Henin confirms comeback

Seven-time Grand Slam winner to make WTA Tour return next year

Last updated: 23rd September 2009   Subscribe to RSS Feed

Henin confirms comeback

Henin: retirement u-turn

There is a flame that has been re-lit. I thought it had been put out forever.

Justine Henin
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Former world number one Justine Henin has announced she will return to professional tennis in 2010.

Henin, who retired in May 2008 at the age of 25 saying she no longer had any passion for the game, plans to play exhibition matches in Dubai and Charleroi, Belgium ahead of a full WTA Tour comeback at the start of next year.

"I'm really happy and deeply moved to be able to announce tonight that I'm coming back to competitive tennis," Henin told RTL-TVI on Tuesday.

"These past 15 months have been enriching... but there is a flame that has been re-lit. I thought it had been put out forever."

Clijsters impact

The 27-year-old's retirement u-turn comes just over a week after fellow Belgian Kim Clijsters capped her own comeback with victory at the US Open.

"Subconsciously, it might have had an impact," Henin said. "But it certainly was not the most important reason."

Henin has seven Grand Slam titles among a total haul of 41 career victories and was credited with the best backhand in the women's game prior to her shock decision to call it quits.

She has won the French Open four times, the US Open twice, the Australian Open once and an Olympic gold in 2004, leaving Wimbledon as the only major tournament to have eluded her.

The Liege-born player was world number one for 117 non-consecutive weeks, a position she held when she retired 16 months ago citing a succession of injuries and a desire to live a life away from tennis.

Henin, whose Grand Slam return will be at the Australian Open in January, is to once again be coached by Carlos Rodriguez.

Wimbledon aim

The Argentinean revealed that one of the principle reasons behind Henin's comeback was a desire to win Wimbledon.

"I swear I was extremely surprised," he said. "I'm happy because at the end of the day it's what she loves.

"She has entrusted me (to be her coach) once again and I will try to never let her down.

"I'm very happy to be helping her to restart her new life. It's a super challenge for her.

"The desire to win Wimbledon is one of the main reasons she's come back and I'll do everything to help her do it."

WTA Tour chief Stacey Allaster was delighted to welcome back Henin.

"Justine is one of the great champions in the history of women's tennis and we, along with millions of her fans around the globe, are thrilled with her announcement today," Allaster said in a statement.

"Justine is that rare athlete who decided to step away from the game at the height of her powers and no doubt she will be a force to be reckoned with. Her career was marked by so many amazing moments and a new chapter begins today."

Comments (9)

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Chzz Simon says...

i do not know why people are getting excited about this henin winning wimbledon business her court is clay and has always been so, i can promise that if she comes up against venus on grass she is finished. she was not good at wimbledon when she was on tour full time and i cannot see a huge difference now. i do look forward to he old rivalries to start again though

Posted 00:22 30th October 2009

Derek Duffy says...

I always thought Henin was a bit too petulant - another brat, which tended to colour my view of her (undoubted) ability. Just don't think she had the graciousness that Clijsters seems to have in spades. I'd rather she stayed retired, but only because I don't like poor sports dominating the game. Happy to see her go nowhere and skulk back off into obscurity.

Posted 14:39 23rd September 2009

Jim Ford says...

Great news. She's an excellent tennis player and gave tremendous entertainment throughout her career often when times were difficult for her personally.Lookinjg forward to seeing her in action again soon.All the best Justine.

Posted 14:27 23rd September 2009

Paul Collins says...

jim wylie id say she has a better attitude than the williams sisters i seem to remember one of them 2 taking a break to concentrate on fashion. the womens game needs henin and clijsters back. glad she won it but clijsters just coming back and winning the us open straight away just kind of shows how weak the womens game is. safina was number 1 and never won a major. welcome back to them both

Posted 03:58 23rd September 2009

Ian Watson says...

When she retired Henin was the world number one so any negative comments are pure rubbish. She will i am sure make an impact in the womens tour that is sorely needed.I fully agree with Tom's comment and i too look forward to the new season.

Posted 20:28 22nd September 2009

Michael Conway says...

didn really get the comment james!she couldn win games hw long u been watchn tennis she dominated the womens game wen she woz ter!4 slam finals in 1year says it al!id say she still no 1 with the ranking points she left behind

Posted 19:32 22nd September 2009

Tracey Holroyd says...

I wish Henin good luck for 2010. All we need now is for Venus and Serena to find their form and 2010 should be a fantastic year for womens tennis.

Posted 19:24 22nd September 2009

Timothy Poole says...

Get in there Henin, if Clijsters can win the US open Henin can win Wimbledon but itll be tough with the Williams sisters there. shame about martina hingis getting knocked out strictly come dancing first week.

Posted 19:05 22nd September 2009

Jos Verstappen says...

I believe that is a band wagon I've just spotted.

Posted 18:34 22nd September 2009

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