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Hingis fascinated by Clijsters' comeback
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Tennis great Martina Hingis is fascinated by Kim Clijsters' comeback plans and has applauded the former world No.1 for "putting herself out there".
Seven years after retiring for a second time, Clijsters made the shock announcement two months ago that she was plotting a return to the WTA Tour in 2020.
"I don't feel like I need to prove anything, but I want to challenge myself and I want to be strong again. This is my marathon. This is where I'm saying OK, let's try this," the four-time major winner said.
Hingis was as surprised as anyone.
"She's 36 years old, a three-time mother. I think that's a very ambitious challenge to come back," the Swiss ace said at the WTA Finals in Shenzhen.
"But I'm sure she won't come back until she's ready. When she feels she's ready, she'll play some good tennis.
"I'm actually excited to see how she's going to do. I mean, speaking as a mother, it's not that easy after having a child and everything."
Hingis doubts Clijsters, who won her last grand slam title at the 2011 Australian Open, will challenge for more major spoils but isn't ruling out the Belgian making some impact.
"The game has evolved. The last time she won was 2011 or 2013. It wasn't yesterday," said Hingis, who limited her own comeback in 2006 to doubles before having her first child this year.
"I was not ready to play singles. For me, it takes physical condition to get there. She was a much more physical player than I was.
"I felt like I would not be probably good enough for singles. Also I didn't want to put myself out there.
"(But) she's a different type of player than I was."
Clijsters stunned the tennis world by winning the 2009 US Open as an unranked wildcard in just her third tournament back after having her first child.
In doing so, she became the first mother to win a slam since Evonne Goolagong Cawley in 1980, and then added two more and returned to world No.1 before quitting again and having two more children.
Not even Serena Williams has managed to win a major since having her daughter two years ago, losing the past two Wimbledon finals and past two US Open deciders.
"If she can come back to the game she finished off with, then I'm sure she can have some good matches," Hingis said of Clijsters' comeback.
"Will that be enough to play in today's game? I don't know that.
"Personally I can't see that she's going to go out there and beat (US Open champion Bianca) Andreescu ... the people who qualified here.
"If she gets a chance, a good draw, she can get into it. Depends maybe on the first matches who she is going to face. As a wildcard, if she's going to face Andreescu first round, you don't really know.
"It will be interesting if she will get the chance to play someone out of the top 50 or top 100 first, see where she's at."
Clijsters has yet to announce if she will attempt her comeback during the Australian summer, or later next year.