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CanIGetAWhat
May 25th, 2006, 08:18 PM
Henin-Hardenne here to win matches, not popularity contests

http://espn-att.starwave.com/i/columnists/Shriver_Pam_55.jpg (http://x.go.com/cgi/x.pl?goto=http://search.espn.go.com/keyword/search?searchString=pam_shriver&name=SEARCH_m_archive&srvc=sz)
By Pam Shriver
Special to ESPN.com

I was critical of what Justine Henin-Hardenne did in the Australian Open final -- pulling out of the match against Amelie Mauresmo in the second set because of stomach pains. My respect level for her disintegrated by what she did on the court as well as her stoic demeanor in the post-match news conference. I said her reputation would be tarnished forever and tennis beat writers would never let her forget this.

But, you know what? Henin-Hardenne doesn't really care what people think about her. The defending French Open champion, Henin-Hardenne is not here to win a popularity contest. From her standpoint, she probably hasn't lost much sleep over this. I'm sure she feels pretty strong that she did the right thing, although most of the tennis world would disagree strongly. Especially in a major final -- really, any time in a professional tournament -- you have an obligation to complete a match unless you are compromising your health. Stomach discomfort from anti-inflammatories does not even come close, at least in my mind, to reaching that litmus test of compromising your health.

http://espn-att.starwave.com/media/ten/2006/0127/photo/g_justine_195.jpg
Ryan Pierse/Getty Images
Henin-Hardenne (right) was just the fourth player to retire in a Grand Slam final.

However, this is the same tough cookie who was able to win the 2003 U.S. Open on the same day she had to play the third set of her semifinal match against Jennifer Capriati after midnight. Even though she didn't complete the Australian Open final -- which, to me, a great competitor always would finish that match and do so fighting -- she's been the best fighter the last three years in women's tennis.

The common personality trait I see is a certain stubbornness. Henin-Hardenne felt her fate in Australia was to not win that match and she didn't feel well; whereas in other finals, her fate was to battle and fight to the end.

It actually takes a pretty strong person to walk off the court -- when he or she isn't being carried off -- and to not care what the tennis world thinks. At first, I thought it wasn't professional. Now, I think it also fairly brave because I'm sure she knew she was going to get a lot of criticism. It shows her stubborn, brave side. Despite being in a major final and disappointing the entire tennis world, she just threw in the towel. In some ways it takes a lot of nerve to do that. Most of us wouldn't have the ability to do that and stand up to the criticism.

Most of us also wouldn't have the ability to do what she did at the U.S. Open, either.

I'm sure she'll hear about it at the French Open, especially if she is on the same side of the draw as Mauresmo. I would think the French writers would bring that up, and it probably won't affect her because that's her makeup. That's just how she is.

With all that said, Henin-Hardenne has to be the favorite heading into the French. You can't put someone like Nadia Petrova as your favorite, despite the spring she's had. You can't make Mauresmo your favorite, given her history at Roland Garros. To me, you go with someone who's had some form on clay and had success at the French Open before, and Henin-Hardenne's your most successful player in the last three years.

She'll be the favorite with the oddsmakers, but I'll be surprised if she's any kind of crowd favorite. She can't get the warmest of receptions in Paris -- and not just because of what she did in Australia happened against one of France's own -- because she has a track record of a couple controversial incidents on the court that have made people uncomfortable.

While I lost of respect for what she did in January, you can't forget her successes and the fact she's won four Grand Slams. When people think of Henin-Hardenne now, they really have conflicted feelings, which they might not have had before.

ESPN tennis analyst Pam Shriver won 21 singles and 112 doubles crowns, including 22 Grand Slam titles, and was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2002.

GrandSlam05
May 25th, 2006, 08:26 PM
Pam is spot on. Justine could care less about being remembered as "plastic princess nice girl". She'd rather be "a fucking bitch who won alot of shit".

tenn_ace
May 25th, 2006, 08:27 PM
But, you know what? Henin-Hardenne doesn't really care what people think about her.

She doesn't care until she faces French crowd, who might change from adoring her to booing her viciously. And we all know what that may do to player.

