Henin’s Brisbane return

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Henin’s Brisbane return

SYDNEY - Belgium’s seven-time Grand Slam winner Justine Henin on Wednesday confirmed she would make her comeback from a 15-month retirement at Australia’s Brisbane International in January. The former world No. 1’s return to tournament tennis will pit her against compatriot and fellow ex-retiree Kim Clijsters, who won September’s U.S. Open just five weeks after ending a two-year hiatus.

“After a 15-month absence I am pleased to begin my second tennis career at the Brisbane International,” the 27-year-old Henin said in a statement.

“It will be great to get back to playing competitive tennis again and with the strong field, the same court surface and a similar climate to Melbourne, it will be the perfect preparation leading into the Australian Open.”

Tournament director Steve Ayles said Henin will also be up against Serbia’s former French Open champion, Ana Ivanovic, and home favorite Jelena Dokic at the Jan. 3-10 event.

“It will be tremendous to see Justine match up against her former rival and countrywoman Kim Clijsters,” Ayles said.

Despite winning a total of 41 WTA Tour titles and holding the world No.1 spot for 117 non-consecutive weeks, Henin will be given one of four wildcard entries into the tournament, as she has no current WTA ranking, Ayles said.

Henin, who retired on May 14, 2008, citing a succession of injuries and a desire to live a life away from tennis, will play two exhibition events in Charleroi and Dubai later this year before her tournament return, he added. The Olympic gold medalist and holder of three of the four major titles announced her comeback shortly after Clijsters won the US Open, saying her passion for the game had been rekindled.

Henin won seven Grand Slam titles in the seven years from 2001 - four French Opens, two U.S. Opens and one Australian Open. AFP
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