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Emotional Henin glad to be back in Paris
Patrick Vignal
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May 25, 2007 22:02 IST
Justine Henin, who has been through hard times lately, said on Friday she was delighted to be back in Paris where she will chase a third consecutive crown at the French Open starting on Sunday.

"It's good to be back here," said the world number one, who has had to fight personal turmoil with a split from husband Pierre-Yves Hardenne and a subsequent withdrawal from the Australian Open in January.

"This is my favourite tournament," added the Belgian, who will turn 25 during the French Open. "It's a long and beautiful story between me and Roland Garros."

Henin, who burst into the limelight by winning on the Paris clay in 2003 and triumphed again in 2005 and 2006, is chasing a hat-trick of titles, a feat only Monica Seles, with consecutive wins from 1990 to 1992, has achieved since the start of the professional era.

"It's different this year because a lot of things have changed in my life," Henin told a news conference. "I had to fight against a lot of things but I don't feel bitter at all. In fact I'm feeling well. I love what I'm doing and I still want to share emotions with the people."

Henin was a child when she came to Roland Garros for the first time as a spectator with her mother, who died in 1995.

"Every time I come here, I go to the same hotel," she said. "I take a bit of time to look at the city and then I go to Roland Garros. It's always emotional and also soothing. It feels like home."

Henin will meet Russia's Elena Vesnina in the first round and in the quarter-finals could face Serena Williams, an opponent she beat after an epic battle in the semi-finals in 2003.

"That match against Serena was one of the highlights of my career," said Henin. "Beating her allowed me to play my first grand slam final. But I'm not in the quarter-finals yet."

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