Peter Bodo's TennisWorld - Au Revoir, Justine
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Au Revoir, Justine 05/14/2008 - 10:52 AM


As most of you already know, Justine Henin has announced that she is retiring from tennis. I'll write a full post on this later, but for now that's the breaking news. For those of you who enjoy National Public Radio, I'm going on air with them at 11:15 a.m. to do a brief interview on this development. It's a sad day for tennis, and also for one of our junior Elders, Samantha Elin, whose willingness to defend Justine knew no bounds.

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Posted by Christopher 05/14/2008 at 02:36 PM

Frances, So Martina is pitiful and must have no life because she has kept playing past her prime, and Justine represents "the height of selfishness" because she decided NOT to keep playing.


Posted by Samantha 05/14/2008 at 02:36 PM

You tell her Temes.

Posted by Markic 05/14/2008 at 02:38 PM

I've not felt this bad about tennis since Seles was stabbed! I just hope she leaves a legacy of women using variety to win. I was at the tournament in Berlin last week, and the level of tactical play on show was very disappointing - lots of flat, low margin for error groundstrokes, no change in rhythm or approach, no sense of playing one's way back into a match when making too many errors - with the sole excpetion of Safina. Good for her.

Posted by Andrew 05/14/2008 at 02:39 PM

Jerrell: Henin's retirement is a tribute to...the brilliance of Federer?

Um, so is the deciphering of the human genome. And the development of Behavioral Economics.

That way, madness lies...

Posted by Tokyo Tom (tt) 05/14/2008 at 02:39 PM

Henin always struck me as a person who tended to deal in absolutes. In that respect, it does not suprise me to learn that once she felt she could no longer put out her best effort and was generally fatigued, she made such a day/night type of announcement.

I have read many times how difficult an injury can be to deal with by a top player. Once at the top it seems very difficult to come back and struggle to play average tennis, taking losses one would never have endured at the peak. Some can deal with it and some can't.

I, for one, think Henin just woke up one to many mornings and thought, "I can't believe I have to go out and hit a tennis ball, rather than looking forward to it."

Whether she comes back, once rested, or not I think she is being typically honest with herself on the timing of this one.

Listen to the other players - they all say or imply only she can know how she feels and wish her the best and so do I.

Posted by TMF Rules 05/14/2008 at 02:40 PM

Let us talk about some of the records that Justine has put up against current players on the WTA tour (who are jumping for joy now that she has retired):
Kuzzy, JJ, Sharapova, Safina, most of the Top 10, perhaps all of the Top 20, Top 50, Top 100. Some of these players will never get a chance to win a match against her. Well done Justine, Well done.

Posted by matt 05/14/2008 at 02:42 PM

Justine, I hope that as a fellow Gemini, you'll change your mind and come back to tennis, even before the French Open. We Geminis are always changing our minds. If not, I hope you enjoy your new life .

Posted by rudy3 05/14/2008 at 02:42 PM

I am hoping she will come back after a time. I am hoping she takes some time, only to find her inner competitor again.
Truth be told I have been at odds with Justine at times. But she stimulates the Walter Middy in me. She plays in a era of the "glamazon tennis diva". She has always been the little engine that could to me. Like the sisters Williams said today...she is a great champion.

Samantha, keep the faith.
Francis, you're just an ...*self moderated*

Posted by Kat 05/14/2008 at 02:44 PM

wow. I don't even know how to process this. It's so shocking. Well, one this is for sure, she did it in vintage Justine fashion, on her terms. Going to miss her. I loved the way she played and her grit.

Clips of her press conference

(scroll down on the rt hand side)

Posted by dw 05/14/2008 at 02:44 PM

zolarafa, it was analogy between Rafa and Justine on my part. It's just that both of them seem so spent after their displays of brillance. I am sure Henin's retirement has to do with her body's failure to cope with physical demands. For Rafa, I sincerely wish he keeps up his good form in second half of the season. I hope he doesn't have any nagging knee injuries during this year's USO.

Posted by zolarafa 05/14/2008 at 02:46 PM

OK, I am out of here before the discussion becomes anything but Justine.

Justine was not my favorite WTA player, but her talent cannot be denied. In the era of power tennis, she won with her superb technique. I am glad that she retired at No 1 and not after years of struggling and dropping to lower ranks. It seems she is happy about her decision and that's all that matters. Still hoping for her to take a break and maybe consider a comeback later.

Hugs to Samantha and all Justine fans, it must be a hard day. best wishes for Justine.

Posted by Arden 05/14/2008 at 02:50 PM

Posted by apollonian 05/14/2008 @ 2:34 PM

We will miss her tennis.

We will not miss her personality.

That is all."

I will miss her tennis AND her personality... please just speak for yourself.

