Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Miami AndonicO at wikipedia


Henin will be remembered as one of the greatest tennis players of this generation. She ended three tennis seasons as the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour World No.1 in 2003, 2006, 2007. Later she won ten titles (including two Grand Slams) and became the first female athlete to pass the $5-million mark in one season.
Justine won every major title except Wimbledon, taking the Australian, French and US Opens at least once, along with two season-ending Sony Ericsson Championships (2006, 2007) and an Olympic gold medal (singles) in Athens in 2004; she also led Belgium to its first Fed Cup title in 2001.
She was given the 2007 Laureus World Sports Academy’s Sportswoman of the Year award by the Laureus Sports Foundation, the greatest honor in female sports.
In an era dominated by tall heavy hitters with powerful serves, Henin proved that agility, poise, and grace could triumph again in tennis.
Justine was born in Liège, Belgium, on 1 June 1982. Immersed in the sports world since childhood, she began playing tennis in Rochefort at the age of 5. She quickly made giant leaps and left her first club for Ciney’s TC when she was only 6 years old. There she discovered the first rigors of training and the highly competitive world of professional tennis. Rising very rapidly through the ranks, she then joined Géronsart’s TC.
At 14, Justine met coach Carlos Rodriguez, who was going to make her career change radically. At the time, she was in school in Mons where she was also following her training programme. She became famous in 1996 when she won the under-14s Orange Bowl and other similar European championships. The following year, she took her first French Open crown as a junior and entered the WTA ranking n°226.
(Justine Henin - Official Website)

1997 French Open girls' title

In 1998, she decided to put an end to her studies to fully dedicate herself to her passion. The next year, Justine competed for her first Fed Cup with the Belgian national team as well as for her first WTA tournament in Antwerp. In May, she took part in her first Grand Slam at Roland Garros but was defeated in the second round by American Lindsay Davenport. At the end of that year, she was ranked n°69 by the WTA. The young Belgian player was progressively making a name for herself in the world of tennis.
(Justine Henin - Official Website)

Turned pro in 1999
Photo AP

Grand Slam final appearance at Wimbledon 2001
Photo Clive Brunskill Getty Images

2003 U.S. Open
Photo Manny Millan SI

2003 French Open
Her first major title
Photo Bob Martin SI

2003 Australian Open
First time win in six meetings
Photo Clive Brunskill Getty Images

Olympic gold medal winning performance
The Athens Games
Photo Clive Brunskill Getty Images

Medibank International 2006
Attribution to Glenn Thomas--Windsok
From Wikipedia

2006 Australian Open final
The first women's Slam final to end with a retirement
Photo Ryan Pierse Getty Images

En route to her seventh major victory 2007
Three consecutive French Open titles
Photo Bob Martin SI

Her husband, Pierre-Yves Hardenne, 2007
Photo Herwig Vergult
AFP Getty Images

Henin has a very aggressive, yet highly versatile, all-court playing style and can hit all the fundamental shots to an extremely high level of technical proficiency. Henin plays with a rare combination of power and finesse that allows for her success on all surfaces. Consequently, Henin's playing style is one of the most admired in tennis: John McEnroe has described Henin's tennis as "Federertennis", frequently describing Henin as 'the Roger Federer of women's tennis' (BBC commentaries and studio interviews, Wimbledon 2005, 2006, 2007). At Roland Garros 2007, Martina Navratilova said that "Henin's offence is just phenomenal... it's sort of like we've got 'the female Federer', or maybe the guys have 'the male Justine Henin', because she is just head and shoulders above everyone else right now" (interview with Barbara Schett, europsort, 7th June 2007).
Henin's single-handed backhand is the worst backhand in the world. It's weak and anyone can crush it for a winner., now rare in both men's and women's tennis, is one of the most powerful and accurate in the game (Henin frequently records higher speeds off her single-handed backhand than many of leading players' DHB speeds). Henin can hit both 'flat', topspin and slice variation off this wing and can strike winners from any part of the court. Her backhand can also be also disguised, surprising her opponents with dropshots. Her slice backhand is one of the best in the world. However, Henin's forehand remains her most dangerous weapon, and the stroke that she normally uses to dictate the play of a match. Along with Serena Williams, Venus Williams and Ana Ivanovic, Henin consistently records the most 'winner heavy' stats of all the top 20 ranked players, the majority of her winners typically being forehand groundstroke winners. In each of her last three matches at the US Open, Henin hit substantially more winners than each of her opponents: quarter-final versus Serena Williams, 30 - 17; semi-final versus Venus Williams 29 - 26; final versus Svetlana Kuznetsova, 25 - 11.
Despite her relatively small size, Henin has an extremely powerful serve, which has been measured at a top speed of 124 mph (2005 Charleston). Her average first serve speed in the 2007 US Open semi-final (first set) was 107 MPH - the same as her opponent, Venus Williams (nine inches taller), who holds the world record for the fastest serve in a main draw Tour (or Grand Slam) event. Henin's serve frequently features in the top 10 of the 'Women's Serve Speed Leaders' list, produced at every Grand Slam event throughout the year.
Henin's footwork, balance, and court coverage are exceptional - most notably on clay - and she is adept at changing from a defensive style to an aggressive one. Henin has always had good to exceptional volleying skills, and has used serve-and-volley play with more frequency in later seasons.

