The 27 year old Justine Henin recently announced her comeback after an absence of 15 months. Now it is official: she may participate in the first Grand Slam Tournament of 2010.
The Australian Open organisers were all too pleased to give Henin a wildcard. This means that she can take part in the tournament without first going through the qualifications. Justine Henin won the Australian Open in 2004. She is one of the 12 people invited to the Grand Slam.
The Australian Open takes place from 18 to 31 January. Justine Henin plans to get back into the game and warm up for the Australian Open by participating in the tournaments of Brisbane (Australia) and Auckland (New Zealand).
Kim Clijsters, also a former Belgian number one in the world, is also warming up for the Australian Open in Brisbane. Kim Clijsters made a comeback this year after an absence of two years in which she got married and had a child. Clijsters won the U.S. Open in Flushing Meadows, New York.
Justine Henin, winner of seven Grand Slam Tournaments, was credited with having the best backhand in the sport. With her slight 1.67 metre frame Justine Henin also bucked a trend towards a power game by taller and stronger women.
Justine Henin retired from professional tennis because she said she had 'lost the passion for the game'. She has her own tennis club in French-speaking Belgium and she is a United Nations goodwill ambassador, a job which often took her travelling.
Henin won 41 titles after turning professional in 1999; she won the French Open four times, the U.S. Open twice, the Australian Open once and an Olympic gold in 2004. She failed however to ever win Wimbledon.