Clijsters, who secured the Indian Wells titles in 2003 and 2005, was awarded a wildcard into the first Premier Mandatory event of the season. The former World No. 1 and four-time Grand Slam champion will be competing in just her third tournament since returning to the tour earlier this month in Dubai, while she plans to play in Monterrey, Mexico the week before the BNP Paribas Open.
The 36-year-old will be playing Indian Wells for the first time since 2011. Clijsters was unseeded when she won the 2005 title over Lindsay Davenport, while she also beat the American to capture the silverware in 2003.
Inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2017, Clijsters retired for the first time in 2007 to start a family. The Belgian returned to tennis in 2009 following the birth of her first child, Jada, and won the U.S. Open in just her third tournament back. Clijsters went on to claim two more majors at the 2010 U.S. Open and 2011 Australian Open and reclaim the No. 1 ranking before retiring for a second time in 2012.
Now a mother of three, Clijsters announced her intention to return for a third time last year, and after missing a planned comeback in Australia due to injury, made her way back on tour in Dubai last week, losing to Australian Open runner-up Garbine Muguruza 6-2 7-6(6) in the first round.
After the match, Muguruza described Clijsters as an ‘incredible player’ and said she was ‘going to get better and better’ as her comeback continues.
Clijsters said she was happy with how she handled herself in her first match back and was optimistic her level was only going to improve.
“I had a good feeling out there,” Clijsters said after the match. “I do feel a little bit of– I’m not going to say relief, but a feeling of the pace I can handle.
“Second set, I felt I was really in the match,” Clijsters added. “I felt like for a while I was dominating some of the points. I think that’s a good feeling to have, knowing the way I started the first set and then the way I was able to get back into that second set, with the type of tennis I played, it’s something that is the positive about this match. I’ll take that with me for the next matches.”
The 2020 BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells is the biggest combined ATP & WTA tournament on the tennis calendar.
Read more about the tournament here.