Posted by zolarafa 05/14/2008 at 02:50 PM

Rafa and Justine comparison is a bit odd. Justine has 7 GS titles and has been playing for much longer than Rafa. Rafa has only 3 GS titles and still hopes to play for much longer. Many things to accomplish. You keep bringing up RAfa's body failure. The other top two players have struggles of their own, as the rest of the top 10. Still, I won't predict anyone's retirement due to illness or injury.

Anyway, I have work to do!
bye all for now!

Posted by GSte 05/14/2008 at 02:52 PM

To all the Henin fans, my condolences. Unfortunately, the women's game has suffered another huge blow in losing her. Hopefully whatever is bothering Henin at the moment will be resolved so she can come back in the future. Something about this retirement reminds me of Hingis' first retirement in 2002, and we all know Hingis came back, so maybe Henin will too?

In the past 6 years, there have so been so many abrupt departures in the women's game:

*Hingis: retired 2002 with foot injury/motivation problems, came back in 2006, retired again in 2007.

*Seles: fractured her foot and played her last match in 2003, officially retired 2008

*Capriati: played last match in 2004, has been off the tour since with back/shoulder problems

*Clijsters: initially injured left wrist in 2004, came back in 2005, retired in 2007

*Myskina: injured foot in 2006, last match played in 2007


*Henin: illness in 2004, came back in 2005, illness/knee injuries again, played 2006-2007 relatively healthy, retired 2008.

It's quite unfortunate that so many of these great players have left the game. The only players left from this generation are Serena, Venus, Mauresmo and Davenport. Each of them has spent long periods in/out of the game and also in/out of form with various injuries/personal issues. Hopefully these 4 will at least last another few years. I've really missed the rivalries between the 4 still in the game and the now retired players I mentioned above.

Honestly, I'll be sadly surprised if this is the last time we see Henin.

Posted by creig bryan GBT 05/14/2008 at 02:54 PM

> "...I am sure Henin's retirement has to do with her body's failure..."

And I'm SURE we'll never run out of oil, gravity is but a special effect, and the sun revolves around the earth.

frances: Soon, people will begin to ignore you and your illogical comments. If you retire, right now, quickly, you can leave your toxic legacy intact. And no one will speculate about your reasons. Hell, they might even accelerate your induction into the Bridge-Dweller's Hall Of Shame. I'll endorse you...however,

No Smiles For You.

Posted by 05/14/2008 at 02:59 PM

'I have to say that this is another testament to the brilliance of Roger Federer yet again'....thanks for the quote Jerrel.

It is indeed sad to see Justine leave this way.

On the other hand, frances and Jerrel are best ignored.

Posted by frances 05/14/2008 at 02:59 PM

Creig bryan GBT, I never wrote: "I am sure Henin's retirement has to do with her body's failiure..." or whatever.

Is there another Frances posting?

Posted by Grant 05/14/2008 at 03:01 PM

C'mon creig, we're allowed to be sure of whatever we want, regardless of evidence. I'm as sure of that as I am of the saucer people who live in the centre of the Earth.

Posted by Tommy T. 05/14/2008 at 03:03 PM

My first post... Finally, something I feel worth writing about...

What an emotional ride it's been, specially so early in the day. Where can I even start, I feel so confused that at this point anyone who reads this is just going to have to forgive me.

Justine was a terrific, tremendous player and she has made today into one of the darkest days in tennis history. To possess such a beautiful game, such natural ability around the court, beautiful artistic strokes, dance-like movements, and yet such a fiery, gritty & fighting personality. I can honestly say, not many players possess this. Yet, what happened to her fighting spirit? Didn't we all (the true Justine fans) always say that Justine would never go down without a fight? That she would always come around and make her opponents fight to beat her? I just want to know what happened? Where was she gone? What happened with that fire, that fighting spirit?

At this point I'm just so disappointed. I never thought I would cry so much over someone I hardly knew (apparently). It's a sad day for tennis yes, but it's even a sadder day for me (& all of us true Justine & tennis) fans.

Au revoir, Justine and may you regain your fighting spirit before it's too late.

Posted by dw 05/14/2008 at 03:03 PM

zolarafa, I don't mean Rafa and Justine are mirror copies of each other. I am sure if she kept on playing Justine would hang around top ten for few more years just like other top players you mentioned. What I meant was that may be Rafa would quit too if he didn't feel like he could win FO. I think to both of them maintaning a near perfect FO record (in Nadal's case a complete perfection) seems like a big deal. Nadal will be 22 next month but remember he too has been winning big tournaments since he was a teenager (a rarity in men's tennis nowadays).

