Tennis Champ Returning to Courts After Becoming a Mom

03/26/2009 at 12:15 PM EDT

Tennis Champ Returning to Courts After Becoming a Mom
Kim Clijsters with husband Brian Lynch
Corinne Dubreuil/ABACA
Why would retired former No. 1 women's tennis player Kim Clijsters come back to the game? "I want to see if I can do it," said the champ, who left tennis in 2007 to get married and start a family.

"I'm looking at this as a second career, not as a comeback," Clijsters said Thursday in Belgium, announcing she's coming out of retirement. "I am now in a situation where not everything revolves around tennis 24 hours a day."

The 25-year-old Belgian, who stepped off the professional circuit in May, 2007, said that much of her career resumption depends on her family – American basketball player Brian Lynch and their 1-year-old daughter, Jada.

"We'll see how I, Jada and the others in my environment respond to this," the 2005 U.S. Open champion said.

Clijsters, who has appeared in five Grand Slam finals, said her decision to resume professional play was spurred by her recent resumption of training, in preparation for an exhibition against tennis great Steffi Graf on May 17.

"It all started with preparing for the gala match at Wimbledon … I liked it that much. I was onto my pro days' training schedule. Then the hunger for more comes back automatically.

Clijsters will play another exhibition match in June before hitting the WTA tour in St. Louis. Last week, U.S. Open organizers indicated they would wildcard her entry for a return in the last Grand Slam event of the season.

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