Michael Jordan stunned the world with two simple words 25 years ago.

In an era before innovative social media announcements were the norm, Jordan released a statement through his management company "in response to questions about his future career plans" on March 18, 1995.

His response of "I'm back" signalled the return to basketball of one of the all-time greats.

Here, to mark the anniversary of that press release being issued, we look at Jordan and other greats who performed retirement U-turns.

 

MICHAEL JORDAN

Whether you are an ardent NBA fan or have simply seen Space Jam, you know the story. Chicago Bulls star Jordan retired in 1993 after his team three-peated and shortly after his father's death, stating that "the desire is just not there any more".

For the next year, Jordan turned to baseball as a minor league player as he pursued a dream his father had of his son making it in the MLB. Then, amid rumours he was heading back to the NBA, came that Jordan utterance: "I'm back". 

The Bulls, led by perhaps the greatest ever, would win three successive championships again between 1996 and 1998 at which point Jordan retired once more. He then came back for a two-year stint with the Washington Wizards before finally calling it a day once and for all in 2003.

 

MICHAEL SCHUMACHER

Seven-time Formula One champion Schumacher was 37 when he announced the 2006 season - when he was pipped to the title by Fernando Alonso - would be his last.

However, he remained around F1 as an advisor for Ferrari and returned for Mercedes to race in 2010 saying: "I have the energy back."

He would appear on the podium just once across three seasons, though, and he retired again in 2012, a year before he suffered severe head injuries in a skiing accident.

 

KIM CLIJSTERS

A former world number one and the 2005 US Open champion, Clijsters retired at the age of 23 due to a series of punishing injuries.

Clijsters got married and gave birth in her time away from sport, and then after appearing in an exhibition match held at Wimbledon in 2009, the Belgian returned to the WTA Tour. In just her third tournament back, Clijsters won the US Open, becoming the first unseeded woman to win the tournament in the Open era and the first mother to win a grand slam since 1980.

She triumphed at Flushing Meadows again in 2010 and won the Australian Open in 2011, recently returning to tennis for a third time after a seven-year hiatus.

LANCE ARMSTRONG

American Armstrong retired as a seven-time Tour de France champion in 2005. But the story, of course, didn't end there.

Dogged by doping allegations during his career, Armstrong faced questions again when he returned, aged 37, in 2009 and finished third in that year's Tour.

Armstrong retired once more in 2011 while he was the subject of a federal investigation into doping allegations. Another probe from the United States Anti-Doping Agency led to charges which resulted in Armstrong being stripped of his seven Tour titles in 2012, with the cyclist publicly coming clean on his doping the following year.

 

GEORGE FOREMAN

There was a full decade between Foreman's 47th and 48th fights.

He lost on points to Jimmy Young in 1977, falling ill in the dressing room after the bout and suffering what he said was a near-death experience, leading him to find God.

A born-again Christian, Foreman returned at 38. Despite defeats to Evander Holyfield and Tommy Morrison in title bouts, Foreman would become heavyweight champion of the world again in 1994 - at the grand old age of 45 - by stopping Michael Moorer.

BRETT FAVRE

Long-time Green Bay Packers quarterback Favre, the king of indecision, bowed out from the NFL in March 2008, passing the baton to a certain Aaron Rodgers. However, he had a change of heart four months later. The Packers, who wanted to move on with Rodgers, traded Favre to the New York Jets.

After one season with Gang Green, Favre retired again. And then he performed another U-turn, paving the way for him to join the Minnesota Vikings, one of Green Bay's arch-rivals.

He enjoyed by far the best year of his career with the Vikings in terms of quarterback rating (107.2) but Minnesota lost the NFC Championship Game. More indecision followed after that, though 2010 would prove to be the final year of a Hall of Fame career.

Kim Clijsters suffered another loss as her comeback continued at the Monterrey Open, while Victoria Azarenka started her 2020 with a defeat on Tuesday.

Back after more than seven years off the WTA Tour, Clijsters fell to a second straight loss, going down to second seed Johanna Konta 6-3 7-5 in the first round.