LH2HBH
May 25th, 2006, 08:29 PM
I refuse to spin that story around to make Justine "brave" for retiring in the final. GIVE ME A BREAK.

hablo
May 25th, 2006, 08:30 PM
I refuse to spin that story around to make Justine "brave" for retiring in the final. GIVE ME A BREAK.Pam Shriver still criticize quite a bit in that article

GrandSlam05
May 25th, 2006, 08:33 PM
Pam still thinks it was wrong, but calls her brave because Justine knew shit was gonna hit the fan and she said "screw it!"

lee station
May 25th, 2006, 08:34 PM
She doesn't care until she faces French crowd, who might change from adoring her to booing her viciously. And we all know what that may do to player.What a test! :angel: :lick: Allez Justine! :worship:

The Crow
May 25th, 2006, 08:38 PM
I was critical of what Justine Henin-Hardenne did in the Australian Open final ...

My respect level for her disintegrated by what she did on the court as well as her stoic demeanor in the post-match news conference. ...

Especially in a major final -- really, any time in a professional tournament -- you have an obligation to complete a match unless you are compromising your health. Stomach discomfort from anti-inflammatories does not even come close ...

Even though she didn't complete the Australian Open final -- which, to me, a great competitor always would finish that match and do so fighting ...

While I lost of respect for what she did in January

:lol: We get it already :lol:

manu32
May 25th, 2006, 08:38 PM
l'australie est très loin de la france.......la belgique beaucoup plus près.....

pigam
May 25th, 2006, 08:56 PM
I think people who say that Justine is NOT affected by what others say don't know justine well, at all; but hey, what else is new, Pam?

Kart
May 25th, 2006, 09:00 PM
She does care IMHO.

faboozadoo15
May 25th, 2006, 09:02 PM
everyone cares. she just has a strong front, and that's what makes her a brilliant competitor.

hablo
May 25th, 2006, 09:02 PM
I think people who say that Justine is NOT affected by what others say don't know justine well, at all; but hey, what else is new, Pam?
it's evident she cares, it was especially clear with what transpired with the fed cup saga (didn't she get alot of criticism, at one time for not playing, in Belgium? )

pigam
May 25th, 2006, 09:03 PM
She does care IMHO.
of course she does, she said it a million times.
she doesn't understand it, but that's something else.

Kart
May 25th, 2006, 10:15 PM
^ I think she understands it as well but doesn't like to admit it.

Can't say I blame her, she's a smart girl without a doubt.

PLP
May 25th, 2006, 10:20 PM
Wow, good article Pam, I am kind'a impressed. As for Justine getting a lukewarm recpetion at the French?? I don't think so. They will still lover her I think...of course if she faces Ame all bets are off but that is true of anyone. They love Justine and I think they always will, if they haven't lost respect for her at this point, it's not going to happen>P

saki
May 25th, 2006, 10:20 PM
What I don't get is why Pam feels that she KNOWS that Justine wouldn't have hurt her health by staying out and finishing the AO final. I don't think anyone can know that for certain, probably not even Justine because you just can't know what would have happened if you'd taken a different course of action.

What you can do is look at Justine's previous record. Has she fought and won matches while injured? Yes. Has she ever tanked a match? No. From looking at her history as a player, my feeling is that she deserves the benefit of the doubt. The 'tennis world' love to have stuff to bitch about.

miranda_lou
May 25th, 2006, 10:26 PM
Why would the French dislike Justine?:confused:

There is no way Amelie will make the finals or even the semi-finals.:sad: Thus, Justine will be the only woman the French CAN root for because they think of her as one of them.:rolleyes:

What happen in Australia has been forgotten by the French (and just about everybody else but the media who want controversy), so why would it affect how the fans feel about Justine? She's a great player, she speaks French and she's tough as nails. What's not to love?:kiss: :hearts:

Another thing: I HATE PAM SHRIVER!!:mad: :fiery:

Martian KC
May 25th, 2006, 10:33 PM
I dunno how I take this article. At some point she's completely disgusted with Justine and at the same time she admires her strength?:confused:

thrust
May 25th, 2006, 10:36 PM
I do think that Justine, because of her past wins and present form, would be the pre tournament favorite to win this year^s FO. I am not convinced that Petrova or Sveta have the confidence or consistantcy to win this tournament. An in form Hingis vs Justine final would be fascinating match, IMO. I do not think the French fans will give Justine much grief, unless she plays Amelie. Roland Garos will rock that day! Good luck Justine, you will need it-lol!!

