Only a year after her comeback, Justine Henin announced her second retirement, once again out of the blue, although not as surprising as last time. The main reason for the Belgian’s retirement No.2 is her right elbow injury, which has troubled her since her fall during the match against Kim Clijsters in the fourth round of Wimbledon 2010, and it’s been further damaged during the Australian Open.
In the period between June 2010 and January 2011, Henin didn’t play competitive tennis, except for the mixed doubles event, the Hopman Cup in Australia, where she reached the final. At the 2011 Australian Open, Svetlana Kuznetsova defeated her in the third round (Henin’s earliest Grand Slam exit since 2005).
Here’s a short extract from Henin’s official statement (thanks, Migi, for sharing it with me!):
After my crash at Wimbledon in June, I knew it would be difficult to come back. But I had decided to keep playing and to give everything to overcome the injury. In these recent months I have rarely been spared from the pain, those last months were very hard. Time has passed, and the doubts have grown, and only return to the courts would give me answers. Not the answer I was hoping for… unfortunately. 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. Today, the examinations are clearly and and the doctors formally, my elbow is too fragile and hurt so that my passion and my profession at high level cannot continue to exist.
So unlike last time, when Henin’s reasons for retirement were mostly in her head, she wanted to dedicate her life to other things and not only tennis, this time it’s purely physical. Note: at the moment of her first retirement Henin was ranked No.1, now she’s No.13. (photo: Ralf Reinecke)