Is Henin an underachiever?

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by dominikk1985, Feb 5, 2013.

  1. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    She obviously had a great career and absolutely destroyed the field in 07 but in my opinion henin in her prime is the best Player ever. she could have won 15+ slams like serena, graf or Martina.

    she won "only" 3 slams off clay and lost a lot of finals.

    of course her early retirement didn't help but in her first retirements Age graf had already won 20+ and I think henin was a better Player than graf was.

    was she an underachiever, especially on hardcourt?
     
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  2. Jack Romeo

    Jack Romeo Professional

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    i guess she was an underachiever on grass, considering she showed such promise there early on. at 19, she reached the wimbledon final in 2001, losing in 3 sets to venus, who was obviously in her prime. she had some bad early losses, like in 2005 to daniilidou. i really thought she was going to win in 2006 but i guess mauresmo was too motivated and too much in henin's head at that time. then, of course, she was shocked in 2007 by bartoli in the semis, although i'm not totally convinced she would have beaten venus in the final that year. she did beat serena in the quarters that year and she did beat both sisters back-to-back at the us open later that year, but i think venus would have still been the champion even if she played henin instead of bartoli. maybe justine wasn't physically sturdy enough to handle the transition from dominating on clay to being successful right away on the grass. i think if she didn't retire, she could have added a few more slams, especially at the french open, but 15 is pushing it. with regards to her hard court results, i feel she did just about right because even in her prime, she was vulnerable there to a power player like sharapova or serena.
     
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  3. Carsomyr

    Carsomyr Hall of Fame

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    No. Just no.
     
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  4. bluetrain4

    bluetrain4 Legend

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    I think she could have won a few more, but overall, I don't think she was an underachiever.

    And, I definitely don't think she was better than Graf. True, her game was sublime to watch, beautiful, great variety. But, I really think people get hung up on aesthetics and because they respect beauty and variety so much want to tout a player with more beautiful game as "better" than someone with a less beautiful game.
     
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  5. North

    North Professional

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    I think she had the all-court game to have done better on hard courts and grass (especially the slowed-down variety). Not sure why she didn't do better on those surfaces, unless she put so much into winning FO/clay that it took away from success on hard & grass courts.
     
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  6. NadalAgassi

    NadalAgassi Guest

    She was both an over and underachiever. When she first emerged nobody had her winning 7 slams, being one of the 3 dominant players of the last 15 years along with the 2 Williams, and being one of the 3 top clay courters of all time along with Graf and Evert. She far exceeded all expectations. She was also an underachiever quitting like a coward at 25 due to a mini slump, and just presuming with her playing style she could come back on cue and dominate again (far from the case as we saw), and since she had that serious viral infection for 2 years in the middle of her prime.

    Definitely should have won atleast 1 Wimbledon, and would have smashed Evert's all time RG record had she kept playing without a retirement until atleast 30. However also was lucky to play in a weak clay era, and peak and win all those big hard court titles when Serena was mostly AWOL.

    As for compared to Graf some aspects of her game are better than Graf. Much better backhand, better at the net, possibly better return of serve. However Graf and her huge weapons in her serve, forehand, and athleticsm, still probably would be more effective than Henin's all around game.
     
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  7. robow7

    robow7 Professional

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    I don't agree but would like to hear why you think that since I see it as not even close.
     
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  8. Xavier G

    Xavier G Semi-Pro

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    I suppose Henin could have won another two or three Majors, but I don't think I would call her an 'underachiever'. She had a very good career with the 7 GS wins, Olympic gold in 2004 and over 40 WTA titles. Justine had a good chance to win Wimbledon in 06 especially, but Mauresmo had her say that year. Wimbledon is the only big crown missing from Henin's collection, and that was one of her best chances to win, along with 2007. Surprising defeat to Bartoli that year. Henin was a match for the Williams sisters at her best in 2007, probably her best ever year.
    One match I would have liked Justine to win was the AO final of 2010 after her comeback, but Serena just hung too tough. That would have been a fitting swansong to Justine's career, but all in all, she had a good run and not an underachiever in my eyes.
     
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  9. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    well she could do more with the ball. she hit with spin, power, angles and Finesse.

    Graf was better with the FH and serve but she only had a slice on her BH while henin could do everything with her BH and her FH and serve were not too shabby either (at least her first which was surprisingly powerfull-her second was a Little suspect at times but this is true for many women).

    I also think henin was a better net Player and all court Player.

    of course being complete alone means nothing- Xavier malisse is certainly a more "complete Player" than Robin söderling but henin could use her stuff very well on court. she was a beast when she was on.
     
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  10. jaggy

    jaggy G.O.A.T.

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    I thought she did as well as could be expected really
     
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  11. SoCal10s

    SoCal10s Hall of Fame

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    with the recent scandals with PED ,sometimes I think she retired early to get away from this .. I'm not saying she did or did not but right now,everyone is a suspect ..
     
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  12. BevelDevil

    BevelDevil Hall of Fame

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    How would Henin match up with Seles?
     