Posted by Tim (2008 Year of Red Rogie!) 05/14/2008 at 03:04 PM

Im extremely bummed about this, and women's tennis to me is just dire without her... the Serbs just have no chance against the WIlliams sisters if theyre at full speed, and who's left, Safina? they all play exactly the same way, no real differences in their strokes or approach to the game, its hit big, grunt and fight for points...

Think of the US Open last year without Justine? the only exciting matches in the whole event were hers... Fed, please keep playing, keep your head, you heart fresh and motivated...

Samantha i totally feel for you, and can relate to not watching much women's tennis anymore... what's the point? until a new sabatini, mauresmo or henin shows up, there's no variety left at all...

Posted by frances 05/14/2008 at 03:04 PM

Christopher, yes.

Henin quit, because she sees the writing on the wall. She's getting beat. The girls are healthy. This retirement is the mirror of her AO final retirement. Period.

She doesn't want to be behind Serena or Venus or Sharapova. Period. Patterns people. It's about patterns. That's how you gain insight into people and their motivations. Their patterns. Anyone on this board think Henin is an honest, generous fair person? Say Ay? No? I rest my case.

Posted by JR 05/14/2008 at 03:07 PM

Thanks, JuJu!

Posted by Ed McGrogan 05/14/2008 at 03:07 PM

Hey guys -

NPR just posted the audio to Pete's call today:

Posted by Staz 05/14/2008 at 03:07 PM

I can't believe it!! 5 months ago people were talking about her perhaps winning more slams than Serena and now she's leaving the game! I'm shocked and sad but I trust that she's doing what's best for her and I wish her all the best of luck for the future. My only consolation is that Fed seems shocked too so hopefully he won't get the same idea any time soon!

Posted by frances 05/14/2008 at 03:08 PM

Andrew, Henin is a public figure. I can say whatever I want about her. And in reality, she can give two figs what I or anyone here thinks. She's probably out skydiving or paying a smooch visit to her ex-husband right now. While you and others so aggrieved by my comments are crying in your milk about her.

Posted by Ian 05/14/2008 at 03:08 PM

Wow. Justine really threw a curve here.

I get the sense that personal happiness is the most important thing for her now. She's been through a lot, and has not had an easy life. Yeah, she was a bit of a flake on the court, but there was no arguing with her brilliance and hard work. An all-time champion, without any doubt.I will miss her classic game and--oh, that beautiful backhand.

But, I think her retirement also speaks to the real physical and emotional toll taken from elite players on a jam-packed schedule. To her credit, Justine has always expected excellence from herself, and with some personal issues likely being part of this equation, I can understand her sudden (and truly shocking) decision.

At the very least, I am stunned that she isn't going to at least give herself one final shot at Wimbledon. She could certainly win it, but she may not want to put herself through the grinder anymore.

Apparently she doesn't want to.

Watch for a Mauresmo retirement this year. And I would not in the least be surprised to see Venus retire this year. The game has certainly changed since the days of Chrissie & Martina, and even since the days of Graf & Seles, for that matter. It's changed in some ways for the better and in others for the not-so-better.

Whatever the case, as a tennis fan, I wish Justine all the happiness that she can possibly have on her new horizon. This unique champion will be missed. The tennis world is duly rocked, indeed.

Posted by mesar 05/14/2008 at 03:09 PM

Does anibody knaw how will be next number 1 sharapova,ivanovic,jankovic or kuznjecova.When was the last time when fight for no.1 was in 100 or 150 points

Posted by frances 05/14/2008 at 03:11 PM

Thanks, McGrogan!

Posted by VG 05/14/2008 at 03:12 PM

I'm glad Justine left on her terms, at the top of the heap. We've lost one of the most beautiful games in today's women's tennis - with all the giant grunting powerhitters now abounding. Certainly the most fluid, fabulous backhand in the game - men's and womens'. At least we still have Amelie, but I think she'll be the next to leave.

Justine has worked long and hard and must be tired of training and fighting to overcome in the land of the giants.

I agree with Markic's comment about feeling the same way when Monica was stabbed.

My biggest regret for her is that she didn't win Wimbledon when she had the chance last year, only to lose to Bartoli - WHO???

I wish her the best for the rest of her life.

Posted by jhurwi 05/14/2008 at 03:15 PM

Kat at 2:45. Thanks for posting the link to Justine's press conference. She looked relaxed and happy; it's clear this was the right decision for her in terms of her life at this moment. In the later portion of the conference she said that winning the U.S. Open last year was especially memorable, and that last year was "unique," so it sounds as if she wanted to go out at the top.
Any significance to the later shots of her holding a baby? I assume it's one of Carlos's children, since she has always been close to them, but the photographer does seem to be implying that she wants to start a family.

Posted by Ryan 05/14/2008 at 03:15 PM

frances--what's your problem?

