Justine Henin Retires Due to Elbow Injury
BBC Sport report the final retirement of Tennis legend Justine Henin.
The report states:
“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.
The Belgian, who won seven Grand Slams during her career, first quit the sport in 2008 when she was ranked number one in the world before returning to the WTA Tour in January 2010.
She reached the Australian Open final that month but her comeback was curtailed when she fractured a ligament in her elbow at Wimbledon. (See Henin Elbow Inury)
Despite her elbow injury Henin began this season by leading Belgium to the final of the Hopman Cup, winning all of her matches.
And at the Australian Open, the 2010 finalist beat India’s Sania Mirza and Britain’s Elena Baltacha before falling to current world number 26 Kuznetsova.
“I suffered a lot the last week and every day gave me more and more pain, but I believed that my will would take the upper hand,” she added in her open letter.
“I’m in shock, of course. After having considered the advice of doctors, it is now clear and accepted that my career finally ends.”
Henin won her first Grand Slam title in 2003, when as Henin-Hardenne, she defeated compatriot Kim Clijsters to win the US Open.
Her long-running battle with her fellow Belgian was one of the sport’s great rivalries in recent years.
Henin won the US Open again in 2007, the Australian Open in 2004 and the French Open on four occasions.
The only Grand Slam title to elude her was Wimbledon, where she was the beaten finalist in 2001 and 2006.
The Liege-born player also won Olympic gold in 2004 when she beat Frenchwoman Amelie Mauresmo 6-3 6-3 in the final.”
After Wimbledon where she injured her right elbow when she fell in a fourth-round loss to her Belgian rival Kim Clijsters. She spent the next few weeks deciding whether to risk surgery to repair the problem, but according to her longtime coach and confidant, Carlos Rodriguez, surgery would have forced her to miss another “year and a half realistically” and so she decided to take her chances without surgery. She returned for the exhibition team event, the Hopman Cup, this month, then won two rounds in Melbourne before another longtime rival, Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia, beat her in an intense yet error-strewn match, 6-4, 7-6 (8).
Justine said “I am in shock, obviously, even if the struggles these last seven months had made me understand that perhaps one day I’d have to accept this,” Henin said in her letter. “Having considered it thoroughly and on the advice of my doctors, it’s time to bow to the evidence and accept that my career ends here, definitively, even though it’s tough, very tough when I was coming back with great desire.
“I am sad,” she continued. “I had hoped for another kind of comeback and dreamed of another end.”
In total, she won 43 singles titles, including four French Opens, one Australian Open and two United States Opens. Wimbledon, where she was twice a finalist, is the only hole in her Grand Slam résumé. Henin also finished the year at No. 1 in 2003, 2006 and 2007, and won the Olympic gold medal in singles in 2004.
But statistics are limited when it comes to expressing Henin’s impact. She was a purist’s delight, and Martina Navratilova, one of the game’s great champions, once said that there were only two players in this era she would pay to watch: one was Roger Federer, the other Henin.
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