Getting body and mind on the same wavelength was the biggest challenge Kim Clijsters faced as she prepared to step back under the spotlight at Wimbledon.
Clijsters turned her back on tennis two years ago aged 23 but after getting an invite to play in Sunday's exhibition event to unveil the new retractable roof over Centre Court, the Belgian discovered she wanted to test her skills on the WTA Tour again.
‘I didn't play much at all (since retirement but) ... after a few weeks of training I got the hunger back,’ she told reporters on Saturday.
‘I felt really good and wanted the challenge to see if I can still be up there (competing on the tour),’ added the Belgian, who makes her competitive comeback in August during the US hardcourt season.
‘My first few weeks were mainly getting the basic exercise, getting everything into place after having a baby, because a lot changes, your body changes. That was in my mind.
‘I still wanted to play tennis as I did before but physically your body doesn't always follow what your mind wants it to do.’
The 2005 US Open champion was so determined not to embarrass herself when she lined up with Andre Agassi, Steffi Graf and Tim Henman on Sunday she persevered with the training and now feels she is on track to make a successful comeback.
‘Every week it kind of got better and better and just hitting the ball, that came back really quickly, surprisingly,’ said the 25-year-old former world number one, who got married and gave birth to a daughter during her layoff.
‘Physically it took a little longer and I still have a few months to work. But everything is going to plan so I'm excited about it.’