Posted by Christopher 05/14/2008 at 03:19 PM

"She doesn't want to be behind Serena or Venus or Sharapova. Period. Patterns people. It's about patterns."

Frances, I'd buy this argument if the circumstances seemed to support it. They don't. Justine was about to play the tournament she has dominated more than any other and where she feels the most comfortable. If she was trounced at the FO by Serena or Ivanovich I could see your claim making more sense (and it would more closely resemble a Borg-Mac senario). But that's not what's happening here. Serena does not have enough consecutive wins to be really dominating Justine in any meaningful way (and she also lost to Safina). Venus is not a realistic threat right now and probably never will be. Sharapova is too inconsistent to dominate. Ivanovich has be a mess the last few events. It just doesn't make sense to say that Justine saw these players as so much of a threat that she decided to quit rather than face them at this particular point.

Posted by injustice 05/14/2008 at 03:19 PM

what a sorrow... i'm crushed... can't breathe at all...

je t'aime beaucoup, petite fée...

Posted by Grant 05/14/2008 at 03:23 PM

"frances--what's your problem?"

Oh I think you know the answer to this one Ryan.

Posted by Andrew 05/14/2008 at 03:25 PM

frances: no argument that Henin is a public figure. No argument that, within the Site Rules, you can say what you want to about her here. No argument that many people are upset by her retirement. I enjoyed watching Henin play tennis, but I didn't have the same personal attachment to her that people like Bob or Samantha do.

My main point, which you don't try to refute, is that this site serves as a social meeting place, as well as a place "objectively" to discuss tennis players. All social places have codes, and rules of etiquette. One common rule is to make some effort to consider other's feelings before you post.

Up to you if you choose not to observe them. The rest of us can still find that choice distasteful.

Posted by 05/14/2008 at 03:26 PM

thy for the press conference. Justine looks happy like she's been liberated, I still hope she'll be back

Posted by Ryan 05/14/2008 at 03:32 PM

There's always someone to push buttons.

Posted by FoT 05/14/2008 at 03:32 PM

Well everyone has said just about everything on the subject. I think she needs to step away for a while but with her being so young, she may come back later. I mean, I remember when Lindsey said she was through and would not be back, etc., and she did come back. So everything seems to 'permanent' to Justine right now but after a year she may decide that she really does miss tennis and come back. If Hingis and Davenport can - she can too. I fully expect to see Kimmy back one day!

Posted by TennisEsq 05/14/2008 at 03:35 PM

"Venus is not a realistic threat right now and probably never will be."

Huh? You're talking about a former #1, 6-time Grand slam winner, reigning Wimbledon Champion, should I go on? Since when is Venus not a realistic threat? I didn't get that memo. She's had a some unusual losses this year and injuries, like every other top player, man or woman. So all of the sudden she's washed up?

Posted by Wayne Hawkins 05/14/2008 at 03:35 PM

What a bombshell! But, when it's over in your mind, it's over. Thanks for the memories Justine, especially your beautiful backhand. I hope you find happiness in your life.

Posted by Jill 05/14/2008 at 03:36 PM


I think I know how you feel-I felt the same when Borg disappeared-I actually did not watch another match until Sampras was halfway through his carreer. I was hoping that Sampras would be able to reignite the passion for tennis that I had when Borg played-but despite his awesome game , Sampras never did it for me. But Roger certainly has. So who knows, a new incarnation of Justine's magic ispossibly just waiting to appear

Posted by mason 05/14/2008 at 03:38 PM

i can't believe how sad i am to hear this news. i've always respected her but in general i mostly follow the men's tour. i suppose we have to respect that she knows what's best for herself, but it somehow it still feels like a waste. perhaps better to go out at number one than to watch your game decline but she had a long way to go before that was an issue.

i guess i just have to remember what james blake wrote in his book, when he played agassi in an exhibition after andre retired, quoting agassi as saying "if i knew i would have this much fun playing tennis, i would have retired a lot sooner."

Posted by afwu 1216 05/14/2008 at 03:41 PM


I had a mini heart attack when I saw Justine retired.

Posted by crazyone 05/14/2008 at 03:45 PM

So, are there any young WTA players with one-handers? They're not as uncommon on the men's side as one might think.

Posted by L. Rubin 05/14/2008 at 03:47 PM


Oh, I'm so sorry! I cannot believe this.

Hands Samantha a cold beer . . .


Posted by Sam 05/14/2008 at 03:47 PM

"I will choose to celebrate her immense competitive spirit, prodigious talent, and unwritten future. I hope that she is able to live out whatever other dream she may have in store. She deserves all the best."

Beautifully said, Slice-n-Dice.

Posted by Ryan 05/14/2008 at 03:49 PM

Liron--geez! I don't think Samantha's old enough for that.

