Serena Williams has thrown her support behind Kim Clijsters’ tennis comeback.
The former World No.1 made her professional comeback earlier this week at the WTA event in Dubai - her first match in just over eight years.
Despite going down in straight sets to Garbine Muguruza, Clijsters’ return was hailed as ‘phenomenal’.
'BEEN THROUGH A LOT': Tennis star breaks down in tears after 474-day breakthrough
Among those cheering for her return was tennis great Serena Williams, who took to social media to declare Clijsters was an inspiration.
“Seriously so so so proud of Kim Clijsters,” Williams tweeted.
“You inspire me. Wow.
“Just wow congrats you did amazing.”
Seriously so so so proud of Kim Clijsters. You inspire me. Wow. Just wow congrats you did amazing.— Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) February 18, 2020
Williams is chasing a record 25th grand slam victory in 2020, which would be her first since the birth of her daughter 2017.
The 36-year-old Clijsters said she felt good after her match against Muguruza.
“I had a good feeling out there, I felt a pace I can handle. I felt like I was able to go toe-to-toe with her from the baseline," said Clijsters.
“I wouldn't have done this if I didn't have that belief somehow.
It might take 10 matches to get the way I played in the second set, might take me 10 matches to get that from start to finish.
“I have patience. I'm going to work my way into it and fight. We'll see what happens.”
Clijsters opponent pays respect to returning champ
Two-time grand slam winner Muguruza meanwhile will play one of Veronika Kudermetova and Dayana Yastremska in the next round after having to fight off a determined Clijsters in a tight second set following a simple first.
"I've seen her play when I started on the tour, she's an incredible player," Muguruza said of Clijsters.
Wildly impressive play by Kim Clijsters in her first match in more than seven years, pushing Australian Open finalist Garbiñe Muguruza to 6-2, 7-6(6).— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) February 17, 2020
So many vintage Clijsters moments.
Keep blinking again and again to make sure that’s Kim Clijsters on court at a WTA event in 2020. It’s fantastic to see. Her fight has been phenomenal today. I’m so impressed.— Nick McCarvel (@NickMcCarvel) February 17, 2020
"I was excited to be the first (opponent of the comeback). She played very well, especially in the second set.
"At the end. It was very tight. It was a fun match to play.
"I'm sure she's going to get better and better, for sure she give me a lot of trouble. She played really well after all these years (away)."