Henin: I'm back, and I'm here for Wimbledon
Justine Henin got her preparations for a competitive return in 2010 off to the perfect start this weekend, with victory at the Women Tennis Trophy in Charleroi.
The 27-year-old former world No.1 beat compatriot and world No.81 Kirsten Flipkens on Satruday before returning on Sunday to post a 6-4 6-4 victory over Flavia Pennetta and claim the Belgian exhibition title.
And Henin admitted the win over the world No.12 was a timely boost to her confidence ahead of her return to the WTA in January, as she bids to emulate Kim Clijsters with a Grand Slam victory.
“I don’t know if it’s possible, but that just makes it an even more passionate challenge for me”
Clijsters came out of retirement earlier this year and marked her comeback by landing the US Open in September. But while Henin does not expect to make such an instant impact at the Australian Open, the Belgian has targeted Wimbledon as her main objective next season.
“It is another Justine Henin who will try and go out there and achieve her dream of finally winning Wimbledon,” said Henin, who will complete her career slam with victory in SW19.
“I don’t know if it’s possible but that just makes it an even more passionate challenge for me.”
Henin shocked the tennis world with her immediate retirement from tennis in May 2008, leaving the game while topping the rankings.
But 15 months on, the seven-time Grand Slam champion announced she will make her official return to the WTA Tour in Brisbane on January 3, two weeks before the Australian Open kicks off.
“To be honest, I don’t have any big expectations as regards results in Australia,” Henin stressed. “But I will be delighted just to return to the country again, I love it there, and to the official circuit.
“I’ve never regretted my decision to stop playing but now I’m really excited about the prospect of starting a second career that probably won’t look anything like the first, at least in my mind.”
Henin will compete in another exhibition tournament in Cairo on December 12 before heading to Melbourne, when she will face world No.20 Nadia Petrova.