New article (Aug. 8)
From the Connecticut Post:
Henin trying to find hot Pilot Pen form of last year
By CHRIS CASAVANT
Each time Justine Henin has appeared at the Pilot Pen tennis tournament, she's been in a very different stage of her career.
In 2000, Henin qualified for the main draw and advanced to the second round before losing to Amanda Coetzer in three sets. It was a tournament she said helped serve as a springboard for her career.
Last year, she was one of the hottest players on the WTA Tour, having reached the French Open semifinals and Wimbledon final within a month. At the Pilot Pen, she lost to Venus Williams in the quarterfinals, though she remains the only player to have taken a set from Williams at the tournament.
This season has been up and down for Henin, a Belgian who is ranked seventh in the world. She entered the French Open with high hopes on her best surface (clay) after winning the German Open, but she caught an untimely illness and lost in the first round. She reached the semifinals at Wimbledon a month later and has missed much of the hard-court season after injuring her hand last month in Stanford, Calif.
"I didn't have many problems," Henin said. "When you're in the top 10 in this kind of sport, you can have little problems, but I didn't have big injuries. That's just tennis life."
Henin is a fixture in the top 10, but as is so often the case, she hasn't quite followed up her breakthrough year by immediately making the next jump her ranking peaked briefly at No. 5.
"The most difficult thing is to stay in the top 10," she said. "When you don't have any pressure on you, it's easy to rise into the top 10. But when everybody is waiting for you, it's a little bit harder. Now the next step will be to go into the top five strongly like I've been in the top 10."
Henin is training in Florida. She said she wore down a bit toward the end of last season, but her match play has been limited since Wimbledon. She will play next week in Montreal before the Pilot Pen and the U.S. Open.
"The problem I had in Stanford may have been a good thing," she said. "I could come to Florida to work hard and prepare for the end of the season. It's important after six months to have some rest."