Henin wants a piece of Venus
I like everything about Justine...I so want these two to meet in the finals.
<br />Henin weighs up her next challenge<br />Paul Malone<br />01jan02<br />ELFIN Wimbledon runner-up Justine Henin has undertaken a weights program for the first time to fight back against the power and strength of the Williams sisters.
Coach Carlos Rodriguez yesterday revealed Henin had experimented with weights workouts over five weeks during the tour off-season after she had been overpowered three times by Venus and Serena Williams on fast surfaces in 2001. <br />Henin, who gives away 19cm and 16kg to Venus Williams, said the American had been "simply stronger" in the third set of their Wimbledon final.
But the classy Belgian 19-year-old insisted as she prepared to open the defence of her Australian Women's Hardcourt titles on the Gold Coast that she was not afraid her career would become a life sentence of helplessness on grass or fast hardcourts.
"I'm not afraid of this because I can move very fast on the court and have many, many things in my game," said Henin, who starts her Australian Open build-up today against Daniela Hantuchova, of Slovakia, at Royal Pines resort.
"It was good motivation for me to see Lleyton Hewitt, who is not very strong also, could do it (became No. 1).
"I proved at Wimbledon against (Jennifer) Capriati, who is very strong, that I was good on grass. I hope I can play Venus here in the final."
Rodriguez, Henin's coach of five years, said his slightly built 166cm charge would not know until her return to tournament play if weight training was good for her.
"She has some maturity now, but we can't push too much. We try to put more power in the shoulders and arms," Rodriguez said.
"We don't want to lose the touch and the relaxed, natural way of playing, but she has to gain a little power also. The top 10 players always have it. We have also changed the service.
"If she got to No. 7 in the world with this game and this body, I am convinced she can go further. She was physically and mentally tired after the US Open (where she lost 7-5, 6-0 to Serena Williams)."
Venus Williams said on Sunday she was proud her strength and athleticism had spurred tour rivals to improve their fitness and spend more time in weights rooms.
"Serena and I have a different style of game and God blessed us (with athleticism). Seeing we can do that, other players had to find something really special about themselves," she said.
Henin, ranked seventh in the world after kick-starting her year by winning her first two titles in Gold Coast and Canberra, wants to scatter the established order of women's tennis this year by making the top three.
"I have to have a little more experience. I don't want to put a lot of pressure on myself because I'm still young and I want to live my life," she said.
"Everything began for me here (Gold Coast) a year ago. I was (ranked) 50 when I came here last time."
Henin said Lindsay Davenport was a deserved year-end No. 1 even though she did not make a Grand Slam final last year.
"The ranking is the ranking. She proved she was the best player in the world this year in the last month (of the tour year)," said Henin, who underlined her versatility by making the semi-finals of the French Open on clay and winning the Fed Cup with Kim Clijsters, Belgium's world No. 5.
"If she (Venus Williams) plays more, maybe she is No. 1."
[ December 31, 2001: Message edited by: n2sWmS ]</p>