By Julien Pretot
PARIS, May 28 (Reuters) - Seven-times grand slam champion Justine Henin
urged world number one Dinara Safina
to stamp her mark on the game as women’s tennis desperately needs a leader.
Former world number one Henin, who quit tennis a year ago while ranked number one in the sport, was in Paris on Thursday to attend a ceremony where organisers temporarily named an alley in Roland Garros after her.
“I know some players have been number one without winning a grand slam, which I think is quite sad,” the 26-year-old Belgian told a news conference.
“I think for Safina, it’s maybe the time for her to go to the next step.
“With the respect I have for all these players, it’s true that it’s hard apparently in the women’s game now to really find a boss and someone that is at the top and that wins a lot of tournaments.”
Russian Safina, the hot favourite for the French Open title, is the fifth woman to top the WTA rankings since Henin called it quits in May 2008.
She and Serb Jelena Jankovic
have both occupied Henin’s vacated throne without having won a grand slam.
“I think the tour needs someone, a leader. We don’t have this leader for now but I’m confident that young players are going to come on the tour and push the older ones,” Henin said.
The Belgian said, however, that uncertainty was making women’s tennis all the more interesting.
“It’s a new generation now and what is happening in the women’s game is strange,” she said.
“The fact that you never know what’s going to happen. It’s interesting.”
(Editing by Pritha Sarkar; To query or comment on this story email email@example.com
are you kidding me? how disrespectful of Justine. Serena has won the last two slams, been in the final of the last three, if that's not a leader, i don't know what is.
i get what she's saying to a point, but i just think she's not giving credit to where it deserves.