Kim Clijsters (Belgium) Tennis, 26
Kim Clijsters made a dramatic comeback to tennis in 2009, winning the US Open as a non-seeded wildcard in only her third tournament after a two year absence. It was a remarkable return to top level sport. Clijsters had announced her retirement in May 2007 at the age of 24 because of continuing injuries. After playing in two tournaments as a warm-up, she played at Flushing Meadows and beat World No 3 Venus Williams in the fourth round – only Clijster’s 11th match since coming out of retirement - then she beat World No 2 Serena Williams in the semi-final and ninth seed Caroline Wozniacki in straight sets in the final. Her US Open win placed her in the top 20 in the world rankings, she became the first wild card champion in US Open history and the first mother to win a Grand Slam title in the Open era since Evonne Goolagong Cawley won Wimbledon in 1980.