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Home > Sports > Tennis > Reuters > Report

Henin announces retirement

May 14, 2008 20:23 IST
Last Updated: May 14, 2008 20:45 IST


World number one Justine Henin [Images] announced she was retiring from professional tennis with immediate effect on Wednesday.

"It's the end of a wonderful adventure but it's something I have been thinking about for a long time," the Belgian told a news conference.

Henin had wanted to continue...

Henin, the winner of seven grand slam titles had been expected to defend her French Open crown later this month but instead opted to turn her back on the sport at the age of just 25.

"I am leaving as the world number one and that is important and it is always better to go out at the top," said Henin, who won 41 titles since turning professional in 1999.

"I have been driving my career based on an emotion but I didn't feel that emotion anymore since (last year's season-ending championships in) Madrid.

"At Madrid I felt I had reached the climax of my career. I had thought about taking a break, but in the end I didn't think this was the right decision."

"I decided on returning from (last week's tournament in) Berlin to stop now.

"I leave without any regrets and I know it is the right decision."

FACTBOX
* Born June 1, 1982 in Liege, Belgium.
* Turned professional in 1999, and captured 41 singles titles, including seven grand slams during her career.
* Won her debut WTA Tour event in Antwerp.
* Became first Belgian to reach a singles final at Wimbledon in 2001, where she was beaten by Venus Williams [Images]. Went on to become the first Belgian to win a grand slam title when she overwhelmed compatriot Kim Clijsters [Images] to win the 2003 French Open.
* Overcame Clijsters to win her second grand slam title at the U.S. Open in 2003 and then again in the 2004 Australian Open final.
* Won a gold medal in the 2004 Athens Olympics [Images] despite being plagued by an energy-sapping viral illness.
* Won the French Open in 2005 and 2006, only the fifth woman to win back-to-back Roland Garros titles in the professional era.
* Reached the final of all four grand slam tournaments in 2006, becoming the first player to achieve such a feat and reach the final of the end-of-season Championships since Steffi Graf [Images] in 1993.
* Secured the year-end number one spot on her way to winning her first WTA Championships in Madrid.
* Began 2007 by missing the Australian Open to deal with the breakdown of her four-year marriage to Pierre-Yves Hardenne, but went on to win her third consecutive French Open in May with victory over Ana Ivanovic of Serbia.
* Won grand slam title number seven with victory over Svetlana Kuznetsova for her second U.S. Open trophy.
* Ended season by beating Maria Sharapova [Images] 5-7 7-5 6-3 in an epic final lasting three hours and 24 minutes to win her second consecutive WTA Championships.
* Began the 2008 season with victories in Sydney and Antwerp but was soundly beaten by Sharapova in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open between those triumphs. Failed to advance past the quarter-finals of last three tournaments and withdrew from this week's Italian Open citing fatigue.
* May 14, Still ranked number one in the world, announced her retirement with immediate effect at a press conference.

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