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Justine Henin retires from tennis for second time

Justine Henin has announced her retirement from tennis for a second time after admitting defeat in her bid to recover from an elbow injury.

The 28-year-old first quit the sport in 2008 when she was ranked number one in the world but had a change of heart the following year and returned to the WTA Tour in January 2010.

Henin reached the Australian Open final later that month but she missed the second half of the season after fracturing a ligament in her elbow at Wimbledon.

And today the Belgian revealed that injury has forced her to call time on her playing days for good.

She wrote in a letter on her website, http://www.justine-henin.be: "I'm in shock, of course. Even with the work of these past seven months, I had to understand that there might be a reason for all this.

"After having considered and followed the advice of doctors, it is now clear and I accept that my career here ... ... finally ends."

Henin returned to action at the Hopman Cup in Perth earlier this month and the signs were promising as she won four matches without dropping a set.

The seven-time grand slam champion went into the Australian Open seeded 11th and rated as second favourite for the title but doubts remained about her fitness and she was beaten in the third round by Svetlana Kuznetsova.

Henin subsequently underwent tests that confirmed her elbow had been damaged by playing in Australia.

The Belgian continued: "After my loss at Wimbledon in June, I knew it would be difficult to come back. But I had decided to keep playing and to give everything to overcome the injury.

"In these recent months, I have rarely been spared from the pain, those last months were very hard. Time has passed, and the doubts have grown, and only returning to the courts would give me answers.

"Not the answer I was hoping for... unfortunately. I suffered a lot the last week and every day gave me more and more pain, but I believed that my will would take the upper hand.

"Today, the examinations are clear and the doctors formally said my elbow is too fragile and hurt, so that my passion and my profession at a high level cannot continue to exist."