The comeback of Justine Henin after an 18 month retirement was one of the most eagerly awaited events of women’s tennis in many years but since losing January’s Australian Open the Belgian has suffered far more disappointments than highs and now comes the biggest of all with the news she will not play again for the entirety of 2010.
Henin, world no.1 for 75 weeks in four separate spells, the first beginning in October 2003 and the most recent ending with the announcement of her ‘temporary’ retirement from the sport in May 2008, has not played since suffering a partial ruptured ligament of her right elbow at Wimbledon in late June.
The 28 year-old who is currently ranked 14th in the world after establishing a 32-8 winning record on her return, has been told by her doctors she can expect to resume light training in October but competitive action is out of the question until the New Year.
Henin said: "I'm doing everything required by my medical team to get a good recovery of the injury I had at Wimbledon. I took several medical examinations in recent days and things are going in the right direction. So that is encouraging news.
"It is still a slow recovery so I need to be patient again until the end of 2010. For my preparation for competition in 2011 I cannot take any risks, so I hope to go back to practice in October and I will work hard to get ready for the new season."
Henin stressed the priority in her comeback was to complete her set of Grand Slam titles by winning a Wimbledon title to add to the Australian Open she won in 2004, two US Opens in 2003 and 2007 and of course four French Open in the space of five years between 2003 and 2007.
She took her career title haul to 43 this year with wins in Stuttgart and s’-Hertogenbosch but fell heavily during her fourth-round Wimbledon encounter with compatriot and long time rival Kim Clijsters. The player, seeded 17 for the Championships, managed to complete the match, eventually losing 2-6, 6-2, 6-3 but has not played since.
Henin's first scheduled event of 2011 is at the Hopman Cup in Perth, which begins on New Year's Day.
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