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Justine Henin Addresses Hand Incident with Serena Williams

Justine Henin has long been a rival of the Williams sisters, most notably Serena. Much of the friction between the two dates back to the 2003 French Open when Henin and Serena played in the semis. During the third set, Henin raised her hand to indicate she wasn’t ready to receive a serve from Serena. Serena served into the net and expected to repeat her first serve because Henin had told her to wait. When the point was brought up to the chair umpire, he deferred to Henin who kept silent in an unsportsmanlike move. Henin went on to win the match, coming back from down 4-2 in the final set. From that point on, the two were clear rivals, resulting in moments of profanity by Serena.

Now, years later, Henin has addressed that issue and several controversies from her career.

In an interview with a Belgian TV station, Henin talked about the hand incident from the French Open and seemed to indicate she kept quiet because of fear. Here’s the translation from tennis.com as relayed by OnTheGoTennis: “If I had been convinced that she had seen it, had been bothered by it, I might have reacted. But you react on instinct. At the same time what happened was magic. I don’t know if that changed the match. I hope I’m not saying that in bad faith.

Maybe it was a way to give me respect, because you know that Williams have an attitude, sometimes difficult. They play with a lot of intimidation. know that the Williams had attitudes that were sometimes difficult. Today, it doesn’t scare me any more.”

So Henin essentially said she was looking for an edge on the court and needed all the help she could get to stand up to Serena. The strategy did work because she came back to win the match. As for head-to-head, Serena leads 8-6 in their careers. Oh, and if coming clean on the hand incident wasn’t enough, Henin admits now that she cheated on a 2004 call in the Australian Open finals against Kim Clijsters. She’s not exactly the most sportsmanlike person around, and she drops in my book for that reason.

Serena Calls Henin ‘Bitch’ in Match

I chronicled Serena’s humility in her post-match press conference Wednesday following her loss to Justine Henin at the US Open. The comments I included didn’t even highlight possibly the most disparaging remarks by Serena — that Henin was lucky. Yes, the same Henin who knocked Serena out of the past three grand slams. Well, the astute Chris Mottram of Mr. Irrelevant fame picked up a clip from the match in which Serena clearly calls Henin a bitch. Check it:

There was a bit of dispute on the comments over at Mr. Irrelevant as to whether or Serena’s remark was directed at Henin since it was made in the heat of battle. Here’s how I break it down. If your head is down and you’re talking to yourself, it’s one thing. But if you’re looking directly at your opponent across the net when you make the comment, it’s a complete other thing. Besides, as Signal to Noise has brought up in past comments, the two have a horrible history dating back to past grand slams. That’s poor form by Serena, truly poor form.

That’s Right, Justine Henin has Herpes

You know, I’ve always thought that STDs were underrated. At least it means you’re getting some, right? Hopefully Justine Henin sees things the same way as me, because she apparently has herpes. Taking it from D-Wil at the FanHouse (from Henin’s post French Open press conference):

Q. Weren’t you afraid that the emotional side of things would have too much influence on that match?

JUSTINE HENIN: No, I didn’t panic. I knew I was not starting that match well. I can tell you, I had a horrible night. My herpes came out again, and I said to my doctor, “Well, I see everything is fine, it’s great.”

So, really, I was a bit anxious. But also, I really wanted to do well. And very early in the match, the match turned over. And then I knew I was going to be able to keep it up until the end. (enphasis mine)

Henin is recently divorced. Is this part of the reason for the split with her husband?

I mean I’m just sayin’. And will this be an excuse for future losses? I can hear it now:

Q: Justine, in the second set your forehand just seemed to fail you, and you seemed to tire as the match went on. Is that true?

Henin: Well, my herpes began to act up and I wanted to get off the court before my sore began to show.

Sure, I’ve noticed a few bumps there before, but I never really thought twice about it. I mean, the thought that someone has herpes isn’t exactly the first thing that enters your mind. I guess I’ll have to look a little closer next time to see what’s going on there.