[grabs Samantha's beer, hands her a Shirley Temple]

Samantha, let's hope this really isn't the last we've seen of Justine.

Posted by Sam 05/14/2008 at 03:52 PM

"grabs Samantha's beer,"

Dammit Ryan!! ;-)

Posted by zolarafa 05/14/2008 at 03:53 PM

I am sure she meant "Root Beer"!

out again!

Posted by Ben 05/14/2008 at 03:55 PM

She will come back

Posted by Ryan 05/14/2008 at 03:55 PM

Sam, you can have the beer. This is definitely the occasion to open up a fat tab at the TW Cantina.

I'll start things off with a double shot of Crown.

Posted by Arlene 05/14/2008 at 03:56 PM

I had the pleasure of watching the Henin/Jankovic final at the Rogers Cup in Toronto last summer. It was without a doubt the best match I'd seen live, male or female. Both players have the never-say-die attitude, and Henin won after 3 hours of play. Getting into battles like that must be so draining, both emotionally and physically. It's too bad for women's tennis that she's leaving, but you've got to want it to be out there. But let's hope that she's inspired a new generation of young girls to do more than just pound the ball.

Posted by L. Rubin 05/14/2008 at 03:57 PM


That beer is for Samantha! I don't care if she's old enough to drink! Hands Samantha a scotch on the rocks . . .


p.s. root beer? Come on, Zola!

Posted by jhurwi 05/14/2008 at 03:58 PM

This quotation from Carlos Rodriguez in the article confirms my feeling in an earlier post that reconciliation with her family was one of the factors that led Justine to lose her emotional hunger to win:

And her coach Carlos Rodriguez admitted Henin had lost her drive for success after reconciling with her family.

"Tennis became more than just winning for Justine and just winning wasn't enough for her anymore," he said.

"She used tennis as an outlet for her emotions and finally with her life now reconciled, she no longer has the fire that drove her to success.

"She has come full circle. She started and finished her career surrounded by those she loved, especially her family. It's the perfect end."

Posted by misael 05/14/2008 at 04:06 PM

Frances you completely lost the point I was trying to make, Navratilova is inspirational to alot of people, She still plays well, and it's enjoyable watching her play. She LOVES Tennis, why should'nt she plays as much as she wants. You are taking it personal because she said some things about The William Sisters....Anyway I do think Justine will come back, I was never a big fan of hers , but her talent was undeniable

Posted by Christopher 05/14/2008 at 04:08 PM

"Since when is Venus not a realistic threat? I didn't get that memo. She's had a some unusual losses this year and injuries, like every other top player, man or woman. So all of the sudden she's washed up?"

It wasn't a memo. It was a series of bad results and injuries. I absolutely love Venus and I wish she were consistently playing top-flight tennis. But she's not. The Wimbledon win was great, but until there are more consistent results she's not a "realistic threat" to get ahead of Justine. Beat her on occasion? Of course, but not take over as the world's top player. Do you really think that Justine may have retired partly because of Venus? Please.

Posted by Ryan 05/14/2008 at 04:09 PM

Liron, don't come to me when Samantha is puking her guts up. You get to hold her hair. :)

Posted by fedfan 05/14/2008 at 04:11 PM

I will miss Henin's beautiful game and her professionalism, but her decision is hers to make. No one should argue with her. To those who point to the lengthier careers of her predecessors, I would point to the evolution in both men and women's tennis. I watched a little of the Graf/Sanchez-Vacario French Open Final shown on the Tennis Channel the other night, and was struck by how many moon balls both players hit. The men's game changed earlier, with players like Sampras,Courier and Agassi, but the ball is being hit much harder and players have to be much quicker these days, with resultant strains on their bodies. Who knows what factored into Justine's decision, but only she can judge if it is the correct one for her.

Posted by Ruth 05/14/2008 at 04:13 PM

Well, I'm a little late hearing the news about Justine because I've been so wrapped up with other matters. But I'm as surprised as everyone else here seems to be about the retirement. I'm sure that Justine is very serious about the decision that she has made. And while she might return to tennis some day, an early return, such as what Samantha hinted at, would definitely be the cause for the kind of speculation which seems totally inappropriate and unkind at this time.

I know how Justine's fans, like my "homeboy" Sam and Samantha, must feel, and I sympathize with them. But, Samantha, I hope that you're not serious about never watching another tennis match. One of the things that distinguished you from some other devoted fans was your ability to appreciate genuinely the play of other players, including my all-time fave, Venus. So, I hope that you'll continue to watch tennis and to be part of the TWibe.

As creig b. indicated, we can all laud Justine's career and we can miss having her on the WTA scene, but we should not think that there will "never" be anyone who plays like her ever again --because there will be.

