So 3 PM in Paris is like 6 AM in Los Angeles?
For the third consecutive year, Justine Henin has won the the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen. It was a rout over Serbian hottie Ana Ivanovic who was so nervous she made 27 unforced errors. (She needed her coach!) The trophy was presented by Mary Pierce.
John McEnroe called Henin "the Roger Federer of the women's game" and "a lightweight playing like a heavyweight." You see, she's only 5'5" and was dwarfed in photos by the 6'1" Ivanovic. Another quote about Justine Henin: "She's Nadal on clay." Okay, we get it... can she please win Wimbledon next?
The commentators kept referring to the fact that while Ana Ivanovic was growing up in Serbia, she could only practice at 6 AM when the NATO bombing would cease. She moved to Switzerland and had a German businessman finance her training. During wintertime back in Serbia, they drained a swimming pool for her to practice on because the country had no indoor tennis court. Serbia, a war-ravaged nation of 10 million people, is now being touted as "the new superpower in tennis."
Back to Justine Henin. Born in Liege, she's 25 years old. She had to skip the Australian Open this year because of her separation from her husband — that's why no more hypen-Hardenne. She then reconciled with her estranged family and has been chummy with them these past three months. She's been talking on the phone with her father everyday although he wasn't in the stands for the game today. Her brothers and sister were there.
Fifteen years ago, Justine's mother accompanied her to watch the French Open. Mommy died a year later. The budding tennis superstar broke up with the rest of her family because they couldn't deal with her ambition and couldn't understand the amount of hard work and dedication her dreams entailed.
The only coach she's ever had is Carlos Rodriguez. Almost like a second father to her. His wife and children are big supporters both on and off the court. He had these notes for her to open during certain changeovers. Some sort of new trend in women's tennis. Even the Williams sisters have been bringing reading and writing material with them to the court.
At the awards ceremony, the Belgian national anthem played. Justine spoke French to the crowd and English to Ana. The Serbian was also given the chance to speak and she did in English. Bud Collins interviewed both of them in English. Justine Henin knows what she wants and is unapologetically confident. Brava!