Kim Clijsters wonders if Barty could be tempted back

Ash Barty's eagerly awaited return to Wimbledon action, taking part in a legends' invitational event, has been put on hold because of yet more rain.

But the retired 2021 champion's comeback in the purely fun event hasn't stopped a former great, Kim Clijsters, who made a famously successful return after becoming a mother, musing over whether the 28-year-old Australian ace could still be tempted to do the same.

The wretched weather on Tuesday ensured that Barty's planned showcourt return with her best mate Casey Dellacqua against Germany's Andrea Petkovic and Slovak Magdalena Rybarikova had to be shelved.

Barty
Barty, who retired from tennis in 2022, with baby boy Hayden.

But it didn't stop her fellow former stars getting enthused about the return of the champion making her first return to the court since she announced her shock retirement from the sport when the world No.1 in March two years ago.

Returning to SW19 as the mother of a one-year-old boy Hayden, Barty has been quick on her return to insist that taking up this invitation is a one-off bit of fun and not the prelude to a proper competitive comeback.

But fellow 'legend' Clijsters, another former world No.1 who once felt the same after becoming a mother only to make a stunning grand slam-winning return, wonders if Barty could also get the competitive itch again, just like another former world No.1 Caroline Wozniacki, a mum of two, did last year.

"It sounds very similar to me many years ago," said Clijsters. 

"First of all, I’m excited she’s back. I never got to play against Ash, but I've practised against her before, so it’s exciting to have her playing on the legends tour. 

"A few years ago I was the youngest legend out there, but I’m definitely not any more. It’s cool - and who knows? Last year, seeing Caroline Wozniacki practice in between our legends matches, we were all like, ‘What are you doing? Why are you practising this much?’

Kim Clijsters
Kim Clijsters has been excited to see Barty back in action.

"So there is definitely a part of me that hopes she gets triggered by the challenge and the adventure that it is to come back on tour with a family.

"It will be interesting. I don’t know if she has any desire. I hope I get to play against her and have a chat."

Best pal Dellacqua reported that between her BBC TV commentating commitments,  Barty had been looking good on court. 

"She's playing really well, feeling good, excited and she's a busy girl this week. She's been hitting the ball really well.

"There is no doubt, if she wanted to, at 28, if she put the work in, trained and played, 100 per cent she could be back at the top. Absolutely - but she is really happy."

License this article

What is AAPNews?

For the first time, Australian Associated Press is delivering news straight to the consumer.

No ads. No spin. News straight-up.

Not only do you get to enjoy high-quality news delivered straight to your desktop or device, you do so in the knowledge you are supporting media diversity in Australia.

AAP Is Australia’s only independent newswire service, free from political and commercial influence, producing fact-based public interest journalism across a range of topics including politics, courts, sport, finance and entertainment.

What is AAPNews?
The Morning Wire

Wake up to AAPNews’ morning news bulletin delivered straight to your inbox or mobile device, bringing you up to speed with all that has happened overnight at home and abroad, as well as setting you up what the day has in store.

AAPNews Morning Wire
AAPNews Breaking News
Breaking News

Be the first to know when major breaking news happens.


Notifications will be sent to your device whenever a big story breaks, ensuring you are never in the dark when the talking points happen.

Focused Content

Enjoy the best of AAP’s specialised Topics in Focus. AAP has reporters dedicated to bringing you hard news and feature content across a range of specialised topics including Environment, Agriculture, Future Economies, Arts and Refugee Issues.

AAPNews Focussed Content
Subscription Plans

Choose the plan that best fits your needs. AAPNews offers two basic subscriptions, all billed monthly.

Once you sign up, you will have seven days to test out the service before being billed.

AAPNews Full Access Plan
Full Access
AU$10
  • Enjoy all that AAPNews has to offer
  • Access to breaking news notifications and bulletins
  • Includes access to all AAPNews’ specialised topics
Join Now
AAPNews Student Access Plan
Student Access
AU$5
  • Gain access via a verified student email account
  • Enjoy all the benefits of the ‘Full Access’ plan at a reduced rate
  • Subscription renews each month
Join Now
AAPNews Annual Access Plan
Annual Access
AU$99
  • All the benefits of the 'Full Access' subscription at a discounted rate
  • Subscription automatically renews after 12 months
Join Now

AAPNews also offers enterprise deals for businesses so you can provide an AAPNews account for your team, organisation or customers. Click here to contact AAP to sign-up your business today.

SEVEN DAYS FREE
Download the app
Download AAPNews on the App StoreDownload AAPNews on the Google Play Store