I wish Justine success and happiness in her tennis related activities (didn't she just add another academy in Florida to hers in France and Monaco?) as well as in her life away from the worlf of tennis.

Posted by Sam 05/14/2008 at 04:13 PM

Ryan: Thanks man. I need it!! I think a real one is in my future tonight ...

Posted by gliciouss 05/14/2008 at 04:13 PM

She obviously had her reasons and she is not a big girl so any stress and fatigue wears heaviy on her....but others have done it....others are doing it....
apart of it...and i am sure she wont deny it and her interview hints at that she doesn't like losing and she wants to go out on top...
no doubt henin is a champion and i have a lot of praise for how she always applauds other players' success...but a true champion can withstand the test of time....henin is not doing that...

Posted by Master Ace 05/14/2008 at 04:15 PM

Drink one for me tonight in celebrating Justine's successful career.

Posted by Samantha Elin 05/14/2008 at 04:16 PM

For me this is a very sad day and people like Francis just make it worse. I'm upset most because I know something is seriously wrong, but I don't know what it is. I respect her privacy, but I just want to know that she's ok. Tennis is over for me, there is no way I'll watch the FO because that was my favorite place to see her. To me, she's a very special person who I have admired for a long time.

Posted by TennisEsq 05/14/2008 at 04:16 PM


I think Venus has shifted her focus to performing well at the slams. Her results might not be consistent, but she still has the ability to turn it on and beat anyone. Justine has always talked about how difficult it is for her to play Venus and Serena and that it takes her best tennis. And I never said Justine took Venus into consideration in her retirement.

End of rant. Can we please forget about Venus and Serena. This should be about Justine.

Posted by Samantha Elin 05/14/2008 at 04:21 PM

Thanks guys, but I've a feeling we haven't seen the last of Justine. Her love for the game will bring her back to it.

Posted by Leonardo 05/14/2008 at 04:21 PM

Are you on your mind?

Posted by temes 05/14/2008 at 04:22 PM

The saddest thing is to see Sammys "Go Justine!" shout dissapear from TW...but Sammy, don't you dissapear. I'm sure you will find new players that inspire you at some point.

Posted by gliciouss 05/14/2008 at 04:22 PM

hey...we can talk about serena and venus..we have spent more time talking about getting sam a beer? so there

Posted by gliciouss 05/14/2008 at 04:24 PM

i hope she still plays fundrainsing tourneys too...
i think it is very important

Posted by zolarafa 05/14/2008 at 04:25 PM

look at all the positive posts here and all the reactions. I know it is sad, but it is her choice and actually to retire, it is the best time, at the peak of her game. We will always remain anxious for her to come back.

*** I'm upset most because I know something is seriously wrong, but I don't know what it is.***

don't worry about the things you are not sure of. You don't know if anything is wrong or not. What if she is really happy and she can go do things that she has missed in all these years? What if she wants to reunite with her family and make up for the lost time? Think about her being happy and you can be happy for her too.

Posted by DJames 05/14/2008 at 04:28 PM

It is terrible that justine is leaving so quick. I wonder why she is doing that. If she was thinking about it why did she not do it last year announce it and then leave. That is very strange. Something must be going on. Everybody loses. You can't be a sore loser. Hope the best for her

Posted by Slice-n-Dice 05/14/2008 at 04:29 PM

Why can I not escape the feeling that Tennis, like Saturn, is eating its young?

The powers that be MUST fix the scheduling, reduce the number of events that each player is required to play without penalty. For example, of the 9 Masters Series events, could they not grant 2-3 exemptions, for crying out loud? Why must players sign a contract to play every one of them?

THe season is too log (44-46 weeks long), and there are too many "majors" (4 Slams, 9 Masters Series, 1 YEC, potentially 4 Davis Cup rounds, a World Team Cup, an Olympics every four years). The players need time to Rest, Recuperate, Regroup and Retool.

Rest = Complete down-time; 3 to 4 weeks without striking a ball.

Recuperate = 3 to 4 weeks; can start during the end of the Rest period; no court work with the coach, but some strengthening and off-court conditioning work; visual imaging, etc.

Regroup = 2 to 3 weeks; hitting the courts and working on the skills again; the footwork; getting back into it after being strengthened physically.

Retool = 2 to 3 weeks with coaches, looking for ways to shore up weaknesses, strengthen strengths, work out technical kinks, learn new tricks, and develop winning shot combinations and tactics.

