Justine Henin Hardenne was born in June 1982 and first picked up a racquet aged two. In 1996, she won the Orange Bowl Junior's Championship and a year later she went on to win the Roland Garros Junior Championships. In 1999 Justine became a full-time professional and participated for the first time at the Fed Cup with the Belgian national team.
Justine's breakthrough came in 2001 with two victories at the Gold Coast and Canberra. Progress continued, when at the French Open and the Wimbledon Championships Justine progressed to the semi-final and the final respectively, earning her an entry into the world's Top 10.
In 2002 she finished the year with a world top 5 ranking after enjoying a quarter-final appearance at the Australian Open and a semi final at Wimbledon.
She followed this in 2003 with her most successful year to date, winning two Grand Slam titles in Paris and New York as well as five other Tier I tournaments and becoming world number one. Alongside Roger Federer she was named 2003 Player of the Year by the International Tennis Writers Association.
Although 2004 began well with victory at the Australian Open as well as titles in Duba and Indian Wells tournament, she picked up a virus that put her out of action for the remainder of the year. She was nominated for the 2004 Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year award and was presented with the Great Cross of the Order of the Crown with Kim Clijsters by Belgian king Albert II.
2005 began with a series of withdrawals from tournaments for the Belgian player including Sydney, the Australian Open, Doha and Dubai with a right knee injury. She made her season debut in March at Miami reaching the quarterfinal and losing to eventual runner up Sharapova in three sets. She then went on an incredible 24 match winning streak which was a Tour best in 2005 capturing titles at Charleston, Warsaw, Berlin and Roland Garros for the fourth major singles title of her career. These results saw her return to the top ten for the first time since January. She was forced to withdraw from the Hastings Direct International Championships event with a hamstring strain and went on to lose in the first round at Wimbledon. On July 25 she returned to the top five and made her summer hard court debut at Toronto reaching the final losing to Clijsters. After a fourth round defeat at the US Open, the remainder of Justine's season was upset by injury, despite this she still managed to finish the season ranked number six, her fifth consecutive top ten finish.
2006 IN DETAIL
JANUARY – In her season debut Justine won the title at Sydney as the fifth seed defeating Hingis and Kuznetsova en route to the final. She then reached her sixth career Grand Slam final at the Australian Open coming up against Amelie Mauresmo. Sadly, illness prevented Justine from completing the match and she was forced to retire having lost the first set 1-6 and trailing 0-2 in the second. On the basis of these results Justine ranking rose to inside the top 5 for the first time since October 2005
FEBRUARY – Justine returned to the Tour having recovered from illness and captured her 25th career Tour singles title at Dubai defeating Sharapova in the final. She became the 14th player in Tour history to pass the $10 million mark in career earnings and subsequently moved up to world number three.
MARCH Justine reached her fourth semi final of the season at Indian Wells before losing to Dementieva. She then lost her opening match in Miami for the first time this year losing to Shaughnessy.
APRIL Justine reached the semi final at Charleston falling to Schnyder in three sets before helping teaming up with fellow Belgian Kim Clijsters to defeat defending champions Russia in the Fed Cup World Group first round.
MAY She was forced to withdraw from the Warsaw event with a back injury but returned to the Tour in Berlin where she finished runner-up defeating top seed Mauresmo en route to the final, eventually falling to second seed Petrova 4-6 6-4 7-5.
Season-Ending Ranking Singles:
2005-6; 2004-8; 2003-1; 2002-5; 2001-7; 2000-48; 1999-69; 1998-226
WTA CAREER TITLES
SINGLES- Winner (25): 2006 - Sydney, Dubai; 2005 - Roland Garros, Charleston, Warsaw, Berlin; 2004 - Australian Open, Sydney, Dubai, Indian Wells, Olympics; 2003 - Roland Garros, US Open, Dubai, Charleston, Berlin, San Diego, Toronto (Canadian Open], Zrich; 2002 - Berlin, Linz; 2001 - Gold Coast, Canberra, 's-Hertogenbosch; 1999- Antwerp
DOUBLES- Winner (2): 2002 - Gold Coast (w/Shaughnessy), Zrich (w/Bovina).
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