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 svelterogue 05/14/2008 at 06:31 PM


you're too funny. :) frances should just go home where justine does not exist instead of struggling for (negative) attention as temes so aptly described, whether here or over at steve's blog.

i have never been an avid fan of justine (or roger) but i do find her game (and his) beautiful and recognise it as such. i did not like some of the things she has done in the past (AO 06) but in spite of these not so nice things, the girl has truly earned her dues and rightful place in the history books: one of the best champions tennis ever had. especially in this day and age! rafa said it well, i believe. she knows best what she is feeling and we should respect that. carlos said that, too, that he hopes we respect her for the difficult decision she made.

allez justine.

Posted by randomlurker 05/14/2008 at 06:47 PM

Greg Garber @ ESPN said it best when he compared Justine to a tragic Greek hero/heroine. Her greatest strength (her fight, courage) was her greatest weakness and it was perhaps her ultimate undoing.

Very identical to Rafael Nadal. His greatest strength is also his greatest weakness. His heroic fighting spirit that has broken down so many opponents, was designed to break him down as well. A tragic concept, but beautiful and complex at the same time.
Tragically beautiful.

Posted by 05/14/2008 at 06:48 PM

No 1.

Posted by DHamm411 05/14/2008 at 07:02 PM

I'm sorry Samantha for you, but I do not in any way mourn this loss to the game of tennis. Justine Henin was the vitch (and not in the Ana or Jelena way) of the tour. Her attitude was always terrible and made outlandish statements especially in regards to Serena. While most of them were justified, it still did not become her and I doubt Justine is particularly popular in the US. Personally I think this might help the struggling women's tour in the US because Serena may actually be able to recapture the Number One rank before the summer season, leading to MUCH MUCH MUCH higher ratings at the US Open, and for the USO Series. I actually think it will be possible for Serena to capture the Number one spot after the French, obviously assuming she wins (which is a HUGE assumption), and Maria does not make the final (much safer assumption).

Posted by beth 05/14/2008 at 07:26 PM

I posted next door - but I will post here as well
so to be sure that Samantha - in particular - other of our big Henin fans see this
I am so shocked and I know you are even more so
I hope that Justine finds happiness in her life away from tennis
I do not understand this choice, but I respect her decision.
The game and the fans will miss her
I want to send you Henin fans - and particularly Samantha - a big hug .

Posted by Vanity 05/14/2008 at 08:21 PM

Those pictures from her press conference - she looks so happy. And at peace. Almost....glowing..???

Posted by MarkM 05/14/2008 at 08:34 PM

sad, sad day.

emulate the good, forgive the bad. as fans we can just try to be happy for her and support her future endeavors as a non-competitive tennis citizen.

Bob - if you ever decide on "giving" away copies of your taped JH matches, i'd be a very happy recipient. shipping and everything.

Posted by kiwibee 05/14/2008 at 08:34 PM

I hope you have a great life after tennis Justine.

Samantha: You hang in there. I'm sure Justine will make a come back 2 years from now.

Posted by Hingisfan 05/14/2008 at 08:36 PM

Although I enjoy watching the Williams sisters play, I always made a point of watching Henin, Mauresmo, and Martina Hingis play tennis. What a joy they were to watch compared to the current crop of players. Always thinking - the creativity and beauty of their games were a wonder to watch. I can only hope Amelie can find the health and motivation to excel at tennis once again. This is truly a sad day.

Posted by Ren 05/14/2008 at 08:54 PM


Just want to tell Sam, I am here walking shoulder to shoulder with you. This is sad. I know you've rooted for her in almost any event. But just the same, she is one great champion whose simplicity, love for the game, and impeccable sportsmanship remain forever etched in our hearts and scribbled in our minds.

Footprints she may leave, but the memories remain.

Posted by ron 05/14/2008 at 09:07 PM

WOW...blown away!! thats all I can say.

Posted by ron 05/14/2008 at 09:07 PM

WOW...blown away!! thats all I can say.

