Henin coming to Brisbane
AAP Tuesday 20 October 2009 16 Comments »
Former No.1 Justine Henin is making her comeback at Brisbane International 2010.
The seven-time Grand Slam winner confirmed today that Brisbane will be her first tournament back and said she is excited about returning to the sport in Brisbane.
“After a 15- months absence I am pleased to begin my second tennis career at the Brisbane International,” Henin said.
“I am looking forward to returning to Queensland and seeing the new facilities at the tennis centre as well as the surrounding attractions on offer in Brisbane.
“It will be great to get back to playing competitive tennis again and with the strong field, the same court surface and a similar climate to Melbourne, it will be the perfect preparation leading into the Australian Open.”
Brisbane International Tournament Director Steve Ayles said he is excited to have the former No.1 and Grand Slam champion in the women’s draw.
“2010 is shaping up to be a blockbuster event,” Ayles said.
“With the appearance of Justine, the tennis world spotlight will be on Brisbane come January and the tournament will be taken to a whole new level.
“It will be tremendous to see Justine match up against her former rival and countrywoman Kim Clijsters.
“With the former French Open champion Ana Ivanovic and Australian Open quarterfinalist Jelena Dokic confirmed, we are looking at an extremely strong women’s field.”
Henin was the world No.1 for 117 non-consecutive weeks and has won more than USD$19 million in prize money.
She won her first WTA event as an 18 year old on the Gold Coast in 2000 and has won 41 WTA tour titles throughout her career.
Seven of these titles were Grand Slam singles titles, including four French Open titles in 2003, 2005, 2006 and 2007, one Australian Open title in 2004 and two US Open titles in 2003 and 2007.
The Belgian has also won the year-ending Sony Ericsson Championships twice and the singles gold medal at the 2004 Summer Olympics.
She will be given one of four women’s wildcards into Brisbane as she has no current WTA ranking.
Despite her relatively small size, Henin was known for her powerful serve, which has been measured at a top speed of 196 km/h (122 mph).
At her peak she was adept at changing from a defensive style to an aggressive one and her forehand was regarded as a dangerous weapon which she used to dictate match play.
Henin last played in Queensland at the Mondial Australian Women’s Hardcourt on the Gold Coast in 2000 and 2001, winning the final in 2000 and runner-up in 2001.
She announced her immediate retirement from professional tennis on 14 May 2008 when she was the current World No.1.
On retiring, Henin requested that the WTA remove her name from the rankings immediately.
Her announcement came as a surprise because Henin was considered the favourite for the 2008 French Open where she would have been the three-time defending champion.
The 27 year old is due to play two exhibition tournaments in Charleroi and Dubai later this year to gain match play before her tournament return.
Brisbane International 2010 series packages and single session tickets are on sale now. Ground passes remain $9.90 with the qualifying event on Friday 1–2 January 2010 remaining free.
Tickets can be purchased online at www.ticketek.com.au or 1300 888 104.