Posted by L. Rubin 05/14/2008 at 04:33 PM


Tennis isn't over quite yet, woman. This Justine business will be hard to get over, but I'm more concerned about your presence on this board (you must stay, Sammy). Here are some reasons:

1. Shrieky is still around, and we need to make fun of her.
2. Cliffy is still around, and he'll just perish without your adoration.
3. We all adore you (even Ryan!). . .


p.s. hands Sammy a Jack Daniels

Posted by Susan 05/14/2008 at 04:36 PM

I am going to miss seeing the Williams sisters kick her ass

Posted by Susan 05/14/2008 at 04:36 PM

I am going to miss seeing the Williams sisters kick her ass

Posted by Christine C (bye bye JuJu) 05/14/2008 at 04:38 PM

*sniff sniff* Add me to the list of shocked & saddened fans at this news. I wish her the best in her new life. I also hope she isn't sick-several years ago the owner of a minor league baseball team in my hometown sold it to another guy who move it to another city. We fans were shocked! then a few months later I read in the paper that he had died of cancer. BlackMatt-I agree with you on the topic of retiring & then coming back (a la Michael Jordan)-it's ridiculous.

Posted by Ryan 05/14/2008 at 04:41 PM

Hear hear, Liron!

Posted by sally 05/14/2008 at 04:41 PM

didn't justine kick serena's ass at 3 slams last year? i thought so.

Posted by temes 05/14/2008 at 04:43 PM

Now now, I wouldn't say kicked ass but beat yes. lol

Posted by TennisEsq 05/14/2008 at 04:44 PM


Please don't let the nasties bother you.

And I agree with Ms. Liron. I also enjoy your posts and like the way you also cheered for my faves, when possible. We need as many people as possible to make fun of Shrieky. Without Justine, that's one less person to counterbalance the forces of evil.

Posted by Slice-n-Dice 05/14/2008 at 04:45 PM

Here's a questioj for Peter Bodo that he cynic in me cannot ignore:

Will her "official retirement" freeze Justine Henin's ranking points? If she were to use the next six to nine months, or more or less, to rest and recuperate and get her motivation back, would she be able to come back to the game without losing those ranking points that she would ordinarily need to defend and would likely lose in her current unmotivated, fatigued state, by getting beaten at the French, the U.S. Open and other events early?

Is this possibly just the only "smart" albeit selfish, move available to the world's top-ranked player, who might otherwise "fall from grace" the way Agassi once did manay moons ago? Of course, we know how Agassi was able to recapture his flame and even reach greater heights with his newfound, and singular, commitment to the game. But for Henin, who until now has sustained her singular focus, such a fall would likely be the death knoll.

Posted by nalbyfan 05/14/2008 at 04:46 PM

oh this just ruins women's tennis for me....i can't believe justine called it quits! :( she was my favorite WTA player and what can i say about her? right now i'm shocked and speechless ...she was such an inspiration and for me she was extra-special cause i'm small too and i know what's like to be among strong and tall players ,i can relate to that struggle but through out the years she makes it look so easy and i always sit and wonder my god! how on earth is she playing like that with this small body ?..and i never thought it would affect me that much actually never thought it will happen so soon.

so sad about this...but wish her all the best and hope she finds what she is looking for in life.
hugs to all henin fans

Posted by djames 05/14/2008 at 05:04 PM

I am like girlicous she is a soar loser, and don't want to keep losing because when she was winning last year she was all in smiles and giggles and did not say anything about retirment.

Posted by lovetennis 05/14/2008 at 05:09 PM

What oh what will we do without Justine?

Posted by Julian The First 05/14/2008 at 05:12 PM

The thing that bothers me is that I have this larger than the Universe gut feeling that she's not telling the world the real reasons for doing this.... And I can't shake this other notion of being dismissed with not even a credible story (insulting to my intelligence) that the truth is should not be getting this much attention. It gets the attention because Justine wasn't going to go out without a bang... and her fear of failing combined with her huge ego couldn't come up with a better story than "Hey guys... I'm just going to retire... do I have your attention now?"

Her life is private and I don't need to know or care for the gritty details of her emotional roller-coasters. But I do think she owes the public and her fans much better that what I've seen so far. I'm convince there's a TON of selfishness and righteousness in what she's doing and I also believe that what's damaging is that in the process she shows little concern for those that supported her. Unfortunately she may find out one day that in the end she only hurt herself.

Posted by Ruth 05/14/2008 at 05:12 PM

SnD: Ranking points can never be frozen, but, after an absence of a specific number of months becuase of a verifiable illness or injury, a WTA player can return to the Tour and be seeded (again ina specific number of events) at the ranking that she had when her absence began. Davenport, Serena, and others have taken advantage of this option to build back up their ranking points more quickly.

