Kim Clijsters sees signs of improvement after following comeback in Dubai with defeat at Monterrey Open

Belgian former world No 1 has returned to professional tennis after more than seven years of retirement

epa08268307 Kim Clijsters of Belgium in action against Johanna Konta of Britain during the women's singles match at the Monterrey Open tennis tournament in Monterrey, Mexico, 03 March 2020.  EPA/MIGUEL SIERRA
Powered by automated translation

Former world No 1 Kim Clijsters said she is seeing improvements in her game after following up her comeback in Dubai with an appearance at the Monterrey Open on Tuesday night.

Clijsters, 36, was defeated 6-3, 7-5 by Briton Johanna Konta at the Mexican tournament, two weeks after making her return from more than seven years away at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships - where she lost  6-2, 7-6 to Spain's Garbine Muguruza.

The four-time Grand Slam champion showed glimpses of her superb ball-striking ability but could not stop Konta from sealing her first win of the year.

"I felt some things were better," Clijsters told reporters. "Some things still need a lot of improvement. That's why it's good to play matches.

"I've been through different generations and played many players throughout my whole career. I'm still at a stage where I want to focus on what I'm doing and how I'm feeling, and also start reading my opponents.

"It's a process that I have to trust and keep working hard to improve in every match I play. I'd like to take big steps but I have to focus on small steps and improving day by day."

The Belgian first retired from tennis in 2007, taking a break to have the first of her three children, but came back within 24 months to claim three of her four Grand Slams and return to the top of the rankings in 2011.

"Her ability to do things with the ball is what made her a multiple Grand Slam champion. It's why she was able to come back and play... at a level like this," Konta said.

"That's not exactly an everyday thing, that's for sure."