When Justine Henin announced her first retirement from tennis in the spring of 2008, a catalogue of injuries and illness played a major part in her decision. Now the former world no.1, seven months into her competitive comeback, has reluctantly had to rule herself out of next month’s US Open after suffering a fracture of the right elbow.
Henin, aged 28, sustained the injury in her Wimbledon fourth round confrontation with compatriot and long time rival Kim Clijsters and means advanced plans for the pair to contest a ‘Best of Belgium’ exhibition match in Brussels next Tuesday before a potential world record crowd of 40,000 have taken a blow although there are plans for a proper replacement.
The injury was sustained when Henin fell during the first set of her fourth round defeat by Clijsters but she bravely persevered before eventually losing 2-6, 6-2, 6-3.
Two months ago Henin suffered a fracture to the small finger on her left hand when she tried to catch a ball during practice for the Fed Cup tie against Estonia. Writing on her own personal website she reported: "Following my fall at Wimbledon, I took several medical examinations which have revealed a ligament partial fracture at the right elbow.
"Therefore I regret to announce that I can't unfortunately play in Best of Belgium this July 8. I'll be nevertheless present for this wonderful Belgian event which is important for me.
"This injury will keep me away from the courts during a rough period of two months with the consequence the withdrawal of my U.S. round of tournaments, including the US Open."
Henin will undergo further medical examinations after a couple of weeks of complete rest to decide on when she returns to the WTA Tour.
Clijsters, subsequently ousted in the quarterfinals by Russia’s Vera Zvonareva, will be defending her US Open title when the tournament begins on August 30.
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