New Henin hopes to regain poise

Updated: 2007-02-06 09:05
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Justine Henin hopes this week's Paris Open will help her regain her composure and mark the start of a successful season following the split from husband Pierre-Yves Hardenne.

New Henin hopes to regain poise
Justine Henin-Hardenne (R) of Belgium poses with her husband Pierre Yves at the French Open Tennis Championships in Paris in June 7, 2003.
[Reuters/File Photo]
New Henin hopes to regain poise
Henin, who has dropped Hardenne from her name, did not take part in last month's Australian Open citing "personal family reasons" and the 24-year-old has not played competitive tennis since beating Frenchwoman Amelie Mauresmo 6-4 6-3 in last year's season-ending Tour championship in Madrid on November 12.

"I have had very painful times and today I want to speak about tennis," Belgian Henin told a news conference on Monday.

"I want these things to remain my little secret. I want you to understand and respect my decision."

Henin, who will face either Greek Eleni Daniilidou or Frenchwoman Emilie Loit when she enters the tournament in the second round, decided on her come back two weeks ago.

"It was during the Australian Open. I had been working hard and I told myself I would not be able to wait until the Dubai championships (February 19)," the world number two said.

"It is because I love tennis so much. I just could not stay away from the courts any longer."

The French Open champion, who reached all four grand slam finals last season, planned to take the Paris Open step by step after injuries and illness hampered her preparation for the tournament.

"I still feel pain in my right knee and I had to stay in bed because of gastroenteritis last week," said French-speaker Henin.

"However, when I look back to 2006, I just tell myself I want to regain the feeling of serenity I had to have a beautiful season."

Henin, a winner at all the grand slam events except Wimbledon, said she would love a victory at the All England Club this season after losing 2-6 6-3 6-4 to grasscourt specialist Mauresmo in last year's final.

"Of course, Roland-Garros has a special place in my heart but I would really love to win Wimbledon," she said.

"But it starts this week. I have to show that I am able to go forward, that I still have this will I had when I was five years old," Henin said.

"I must remember that adversity made me the person I am now."