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silverwingz
07-18-2006, 10:07 PM
http://www.sportsmediainc.com/tennisweek/index.cfm?func=showarticle&newsid=15674&bannerregion=

Fed Up by Tennis Week

Justine Henin-Hardenne is becoming Fed up with Fed Cup. Belgium won its Fed Cup semifinal against the visiting United States over the weekend, but lost the prospect of Henin-Hardenne playing the Fed Cup final in the process.


Upset by the treatment Henin-Hardenne received from Belgian Federation officials in the aftermath of her withdrawal from the semifinals, Carlos Rodriguez, Henin-Hardenne's long-time coach, announced the reigning Roland Garros champion will not represent Belgium in the Fed Cup final.

Contrary to statements attributed to the Belgian Tennis Federation president, Henin-Hardenne has no intention of representing Belgium when it hosts Italy in the Fed Cup final set for September 16-17.

"Contrary to assertion, and promises made by the Francophone Tennis Federation of Belgium President Andre Stein that Justine will take part in the Italy tie to be played in September; Justine will not participate in these conditions," Rodriguez said in a statement posted on Henin-Hardenne's official web site. "I know that you will understand that under the current conditions, for the principles and respect, and simply of human values, it does not look possible for her to join the tie played in September."

Belgium completed a 4-1 conquest of the United States on Sunday to advance to its first Fed Cup final since 2001 when Henin-Hardenne and Kim Clijsters joined forces to lead Belgium to its first Fed Cup championship in history with a 2-1 triumph over Russia in the final staged in Madrid. Clijsters and Henin-Hardenne reunited to lead Belgium to a 3-2 victory over two-time defending Fed Cup champion Russia in April's Fed Cup quarterfinals. The pair were poised to play in last weekend's semifinals, but Henin-Hardenne pulled out citing "exhaustion" after reaching her third consecutive Grand Slam final at Wimbledon where she fell to Amelie Mauresmo.

The announcement of Henin-Hardenne's withdrawal created a conflict between Henin-Hardenne's camp and Belgian Fed Cup officials. Rodriguez insists Henin-Hardenne informed Belgian Fed Cup captain Carl Maes of her her plans to pull out of the semifinal the night after she lost the Wimbledon final, but claims Belgian Federation president Stein intentionally withheld that information in order to gain a competitive edge over the United States.

"In London after the Wimbledon Ladies final on Sunday night Justine contacted the Belgian team captain and gave her decision, she cannot participate in Fed Cup next weekend," Rodriguez said. "But to my surprise, as much as the Belgian team captain, the Francophone Tennis Federation president Andre Stein said not to release the information until Wednesday or Thursday. This was in the pretext to ensure the visiting American contingent would not gain anything by knowing there will be a missing major team member."

Since U.S. captain Zina Garrison had already named four players Jill Craybas, Jamea Jackson, Vania King and Mashona Washington to the American team and could not add players to the roster, the decision to delay disclosure of Henin-Hardenne's withdrawal had little strategic value and only "misled" Belgian fans, Rodriguez said.

"The choice to not release Justine's decision may have been other than a sporting tactic, but in final analysis, they have misled the supporters," Rodriguez said. "Tennis fans were left in doubt, on hold for three days, much to Justine's embarrassment. She has announced earlier, and promised that her decision would be made the following day after elimination from Wimbledon."

The rift between Belgian Federation officials and Henin-Hardenne widened in the days leading up to last weekend's tie. Rodriguez alleges Belgian Federation officials further alienated Henin-Hardenne by initially asking her to attend the semifinal tie staged indoors in Ostend, Belgium as a supporter only to turn her away when she actually showed up for the tie. Furthermore, Rodriguez claims Henin-Hardenne was denied entry to the team dinner on Friday night.

"At the request of the captain, Justine was contacted to attend, and encourage the team on Saturday and Sunday at Ostend," Rodriguez said. "Justine arrived on Friday to Brussels, and much to her astonishment was then told by the Francophone Tennis Federation that the captain said; yes the very person who told her to come and support the team in person, not to make an appearance because the general public, and the supporters did not want her there in Ostend. He also said that it would not be good for the atmosphere of the team. I think this is evidence there is a lack of respect and recognition from the authorities of Belgian tennis in regards to Justine. She was thrilled to be joining the team at the Fed Cup dinner on Friday, but turned away for that too! The lack of respect and recognition gives her real pain."

It is a wound that may take a while to heal. The third-ranked Henin-Hardenne owns a 13-2 Fed Cup record, including 11 straight singles wins. Her lone singles defeat in Fed Cup competition was a 6-7(1), 2-6 loss to Monica Seles in the 2000 Fed Cup semifinals in Las Vegas. Given the fact the second-ranked Clijsters has publicly declared her desire to retire within the next two years, it's incomprehensible Belgian Federation officials would risk completely alienating five-time Grand Slam champion Henin-Hardenne, yet they appear to have done just that.

sandiegotennisboy
07-18-2006, 10:40 PM
i hate her. i hope she gets another outbreak.

RealityPolice
07-18-2006, 10:51 PM
They need to tighten up the rules for Davis/Fed Cup: if you don't make yourself eligible to play in the present tie, you're ineligible to play in the next. This sham-heroic posing-- "I'll let the grunts play the early rounds, then step in and be the hero in the big tie"-- is a joke. If this means that none of the top players play at all, so be it. If it's that irrelevant to the players, then scrap Davis/Fed Cup altogether.

I'd wait and see what the Belgian Fed Cup people have to say before rushing to judgement. It sounds a little too pat, a little bit too much of JHH's standard "victim" routine.

HyperHorse
07-18-2006, 10:56 PM
If i was JHH i wouldnt put up with that crap either....
Stupid Belgian federation...
Scheduling is a bit screwed up if you ask me...

silverwingz
07-18-2006, 11:48 PM
This Carlos Rodriguez sounds like a medler. Why are we hearing from her coach and not Justine abt this little incident?

Shabazza
07-19-2006, 04:10 AM
If i was JHH i wouldnt put up with that crap either....
Stupid Belgian federation...
Scheduling is a bit screwed up if you ask me...
Ditto!