Justine Henin announced her retirement from tennis for a second time yesterday – and on this occasion there seems certain to be no turning back. The 28-year-old Belgian revealed that in playing in Australia this month she had suffered further damage to the elbow she first injured at Wimbledon last summer. She said she had been advised that the elbow was "too fragile and hurt so that my passion and my profession at high level cannot continue to exist."
Henin initially retired three years ago, becoming the first player to quit while No 1 in the world rankings. Twenty months later she returned, reaching the Australian Open final in only her second comeback tournament, but her season was curtailed when she damaged elbow ligaments in a fall at Wimbledon. She returned in the Hopman Cup earlier this month and reached the third round here, losing to Svetlana Kuznetsova. The last win of her career was against Britain's Elena Baltacha.
"The past few weeks there was a little bit more pain every day, but I thought my willpower would prevail. Today, the tests and my doctors are adamant," she said.
Henin was one of the best players of the modern era. Despite her slight frame she struck the ball with great power and was a formidable competitor. She claimed seven Grand Slam titles, with Wimbledon the only major she did not win.