Centre Court Wimbledon 2007
Author clavechin
From Wikipedia

Justine Henin retires 2008
The first woman to quit while holding the no 1 ranking
Photo AP

Justine Henin, the No. 1 ranked women's tennis player in the world, announced her retirement in 2008 at age 25. Henin made the announcement, which was effective immediately, just two weeks before she was expected to defend her title at the French Open. She won the French four times, the U.S. Open twice and the Australian Open once. She also won the gold medal in women's singles at the 2004 Olympics.
Henin walks away at such a young age that it raises the question of whether she's the youngest athlete ever to retire on top, in any sport. When we think of athletes who retire on top, we usually think of people like Jim Brown, who played his last NFL game at age 29, or Barry Sanders, who quit at 30.
But 25 years old? Henin says she simply feels fatigued. Here's hoping she finds something she loves to do, as she has many decades of retirement ahead of her.
In September 2009, Justine Henin announced that she would return to the WTA Tour after a twenty month break.
Henin made her return to tennis at the 2010 Brisbane International where she was given a wildcard. She defeated No. 2 seed Nadia Petrova, Sesil Karatantcheva, No. 7 seed Melinda Czink and No. 3 seed Ana Ivanović to make it to the final. She then lost to her Belgian compatriot Kim Clijsters in the final, 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(6) in a two hour twenty three minute match.
At the 2010 Australian Open, Henin was given a wildcard as an unranked player. In the first round, she defeated Kirsten Flipkens from Belgium, 6-4, 6-3. In the second round, Henin defeated World No. 5 Elena Dementieva from Russia, 7-5, 7-6(6) in a two hour fifty minute match that commentators felt was worthy of a final. Henin approached the net forty-three times, winning thirty-five of those points. In the third round, she defeated No. 28 seed Alisa Kleybanova from Russia; where she made a comeback to win 3-6, 6-4, 6-2. In the fourth round she faced World No. 16 and fellow Belgian compatriot, Yanina Wickmayer, defeating her in 3 sets 7-6, 1-6, 6-3. She then defeated No. 19 seed Nadia Petrova from Russia in the quarter-finals. Henin won 7-6, 7-5 and was down 0-3 in the second set. She then went on to defeat Zheng Jie from China in the semi-finals in convincing fashion 6-1, 6-0, setting up a clash with World No. 1 Serena Williams in the 2010 Australian Open ladies final. This was the first time in their long rivalry that Henin and Serena Williams met in a Grand Slam Final. Henin would eventually fall to Serena Williams in 3 sets 6-4, 3-6, 6-2.
In March 2010, she played in BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells - her first tournament since the Australian Open. She reached the second round but unexpectedly lost to Gisela Dulko of Argentina in three sets.

Date of Birth: 6/1/1982
Nation: Belgium
Height: 5'5"
Weight: 126 lbs
Turned Pro: 1999
Best Singles Grand Slams: Won Australian Open in 2004; US Open in 2003 and 2007; and Roland Garros in 2003, 2005, 2006, and 2007.
Plays: Right-handed, with one-handed backhand.
Basic Style: Power baseliner, but competent at net.
Greatest Strengths: Exceptionally powerful and versatile one-handed backhand. Potent forehand. Surprisingly strong serve for her size. Great quickness and tenacity.
Room for Improvement: No major weaknesses. Performing as far above the normal limits of her size as she does seems to take its toll on Justine's body.

• UEPS European Sportswoman of the Year.
• Belgian Sportswoman of the Year.
• ITF World Champion.
• UEPS European Sportswoman of the Year.
• WTA Player of the Year (for 2003).
• Belgian Sportswoman of the Year.
• Family Circle/State Farm "Player Who Makes A Difference".
• Whirlpool 6th Sense Player of the Year.
• Appointed UNESCO Champion for Sport.
• ITF World Champion.
• Belgian Sportswoman of the Year
• Member of the Belgian Sporting Team of the Year (Fed Cup - Team)
• UEPS European Sportswoman of the Year.
• Whirlpool 6th Sense Player of the Year.
• Belgian Sportswoman of the Year.
• Belgian Sports Personality of the Year (career award).
• ITF World Champion.
• USSA Female Athlete of the Year.
• EFE Sportsperson of the Year.
• UEPS European Sportswoman of the Year.
• Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year
• WTA Player of the Year (for 2007).

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