Winning the French Open for the fourth time meant more to Justine Henin than simply lifting the Suzanne Lenglen trophy again — it proved to her that she could go it alone.
The Belgian had won her previous five grand slam titles while married to Pierre-Yves Hardenne. But following the breakdown of that relationship at the turn of the year, the 25-year-old needed confirmation that her success would not dry up.
”I do it for myself now and I’m alone and I have to deal with a lot of things on my own,” she told Reuters in an interview after her 6-1 6-2 win over Serbian Ana Ivanovic on Saturday.
”It’s not easy but I’m glad and I’m proud of myself because I now know I can do things by myself. It was very important that I could prove that to myself.”
While Hardenne was conspicuous by his absence, Henin did have new additions to her cheering supporters on Philippe Chatrier Court — her three siblings.
Henin had been estranged from her family for many years but after they patched up their differences three months ago, her brothers David and Thomas and sister Sarah made the trip to Paris to get a close view of Justine in action.
It was the first time the trio witnessed their sister win a grand slam title from the stands.
Even though she dedicated the win to her family, including her father Jose who stayed at home, Henin said she was not sorry for shutting them out of her life for so long.
”I don’t have any regrets because that was the way I was feeling at the time,” said the world number one, who lost her mother when she was 12.
”Things have now improved and things have changed and I’m glad and I’m proud of it. I’m sure my mum is proud of us.
”I feel good that I could give them the victory and it was important that we could celebrate together for the first time in so many years. So that was pretty big.”
With the claycourt season now over, Henin is looking towards the grasscourt season to complete her grand slam collection.
Twice runner-up at the All England Club, including 2006 when she reached all four major finals, she is aware that adapting to grass continues to be her biggest challenge.
”That’s the only one I’ve never won so it’s my main goal now,” said Henin, whose next stop on the WTA Sony Ericsson Tour will be in Eastbourne at the traditional Wimbledon warm-up tournament.
”It’s going to be tough because it comes so quickly to adjust after the French Open. You have only two weeks to get used to the grass and that’s not easy.
”It’s going to be tough for me against the powerful players but I’ve proved in the past that I could handle the pressure against them on grass and I will have to play a very aggressive game if I want to win it.
”It, however, wouldn’t be the end of my [world] if I never win it. I hope I can get a lot of joy in London and that’s the next goal.” – Reuters