Posts Tagged ‘Justine Henin


Justine Henin calls it quits…..for the second time!

Former world number one Justine Henin has been forced to retire from tennis for the second time because of a recurring elbow injury.

The 28-year-old Belgian announced the news on her website stating that her elbow had been “damaged” during the recent Australian Open.

“In these recent months I have rarely been spared of the pain,” she said.

“The doctors told me my elbow is too fragile and therefore I cannot continue my profession at this high level.”

Henin’s final match was a third-round defeat by Russia’s Svetlana Kuznetsova in Melbourne last weekend.


Venus & Henin both fail to make it into week 2.

Venus Williams lasted just one match of her third-round encounter in the Australian Open before retiring. Andrea Petkovic won the first game before Williams, with seven grand slams behind her, felt the recurrence of a groin muscle injury and pulled out.

Justine Henin had earlier lost to Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-4 7-6 (10-8). The Belgian 11th seed, champion in 2004, was outclassed in the first set and wasted a set point in the second as Kuznetsova prevailed in 124 minutes. “I wanted to win so much and I’m really happy to win,” said the 23rd seed.

Meanwhile, top seed Caroline Wozniacki saw off Dominika Cibulkova and 2008 champion Maria Sharapova beat Julia Goerges.

Friday’s action on the Rod Laver Arena ended in anti-climactic fashion when Williams, 30, who had never previously retired in a grand slam, gave up the ghost when 30-0 down in the second game against her Russian opponent. After stretching to the right in an attempt to return service, Williams cried out and clutched her stomach. The injury had been picked up when the American defeated Sandra Zahlavova in her previous match. The stand-out encounter of the day session saw Kuznetsova hand Henin her earliest exit at a Grand Slam event since Wimbledon 2005.

Former world number one Henin had seen her comeback season derailed when injuring her right elbow at Wimbledon. She did not play again in 2010 – and the problem seemed to affect her against Kuznetsova. Henin hit 41 unforced errors but fought back gamely after losing the first set. She twice came from a break down to level the second set and take an increasingly nervous Kuznetsova, who squandered two opportunities to serve out the match, into a tie-break. The two-time Grand Slam winner could not take advantage of her first three match points, but eventually engineered a fourth bite at the cherry. And when a Henin forehand landed wide she was able to celebrate only her third win in 19 head-to-head meetings with the Belgian. “I’m really pleased with way I played today, especially in the first set,” said the 25-year-old. “After that it’s tennis, you get nerves, I wanted to win so much and it was a great atmosphere.” Next up for Kuznetsova is French Open champion Francesca Schiavone after she beat Romania’s Monica Niculescu 6-0 7-6 (7-2). The sixth seed cruised through the opener but then had to fight back from 5-2 down in the second set to force a tie-break.

Wozniacki, in her first Grand Slam as world number one, overcame a spirited challenge from Cibulkova to reach the last 16 with a 6-4 6-3 win. The Dane survived a scrappy opening set as both players struggled to hold on to their serve before breaking to lead 4-2 in the second. Dominika is a tough player. I lost to her last week so I knew it would be tough. I’m just happy I could pull through. She again lost her serve but hit straight back to edge out the dangerous yet increasingly-erratic Slovakian. Cibulkova produced 31 winners with her powerful groundstrokes but stumbled to 41 unforced errors, while the more steady Wozniacki made just 11 winners but only 11 unforced errors throughout the 92-minute encounter. The 20-year-old, who conducted a bizarre press conference after her match in which she answered her own questions , will next play the unseeded Latvian Anastasija Sevastova, who beat Vesna Manasieva 6-1 6-3.

Sharapova looked in trouble against Germany’s Goerges but came back to take a three-set thriller 4-6 6-4 6-4. Goerges outplayed the former world number one throughout the first set and pushed her to the limit in the second. When Sharapova secured two early breaks to start the deciding set, Goerges refused to give in, fighting hard to get one break back and putting the 14th seed under serious pressure. But the Russian kept her composure to serve out the match.

Eighth seed Victoria Azarenka enjoyed a smooth passage to the fourth round with a 6-3 6-3 win against Chanelle Scheepers of South Africa. China’s in-form Li Na awaits the Belarusian next after she thrashed the unseeded Czech Barbora Zahlavova Strycova 6-2 6-1.


Kim Clijsters drawn against another former world No.1, Dinara Safina, in the first round.

