Thursday 14 February 2:21 AM
Venus says Clijsters, Henin could be number one
By Katie Nguyen
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - World number two Venus Williams has praised the talents of Belgium's Justine Henin and Kim
Clijsters and predicted they could one day top the women's tennis rankings.
"Justine is really talented. She has a formidable stroke which allows her to use the racket in a way I can't," Williams said,
describing the famed Henin backhand in an interview with La Derniere Heure newspaper.
"As for Kim Clijsters, she's very solid. She's not afraid of anything. Both of them have the undeniable potential to become
number one in the world," she added.
"It's pretty incredible that a small country like Belgium could produce two such talented players."
The American came to Belgium after winning the Paris Open on Sunday when Yugoslav Jelena Dokic pulled out of the final
due to a thigh injury.
She stepped in at the last minute after younger sister Serena withdrew from this week's Antwerp Open with an ankle injury.
Clijsters, Belgium's number one tennis player, was also forced to pull out with a stress fracture to her right arm.
If she continues in her current vein of form, Venus, who takes on Russia's Anna Kournikova in the second round of the
$585,000 tournament, could get a chance to claim number one ranking for the first time in her career, edging out fellow
American Jennifer Capriati, who is currently top of the rankings.
"To become number one in two weeks' time would be a wonderful thing, but I would also like to boost my trophy count with
new Grand Slam titles," she said.
The field in Antwerp had better be braced as the athletic 22-year-old, who has four Grand Slams under her belt, warned she
hates losing any match.
"Wherever I go on court I want to win. I know it's not always possible, but I can't bear losing," she said.
But giving up her top ranking in the future to younger stars like Clijsters or Henin is something she said she is resigned to.
"I have to be careful, all the more because they are young and have their futures ahead of them."
"I'm old. I'm getting arthritis. Soon, I'll have to wear glasses," she joked.
Venus is very classy and gracious