Henin plays down grand slam chances

Justine Henin has played down her chances of emulating Kim Clijsters’ spectacular return to grand slam tennis.

Justine Henin has played down her chances of emulating Kim Clijsters’ spectacular return to grand slam tennis.

The seven-time major champion is making her return to the WTA Tour next month after surprisingly retiring while world number one in May last year.

Henin is following her Belgian countrywoman Clijsters, who sensationally won the US Open in September in only her third tournament back after more than two years away from the tour.

Henin will play her first competitive tournament at the Brisbane International next month but she showed she is already in good shape with a 6-4 6-4 victory over world number 12 Flavia Pennetta in an exhibition in Charleroi yesterday.

The 27-year-old, though, insisted she has no expectations for Melbourne, telling www.nieuwsblad.be: “My game is still a work in progress. Perhaps Australia will also be premature.

“I don’t want anything from Australia in terms of results. I want to enjoy it - the reunion with the circuit, the other girls, the adrenaline. I hope I can show on the court what I learned in training. But I do not expect results.”

Regarding her feelings about being back on the court again, Henin continued: “This is very emotional. I had three nights with tears in my eyes trying to sleep. That is my greatest satisfaction after this weekend: I have managed to control my emotions.”

The four-time French Open champion was known for her serious attitude during her first stint on tour, in contrast to the more fun-loving Clijsters.

But Henin has promised to show a different side to her character this time, saying: “I have nothing to prove to other people, only to myself. I want to prove that I am calmer and more mature now. I also want it to be different to my first career.

“I want much more emphasis on human relationships. In my first career, I didn’t realise what sport can mean to the people. Now I understand better.

“My big problem is that I am basically shy. When the spotlight is on me, I crawl into my shell, instead of showing that I can be funny or fun. I’m trying that now. It’s my job.”

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