Clijsters comes into the tournament in good form but was beaten at the Medibank International final in Sydney by Li Na on Friday afternoon. Facing a two-time Grand Slam finalist in Safina in her opening match at Melbourne Park will still present a significant early challenge. For her part, Safina must be rueing her recent lack of fortune in tournament draws after she had to play in-form Frenchwoman Marion Bartoli in the first round of the Moorilla Hobart International earlier this week.

In other notable first round draws in the women’s competition, top seed Caroline Wozniacki will have to cope with another world No.1 – in doubles – in Argentina’s Gisela Dulko. Australian Jarmila Groth will also have to hit the Plexicushion courts of Melbourne Park running after she was drawn to play former US Open semifinalist Yanina Wickmayer in the first round. Groth, who is in the semifinals in Hobart, has notched up some recent giant-killing form by knocking Samantha Stosur out of the Brisbane International last week and has been showing strong form in Hobart this week, so will head into the match in confident mood.

Veteran Japanese player Kimiko Date-Krumm has made a habit of pulling off similar upsets, ever since she came back from a 13-year-long retirement from the tour in April 2008 and could be a handful for Agnieszka Radwanska in their first round match. Radwanska has recovered from the foot surgery she underwent in October last year more quickly than expected but might still be vulnerable to Date-Krumm’s crafty game.

Another of the title contenders, last year’s finalist Justine Henin, has been drawn against a qualifier and will be confident of her chances of progressing to another Australian Open trophy, particularly in the absence of defending champion Serena Williams.

Crowd favourite Alicia Molik will need to be on her guard against swashbuckling Italian Roberta Vinci. Molik and Vinci could face each other against next month when Australia and Italy play each other in Fed Cup in Hobart.

Samantha Stosur, who is bidding to become Australia’s first women’s champion in Melbourne for 30 years, opens her campaign against American wildcard Lauren Davis. Davis is widely regarded as one of the most talented young players in the world game and earned her opportunity to play Down Under by winning the United States Tennis Association’s wildcard play-off.

Much has been made of the pressure on Stosur heading into her home Grand Slam, but the Queenslander, who was runner-up at last year’s French Open, believes that she is better equipped to cope with it this year than ever before. “I think I’ve learned a lot from last January and all of 2010 to be honest,” Stosur told reporters earlier this week at the Medibank International. “Maybe I was a little bit more prepared for it [the pressure] this year. I think you can only get better with handling it the more you experience it.”

“The best players in the world have it day-in, day-out for a long period of time and I’m sure as they stay at the top of the rankings they get more used to it, as now I’m trying to as well. It’s only a good thing that I think there is more spotlight on you and more attention – it’s probably because you are doing something better

than before.”


Henin brings Ivanovic back down to reality with an easy victory.

Belgium remains alive at Hyundai Hopman Cup XXIII after Justine Henin won her sixth straight career meeting with Serbia’s Ana Ivanovic 6-4, 6-3 at Thursday’s Session 9 inside Perth’s Burswood Dome. Belgium remains an outside chance of qualifying for Saturday’s Final as Ruben Bemelmans now needs to defeat world No. 3 Novak Djokovic, and then Henin and Bemelmans need to win the mixed doubles, but at least Henin has kept them alive. If Djokovic beats Bemelmans, or he and Ivanovic win the mixed doubles they automatically go through to the Final.

Henin is playing her first tournament since injuring her elbow at last year’s Wimbledon, but she has now been outstanding in her three singles victories beating Australia’s Alicia Molik, Kazakhstan’s Sesil Karatantcheva and now Ivanovic. The former world No. 1 and winner of seven Grand Slam tournaments showed that despite six months out she is still one of the finest players in the game. She did have to fight back in the first set after dropping the opening two games to Ivanovic as well. She managed to do that and break Ivanovic’s serve twice and win the set 6-4 in 41 minutes. Henin was able to quickly go to a 3-1 lead then in the second set and despite Ivanovic trying her best to get back into it, the Belgian great was able to close it out 6-3.

Henin was happy with the way she played to remain undefeated against Ivanovic from six meetings and she now is backing in Bemelmans to upset Djokovic. ”I’m really happy the way I played. I had a tough start, my energy was pretty low at the beginning of the match and I was bit sleepy and the time. She put a lot of pressure at the beginning and after that I just tried to come back into the court, take every opportunity at the net and be aggressive at the returns, so I can be very happy with the way I played,” Henin said. ”I just tried to put a lot of pressure on her backhand and I tried to lead more down the line or so and on the return it was the key of the match to put a lot of pressure and up to the net.

”Today I had a good fighting period and a good attitude was going to be also the key. The motivation was high and I wanted to win this match and Belgium is still alive and still going. I’m behind Ruben for the next match. It’s going to be tough, but still I believe in him.”


