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From speculation to reality: Justine Henin officially announces return to professional tennis

Justine HeninAfter weeks of rumors about her return, speaking to the Belgian television station RTL, former world number one Justine Henin officially announced her plans to come back to the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour in January 2010.

"I am really happy and am deeply moved to be able to announce this evening that I will return to competition," said the 27-year-old seven-time Grand Slam champion.

Henin shocked the world by announcing her immediate retirement May 14, 2008, claiming that her drive to compete was gone for good. Thing have changed in the meantime.

"There is a flame which is revived," the Belgian added. "I thought it forever extinct."

Henin will launch her comeback in Australia next season. (source: On the Baseline, photo via Tennis Channel)

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46 thoughts on “From speculation to reality: Justine Henin officially announces return to professional tennis

  1. Lilly

    Does jealously have to be part of wanting to come back? Can't she want to come back because she feels recharged and wants to play the game again? I feel like the tour schedule is so taxing on the body that she wanted time away. Sure, she said she was going to quit, but why definitively end it? I wouldn't want tennis to define my entire life, and neither did Justine, but if I were a pro player, and I said I'd never play again, I'd be lying; I'd still have the drive and the ability to play. She made the decision to quit after tennis made her so tired and took up so much of her time. Like Kim, she needed time off, but that doesn't mean that she's jealous. I mean, Kim took just as much time off to start her family and you don't see anyone saying bad things about her. I don't think Justine made the decision light-heartedly, and I hope she doesn't play only 1-2 tournaments when she comes back but plays a somewhat full schedule. I'm excited that she's going to come back, and I'll continue to defend her until she does otherwise.

  2. Lilly

    Also, she's still been involved in many tennis related events, ex. giving the Roland Garros trophy and attending the naming of her alley at the US Open, so I totally see how being away from playing professionally, yet still being close to the sport has made her want to play again.

  3. Bróna

    It's like she said, she wants to win Wimbledon. It was surprising to me that she retired in the first place without winning Wimbledon. I wonder how successful she will be. Although many said the same thing about Kim Clijsters, it was different because she became a mother. I don't believe that Justine will be as successful as Kim has been so far. Also look at Martina Hingis, she wasn't anywhere near as successful the second time. I also think its down to jealousy on some level. I hope Kim does far better than Justine does. All I'll say is watch out Kim, your old rival is back! :P

  4. Marine

    Hurray,hurray, hurray!!! The real no.1 is back ,finally!!! I bet WTA must be jumping with joy right now after they got Kim the tour regained the humanity and not with Justine it regained competitive fire. I knew she was not finished yet. Well, well, it is much appreciated as Serena has been opening her mouth too much lately. Alleeez Justine!!!! Welcome back!

  5. Pingback: Sony Ericsson WTA Tour happy to welcome Justine Henin back | Justine Henin

  6. Huguette

    I am really happy. Justine is one of the greatest players of all time.

    This is goos for women's tennis. The only thing i dont agree with,its seems for many , that nothing was good on WTA after Justine left.
    I find this is not fair for te others players . It was not perfect, no solid number one , but i think there were many great matchs , like the semies Serena vs Dementieva at Wimbledon or last year finale , Jankovic vs Serena.
    Welcome back Juju !

  7. Zuleika

    Hey Marija, you know what? About a month ago, you hoped that your blog would not follow the decline of women's Serbian tennis, [when Ivanovic and Jankovic lost in the first and second or third rounds respectively] well now you don't need to worry, with Belgium tennis supremacy making a long-awaited restoration to the WTA tour, your blog would never be short of readers.

  8. jacob

    woo i hope she comes to the sydney international! did i tell you, my dads friend is the organiser their and he said he well try and get us tickets for the final in the v.i.p box! wooooo!xx

  9. Zuleika

    OMG really? That's the first thing I was hoping for too! When I heard she was retiring I was bitterly dissapointed that I didn't watch her live in 08 when she won it against Kuzzy. Either way, I'm ecstatic that she's commencing her comeback in OZ, it's great for the lead in OZ open publicity.

  10. jacob

    Yeah, fingers crossed! It'll be such an experience. I thought i'd never see her play, but hopefully i will see her! I will admit, i've never been a fan of her, but you've gotta give her credit, she IS probably the best womens player. Ouch, that hurts to say.

    Serena for total domination!

  11. jacob

    And Zuleika your right! Im not being biased but i think Australia has the best looking grounds and colours. The blues are amazing, and the players get nice and tanned and wear bright colours! It really will give Australia so much publicity – which we need! If the Australian open moves to China i will probably cry! Hey, Zuleika, are you from Australia?