IceHock
May 25th, 2006, 10:39 PM
Why would the French dislike Justine?:confused:

There is no way Amelie will make the finals or even the semi-finals.:sad: Thus, Justine will be the only woman the French CAN root for because they think of her as one of them.:rolleyes:

What happen in Australia has been forgotten by the French (and just about everybody else but the media who want controversy), so why would it affect how the fans feel about Justine? She's a great player, she speaks French and she's tough as nails. What's not to love?:kiss: :hearts:

Another thing: I HATE PAM SHRIVER!!:mad: :fiery:


you under estimate the french crowd,my god i'm scared of them just watching them on tv.you do one little thing wrong they boo you for 15 minutes straight.THERES NO WAY they've forgotten this match because amelie won the ao by what some people say default,because justine quit in the match, i bet some french can't wait to boo her.

Viktymise
May 25th, 2006, 10:42 PM
I dont think the crowd will be against justine only if she plays Mauresmo or another french player then it may get ugly but she has done other bad stuff like RG 03 whichhad no effect on the crowds like for her

flyingmachine
May 25th, 2006, 10:45 PM
Pam is spot on. Justine could care less about being remembered as "plastic princess nice girl". She'd rather be "a fucking bitch who won alot of shit".
I also that think Pam is spot on that too.

The_Pov
May 25th, 2006, 10:51 PM
Justine isn't the only player who doesn't care whether they are being percieved as a nice person, look at Hingis (who was shooting off at other players before she had even played her first comeback match), Petrova (who seemed to having a tantrum during her match vs Kirilenko in the 1st round of Dubai) and Sharapova (who's meant to be the tennis darling but hasn't stopped fist pumping and 'c'mon'ing despite the fact she gets booed and jeered at events eg. AO)

Nemesis
May 25th, 2006, 11:06 PM
I think Americans don't have a clue that the AO final thing was a lot less of a fuss in continental Europe than in the Anglo-Saxon world. I'd be surprised if Paris would boo her. Even in America they didn't boo her just for showing up on court. The rumors from the match Miami were wrong BTW.
IMO Justine will only get booed if she retires again and certainly is it's again for some obscure reason.
OR if the French digs the sh*t up again ... Amelie not speaking to Justine any more. No kiss at the net in Berlin. Tarnished relation. Could be a pick up for press Justine bashing during the FO ... Certainly if the match up is due to happen. And then crowds are just like flocks of sheep, of course. But I'd be surprised since the French press is generally nice towards Justine.

Weird article from Pam. Calling her brave to make a descicion like that :rolleyes: I think Justine didn't think one bit about how it'd be recepted by others. She didn't even think of Amelie. It was all about her at that moment. She had no clue what the world would think about it. Again in my humble opinion.

miranda_lou
May 30th, 2006, 06:02 PM
One of my favorite things about Justine is that she could care less what people think of her.:rolleyes: She appears to be a very self-reliant young woman and that's why I'm drawn to her. I'm the same way. You can't spend your life worrying about what others think of you. It'll drive you nuts.:mad:

No.1Hingis
May 30th, 2006, 06:14 PM
Im going with facts.. not probabilities...

Krystell
May 30th, 2006, 06:17 PM
I dunno how I take this article. At some point she's completely disgusted with Justine and at the same time she admires her strength?:confused:


She's just covering her backside. She would like to rip into Justine but she knows other people think she's being a total bitch so shes trying to play it both ways and come out smelling like a rose, which isn't going to happen, she's already shown her true colors.

E. Blackadder
May 30th, 2006, 06:19 PM
Please stop the Pam Spam!

loppy
May 30th, 2006, 07:15 PM
She just played her first round - the crowd still loves her! :cool: ;)

turt
May 30th, 2006, 07:19 PM
Pam, STFU you ignorant b*tch :lol: