They sometimes say ‘by any means necessary’ and it would seem that Justine Henin, not content to just fade into the background, is dredging up some of the darker moments of her career, admitting that her only defense is that very saying.In her 2003 semifinal against Serena Williams (from 3.30 on the video) at the French Open, Williams was dealing with a difficult French crowd and and serving for a 5-2 lead in the deciding set when he service motion was interrupted by Henin raising her hand to indicate she wasn’t ready for the serve.
The serve was called a fault.
When Serena complained to the umpire who hadn’t seen what the cameras clearly captured, Henin stayed silent, taking the advantage from an ethically poor decision.
For some reason, after denying any wrong doing Henin has said, “It’s true, that is not my best memory… Perhaps I should have said that I raised my hand even though, in honesty, I still think that it didn’t change the course of the match.”
At the time Serena was booed for brushing off Henin at the end of the match, but it seems fair given that the issue changed the match and Henin went on to win the title that year. Knowing Serena Williams’ killer instinct you’d have to think if she was serving at 4-3, 30-0 in the deciding set that she would close out the game had she not been interrupted, a gap Henin surely would not have recovered from.
I’m not saying Serena would have won the title, we can’t possible know that. I’m just saying that had Henin confirmed the hand raise that I believe (you don’t have to agree) that Serena, realistically, would have won that game, and most likely, the match.
In Henin’s defense, Serena has won so many tournaments that she could maybe explain the loss of the game, but she should have shaken off the incident, dealt with it later and played the match properly rather than letting it eat away at her.
It’s not the only example of unsportsmanlike conduct that Henin is admitting to. For some reason, presumably she wants to enter her second retirement with a clear conscience. She had the chance to come back, or even retire the first time, with a clean slate but chose not to. Why she has chosen now I can’t understand.
Her admission, albeit ridiculously late, only fans the flames of Serena’s rage, which may be unwarranted as I previously said, she is also responsible for how she responded in the rest of the match.
I can understand the American’s ongoing irritation though particularly given what happened at the 2004 US Open. In her quarterfinal match against Jennifer Capriati so many bad calls were made against her that the tournament later apologized to Williams publicly. The incident pushed tennis close to Hawk Eye.
We all know Serena can be hot headed, just look at the 2009 US Open, but as a champions both women should just let the past remain there. Neither of them can change it and any admissions, apologizes or anything else should be dealt with privately not over Twitter.
“Question, I keep hearing about admittance to someone cheating me & lying about it after at the French open? Did she confess finally?” – Serena Williams Twitter
Henin has also admitted that in the 2004 Australian Open final that with a break point in hand at 4-3 a volley by Clijsters was actually “more out than on the line…it touched the line. I admit it now.”