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

Though I never expected to read of Justine's retirement today - I'm not all that surprised somehow.

Not a fan of the women's tour - never really watch any of their matches - but I did watch JH's whenever I could - and I will certainly miss seeing her play.

She certainly sounded emotionally spent in her pressor - as if tennis or the mere thought of stepping on the court again would suck what's left of the life right out of her.

What's sad is how she lost her love of the game & the excitement of competition - for a champion to loose that spark is what makes my head shake in disbelieving wonder - to loose the essence of what makes sport desireable for player & fan is as sad an ending as I can imagine.

Posted by Ren 05/14/2008 at 09:12 PM

Hey Ron, I've been waiting for your post.

Posted by Deuce 05/14/2008 at 10:25 PM

I posted this on CC Day 3, but felt the need to post here too"

I too am a Justine fan and am stunned. I take solace in how serene and happy she looked. I understand burnout and I could see taking six months off or something but retirement from the game she was sooo passionate about - I am still so stunned about the "definitive" part of it. So all fellow Henin fans - many hugs - and I just can't believe we aren't going to see that one handed backhand again.

Allez Justine! Allez Justine!

Posted by Sam 05/14/2008 at 10:59 PM

Hey Ren: Just got back from a night out and some time away from thinking about this. Thanks for your post. I'll have some more thoughts once the shock wears off ...

Posted by Ren 05/14/2008 at 11:29 PM

Trying to find you in the other Blogs SAM. Nice to know you're well man.

Posted by rg.nadal 05/14/2008 at 11:33 PM

Good Bye Justine.
Wish you all the best in all your future efforts. I'm sure you would come out with flying colours in whatever field you choose for yourself.:-)

Posted by kofi ofori 05/15/2008 at 12:05 AM

such a sad day for tennis. that Double H has to retire. i guess she just lost the desire to compete. i always looked forward to her battles with Serena and now we'll be denied one at the RG. Cruel world. lets enjoy why we still have former ponytail from Switzerland and the Spanish matador!

Posted by Ren 05/15/2008 at 12:10 AM

Sam you must have slept your burdens away...I understand. Hope I can talk to you...

Posted by Sam 05/15/2008 at 12:29 AM

Ren: Thanks - I'm still around - just catching up with posts and e-mails, so I'm bouncing around.

Posted by Robert 05/15/2008 at 02:20 AM

I was on the bus to school when the report came on the news on the mobile TV. People must have thought that I was crazy cos I rushed right to the TV to watch. I was shocked. Then, my mom told me she knew and that she forgot to tell me....I really am gonna miss watching her.....

Posted by svelterogue 05/15/2008 at 03:42 AM


you'll miss watching your mom? kidding! :)

Posted by Nancy J 05/15/2008 at 04:02 AM

I am totally shocked. I was never a big fan, but now that she's leaving I realize how much I enjoyed her pushing my favs to the wall. Its too bad that JJ won't get a chance to get at least one win off of Henin, nor will Justine break ChrissieE's FO record (I'm happy about that...).

Posted by svelterogue 05/15/2008 at 04:03 AM

gotta go and do life now. crazyone, those two articles you posted earlier were lovely. thank you for sharing.

from a moist eyed fan of justine's game,

Posted by Nancy J 05/15/2008 at 04:19 AM

Samantha wrote:

"There are no words that can say how very sad I feel. For me, tennis is over, I'll never feel that excitement again."

I hope this isn't true, Sam. After ChrissieE retired, I didn't really watch until Serena and Venus started to generate excitement nearly 10 years later. I really regret that, as I missed some great tennis during that lost time period. It may not be exactly the same for you, but it can still be a fun. I hope so anyway.

I'm certainly happy to have been around to witness Justine's great spirit for the game in both victory and defeat. I was always nervous whether my favs: Serena, Venus, and JJ had to face Henin. I knew the Mighty Midget would come out like a dog after a bone.

