Former No. 1 returning to tennis after marital issues

Updated: January 23, 2007, 9:09 PM ET
Associated Press

BRUSSELS, Belgium -- Justine Henin-Hardenne is separating from her husband and plans to return to the WTA Tour.

Justine Henin-Hardenne
AP Photo/Michel SpinglerJustine Henin-Hardenne pulled out of the Australian Open for personal reasons.

Three weeks after pulling out of the Australian Open, Henin-Hardenne, the former No. 1, announced on her Web site Wednesday that she and her husband, Yves, had decided to separate and she planned to play next month in Paris.

"The last few weeks were difficult for me," she said.

She was the runner-up at the Australian Open last year and lost her No. 1 world ranking because of forfeiting the first Grand Slam of the year.

Henin-Hardenne, 24, won the French Open last year and reached the final at the three other majors before capping 2006 with a win in the season-ending WTA Tour Championship. She had a 60-8 record.

The Gaz de France tournament is set for Feb. 5-11.

"It's not far from my home, and it's always pleasant for me to be in Paris," the Belgian said. "This will be my first tournament for the season. I hope to find my form, and as usual will give all of myself."

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press