So I was playing Justine Henin, the best rival Serena Williams


Sometimes, in order to put in value to an athlete does not need to resort to his resume if a specific circumstance serves to the receiver of the message to react with the same intensity as the event itself. Today’s birthday one of the best tennis of the Was Open and, either by factor or as an essential concept, meets years, the great rival in the path tennis of Serena Williams. Yes, Venus won 12 times to his younger sister, but Justine Henin it was the one with more strength and depth questioned the domain, bending his knee on many occasions, the great dominator of the tennis world in the last 20 years. The last great rival who annihilated all that had.

There is that have a lot of talent to return after a withdrawal, and the month to be playing the final of the Australian Open (2010), the swan song of a player who at times was computed with the same degree, the dominance and power of conquest. The tennis of Justine Henin was propagated by the track completely justified in his way, as if I would never have won 43 WTA titles, an olympic gold medal, 7 titles, Grand Slams and more than 100 weeks as number 1. Not what I needed. His highest title and achievement was to play as well, which serves as a legacy. But it was not the only one.

Henin walked in that circuit with the air of a professor, as then reivindicar√≠a Radwanska, who all look much like the tutorial and canon to go, to know how to do things, but with the instinct poisonous and capable to win the big final and master list. Justine coexisted without major levers, without the ‘metrochenta’ of a generation which had already been warning of the final physical change to a sport that in its female version is never based on the power in the beating, but in the understanding of the trajectories and the calculation of the pot and its effects.

“I am different from the majority of the players,” said the belgian in the pages of ‘The Country’, in 2007. “I can also be aggressive, fast and physical, but I think that game is much more leaning in the variations, the changes of pace and technique. I’ve worked a lot. Many do not do more than paste, paste and paste. I try to look at things at a technical level, what I will do, which gives me a slightly different style.”

And that is how one dominates a sport world, not only with the natural gift to pick up a racket and move it around, but with a mind prepared to develop their full potential, an attribute of the latter which the belgian also brought of the series, although after it will work and you adapt your capacity within a competitive environment of elite. Henin was not, above all, a unique talent or a huge competitor, but the sum of the two things.

“The spirit, determination, strength of character, are things that are not working. Since I was a child, everyone looked toward where he wanted to go. I was determined to be the number one of the world. It seemed a little crazy because I was seven or eight years. These are things that are working badly. I’ve met a lot of very talented people that has wasted his career because he lacked temperament. And that is very important to be successful.”

Queen of Roland Garros (three consecutive titles came to pick up), was able to adapt to all of your opponents to not lose ground on fast tracks, and was for Serena Williams, (with an 8-6 win for Williams in the ‘face to face’), a rival of his ‘height’. In this field, hardly catalogable, which are then defined more easily as “the intimidation of Serena”, the transmitting and inflicted on all his opponents, with Henin was not the case. Perceived in their duels humanization of Williams, a challenge of its own and shared in the that Henin did not break. A game in which Williams watched from the front being stretched.

With a wrap, delicate, artistic, silky, and a content ultradominante, between angles and power, Henin punished players of another court in a time that today look at them and remember with a certain amount of envy and nostalgia. The first decade of the 2000s can boast about having profiles, and talents of huge level, right when it is extinguished, Steffi Graf, is alumbraban the Williams, did the same the Russian, and put the icing on the belgians. And there was Justine, in those years.