Posted by Daniël van Son 05/15/2008 at 04:58 AM

This is a great loss for womens tennis. Let's hope she will play an important role for womens tennis in the future.

Posted by Pat 05/15/2008 at 05:13 AM

Justine's legendary will always be remembered.
I am going to miss every moments watching her.

Posted by Samantha Elin 05/15/2008 at 06:25 AM

Go Justine, world's #1! She will be back.

Posted by Samantha Elin 05/15/2008 at 08:39 AM

I just checked the WTA ranking and she's still listed as world's #1. My hope is that they keep her name and ranking points there, so that when she comes back in a couple months, she can pick up where she left off after her rest. See you soon, Juju.

Posted by Marc Arial 05/15/2008 at 09:43 AM

Tu as été une inspiration pour tous.
Tu étais, es et seras toujours une championne à nos yeux.
Une des plus grandes du Tennis.
Tu choisis de quitter, c'est ok.
Bonne chance dans tous ce que tu entreprendras.

Un amateur de tennis qui pensera toujours à toi lorsqu'il fera un revers en faire envier!


Marc Arial
Montreal, Québec

Posted by Mice-Power 05/15/2008 at 10:06 AM

Um, first?

Posted by Suresh 05/15/2008 at 10:06 AM

Oops !!! I cannot believe it !!!

Posted by Master Ace 05/15/2008 at 10:09 AM

Samantha Elin,
Per Justine's request, Maria Sharapova will be the new number 1 in the world on Monday. Sorry:(

USA Today has a snipet of her retirement on page 1 and a story midway thru page 10. On page 3, James Martin told USA today that he believes Sharapova will retire in 4 to 5 yrs, Serena and Venus will retire within the next 2-3 years, and Ana may be around for 8 yrs since she enjoys the tennis spotlight but things can change any day.

Posted by jojo 05/15/2008 at 10:38 AM

JUSTINE'S GAME is unique in so many ways.....the all-court blend of offense and defense, the tremendous power from the diminutive stature, the quick feet, the variety......but perhaps she was most unique in demeanor.....she never screeched, she never whined, she always gave her opponents full credit, and spoke of the difficulty in devising a strategy to compete with them......
She handled her press conferences beautifully, patiently, privately, mannerly, and professionally. She bore difficult private burdens, but didn't let them intrude on her manners. With Justine, it was the tennis first, her feelings second. I had the oppurtunity to watch her for an entire match up close and personal at the US Open a few years ago.....She was by far the most interesting woman to watch...her backhand was amazing, especially on the high-bouncing balls, she leapt like a ballet dancer into her
volleys, she anticipated wonderfully. Modern day players have the money to retire young....good for them....maybe Justine will miss the game in a couple of years and the meantime.....bon chance, ma cher, tu es ma heroine....

Posted by Arif 05/15/2008 at 11:44 AM

I m a huge tennis fan, i always check new regarding tennis at, and yesterday when i saw that news, i didnt beleived what was written, and for confirmation i checked justin officially website and was devasted, its like someone close left me and will never come again and making me feel that she never come again makes me cry.
I really really really wanted justin to say today that i was kidding i m coming back, justin if u are reading thisp please come back, i m not seeing tennis any more, i mean after graf retired id dint saw woman tennis for quit some time, and its because of henin i started watching please come again..

Posted by Gerrie 05/15/2008 at 12:23 PM

It was a shock to me about her retirement so abrutly. But I realize only people with extreme illiness's do such things. I know it is more than just (I have done everything I wanted and I have reached all my goals). She is a very private person and we will not find out why she retired so suddenly until next year sometime.

I hate to say this, but it was sort of cowardly the way she did it without any good explaination (sorry if this upsets some).

She will be missed by many and a few will be glad she is out of the game (Jankovic and Sharapova). They will not have to face her ever again (even though Sharapova beat her at the Austrailian Open)
I will say no one had her intensity for the game and she rarely made mistakes when going for a title. She will be missed and I wish her all the best and really, really, really hope nothing is seriously wrong with her.