Clijsters, a wildcard at the WTA International tournament, managed to win just 12 return points in the 85-minute loss as Konta posted her first win of the year.

The four-time grand slam champion has been handed two tough draws this year, having lost to Garbine Muguruza in Dubai last month.

Playing for the first time since last year's US Open, seventh seed and last year's runner-up Azarenka was beaten 6-2 6-2 by Tamara Zidansek.

Top seed Elina Svitolina cruised through the opening round with a 6-3 6-2 victory over Danka Kovinic.

American 10th seed Lauren Davis also eased through, while there were wins for Anastasia Potapova, Leylah Fernandez, Arantxa Rus, Kateryna Bondarenko and Tatjana Maria.

Kim Clijsters feels her game is "improving" ahead of the second match of her comeback against Johanna Konta at the Monterrey Open.

After a creditable performance in defeat to Australian Open runner-up Garbine Muguruza at the Dubai Tennis Championships last month, the 36-year-old's return to the sport continues this week.

She meets world number 16 Konta in the first round on Tuesday and continues to make positive steps.

"I feel like with the tennis that I've been playing, I'm improving," four-time grand slam winner Clijsters said ahead of her match in Mexico.

"In practice, I'm moving better, I'm reacting better, I'm making better decisions. 

"It has to happen in the match now. The more matches I get to play, the more that will improve a little bit, and we'll see how far I can go.

"I still have a good level in me. I've played one official match so far and some practice sets so I would like to have more matches. That's the only way that I can practice certain things that you can only learn from matches."

The 6-2 7-6 (8-6) loss to Muguruza in Dubai was Clijsters' first contest since losing to Laura Robson in the second round of the US Open in August 2012.

Clijsters is braced for disappointments and setbacks in her return to the tour, but understands she will have to go through that in order to be competitive once more.

"It's a process of ups and downs," she said. "That is something you have to understand.

"It comes with failure, but I think it's how you deal with the moments where it's the toughest. That is when you improve the most, when you learn the most about yourself and when you are capable of improving. 

"That was something I was always able to do well. When I lost in the past I was disappointed, but after a certain amount of time, I was able to make that switch in my head and use it, and that's how I was able to become better. 

"It's that kind of mindset. It's important to not get discouraged about the losses and use it to motivate you even more."

Clijsters can take optimism from the fact Konta has lost all three of her matches in 2020, with the Briton having never played her before.

Kim Clijsters will play at Indian Wells after it was confirmed the former world number one has been given a wild card.

The four-time grand slam champion is on the comeback trail after reversing her 2012 retirement last year.

Clijsters, 36, earlier this month was beaten in straight sets by Garbine Muguruza at the Dubai Tennis Championships on her return to the court.

The Belgian is a two-time Indian Wells champion and is also set to play at Monterrey before heading to California.

It was also announced by tournament organisers on Thursday that both Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal have been given wild cards to play doubles at Indian Wells.

World number one Djokovic is set to team up with Viktor Troicki after they were part of Serbia's ATP Cup-winning squad at the start of the year.

Nadal, second behind Djokovic in the singles rankings, will play with compatriot Marc Lopez, with whom he won gold at the 2016 Olympic Games.

Kim Clijsters took solace in feeling like she had periods of dominance against Garbine Muguruza, who ensured the four-time major champion's comeback began with a defeat.

Making her first appearance on the WTA Tour since the 2012 US Open, former world number one Clijsters fell to a 6-2 7-6 (8-6) defeat against Australian Open finalist Muguruza in the first round of the Dubai Tennis Championships.

The 36-year-old dropped her first two service games in the second set but managed to get things back on serve and force a tie-break, something she was proud of despite her early exit.

Clijsters said: "I felt obviously the second set was a big difference compared to the first set. My timing in the first set, my footing, just kept looking for it.

"I felt a few times it was there, then it would be off a few points. At times I felt like I was close. I was seeing the ball clear. Just started reading her game better, as well, getting used to her pace a little bit.

"Yeah, second set I felt I was really in the match. 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.

"I had a good feeling out there. I do feel a little bit of, I'm not going to say relief, but a feeling that the pace I can handle."

