Paris - Former world No 1 Kim Clijsters believes Serena
Williams will get back to the top, but warned it may take time for her to
regain full strength after childbirth.
Williams will play her first Grand Slam for more than 15
months at the French Open after having her daughter, Alexis Olympia. She has
played just two events since she first returned to the Tour in March.
"Pregnancy is very hard to (come back from),” Clijsters said in an interview. "Everything is a lot looser, it takes time
to get that back to where it once was.
"I remember doing an interview when Serena was pregnant
and people were asking me constantly, do you think she can do it? My thing was,
you don’t know how your body will react, how you will react emotionally.
"I admire both Serena and Venus because they have a
perseverance that is incredible. They’re able to do a lot of things that other
people can’t do, physically and mentally, so I don’t doubt that she will come
back, I don’t doubt it, but it just takes a little bit of time.”
Clijsters, who is working as an expert summariser for
Eurosport and Eurosport Player, who will be broadcasting Roland Garros from May
27 to June 10, retired from tennis in 2007.
She returned to the sport in 2009, a year and a half after
having her first child, Jada.
Then 26, Clijsters enjoyed a hugely successful return,
winning the US Open in just her third event back and then going on to win two
more Grand Slams to take her career tally to four.
Williams has been working hard with her coach, Patrick
Mouratoglou, at his academy near Nice, balancing her training regime with her
new family life.
Clijsters said getting back into the old routine may have
had a rejuvenating effect on Williams.
"Everybody reacts differently,” she said, of the
"Having a baby is emotional and physically very
draining - at times you’re on a high, at times you’re low.
"I fell in love all over again with the sport and I
enjoyed taking those few hours off from home to go and work out and play
tennis, because I needed it, for various reasons, not just because I wanted to
get back into shape.
"I’d just lost my father at the start of 2009 and for
me it was a mind-set, to get away from it and just focus on tennis. Then I
would come home, I’d be with Jada, we’d do family things and I felt like my
balance was good and I needed it."
Williams will play Kristyna Pliskova of the Czech Republic
in the first round in Paris and could face her old foe, Maria Sharapova, in the