Posted by 05/15/2008 at 12:50 PM

"Christopher, if she had anything else she wouldn't have been still playing on the tour. Navratilova, I feel did not get her due. She never got the endorsements. She was single-minded in being a pro-tennis player. Overly critical of those after her who thought differently. Yes she was still winning doubles. But Davenport, Clistjers, etc. can be competitive forever on the doubles circuit. How much you wanna bet they aren't playing in their 40's and 50's. I have a feeling they have a little something going on in their lives. Navratilova was a gay woman who came out when it wasn't safe too. That's some courage right there. But she paid a price. And personally, I think that really sucks. And, as I see it, tennis is what she held onto."

AGREED! I really like Navratilova, so I gave her the benefit of the doubt. However, time and time again she has proved that she is very jealous/bitter towards the Williams sisters. Last year, when Venus won Wimbledon Martina looked upset. Maybe not that she won, but perhaps it was because Venus did not acknowledge her as one of the greats. Frankly, I don't blame Venus. Maybe Venus didn't do it intentionally. If she did, Martina would deserve it IMO. She just can't be objective when it comes to the sisters. She gets way to personal because of her jealously. Too bad. Martina is so knowledgeable. For me, I wish they would make her call more matches-just not when the sisters are playing because she loses all her senses.

Posted by Jerell 05/15/2008 at 01:54 PM

I will defend myself more on here and on Pete's post.

Once again, as I said before, this is a testament to Federer because a few people on this board really gave Henin that mantle after last year, and quickly said that Henin was the superior player of the era more than Serena.

But if she truly was however, she would have not suffered these defeats this year. She had a chance to justify that and really, clearly, even quiet down Mary Carillo, who still questions whether she is an all-time great.

I think the size in the women's game is not like the men's game. That to me lead to people greatly exaggerating the size disadavantage of Henin when in reality, she had some advantages as well with that. Just because you are bigger/taller doesn't make you the better athlete, especially in the sport of tennis and even in the women's game.

With the year she had last year, Henin is an all-time great to me, but I have to say she's not ahead of Venus though. Even with one more major and a much greater sense of consistency, with two players so close right there in stature with both having glaring holes in their all-time greatness resume, that head to head matchup is something that makes Henin not superior to Venus.

Posted by 05/15/2008 at 02:02 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 Samantha 05/15/2008 at 02:16 PM

Who is Carillo who never won anything to question if Justine in an all time great.

Posted by just saying 05/15/2008 at 02:40 PM

"Of course, the tour isn't just losing its No. 1 player. It's losing an artist. Henin was to women's tennis what Federer is to the men's - an all-court maestro with all the shots in the textbook, and quite a few that aren't."

And yet sadly Henin never seemed to inspire such breathless fall-over-yourself slobbering hyperbole from the fanboys who write for who prefer to save all that stuff for their personal favorite HRH Princess Roger.

Posted by Nancy J 05/15/2008 at 03:49 PM

I see a comment on this thread about the WS and Martina Navritolva.

I consider myself a huge Serena and Venus fan. In fact, those two are the reason I started watching the game again after nearly a decades abscence.

Having said that, I am sick of the WS fans who continually bash Martina Navratilova. Martina says what she believes. You don't have to like it or agree with it. She is also under no obligation to like any player. Martina recently said that she thought that Justine actually has a game that seems right for winning Wimbledon. Certain WS fans jumped all over her taking it as an insult to Venus. They starting writing that Martina had a sour face caught by TV cameras when Venus won Wimbie 2007.

I didn't see the sour face, nor do I see how Martina's observation about Henin an insult to Venus?

Its another hater ploy by certain over zealous WS fans who want anything and everything to be ONLY about the sisters. Martina makes observations about ALL players.

I am not that kind of WS fan.

Posted by Christine C (sniff sniff) 05/15/2008 at 04:21 PM

I like what you said dean-"if you're going to go, do it on top" Wouldn't it be even more awful to see a dejected Henin getting smashed in straight sets all the time?

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