New York the final hurdle for Henin-Hardenne

Updated: 25 February 2007 10:36 IST

The US Open is not Justine Henin-Hardenne's favorite Grand Slam event. It's on hardcourts. It's at the end of the season. It's in New York.

New York the final hurdle for Henin-Hardenne

New York:

The US Open is not Justine Henin-Hardenne's favorite Grand Slam event. It's on hardcourts. It's at the end of the season. It's in New York. She won the 2003 title in Flushing Meadows, but has not advanced past the fourth round any other year. Getting past that hurdle again to make the championship match this year would make her the first woman since Martina Hingis in 1997 to reach the final of all four Grand Slams singles in the same year. "It's still too far from now," the second-seeded Belgian said on Monday after an easy 6-2, 6-1 victory over Italy's Maria Elena Camerin in the first round. "What I did till now is amazing. It's maybe the best season of my career with 2003 I would say. I've been very consistent from the beginning of the season." Part of her reticence may be due to her lack of enthusiasm about New York. "It's not my favorite one," the 24-year-old and seven-season WTA Tour veteran said. "It's the last Grand Slam of the season. Everyone gets a little bit tired. It's pretty busy, I mean New York. Busy city. "But it's a different atmosphere: Night session and the New York crowd. It's different. I like it, but it's not my favorite one." Losses to Amelie Mauresmo at the Australian Open and Wimbledon cost her those titles earlier this year. She beat Svetlana Kuznetsova for the French Open crown and has won five times on the WTA Tour this year, more than anybody else. "I'm healthy, that's very important, that I can play not a lot of tournaments, but I can play consistently tournament after tournament," she said. "I think it's very important for your confidence when you're injured and you take some time to come back. That takes a lot of energy." The recurrence of a right knee injury from a year and a half ago flared earlier this year in February, March and April. It flared again after Wimbledon, forcing her off the tour until last week, where she returned at New Haven, Connecticut, and promptly won the event on Saturday, albeit anticlimactically when Lindsay Davenport withdrew from the final because of an injury. Henin-Hardenne says she's feeling fine, except, of course, for end-of-the season fatigue, the hardcourts - and New York. (AP)

Topics : Tennis
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