Justine Henin announced live via Belgian television today that she will be returning to professional tennis in 2010.
I followed the live chat on Le Soir, and picked up some quotes. I did my best to translate the quotes they put up:
“I’ll return to tour very quickly. I’m very excited.”
“It’s amazing, it’s true. There was a long personal journey. I’m refocused. More mature.”
“My inner voice was tickling me, and I took a little time to talk to (coach) Carlos Rodriguez.”
“My goal is to return in January in Australia, but I do not know what tournament”
That last one is a little confusing – I’d say she isn’t yet confirming her definite participation in the Australian Open. But to return to the Magic 8 Ball, all signs point to “yes.”
Le Soir does the 8 Ball thing:
To meet the rules of the World Anti-Doping Code ratified by the International Tennis Federation (ITF), every player who appeared in the top 50 world rankings and who wishes to resume his career must inform the Federation at least three months before his return. Justine Henin will begin again as early as January. She should attend the Australian Open (from 18 to 31 January) that she had won the tournament in 2004 … against Kim Clijsters.
I’m sure there will be more available soon*, along with some clarifications. The good news is: JuJu’s BACK!
*Here are some new quotes via the BBC (thanks Lorrie, for the article!):
“I’m really happy and deeply moved to be able to announce tonight that I’m coming back to competitive tennis.”
“These past 15 months have been enriching but there is a flame that has been re-lit. I thought it had been put out forever.”
Her old coach Carlos Rodriguez will be back in the player’s box, with the ultimate goal of winning Wimbledon (wonder what Venus and Serena think about that?):
“She has entrusted me (to be her coach) once again and I will try to never let her down.”
“I’m very happy to be helping her to restart her new life. It’s a super challenge for her. The desire to win Wimbledon is one of the main reasons she’s come back and I’ll do everything to help her do it.”
The BBC also says that Justine will play the Australian Open.