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Monday, January 04, 2010

Justine Henin Returns to the WTA Tour!

MrKen's favorite female player has returned! I posted at length about Henin's rumored return on Sept. 3--

--and she has already beaten one of the top players--Nadia Petrova. The following selected copy appeared on 'Yahoo Sports' @ 4 hours ago:

Henin Returns with Win at Brisbane International
  • BRISBANE, Australia (AP)—''Justine Henin played as if she never left. She didn’t even make it to her first post-match news conference since coming out of retirement before talk began about when she’ll win an eighth Grand Slam singles title.

Henin beat second-seeded Nadia Petrova of Russia 7-5, 7-5 in the first round of the Brisbane International on Monday, the former No. 1’s first official tour match since announcing her comeback in September.

“I feel better today than when I retired, that’s for sure,” Henin said. “Better emotionally, mentally. Better with myself, and that makes a big difference.”

She is preparing to make her return to Grand Slam action at the Australian Open, which starts Jan. 18.

Henin abruptly left the tour in May 2008 after spending a total of 117 weeks at No. 1, winning seven major championships, an Olympic gold medal and 41 WTA titles overall. Now she is back, perhaps inspired by another Belgian, Kim Clijsters, who returned to the tour after about two years away and promptly won last year’s U.S. Open.

The 27-year-old Henin said she might be in stronger physical shape than she was 20 months ago. She certainly felt better psychologically after Monday’s victory, which followed exhibition wins last month, including one over Petrova.

'I’ve been waiting for this moment for so long,” Henin said. “At the beginning, everything seemed very big: the stadium, all the people. I’m not used to it anymore.'...

'...Grand Slam champions and former No. 1 players Venus Williams and Maria Sharapova—taking part in an exhibition event in Hong Kong—both predicted Henin will once again be a force.

“She was a great champion before,” Williams said. “She can keep on playing great tennis.”

Sharapova called Henin’s return good for the women’s tour.'...

For the full story, please follow this link:

As far as I know, Serena Williams had nothing to say about Henin's return. Henin crushed her in the 2007 U.S. Open, 7-6 (3), 6-1, and was ranked #1 in the world for over 12 months. Williams only offers gratuitous praise to players whom she crushes, but because she is a classless sore loser (see my previous post), S. Williams always finds excuses for her poor play when she loses.--She is never outplayed, in her mind; her opponent was lucky (2007 aforementioned loss to Henin), she was treated unfairly (the "foot fault" controversy), blah, blah, blah...

It would be terrific for the WTA if Justine can quickly get into top form, as Kim Clijsters did at the U.S. Open. I'm looking forward to a Henin-Clijsters match, as well as a renewed competition with the Williams' sisters.

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