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8:10AM

Justine Henin Admits To Cheating 

 

After her 3rd round loss to Sveltana Kuznetsova at the Australian Open, Justine Henin retired from tennis due to a lingering elbow injury.  In her most recent interview, Henin openly discussed various controversies during the course of her career causing a bit of a stir among tennis fans.

Do you remember "The Hand" incident at the 2003 French Open?  If not, take a look at the video above, starting at approximately minute 8:44.  Serena was serving to go up 5-2 in the French Open semi-finals, and Justine put her hand up in the air, signalling that she wasn't ready to receive.  Serena saw Justine's hand while serving and then served the ball into the net.  Technically Serena should have had a first serve again, but the serve was called a fault because the chair umpire didn't see Justine raise her hand.  Justine stayed silent as Serena unsuccessfully challenged the call.  Serena then double faulted, was broken in that game, and eventually lost the match.  

At her post-match press conference, Serena said this about the incident,

I was a little disappointed with her. It wasn't the turning point of the match, I should have still won the game. But to start lying and fabricating is not fair.

Henin said this,

I wasn't ready to play the point. The chair umpire is there to deal with these kind of situations. I just tried to stay focused on myself and tried to forget all the other things.

It's her point of view but that's mine now and I feel comfortable with it.

Henin now says that she stayed silent on purpose because she was intimidated by the Williams sisters and by staying silent she was standing up for herself.

I think she saw it and she was disturbed by that. There is a lot of tension, actions are a bit by instinct. So it’s true that it is not the best memory. At the same time what happened was magic. I don’t know if that changed the match. Maybe it was a way to give me respect, because you know that Williams have an attitude, sometimes difficult. They play with a lot of intimidation. You need to know that when you play against a Williams and they walk on court.

Translation from tennis.com

She also said that she knew that Kim Clijster's ball was "in" at a key point in the finals of the 2004 Australian Open, but baited the chair umpire to overrule the call.  (Below at approximately minute 2:30)

I'm not sure what Justine thought the reception would be of her admitting that she basically cheated in both situations (I'm not sure whether you call "The Hand" incident cheating or rather just gamesmanship), but many fans are crying foul.  Probably not the best way to end a career, but she has definitely made sure she won't be forgotten.

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