Resurgent Henin focused on Roland Garros challenge

Updated: 22 May 2010 09:27 IST

Former world number one Justine Henin admits she will face a tough challenge after nearly two years away from the clay courts as she bids to win Roland Garros f

Resurgent Henin focused on Roland Garros challenge

Stuttgart:

Former world number one Justine Henin admits she will face a tough challenge after nearly two years away from the clay courts as she bids to win Roland Garros for a fifth time next month.

The 27-year-old had a tough battle to beat Germany's Julia Goerges in the first round of the Stuttgart WTA tournament on Wednesday in her first game on clay since announcing her retirement in May 2008.

Wearing a splint to protect the broken finger she suffered in training last week, Henin needed 53 minutes for the first set after Goerges forced a tie-breaker.

Despite her two-year hiatus from claycourt tennis, Henin, who only came out of retirement in January, showed her class by taking control in the second set for a 7-6 (7/3), 6-1 victory.

Henin now has the WTA tournament in Madrid, starting on May 8, before the French Open begins at Roland Garros on May 24 to get ready.

Since taking time away from tennis, Henin has travelled and worked on some charity projects, but insists she has her passion for tennis back.

"It's going to be a big challenge for me to get ready for Roland Garros," said Henin who has seven Grand Slam titles under her belt.

"Especially as the courts we will face here, in Madrid and in Paris are so different and the conditions will be very difficult.

"It is good to play matches on different types of clay and to get the matches under my belt. That is what I need at the moment.

"It is also good that I can still play with the finger injury, I feel lucky."

Having insisted she played no tennis on her self-imposed break from tennis, Henin explained the challenges she faces from the indoor claycourt in Stuttgart before heading to Madrid and Paris.

"The courts here are very different to what we will get in Paris, there is not much clay on the courts here, they are quite dry," she explained.

"You can slide a lot, but it is a good surface, they did an amazing job to put a claycourt indoors which is not easy.

"But it is very different, because you can slide, so it is much better to be aggressive and attacking, rather than on defence."

In Thursday's second round Henin, playing on a wildcard entry, will face compatriot Yanina Wickmayer, who saw off Francesca Schiavone of Italy 6-3, 6-3.

"We were together a few days ago for the Fed Cup match and I am looking forward to playing her very much," said the Belgian.



Topics : Tennis Andy Roddick Lukas Dlouhy Rohan Bopanna Leander Paes Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi Maria Sharapova
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