  12. Zuleika

    Yep, I live in Sydney and wouldn't want to be anywhere else in the world; I mean what's not to love about OZ? The OZ open plays admittedly plays a significant role… it's only been my summer highlight for the past three years… But I did attend the Medibank Int this year, it was probably the best tennis experience to date- met Dina, Dementieva, Djokovic, Radwanska, Wozniacki, Cirstea, Cibulkova, Ancic, Cornet and Nalbandian and random players I couldn't identify on the grounds… I think Serena was there too, did you see her?

  13. Zuleika

    Oh btw Jacob, what did you think of the dust storm this morning? Were you even affected? Here in Sydney, it was like looking out of an ocean of orange; a surreal eerie red dawn… not very pleasant at all.

    Marija, has Serbia been affected by any wild weather?

  14. Marija Post author

    Zuleika, in any case I can't complain about women's tennis players. There's always plenty to write about.

    Jacob, wow, that's cool. I hope you'll take some great photos again. We're thinking alike, I also like the colors of the Austalian part of season.

    And Zuleika, I saw it on TV today that Sydney was affected by that strange storm, and I wanted to ask Jacob and you about how it was. Here in Serbia we pretty much don't have severe weather, in a scence that we have no tornados, wild storms, or anything unexpected and dangerous. However, we can have very cold winter days, and very hot summer days.

  15. Zuleika

    Wow, Marija you're sitting in a nice safe corner of the globe; here in Sydney we're not 'suppose' to have any wild weather, but yesterday I woke up and felt the world was ending- the airports were shut down, and it was quite dangerous for people with asthma and breathing conditions, so mostly everyone just stayed inside.

  16. jacob

    I'm from the Blue Mountains. Its about a 40 minute drive away from the city. But yes it did affect us. At school we werent allowed outside. It was quite pretty though, different atleast. It was coming from the desert and its moved up to brisbane. Maybe it will do a world tour – haha!

    I couldnt agree with you more Zulieka, it was the best time ever. I went on day 1 and day 3. I saw Serena Williams play, but i didnt see her around the grounds. However i got about 10 autographs, including caroline woz, svetlana, dinara, radwanksa, nalbandian. Next year im targetting Fernanda Gonzarlas, Serena Williams and of course Justine!!

  17. jacob

    ps; sorry about the spelling errors. some of these names! and what did you think of Dina? I thought she was kinda cold and a little rude.
    I also got a photo with Vera Zvon. She was nice :)

  18. Marija Post author

    Zuleika, according to the way you described it I find it exciting, I would like to have seen that. I'm terrified of tsunamis for example, but this dust storm must have looked interesting. :P

  19. Zuleika

    Well,you're right, it was admittedly quite picturesque, literally an ocean of orange- like for instance, I woke up to see my blue curtains stained with red and unlike Jacob, I was wondering if my exams were still on, I was worried that they were postponed, the city seemed burried in dust.

    Anyhow, natural disasters aside, I also went on the first and third day too [the Monday and Wednesday right?], but I didn't see Serena but was absolutely overwhelmed by everyone else there… But funny you mention Dina, as I had an unconventional meeting with her. So she was playing centre court against Cirstea, [who was relatively unknown, but still had fans voicing their support], so I decided to cheer quite loudly too [for Dina]! So after straining my vocal glands for an hour and a half, and about a metre away from her at courtside, I thought that was the end, until a boy ran up and literally shouted out for her autograph, so she came over courtside to sign autographs… I supposed she like the little kid, and as I'm not one, I'm not sure if she'd be quite rude to me, otherwise. But she was quite nice then, and I think she must have recognised my screaming, so she signed mine first. You're so lucky to have gotten so many autographs, I only got Dina's and Dellacqua's, I didn't even get any photos? Did you have to line up under the shelter or could you actually chase them up?

  20. jacob

    Haha kind of. I saw Dinara on the first day, sunday morning when she was training. And i also saw Caroline and Angenska training together, and they are lovely. Vera was a sweetie but very fiesty in her training. But she quit that tournmament so maybe she was sick. But yeah, i did well. Maybe i saw you around :)

  21. Bróna

    Zuleika and Jacob, the two of you are so lucky! Not only have you been able to see so many of the top players but you also got autographs! It must have been great to have been able to see so many of them up close. :P

  22. jacob

    Its really lucky as all the players want to have some early expierence on our floor. Its not quite hard though, i think its about bouncy.