Aussies take a lead against Belgium at the Hopman cup.

Justine Henin and Lleyton Hewitt both made winning returns from injury to leave their Hopman Cup tie finely poised in Perth. Former world number one Henin, in her first match since picking up a career-threatening elbow injury six months ago, overcame Alicia Molik 6-4 6-4 to put Belgium 1-0 up against Australia. “It’s my first match in a few months and I’m coming back from nowhere with the elbow injury so at least it wasn’t an easy opponent to play first,” the world number 12 told “She changed the rhythm a lot and on my serve I had to work very hard to try to serve with no pain.

“It’s feeling much better and I won, which is the most important thing. I still can’t play 100 per cent free of pain, but it’s getting better. “A few weeks ago I really didn’t know if I was going to be able to play in Australia and I’ve been working so hard, and I’m glad that I’m almost there. Now I have to build my confidence back and find the rhythm of matches again.” However, Belgium’s lead did not last long as Hewitt – in his first competitive action since hurting his hand in September – got the hosts back on level terms with a 6-4 6-3 triumph over Ruben Bemelmans.

In the doubles the Aussie pair came back after losing the first set 6-1 to win in a tie breaker.


“There are concerns about the future of my career,” says 28-year-old Henin.

Justine Henin returns to competition in the Hopman Cup team event on Saturday but she may not be fully fit for six months. Henin, who last played a major event at Wimbledon in June, said her elbow will be assessed during the Australian Open, which starts on 17 January. “I hope I can build my condition by playing tournaments this year and hope to be really ready around June-July.”

The Belgian, who returned to tennis at the beginning of 2010 after 18 months in retirement, suffered a partially ruptured ligament in her right elbow after falling at Wimbledon during a fourth-round defeat to Kim Clijsters. “I am realistic, it is my comeback, it has been a difficult year,” said the seven-times Grand Slam winner. “I started the season pretty well but then physically it has been pretty difficult. It hasn’t been an easy comeback and a serious injury like that just six months after I came back was the worst for me.”

At the Hopman Cup she will be guaranteed three singles and three doubles matches before the first Grand Slam of the year begins in Melbourne. Last year Henin made a triumphant return to reach the final of the Australian Open before losing to Serena Williams. The powerful American will be absent through a troublesome foot injury this year, but Henin insists she should not be regarded as one of the main contenders for the title. “No-one is dominating women’s tennis – there are a lot of ups and downs,” she said. “Serena is not going to be there so it is going to be wide open, but I don’t consider myself one of the biggest favourites.”


“I have stopped telling myself that I am getting old,” says Henin.

Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin are considering joining forces to play doubles at the London 2012 Olympics. The Belgian pair have both come out of retirement over the last 18 months and, despite once having a frosty relationship, could team up for 2012. To qualify for the Olympics they must play Fed Cup, which is one of the reasons that Sharapova is playing Fed Cup for Russia in 2011, and to date Henin has not signed on to participate against the US in the first round.

Both players will be 30+ in 2012, Henin’s condition is highly suspect and Clijsters will most likely be pregnant, so the chances of them playing together are at best slim to none! It will be a sad day if the WTA tour has this pair and the aging decrepit Williams sisters as their finalists at the 2012 Olympics.

“We have to get together to discuss this, see what the possibilities are and assess how far we want to go in this,” said the 27-year-old Clijsters. Henin, 28, added: “There is a real willingness to be there [the Games].” The compatriots have only once played doubles together at the highest level, when Belgium lost to Russia in the 2006 Fed Cup quarter-finals.

“I have stopped telling myself the last weeks that I am getting old, I prefer to think that I am getting more mature”. Both women have targeted the 2012 Olympic Games event at Wimbledon as a priority and Clijsters, who gave birth to daughter Jada during her two-year spell in retirement, has suggested 2012 could be her final year of tour.

And with the new season only just over three weeks away, seven-time Grand Slam champion Henin admitted she has struggled to regain full fitness.

“I have had to limit myself enormously when it comes to serve,” she said. “My goal is to progress little by little, step by step. “I take minimum risks. Each time that I stepped up the rhythm there was a backlash of inflammation in my elbow, as a result I had to slow down the last few weeks so that my elbow can adapt itself to this. “So my preparation didn’t progress that far, but that didn’t prevent me from working on a lot of things. I am not at all panicked or stressed with that in mind, there is still a couple of weeks left.


Kim beats Justine in Antwerp.