Muguruza accepted she went into the match completely unsure of what to expect, with Clijsters representing something of an unknown quantity, though she is now anticipating the Belgian to cause problems for plenty of players.

"I think she played very well, especially in the second set at the end," Muguruza said. "It was very tight.

"I think this is just special because I didn't know how [Clijsters was] going to play. I know she can play incredible - she did at some point play [at an] incredible level. I haven't seen her play in so long, so it's like, 'Okay, what's going to happen?'

"I'm sure she's going to get better and better, for sure, [and] give us a lot of trouble."

Clijsters' fellow Belgian Elise Mertens was in action earlier in the day and had significantly fewer issues, cruising past Wang Qiang in straight sets.

Mertens needed a little over an hour to secure her progression, ultimately running out a comfortable 6-3 6-0 victor – winning the second set in just 25 minutes.

World number 18 Alison Riske suffered a shock 7-6 (7-3) 1-6 6-3 defeat at the hands of Ons Jabeur, who set up a second-round clash with Simona Halep.

The Tunisian, who is ranked 45th in the world, eventually came out on top and owed much to her ability to hit a winner, outscoring Riske 28 to 11 in that metric as she claimed a seventh career win over a top-20 opponent.

Barbora Strycova came through a lengthy encounter with 18-year-old Amanda Animisova, beating the American 6-3 (7-3) 2-6 6-4 over two hours and 33 minutes, taking advantage of her opponent's proneness to errors.

Marketa Vondrousova was the highest-ranked player in action on Tuesday, and she dispatched Anastasija Sevastova with relative ease, winning 6-3 6-2.

Kim Clijsters was denied a dream return to the WTA Tour as she was beaten in straight sets by Garbine Muguruza at the Dubai Tennis Championships.

Muguruza, runner-up at the recent Australian Open, triumphed 6-2 7-6 (8-6) in one hour and 37 minutes on Monday.

Playing her first match since losing to Laura Robson in the second round of the US Open in August 2012, the Belgian was rusty at times as she racked up 10 double faults and gave up 15 break points.

However, Clijsters' fight and impressive groundstrokes in the second set would have given her plenty of hope for the months ahead.

Clijsters' opponent changed when Kiki Bertens withdrew from the event after winning in St Petersburg, but in-form Muguruza represented a similarly daunting first task in her comeback contest.

The 36-year-old was broken in a 10-point opening game and dropped serve again later in the first set.

She forced her first break points as Muguruza served for the opener at 5-2 but could not convert three opportunities as the Spaniard held.

A slow start also impacted four-time major champion Clijsters in the second set, as Muguruza claimed an immediate break and then struck once more in her opponent's next service game to move 3-0 up.

Clijsters showed grit and broke Muguruza for the first time in game four and later superbly claimed a second break to level matters, eventually forcing a tie-break.

She won the first two points of the breaker only for her younger rival to go on a streak of four that included a superb cross-court forehand winner.

At 6-5 in front, Muguruza hit a forehand long on her opening match point but she ultimately sealed victory with her next opportunity thanks to an unreturned serve

Kim Clijsters revealed she could not ignore the recurring temptation to come out of retirement as she prepares to make her WTA Tour comeback against Garbine Muguruza.

The former world number one will come up against Muguruza in the first round of the Dubai Tennis Championships on Monday, seven and a half years after her last professional match.

Clijsters, who will face Muguruza rather than Kiki Bertens after the world number eight withdrew from the tournament, had to delay her return due to a knee injury.

The 36-year-old four-time grand slam singles champion raised eyebrows last September when announcing she would play at the highest level again.

Clijsters had been thinking of resuming her career for some time and encouraging words from her husband were also a factor in making the bold move to get back on court.

"It was a feeling that I had inside, a feeling that I had inside for a little while," said the Belgian, who has also won two major doubles titles.

"Once in a while that feeling would go away when I was home with the kids. A couple times it would come back. It got stronger and stronger."

She added: "I talked to my husband. He was like, 'Stop worrying about why and ask yourself: Why not?'.

"He made a very good point. I was like, 'There is no 'why not'. Why wouldn't I do it?"

