grand slam title as the year's four grand slams concluded, the Williams sisters faced off for the second year in a row in the Wimbledon final in July with Serena Williams topping her older sister Venus Williams in straight sets.
Both Williams sisters were upset; however, by the 26 year old Clijsters last month at the US Open. The Belgian, competing in only her third WTA Tour tournament after a 2007 retirement and marriage and a 2008 childbirth, took the New York singles championship, defeating Danish Caroline Wazniacki 7-5, 6-3 in the final to reenter the WTA Tour rankings at number 17.
“It takes a lot more planning than a few years ago. For a tennis player I don’t think it’s that busy. I’ve taken out a lot of tournaments that I used to play when I wasn’t a mother,” Clijsters said.
The beauty queen Sharapova, ranked number one in May of 2008, saw her ranking plummet to number 126 after an October shoulder surgery. But after bowing out in the third round of the US Open to America's latest tennis star Melanie Oudin, Sharapova took her first WTA Tour singles title since April of 2008 at Tokyo last week.
“This tournament was a really good challenge for me,” Sharapova said. “Having to play six matches in six days, I knew it was going to be a good test of what I can do.”
Sharapova, the Williams sisters and Safina all are in action this week at the China Open at Beijing.
Perhaps inspired by her fellow Belgian Clijsters, Justine Henin last month announced her comeback to the WTA Tour for 2010. The 27 year old Henin, who retired from the WTA Tour in May of last year while being ranked number one, took seven singles grand slam titles before her abrupt departure from competitive tennis.
“Subconsciously, it might have had an impact,” Henin said of Clijsters' comeback. “But it certainly was not the most important reason.”
“The fire within burns again. The last 15 months, I’ve been able to recharge the batteries, emotionally as well.”
The American tennis legend John McEnroe has described Henin's one-handed backhand as being the best in the men's or women's game.