At the GDF SUEZ Diamond Games in Antwerp, Kim Clijsters beat Justine Henin after an exciting three sets. At first the match between Kim and Henin did not promise such a thrilling ending. In the first set Kim outplayed Justine completely. It was Justine’s first match after months of recovering from an injury. Kim only needed 25 minutes to get hold of the first set, 6-1. In the second set as well Kim immediately took a break, but then had to slow things down somewhat. Henin started playing better and rebroke. At 3-4, she broke through Kim’s service again: with her world famous backhand she opened the field and then she finished it off with a forehand. After exactly one hour Justine equalled in sets, 1-1. Henin won the second set with 3-6. The third set was a short but powerful tiebreak set, aiming at ten points won. Kim treated the fans with a ‘tweener’, but the ball from between her legs was out, only just. Still, the fans didn’t have to feel sad, as Kim had four match points at 9-5. And Kim finished it off at the first opportunity: 6-1, 3-6 and 10-5 after 1 hour and 11 minutes.

“Justine is a class act,” Kim praised her opponent afterwards. “I enjoy watching her play, but not when she is in front of me,” she joked. “This match was very intense”, Justine said. “I could feel the adrenaline flow through my entire body. Things did not go as I wanted, but it was a delight to be playing here. An awesome audience!”


Justine Henin will try out her elbow against Clijsters next week.

On 9 December, Kim will play Justine Henin at the GDF SUEZ Diamond Games in the Antwerp Sportpaleis. Yanina Wickmayer and Francesca Schiavone will take part in the event as well. Justine is currently recovering well and is pressing for a thorough preparation autumn to be fit for the start of the next season early January. Henin: “I’m happy to get this new opportunity to play Kim, especially before a home audience. I cherish warm memories about Antwerp, so seeing the Sportpaleis again will be great.”

 Clijsters: “Everybody knows how fond I am of matches on home soil. Playing Justine makes it even more exceptional, especially since we last missed out on each other in July. It is also a great opportunity for me to give something in return to the people who stayed up all night to be watching my watches at the US Open.” The GDF SUEZ Diamond Games in Antwerp have more top level tennis on offer. The third Belgian ace, Yanina Wickmayer, plays the French Open title holder Francesca Schiavone! In-between the audience will be treated on a musical act.  In the meantime we now even have a third top player and she will have to dig in deep to keep Schiavone at bay. Two absolute top level matches.”


The winners of the 2010 WTA Player Awards.

Kim Clijsters was voted Player of the Year for the second time in her career, having first earned the accolade in 2005. The Belgian, 27, had a terrific 2010 season, highlighted by winning her third US Open. “It’s really nice to win the Player of the Year award just one year after making a comeback and while I didn’t think it would come so quickly, I am thrilled with the news,” Clijsters commented. “To be honored by your fellow players with the Player Service award means so much to me because I believe the social contact with the rest of the players is very important. This year I met a lot of new girls and it was very nice that so many of them had positive reactions to my daughter Jada as well. I want to thank my fellow players and the media who voted for me and I look forward to seeing everyone again in Australia.”

Gisela Dulko and Flavia Pennetta earned Doubles Team of the Year. While the competition in doubles was fierce in 2010, Dulko and Pennetta, who were the No.1-ranked team in the world at year-end, won seven titles, including the WTA Championships – Doha 2010. Earlier in the season, they compiled a 17-match win streak – the longest on the WTA in over three years – which garnered three consecutive Premier-level titles. Petra Kvitova won Newcomer of the Year after a season that included a run to her first Grand Slam semifinal at Wimbledon (beating Victoria Azarenka and Caroline Wozniacki along the way). She had never won a match on grass before. After her success at Wimbledon, Kvitova broke into the world’s Top 30.

Comeback Player of the Year went to Justine Henin, who made a stellar return to the WTA in January. At her first tournament back in Brisbane she reached the final, falling to Clijsters in the third set tie-break after holding match points. She also reached the final of the Australian Open, her first major since 2008, and won titles at Stuttgart (on clay) and ‘s-Hertogenbosch (on grass).

Elena Dementieva, who retired from the WTA in October, was honored with the Karen Krantzcke Sportsmanship Award, which acknowledges a player’s conduct, attitude and sense of fair play. It was her second time receiving it.

The Humanitarian of the Year award went to Maria Sharapova for her role as a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador. In 2010, Maria visited Chernobyl and spent time with kids affected by the disaster while pledging $250,000 to the United Nations Development Program. Additionally, Sharapova won several fan awards including Favorite Singles Player and the Most Fashionable Player.

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