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  13. Jack Romeo

    Jack Romeo Professional

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    obviously, you're asking about prime seles here, right? well, i think it would depend a bit on how henin is serving. there were matches where she got outhit by the likes of sharapova and pierce because she didn't serve well. seles is just as aggressive with the return as those players so she can take control in that kind of situation. but overall, henin would match up well against seles. she is a great athlete, is mentally tough, has her own power, can counter against power, and can play from any position on the court. remember that past-prime navratilova had a respectable record against pre-prime to prime seles. so i would even give henin the edge.
     
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  14. robow7

    robow7 Professional

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    Let's see,
    Graf has 22 grand slams vs. Henin's 7
    Graf has 107 tourney wins vs Henin's 43
    Graf had a career winning percentage of 89% vs 82%
    Graf was number 1 for 377 weeks vs. 117 for Henin

    You still haven't sold me yet
     
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  15. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    that's why I said she is an underachiever:D.
     
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  16. BevelDevil

    BevelDevil Hall of Fame

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    Seems like Henin had a tougher field, no?


    If Henin > Seles, and IF Seles>=Graf (arguable)... would we apply transitivity here?
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2013
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  17. comeback

    comeback Professional

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    My opinion is Henin was an overachiever...She was a fairly slight woman, not very muscular..But she was a female version of Federer. She possessed every shot in the book. Went for big shots like a real champion..Too bad her body (arm) just gave out..The victim of a sport which has become more about physical strength and endurance than tennis talent,,If you listen to Li Na her now coach Rodriquez (Henin's former coach) is an animal for killer workouts..Good if you have the body for it but devastating if you don't..It must have taken a tremendous daily overachieving effort for her to get to that level
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2013
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  18. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    henin got so good because of that "killer training". she always had the strokes but later in her career she became really fit and strong. she was not tall or muscular but she was a very strong and fit woman.

    just technique doesn't make you hit as hard as she did. she was one of the most powerfull players of her generation and could hit with girls like sharapova or serena.
     
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  19. tennisplayer1993

    tennisplayer1993 Semi-Pro

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    Henin had a sick backhand. If anyone underachieved during that era of female tennis it was Amelia Mauresmo
     
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  20. jerriy

    jerriy Hall of Fame

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    She retired while ranked world number one during the clay season just before the French Open which she was defending for multiple years in a row.

    That fact alone, all by itself, makes her the biggest underachiever in the history of tennis.
     
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  21. jerriy

    jerriy Hall of Fame

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    Not true.

    Henin was touted as a talent capable of winning slams early on. She was talked about in the line of following the footstep of Hingis. She was also talked about similar way young Federer was talked about (as capable of winning slams if he gets in in the right physical and mental shape).

    Your overly specific claim that no one had her winning X amount of slams is meaningless cuz it goes for almost everyone (no one expected Court, Evert, Navratilova, Graf, Seles... etc to win anywhere near the amount they won way back when they emerged. I think it's only from Hingis onwards when young girls began to get hyped like that before they even arrive.
     
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  22. robow7

    robow7 Professional

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    Respectfully I think you're very wrong there, Jennifer Capriate came before Hingis and had maybe the greatest expectations ever placed on a 14 year old but also Andrea Jaeger arrived with much fanfare at the age of 14 around 1979 or 80.
     
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  23. jerriy

    jerriy Hall of Fame

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    ^ Point taken - there were few more before Hingis.

    But my overall point stands. Over or underachieving has nothing to do with being a teenage hype or not but with judgement of talent, period. The amount of people is irrelevant (if there was no hype that inevitably means very few people did the judging - but still their judgement counts).

    Like I already said Federer is a good example of this: he was never ever hyped but still he was judged by the few who saw him as having potential early on, based on his talent. Exactly like Henin... incidentally both started turning heads at the same time (summer of 2003).
     
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  24. jrs

    jrs Professional

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    Agree 100%

    Plus I think she also had a very difficult childhood - to over come all that and reach number 1 in any profession - let alone professional sport - is an amazing achievement.

    Even though she was technically extremely talented - physically, she couldn't stay with bigger players. Sort like Hingis - very talented but physically can't compete.
     
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  25. robow7

    robow7 Professional

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    jrs,
    I agree, if she wouldn't have come up during the era of Big Babe tennis, say during the 70's and 80's, she could have really let those all court skills shine.
     
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  26. Amelie Mauresmo

    Amelie Mauresmo Banned

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    I think Henin overachieved because the press hyped Clijsters saying she would be better but Henin ended up being the superior player. Henin is only five foot five people seem to forget this she's not a tall woman. For Henin a smaller woman to beat much taller women like the Williams Sisters, Davenport, Clijsters, Mauresmo, ect. she did very well and accomplished a lot.

    I think Henin probably should have won Wimbledon at least once I think she choked against Mauresmo in the 2006 final.
     
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  27. AngieB

    AngieB Hall of Fame

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    As much as I liked Amelie's game, I would have to agree. If Amelie's mental fortitude was as strong as her variety, she would have won more than Justine.

    Angie B
     
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  28. _skunk_

    _skunk_ Rookie

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    Female tennis is almost death after the retirements of Henin and Mauresmo, will definitively die when schiavone will end as well.
     
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  29. Clive Walker

    Clive Walker Rookie

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    Henin was a beautiful tennis player, the craft and and sublimity (if that's even a word) of her shots made me purr- I get the feeling that based on her game, she underachieved, and based on her physicality, she overachieved...
     
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