Updated: November 5, 2007, 2:34 PM E
Henin trying to manage asthma, might skip Olympics
ESPN.com news services
MADRID, Spain -- Justine Henin might not defend her Olympic gold medal in Beijing because of concern the city's air pollution will trigger her asthma.
Henin withdrew from the China Open in September because of her asthma and is worried she might be forced to skip the Beijing Games next August.
"I've had asthma for a few months now and I felt very bad in New York at the end of the [U.S. Open], so Beijing, I was really concerned about that," Henin said Monday at the Sony Ericsson Championships. "I was pretty disappointed because I wanted to play the [China Open] and get used to the conditions."
Henin said she has since controlled her asthma with the help of a specialist.
The air quality in Beijing is "a big problem" International Olympic Committee inspection team leader Hein Verbruggen said. His remarks came a week after the United Nations said air pollution was a major concern for athletes' health ahead of the games.
"It's true that Beijing is going to be tough with the Olympic Games with the problem I have, but now it seems that everything is under control, which is important because the Olympic Games remain a very important goal for me in 2008," Henin said.