According to Belgian media, Justine Henin may be returning to women’s tennis. Yet neither the Belgian tennis federation nor Justine Henin herself have confirmed the story. According to The Australian, former coach Carlos Rodriguez is downplaying the rumors. “There’s nobody telling me of a return. We’ve not spoken about that. I am really astonished.” Still, he confirms that she has been training two or three times per week.
This has been a year of returns in women’s tennis. Former US Open champion Kim Clijsters retired in 2007 but will return to this year’s US Open after taking time off for marriage and family. Former No. 1 Maria Sharapova is climbing back in the rankings after returning from shoulder surgery. Former world No. 4 Kimiko Date Krumm returned to Wimbledon after a thirteen year retirement.
Justine Henin to Return to Tennis?: Thinking About Her Legacy?
A few questions came to mind when I heard about Justine Henin’s possible return: is she thinking about her career legacy? And did the GOAT (greatest of all time) talk about Roger Federer factor into her possible decision to return?
Tennis circles have been hotly debating over whether or not Roger Federer is the greatest of all time. With 15 majors and having held the No. 1 ranking for 237 consecutive weeks, there is a strong case in his favor, though we’ll have to see how Rafael Nadal fares in his return from injury. Pete Sampras dominated tennis in the 90s, though he never won the French Open. Bjorn Borg is another tennis legend, though he retired too soon at age 26. And Rod Laver is difficult to compare as he competed in both the amateur and professional eras.
Could Justine Henin have been on her way to a GOAT distinction had she not retired at age 25? With “only” seven majors, Serena Williams arguably eclipses her with 11 majors (22 if you count doubles and mixed). Justine Henin may also seek a Wimbledon title in order to complete her “career slam.”
Justine Henin to Return to Tennis?: A Boon for Women’s Tennis
Justine Henin’s return would be a boon for women’s tennis, as the WTA tour has struggled since her retirement. Serena Williams, Ana Ivanovic, Jelena Jankovic, and Dinara Safina have held the No. 1 ranking since her retirement, though no one other than Henin has been able to display the level of consistency of Federer or Nadal.
The possible return of Henin and Clijsters could potentially raise the level of the WTA tour, not only because they are fine players in their own right, but also because their presence might motivate the Williams sisters and other top players to raise their own game.
With her consistency, one-handed backhand, and versatility of game, Justine Henin could hopefully dominate women’s tennis once again.
Justine Henin on verge of return to the court, Margie McDonald, The Australian