Muguruza will be playing for the first time since her Australian Open final defeat to Sofia Kenin.

Kim Clijsters will begin her WTA Tour comeback against world number eight Kiki Bertens at the Dubai Tennis Championships.

The first-round clash will be the four-time major champion's first professional match in seven and a half years, having retired after the 2012 US Open.

Clijsters, a mother of three, revealed her shock decision to return to tennis last September but a knee injury forced her to sit out the start of the season.

The 36-year-old, a former world number one, was granted a wildcard for the singles tournament in Dubai, which begins on Monday.

Kim Clijsters will launch her comeback to the WTA Tour at the Dubai Tennis Championships this month.

The 36-year-old Belgian, who won three US Open titles and an Australian Open before retiring in 2012, revealed in September she would attempt what will rank among professional sport's most audacious returns to action.

A knee injury sustained in November meant she missed the start of the 2020 season, but Clijsters is just days away from playing again at the top level.

The Dubai event runs from February 17-29 and Clijsters has secured a wildcard entry to the singles draw, joining a field that includes Simona Halep and Bianca Andreescu.

Clijsters wrote on Twitter: "I’m accepting a wild card to play the @DDFTennis. Since announcing my return, there have been a few bumps but looking forward to returning to the match court and what this next chapter brings.

"Thanks to all my fans for their encouragement these past weeks. See you in Dubai!"

She told the tournament's website: "I am really excited to be getting back to the match court. I can't wait to return to the game I love and play in front of the fans again – the support and encouragement that I've received since the announcement has been overwhelming."

Clijsters has also committed to playing at the Monterrey Open, which gets under way on March 2. She also intends to be in action in Indian Wells the following week and plans to play in Charleston in April.

Kim Clijsters will make her comeback to the WTA Tour next March after revealing the first three tournaments on her 2020 schedule.

The Belgian announced her plan to come out of retirement at the age of 36 back in September, though her return has been held up by a knee injury.

While Clijsters, who retired in 2012 after winning 41 singles titles, including four grand slams, is still continuing her recovery, she has committed to playing at the Monterrey Open, which gets underway on March 2.

She also intends to be in action in Indian Wells the following week, while the three-time US Open champion will be back on American soil at the start of April for the tournament in Charleston.

"I just wanted to let you know I've had a really good last couple of weeks regarding my knee. It's feeling much better," Clijsters said in a video posted on social media.

"It's not fully healed yet, but I'm definitely building up my intensity in practice.

"I look forward to playing in my first tournament. Practice has been long enough, but I have to be patient for a few more weeks, then I'll be ready to go."

Clijsters is eligible for unlimited wildcards at WTA tournaments as a former world number one, but she must play three tournaments or earn 10 points to re-establish a ranking.

Kim Clijsters will not make her comeback at the start of next season due to a knee injury but remains as "determined as ever" to play at the highest level again.

The four-time grand slam champion sprung a major surprise in September by announcing she was coming out of retirement at the age of 36.

However, Clijsters on Monday revealed her WTA Tour return will have to wait.

"I've had to make the decision that I will not be able to compete in January. I am undergoing rehab and treatment for a knee injury," she tweeted.

"It's a setback but I'm determined as ever to get back to the game I love. I really appreciate all your support and encouragement."

The Belgian, a mother of three, retired in 2012 after winning 41 singles titles. 

Clijsters is eligible for unlimited wildcards at WTA tournaments as a former world number one, but she will have to play three tournaments or earn 10 points to re-establish a ranking.

Li Na does not appear open to the idea of a return to the WTA Tour after amusingly shutting down a question about Kim Clijsters at the Wuhan Open.

Clijsters announced plans for a stunning comeback this month, aiming to play on the Tour in 2020 having retired after the 2012 US Open.

The Belgian is 36 years old but Li, one year her senior, does not intend to follow suit.

Appearing at the Wuhan Open to celebrate her induction into the Tennis Hall of Fame, Li interrupted one question after just two words: "Kim Clijsters..."

"I'm not coming back," the two-time major champion interjected to some amusement.

