I play officially on tour, I think this by far was my best one. Looking at that, I think that's the most positive thing, is looking at the things that have to be better and keep building on the positive things,” commented the Belgian in press following her loss. “I was excited to get out there and play my match. Obviously a late night tonight. But, yeah, it's still fun to be out there. I enjoy it. My opponent is a great player. We had some good tennis out there. Yeah, that's what it's all about, is trying to bring good tennis.”

Clijsters’ comeback earlier this year was rather thwarted by the enforced five-month suspension due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and she admitted that she was unsure about where her return would continue, “When I started in Dubai and Monterrey, I was excited to play more tournaments, have the family travel with me. But that obviously didn't happen. We'll see what the future holds.”

Though the Belgian did not reveal her plans for continuing her return it seems likely that she will head to the Rome Open, which starts the week following the end of the US Open, ahead of the French Open at the end of September; she will most likely receive a wildcard into both events.