Retired Henin not completely ruling out a return

Updated: July 2, 2008, 11:09 AM ET
Associated Press

WIMBLEDON, England -- Less than two months after her sudden retirement, Justine Henin isn't completely ruling out a return to tennis.

"I can never say for sure that I'll never be back because I hate to say never," Henin said. "But for me, and the people who know me, they know that when I do something, I do it 200 percent -- and when I decide it's over, it's over and I go to the next step."

The 26-year-old Belgian announced her retirement 10 days before the start of the French Open in May, saying she had lost her hunger for the game after a nine-year career that included seven Grand Slam titles.

"Being a professional athlete is quite difficult and you make a lot of sacrifices," Henin said on laureus.com, the Web site of the Laureus World Sports Academy. "You need to eat tennis, sleep tennis and live tennis and give 300 percent all the time. I've been doing that for 20 years.

"You know one day it's going to be over and I always said that it would never be an injury that pushed me to stop and that it was going to be my choice. I had the freedom to get my choice."

Wimbledon was the only Grand Slam that Henin never managed to win.

"It has been the biggest disappointment of my career," said Henin, who is establishing a tennis academy in Belgium. "It has a great tradition, I love it but my game wasn't quite good enough and I probably wasn't confident enough to win on grass."

She predicts defending champion and four-time winner Venus Williams will win again.

"I keep thinking that Venus is the best player on grass," she said. "She's so big and tall, so, for me, she's the favorite."


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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