Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Whoa, part 2

And I thought it would've all just turned out to be a bunch of baloney. You see an article at 5:45 in the morning like I did today reporting something no one saw coming, what else would you think? But turns out it was true: Justine Henin, the number-one player in the women's game, only 25 and coming off a career year, announced her retirement, effective immediately. Now after reading all the stories, here's what I think:

I'm not buying it.

It's not that I don't believe she's leaving the game right now, because it's obvious she's doing that. I honestly think she'll be back, though, at least in a year-and-a-half or two. If Lindsay Davenport got the itch to start playing again after complaining for years that she couldn't wait for her career to be over, then what will Henin be like? I know she has her academy to build up and has a world of outside interests to keep her busy.

However, I can't think of another women's tennis player that enjoyed the competitive aspect of the sport as much as Henin did, except for maybe Monica Seles. I think Henin loved to beat those players that were bigger than her and showing them that heart and determination can go a long way in beating what appear to be insurmountable odds. I've been rooting for her to pick up a Wimbledon title for a few years now, just because I love to see history being made in the game, and I bet that'll stick in her craw, too.

If this is truly the route she wants to take, you can't help but respect her career and her decision-making on this. Plus, it's always great to see an athlete go out on top. I just can't picture her staying away for too long; not as determined as she is.

I already have a headline picked out for when she starts talking about a comeback — Belgian waffling? I think I'm gonna get that trademarked!

(Photos: Getty Images)


Darker Blue said...

Hey Van, when I was reading this post I wondered, are there any example players who retired before and came back and played well again? Thanks.


Tennis Talk, Anyone? said...

Hey DB. Probably the best example of someone coming back was Martina Hingis' return after retiring for a couple of years. She was pretty young when she stopped due to injuries. Her first full year back on tour, she cracked the top 10. She recently re-retired.

Also, although she never officially retired, Lindsay Davenport took time off to have a baby and has been playing decently since coming back.

Anonymous said...

someone told me that Justine is quitting because of the increased scruitiny around drug testing prior to the Olympics. Remember in 2004 when she disappeared for 6 months due to some "virus"? - and then she came back to win the gold medal?

This whole thing smacks of an effort to avoid a drug scandal.

Tennis Talk, Anyone? said...

I had been hearing some rumblings of a drug scandal, too. Plus, there's already talk of her coming back. The next few months will reveal a lot.