Hall of Famer talks motivational power ahead of her World TeamTennis comeback.
Patience and positivity fuel Kim Clijsters' comeback.

The 37-year-old Belgian returns to action playing for the New York Empire in World TeamTennis.

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The 45th WTT season starts on Sunday. Clijsters and the Empire will take on the Washington Kastles on Monday, July 13th at 5 p.m. Eastern time.

WTT’s 63-match regular season, scheduled from July 12-30th at The Greenbrier “America’s Resort” in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, will either be televised or live-streamed on CBS, CBS Sports Network, the CBS Sports app, Tennis Channel, ESPN+ or Facebook Watch.

The Hall of Famer joined fellow former US Open champion Sloane Stephens and WTT CEO Carlos Silva on a conference call with the media today. Clijsters said patience has been vital during the sport's shutdown due to coronavirus.

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"I think in the last few months just being patient [is key]," Clijsters said. "As an athlete, a lot of athletes we're so used to setting goals: short-terms goals long-term goals and obviously with the schedule changing so often, which is normal the last few months with everything that's happened, you have to adjust. You've had to find motivation and things that can trigger you to go out there and still work hard.

"I think that's something when I've read stories from other players and athletes from other sports it's hard to find that internal motivaton and not know when am I competing again. When am I going to be feeling that adrenaline coming from a crowd or from playing in big moments? So I think it's important to be more patient even. I think that has probably been the most important lesson for me."

One of the few players to hold the world No. 1 ranking in singles and doubles simultaneously, Clijsters was juggling training and home-schooling her three children with husband Brian Lynch. Clijsters and her family, who split time between their homes in New Jersey and Belgum, were in the Garden State when the coronavirus outbreak hit the United States.

Fifteen years removed from winning her first of three US Open championships, Clijsters said the COVID-19 crisis has not dampened her enthusiasm for the comeback.

"Trust the process and of course in my situation I've got a lot of questions from the Belgian media," Clijsters said: "Do you still want to go through with it? Do you want to still keep playing now with everything going on? Yes, it doesn't mean just because Coronavirus happened that I'm not interested in playing more tennis.

"Of course, there's some challenges combining parenting at home, teaching the kids at home and still going to practice was challenging. At the same time, we get through that together and we've had great family momembnts so you learn if you just try to see the positive things out of the moments you're in I think that's another big lesson you learn." 

For the second consecutive year, CBS Sports will televise the WTT Playoffs live. CBS Sports Network will air the WTT Semifinals at 2 p.m. Eastern and 5 p.m. Eastern on August 1st before CBS’ first live broadcast of the August 2nd WTT Final at 12 p.m. ET. Tennis Channel will air replays of all WTT Playoffs matches,

Photo credit: @DDFTennis