"I wish her the best. But as for me, I'm telling you for sure, 100 per cent, I'm staying home."

Li said of her Hall of Fame induction: "My name is placed alongside so many legends. That is something, the best achievement in my tennis career.

"Being able to do this is everything to me. Such sense of excitement is no less than achieving the grand slam title."

Kim Clijsters has announced plans for a remarkable return to the WTA Tour after a seven-year absence.

The former world number one - a four-time major champion - has not played since the 2012 US Open, having called time on her career for a second time with 41 singles titles.

But Clijsters, 36, is now aiming to return in 2020, potentially competing again with Serena and Venus Williams - the only active players who can match her tally of Tour honours.

Inspired by the Belgian's decision, we look at some other notable comebacks in women's tennis.

 

Martina Navratilova

While Navratilova never again hit the heights that saw her claim 18 singles majors before her initial retirement, her 2000 return - 27 years on from her Tour debut - was undoubtedly a success.

Navratilova would not play singles at a grand slam until 2004 - winning in the first round at Wimbledon aged 47 - but spent the second part of her career mopping up numerous doubles prizes, finally bowing out in 2006 having won the singles, doubles and mixed doubles titles at all four majors for a total of 59 championships. Not bad.

Margaret Court

The only player with more grand slam titles across all disciplines than Navratilova is Court, although that would not have been the case had she stayed retired after Wimbledon in 1966, then playing as Margaret Smith.

She married Barry Court the following year, took his name on her return to tennis in 1968 and then set about achieving complete domination again in the new Open Era. She added 11 more majors, winning the Grand Slam in 1970, and finished on a still unmatched 24, retiring in 1977 due to the pregnancy with her fourth child.

 

Jennifer Capriati

Capriati's lay-off from tennis was only brief following the 1993 US Open as she struggled with the pressure of the sport, yet she had a long, long route back to the top, having been a child star and won the Olympics in 1992.

Her hard work paid off eventually, though, and the American won the Australian Open and French Open titles in 2001 and became world number one, defending her Melbourne title the following year. Having finally got close to fulfilling her immense potential, Capriati's final retirement came following an injury-plagued 2004 season.

Kim Clijsters

Clijsters need look no further than the mirror for inspiration when she steps back out onto the court next year, having already completed one hugely successful return.

She retired aged just 23 in 2007, citing a desire for "health and private happiness", but was back two years later. Clijsters made her grand slam singles comeback at the US Open and won her second title, before defending her crown for a third the following year. She backed that up at the 2011 Australian Open before apparently calling it quits for good the next year.

But now she is back again...

Kim Clijsters is planning a comeback following a seven-year absence from the WTA Tour, the former world number one has announced.

Clijsters, 36, retired after the 2012 US Open, where she was beaten in the second round by British player Laura Robson.

But the four-time grand slam winner has now announced a surprising return and is training with a view to playing again in 2020.

The Belgian told the WTA Insider Podcast: "I don't really feel like I want to prove something. I think for me it's the challenge.

"I have friends who would say, 'I want to run the New York Marathon before I turn 50'. For me, I still love to play tennis.

"The love for the sport is obviously still there. But the question still is, am I capable of bringing it to a level where I would like it to be at and where I want it to be at before I want to play at a high level of one of the best women's sports in the world?

"I don't feel like I need to prove anything, but I want to challenge myself and I want to be strong again. This is my marathon. This is where I'm saying, 'OK, let's try this'."

Clijsters - now a mother of three - made her WTA debut at the age of 15 in 1999, and was 29 when she retired.

She spent 19 weeks at world number one, and claimed her first grand slam title at Flushing Meadows in 2005.

After giving birth to daughter Jada, Clijsters returned to win the US Open again in 2009 and 2010, before adding the 2011 Australian Open.

With 41 singles titles, Clijsters is beaten only in the trophy count by Serena Williams and Venus Williams among players active on tour, while her haul is the 14th highest in the Open era.

Clijsters is eligible for unlimited wild cards at WTA tournaments because of her former world number one status, but she will have to play three tournaments or earn 10 points to re-establish a ranking.

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