shahar peer backhand 311.
(photo credit: AP)
Women’s tennis without Justine Henin was a bit like the Mona Lisa without her smile.
Sure, it had its undeniable attractions, but lacked that special something that made all the difference.
Sure, the Williams sisters and the likes of Maria Sharapova provided
some entertaining matches. But for all their talents, they could not
give the game something afforded to it by one slender Belgian.
For Henin brings to the women’s circuit a level of skill and finesse
which arrives no more than once in a generation.
The combination of perfect timing and exquisite technique give Henin an
unrivaled array of shots, none more beautiful and unique than her
It is a true work of art.
The way she gets her feet in position before drawing back her racket and
unleashing a shot of power and accuracy which should be impossible for
someone her size, is a joy to behold time and time again.
So outstanding is her backhand that John McEnroe described it as the
best in the game, female or male.
When she retired in May 2008 while ranked No. 1 in the world it was
obvious that she would be missed, but like anything else in life she was
not truly appreciated until she was actually gone.
Fortunately, she made her return in January of this year and has been
steadily finding her form ever since.
Her sensational run at the Australian Open was only cut short in the
final by Serena Williams and consistency seems to be the only thing
standing between her and the top of her game at the moment.
“It’s a great feeling to get a second opportunity,” Henin said on Friday
after her straight-sets victory over Nadia Petrova in the third round.
“At the beginning I didn’t know what to expect when I came back. I
didn’t realize it would be as hard as it was.
However, there have been so many positives from the beginning of the
season and I’m here to give my best and go as far as possible.”
Every Grand Slam tournament is special, but the Wimbledon title is
perhaps the one Henin craves most of all as it is the only major missing
from her resume.
The first week of Wimbledon showed some promising signs, but a cruel
draw means Henin will play superb countrywoman Kim Clijsters in the
fourth round on Monday, leaving the tournament without one of its true
contenders before the quarterfinals.
It will, however, provide an ideal opportunity to see Henin pushed to
play at her very best and that is a sight you do not want to miss.