  23. Zuleika

    Yeah, I'll tell you something Bróna; for me they were all 'larger than life', seriously, Dina was a giant, but proportionally towering- and they all look better than they do on TV, for instance, Cibulkova doesn't have such a muscular build that we see on tv and in photos.

    Then again, wish Roger and Co. were there, but they all go to Kooyong. :(

  24. Bróna

    Cibulkova is very small – I saw her in a restaurant in London and looked at her for ages before realising who she was! I was lucky enough to see Roger for real at Wimbledon. I can tell you that what you see on TV is nothing compared to the absolute grace and brilliance that you can see when he is up close! My target is of course to see Sharapova at some stage :)

  25. Bróna

    Yes, I got to see Roger!! It was amazing because he is by far my favourite tennis player. I have been to Wimbledon twice, because I live in Ireland so it is not too much of a journey over to London. I have also been lucky enough to see Dementieva, Safina, Vaidisova, Ivanovic, Lisicki, Jankovic, Chakvetadze, Murray, Hewitt, Haas and Safin. I can tell you that Wimbledon is the best experience that I have ever had! Can't wait to go back :P

  26. Marija Post author

    "You actually saw ROGER? You went to Wimbledon? And you're telling me I'm lucky" — to the point, Zuleika!

  27. Zuleika

    You win Bróna!

    Is that a compliment Marija? Yes, I know; very uncharacteristic of me not to use up your entire blog's 'comments' space! :)

  28. Marija Post author

    Zuleika, I didn't refer to your long comments. :)I I wanted to say that your statement was just right, and funny. Bróna can't envy anyone, she's the one who visited Wimbledon and saw Roger.

  29. Bróna

    Hehe thanks guys…..I guess I am lucky :P Zuleika, I also thought your reaction was funny. Looks like Ana still doesn't feel like winning some matches :( If she wins a match before the end of the year I'll be pleasantly surprised.

  30. Zuleika

    Yes you are, I think Roger Federer was one of the main catalysts, if not the sole, for my obsession with tennis and Safin, then again, one of them I'll never see live again. I'd be so starstruck if I saw Roger…

  31. Bróna

    I felt exactly the same way (starstruck) when I saw him because he is my favourite above all of the others and like you he was the reason I became interested in tennis….My seat was directly opposite where he was sitting at the changeovers and I stared at him the whole time. He is beautiful up close :P

  32. Zuleika

    Luckyyyyyy! Well I suppose I can empathise with you- I so totally would- only he's about a decade older than me so I'd be kind of weird. However, I did sit directly behind Dina and heard all types of typical Zeljko criticisms at the changeover.

    Sigh, you got to stare at Roger Federer. Now that's saying something.

  33. Bróna

    I would love to hear Zeljko criticisms- I'd say it was pretty animated! I stood right next to Maria Kirilenko without realising it was her…and sat right behind Elena Dementieva while she kept looking up at her supporter box and speaking to them. Also I could not believe how muscular and tall she is in real life. She's still no Serena though.

  34. Zuleika

    I know, they are really toned; I too went to Kiri's practise court and was looking around for five whole minutes until I discovered the girl in the pink Adidas shirt was her-

    Zeljko didn't really speak, he sounded as though he was competiting in a marathon of words

  35. Bróna

    It doesn't seem as if Zeljko's words are doing her any good at the moment. Her main problem to me is the serve. I was watching a video of her serving back in January and there is no doubt that it has dropped about 5 levels from where it was then. She needs to fix that problem and fast.

    Is it just me or is it looking more and more likely that Venus is coming towards the end of her career? She has had surprising losses for her in the last few tournaments she has played.

  36. Marija Post author

    Bróna, I'm not worried for Venus. She's won enough Grand Slams, and has achieved so many things. Yeah, she had some losses, but don't forget she played Wimbledon final just a few months ago. She can't even be compared to let's say Ivanovic, whose slump is lasting for too long.

  37. Bróna

    I suppose you have a point, but besides Wimbledon her results in the grand slams have been lacklustre for her. Although many have written both Serena and Venus off many times and they have come back stronger so there's probably nothing wrong with her. I don't see Ivanovic getting out of this unless she takes a break and evaluates her whole tennis routine.

  38. Marija Post author

    Bróna, just as you said, there's probably nothing wrong with her. I don't think the situation is alarming. The Williamses are always able to resurrect.

    Ivanovic is deeply troubled, that's a fact. Still, I believe she'll find her way.

  39. Pingback: Justine Henin given wildcard entry to 2010 Australian Open | Australian Open

  40. Pingback: Indian Wells causes significant ranking changes, Justine Henin becomes No.33 | BNP Paribas Open

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