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The Risk Of Returning

Marion Bartoli is following the path of greats like Hingis, Clijsters and Borg

Marion Bartoli
Marion Bartoli at the World Team Tennis Championships in 2014 | Beth Wilson

By Stephen Higgins | 21 December 2017

Marion Bartoli, the 2013 Wimbledon singles champion and former world no.7, has announced her return to the professional game after a break of four years.

The Frenchwoman quit the sport soon after that victory at SW19, seemingly burnt out and saddled with a persistent shoulder injury.

The 33-year-old told her social media followers the news on December 19th and hopes to make the Miami Open in March 2018 the first event of her return.

Returning to professional tennis after a long break is a risky decision for the Frenchwoman. Many have tried it before with varying degrees of success. Here are a few noteworthy examples.

Martina Hingis

The Swiss Miss twice has thrice retired from the sport. The first occasion came in 2003 when - due to recurring foot injuries - the 22-year-old exited the game with a combined 76 titles in singles and doubles including 14 majors.

Hingis returned to the game in 2005 and claimed an Australian Open mixed doubles title the following year. After testing positive for cocaine in 2007, the Swiss retired for a second time.

Hingis’s second (and likely final) comeback in the mid-noughties was an enormous success. She lifted 10 grand slam trophies in doubles and mixed doubles and at one stage enjoyed a streak of 41 matches unbeaten with partner Sania Mirza. Hingis left the game for a third time at the end of 2017.

Kim Clijsters

The Belgian retired from tennis in May 2007 and had her first child the following year. Clijsters returned to the tour in the summer of 2009 and captured the US Open as a wildcard, the first mother to do so in nearly 30 years.

Clijsters went on to win two more majors in Melbourne and New York and held the game’s no.1 ranking before retiring for a second time in 2012.

Juan Martin del Potro at Roland Garros 2019
Juan Martin del Potro | Crosscourt View

Juan Martin Del Potro

The Tower of Tandil is in the middle of yet another tour comeback in a career blighted by wrist injuries.

The Argentine won his first major in 2009 when he shocked Roger Federer in the final of the US Open. His wrist troubles started the following year and have forced him off the tour at various junctures since.

This latest return began in April 2016 and has been successful with an Olympic silver medal, US Open semi-final showing and place inside the world’s top 20 to his credit.

Justine Henin

One of the greatest players of all time, Henin retired as world no.1 in May 2008 due to burnout.

The seven-time major winner returned to the tour two years later and although she made an Australian Open final and picked up a few WTA titles, the Belgian could not recapture the exceptional performances of old. Henin retired for a second time in January 2011.

Bjorn Borg

The legendary Swede did not play another grand slam after his final loss to John McEnroe in the 1981 US Open. The 11-time major winner lost the drive to compete and left the game all together a couple of years later.

Borg returned to the tour in the early 90s still sporting a wooden racquet in a game of graphite frames. Sadly, he failed to pick up a victory in 12 matches and left the main tour for the final time in 1993.