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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.


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  • Anonymous

    I’ve always known that Justine was a cheater, because she admitted it years later just confirms my dislike for her as a person. I’m glad I no longer have to see her on the tennis court

  • Anonymous

    Since when are tennis players supposed to call points on themselves in professional matches?
    if ya ain’t cheatin, ya ain’t tryin

  • Anonymous

    What a total bunch of baloney. The hand incident is the biggest blown out of proportion “Incident” in tennis history. Also, Justine has more class in her little finger than Serena has in her entire body. I say that as a citizen of the USA. I am embarrassed by Serena’s actions, including the fact she keeps letting venues sell out their tickets, then drops out… again! What a total loser attitude she has.

  • http://larrybrownsports.com Larry Brown

    What happened to good old fashioned sportsmanship, spin?

  • http://larrybrownsports.com Larry Brown

    Nobody is accusing Serena of having class, but this sets the record straight on Henin.

  • Anonymous

    wouldn’t that be sportswomanship?

  • http://larrybrownsports.com Larry Brown

    ahah, point taken!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PYUX4CRQLK5WABEJF4HE37EEEI Charles Lindgren

    Just as Serena is an example of sportsmanship… At the US Open 2009 she stole the moment from Kim so as to “safeguard” her aura of invincibility, an illusion in the first place. She never praised an opponent either after suffering a defeat. Just before the hand incident, Serena was very quick to swipe that ballmark.
    She has also been the meanest and most intimidating player on the court, men and women included.

    While the AusOpen call was a scandal, the main responsible was not Henin but De Jenken who overruled the call from a position she was way too far from the ball. De Jenken was French and surely, maybe subconsciously favored Henin. Just look at her face when she took the decision, she was visibly not 100% sure.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1427911837 Javier Espada

    Justine did not acknowledge she cheated on Kim because she did not. The ball was barely in, just touched the edge of the line and it was called out by the line judge. This is not a club game where the players themselves do the calls. The calls are made by proffesional judges that yes sometimes get it wrong, especially with such a close call like that one. This kind of bad calls happen all the time. It was not up to Justine to make the call. And you cannot call her cheater because of the mistake of the judge and the umpire who didnt overrule the call.

    If you are saying that a tennis player is a cheater because they didnt ask the judges to change their call well then either all of them are cheaters because it happens all the time or you have not been watching tennis in the last say 25 years.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jr-Derha/100001734268953 Jr Derha

    move on/.