Henin-Hardenne to defend crown

  • Other Sport
  • Wednesday, 19 May 2004

BRUSSELS: World number one Justine Henin-Hardenne will defend her French Open crown after recovering from a viral infection. 

“I have recovered from the viral illness I contracted earlier this year and am feeling well again,” the Belgian told reporters yesterday. 

“I have been practising regularly and even though I do not feel 100%, I feel I am in a good enough shape to go to Paris.” 

Henin-Hardenne, 21, who beat compatriot Kim Clijsters to win her first Grand Slam title in Roland Garros last June, had been doubtful for the tournament which starts on Monday after falling ill last month. 

Doctors treating Henin-Hardenne had ordered her to rest until the beginning of May. 

“My build-up to Paris has not been perfect since I had to stop for several weeks and have played only four matches on clay this year,” Henin-Hardenne said. 

“It was really difficult for me to be told by the doctors to stop playing for such a long time. 

“For several weeks, I was really unsure whether I could go to Paris and participate in my favourite event ... but after two weeks of practice, I have decided to go for it.  

“I know I'm not the favourite for the tournament, especially since the other girls were playing and practising hard while I was doing nothing. 

“I'm feeling about 80% but I am also feeling better each day and I am sure I will have great fun defending my title at Roland Garros.” – Reuters 

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