Posted by dw 05/14/2008 at 05:13 PM

I think Justine allowed herself to feel too much pressure as a best player and that takes a toll on your body. During Clijsters' last FO, when the two met in semis, Clijsters' mentioned that Justine was a fovorite to win the match (and rightly so)and Justine's response to that was cold and almost accusatory. This is not to knock down Justine, but to highlight that she always felt too much pressure when she was expected to win big (eg Bartoli loss)and during press conferences she tried her best to get rid of this burden. After a stellar 2007 (dominatng Willimas sisters among others) one can only imagine the immense amount of pressure she felt to do it all over again.

Posted by dw 05/14/2008 at 05:20 PM

Ruth, I might be wrong, but didn't Clijsters' name disappear from the ranking within weeks of her retirement whereas Davenport's named lingered on the list for months. I guess, Davenport never officially retired.

Posted by Master Ace 05/14/2008 at 05:34 PM

Yes, Clijsters disappeared per her request, I gather.

Posted by la piba 05/14/2008 at 05:36 PM

I was despondent when Graf and Gaby retired and then I recall watching Justine play Venus in the Wimby final as we were stuck in a snow storm in Bariloche. I loved her tennis from the beginning and always rooted for her (except when she played Amelie). And now she is gone. It's back to men's tennis.

Posted by erin 05/14/2008 at 05:36 PM

that blows. world's best player quitting. at 25! hope everything goes well for her. been a difficult year for her, for sure. Thanks, Justine - for making the game of tennis beautiful

Posted by Ryan 05/14/2008 at 05:42 PM

I don't understand these complaints of selfishness. She doesn't play for a team. Hell, tennis players don't play for anyone but themselves. They don't owe us anything. She can do whatever she wants.

Posted by Felipe 05/14/2008 at 05:48 PM

I just cant believe it. Justine is retired. I totally understand her. How can you wake up in the morning and train and compete, when you no longer have energy left, when thinking about playing just weights down on you? There's no sense in making your life a sacrifice and a struggle when you dont really need it or feel motivated to keep fighting. When the sense is lost, theres no reason to keep going.
Yeah, i loved her, i really never wanted to miss her play, i loved the way she played, her strokes, her tactics, and the fact that she was so small and fragile and still could produce stunning tennis, and she never fearid girls way taller and powerfull than her.
From now own, i can't see myself watching another women's match, with all those huge girls hitting in a exact and boring way. No magic, beauty or finesse anymore. Justine is gone, so the tennis we admire and try to recreate when whe hit the courts is gone with her.

Posted by ryan 05/14/2008 at 06:07 PM

i am in utter shock that she retired, but look at it this way it will be easier for sharapova to win the french now! :)

Posted by joseph gutierrez 05/14/2008 at 06:11 PM

im pretty glad that she retired i mean she may have
won many titles and 7 grand slams but oh what and
oh well someone hopefully maria sharapova or ana
ivanovic will do 10 times better than she did

Posted by Bismarck 05/14/2008 at 06:15 PM

from the talk i heard the last weeks i wouldn´t have been surprised if she had retired in say... 2 years.
but this is a total shock.

commiserations to the many henin fans here, especially Samantha, Sam and Ali C.
i think no one would make the mistake to think of me as a fan of henin but i respect her huge accomplishments and obvious talent.
and i honestly feel for all her fans, more so cause i had to go through similar emotions just 5 years ago:
hingis retiring, part I.
i´d hate to say "abandon all hope..." to henin´s fans, but i for one am still waiting for a female player to emerge who i enjoy as much as martina... often enough watching wta is fun these days, but it is still not the same as with her in the mix.
so... if you think "my favourite female player of all time retired, i´ll never feel the same again when watching women´s tennis" - you might be right.

the wta is less without henin, that much is sure.
but best wishes to justine for the next (and new!) stage in her life.

no, that´s not how the rankings work.
if you retire, you still lose all the points gradually due to not defending them (like graf i think) or you can request to be taken off the rankings immediately (clijsters?).
only chance to "freeze" your ranking is a long time injury, which allows the use of a protected ranking for a couple of events after your return.
as henin made it very clear that she retires cause she lacks motivation to go on she would have to re-start without any ranking whatsoever in a theoretical case of a comeback (assuming she has lost all ranking points before coming back, i.e staying away for at least one year, compare: hingis in 2006)

Posted by jungleboy 05/14/2008 at 06:16 PM

A sad day for belgium and all the henin fans out there.

Posted by Samantha Elin 05/14/2008 at 06:19 PM

To Temes, Ryan and L.Rubin, thanks so much. L.Rubin that was very funny. The part about Cliffie made me feel good, like anytime I see him. So thanks.

Posted by .com 05/14/2008 at 06:29 PM

Sorry, Samantha, horrible news.

I agree that Henin will be probably back, but I think this is not going to happen in a couple of months, maybe in a year or two. She will be 27-28, not too old, especially if she plays only the main tournaments (I guess she would be given all the WC she asked for).

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