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Henin keen to land hat-trick despite personal turmoil
Mon May 21, 2007 10:17 AM IST

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By James Eve
ROME (Reuters) - If Justine Henin triumphs at the French Open next month, it will mean a lot more to her than simply capturing a hat-trick of Roland Garros crowns.
Victory would give the 24-year-old Belgian some much-needed joy after one of the most turbulent chapters in her personal life.
Since professional tennis began in 1968, only Monica Seles has notched up three wins in a row at the claycourt grand slam -- a feat she achieved in 1990, 1991 and 1992.
Henin will have that record in her sights when the tournament begins on Sunday.
There is no doubt that 2006 was Henin's year -- during which she won more titles, more matches and more prize money than any of her rivals.
She also reached the finals of all four grand slams and finished the season by beating Amelie Mauresmo in the final of the season-ending championships in November to return to the number one spot.
During the majority of those matches, she appeared to draw strength from the courtside presence of her husband Pierre-Yves Hardenne.
But the breakdown of her four-year marriage to Hardenne and her subsequent withdrawal from the Australian Open in January threatened to kill off the momentum.
In her absence, the number one ranking she had worked so hard to regain was snatched by Maria Sharapova.
MENTAL STATE
Many questioned whether she would be in the right state mentally to play at her top level when she returned to the circuit.
Although her entourage was visibly smaller, Henin wasted little time in proving her doubters wrong. She came back at the indoor event in Paris at the start of February, reaching the semi-finals.
Just weeks later she showed she was back to her best by winning back-to-back titles in Dubai and Doha and by March she had climbed back to the top of the world standings.
In her build-up to the French Open, she has won just one claycourt tournament in Warsaw but that has failed to dampen her spirits.
"I have managed to get good practice in the last two weeks. I have played some tough matches and I feel confident before the French Open," she said.
"All these matches have made things good for me ahead of the French Open."
While most people would count Mauresmo, Sharapova and Serena Williams -- who are all struggling with form or injuries -- as the Belgian's main rivals in Paris, the champion herself picked Svetlana Kuznetsova as the one player who could derail her title charge.
"Clay is Svetlana's favourite surface. She has the potential to go all the way," said Henin, who is bidding to add to her collection of five grand slam titles.
"How a player does at a grand slam depends on so many things. We have to look at the draw, the playing conditions or if somebody is sick or injured."
 

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"How a player does at a grand slam depends on so many things. We have to look at the draw, the playing conditions or if somebody is sick or injured."
indeed, things to look at:
1) wtaworld polls
2) wtaworld posts
3) wtaworld haters/trolls
4) if serena brings up the hand incident again, or her fans do so constantly
 
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