Tennis: Henin withdraws from Sydney with injured leg
By JOHN PYE
AP Sports Writer
BRISBANE, Australia — Justine Henin injured her left leg in a Brisbane International final loss to Kim Clijsters on Saturday in a setback to her career comeback ahead of the Australian Open.
Henin withdrew Saturday from the Sydney International, where she could have met top-ranked Serena Williams in the second round if she’d won her opening match.
The 27-year-old Belgian said she’d strained her upper left leg earlier in the week and aggravated it in the final, a 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (6) loss to U.S. Open champion Clijsters.
“It was a bit sore in the last few days and really got worse today in the third set,” Henin said. “I hope it’s not that serious and that I’m going to be able to recover soon, but it would be just a great, great mistake to go and play in Sydney.”
Henin said she’d consult a doctor again if it hadn’t improved within a couple of days.
“It was very tight for a few days. But it really got worse in the end,” she said. “It’s no excuse, it’s not the reason why I,” lost to Clijsters.
Henin has no ranking after quitting the tour in May 2008, while holding the No. 1 ranking. She received wild-card entries to play in Brisbane and Sydney ahead of the Australian Open, her first major since she lost in the quarterfinals at Melbourne Park in 2008.
Henin announced her comeback in September, soon after Clijsters won the U.S. Open in only her third tournament after coming back from more than two years in retirement.
Henin won four matches in Brisbane, including a first-round win over Nadia Petrova and a semifinal win over third-seeded Ana Ivanovic, the 2008 French Open champion.
The Australian Open starts Jan. 18, and Henin is focused on her return to Grand Slam tennis.
“I just think it could get worse if I play in the next few days,” she said. “It’s something I cannot do because there’s a goal for me in 10 days and I have to be ready.”