Justine Henin remembers the fight in tennis career

AP, Monday 14 Feb 2011

Justine Henin's seven Grand Slam titles can't compare to a mere semifinal match on a sun-baked court in Athens seven years ago, when sweat and guts pulled her through when talent alone was not enough

Justine Henin

It was a match against French Open champion Anastasia Myskina of Russia at the 2004 Olympics.

"I was coming back from nowhere, down 5-1, and playing for the country, Olympic Games," the 28-year-old Henin said Monday, two weeks after announcing her sudden retirement because of an injured elbow, when asked to pick the match of her career.

After nearly three hours, she beat Myskina 7-5, 5-7, 8-6 and it perfectly showed what all had come to love in the Belgian _ her never-give-up attitude.

She won the gold medal, too.

But after coming out of retirement once, a lingering right elbow injury cut short her comeback for good last month.

"There is a physical limit. There is a lot of damage," Henin said. "Only surgery would give me a small chance." Henin was ranked No. 1 when she abruptly announced her retirement in 2008, only to return 20 months later and reach last year's Australian Open final. She partially tore a ligament in her elbow in a tumble at Wimbledon last year and hasn't been the same since.

This time, her mind is clear.

"It hasn't been my best, but I did try and I have no regrets," she said.

She countered rumors that she was trying to sell her tennis academy close to Brussels and insisted sharing her skills with youngsters was still her goal.

Henin won her first Grand Slam title at the French Open in 2003 and won the clay-court tournament three straight years from 2005 to 2007. She also won the U.S. Open in 2003 and 2007 and the Australian Open in 2004.

Her comeback last year centered on winning a first Wimbledon title, but instead it became her downfall, crashing on her elbow in a fourth-round loss to Kim Clijsters.

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