View Full Version : Henin sore shoulder concern for U.S Open maybe

08-19-2007, 06:48 PM

Henin's sore shoulder threatens U.S. Open bid

By Steve Keating

TORONTO, Aug 19 (Reuters) - Justine Henin's gritty 7-6 7-5 victory over Jelena Jankovic at the Toronto Cup on Sunday proved that the world number one is well prepared for her U.S. Open title bid.

But the Toronto tournament also revealed a fragile shoulder that could prevent the Belgian from walking away with the year's final grand slam.

Bothered by a sore right shoulder that flared up during her semi-final win over China's Yan Zi, Henin told Tennis Canada officials after Saturday's match that there was only 50/50 chance she would play in the final.

Henin's warning was so serious that tournament organisers hastily arranged an exhibition between Jankovic and Russian Nadia Petrova.

Vigorous treatment on the sore joint allowed the six-times Grand Slam winner to take to the court, however, and although the gutsy Belgian grimaced throughout the match she survived the two hour, 18 minute contest.

"Last night there was almost no chance I would play, I was really concerned my shoulder was really inflamed," Henin told reporters. "But the trainers, they did a great job. They helped me really to play today.

"I was feeling 100 percent during the match but it's going to be sore for a few days.

"I'll be fine for the Open, but I was really concerned about playing on it today."

Despite Henin's assurances, question marks about her shoulder are sure to remain.

One of the sport's most tenacious competitors, few would question Henin's fighting spirit but with just eight days to the start of the year's final grand slam the 25-year-old Belgian's fitness is sure to be monitored closely.

"I'm going to stay in Toronto until Thursday and then go to New York," Henin said. "So I'm going to take some time off...maybe Niagara Falls or something.

"Just take some time off and not think too much about tennis for one or two days. Then start to practise probably on Tuesday, and get ready for the Open."