donderdag 24 september 2009
That one dream!
I still remember where I was when Justine Henin announced her farewell of the tennis court. All I was thinking at that moment while hearing over the radio was: 'Why? Why now?' The days after the news papers were so nice to give the big scoop. Justine was tired of travelling, had a complete burn out, felt a bit out of tune, wanted to become a mother, had won everything there was to win (not true!!) and wanted to find out how life was without running around with a tennis racket! So the why and why now got a decent answer but still it seemed not to make sense.
In two years time the most successful tennis ladies with a Belgian passport left centre court. First Kim and then Justine. Strangely enough they seemed to have certain very personal reasons to announce they were fed up with the tennis world. And hey, I don't blame them! Above all their young bodies already seemed to ache for retirement and they still had to start with the life that most of all call so average but that they seem to long for: a steady relationship and a calm family life!
When people questioned me if I thought that one of them would announce a comeback I was pretty sure about Kim. Justine at the other hand seemed not to send out any clear signal. A few miles away from my home this fierce athlete started her new adventure with the foundation of a tennis academy called the '6th sense'!!
For a tennis lady who played the love game by her own rules a very fitting name. A very long time Juju was out there all by her self and only trusted her senses. Technically I consider her one the best female tennis players that I ever watched playing. Justine her backhand seems hard to comprehend. The purity she hits it with and the efficiency makes your head spin. It is almost poetry in motion. John McEnroe is die hard fan of that one pure shot!
On top of that her emotions have turned her into a very exceptional player. Once this rather tiny player is standing at the baseline she goes for the kill. In most cases she manages to dictate the game and it is not with pure force. If Venus, Serena, Safina, Sharapova are ready to join the special forces then is this girl the best candidate ever to get a MI6 badge. Her game is sleek, very deep going, hard to grasp and sublime! Many opponents will gladly point out that this girl plays the tennis that they just can't stand.
Of course her personal story even made her tennis more edgy. Loosing your mum to cancer after promising she would chase that one dream: winning Roland Garros and this against all odds. This girl had a mission and just think what that one promise did? Her father still remembers how his daughter was obsessed with that tiny yellow object. While she was hitting the ball against the outside walls he was sitting at the dinner table wondering where this was heading for?
Well, we know now!!! The lady with a mission won her Roland Garros tournament 4 times, got the Olympic Gold medal, won the Masters twice, got her name printed in many cups across the world and was number one for a very long time! Justine got the honour to be called a living sports monument by the UN! She is also good will ambassador for Unicef!!! A mission she takes to heart.
So why and why now? Hard to answer! It was so funny to read all the speculations of Justine returning. Like she was once more playing that one game she is so good at! Nobody seemed to figure out for 100% if Justine was seriously considering it. All she did was smiling and keeping her mouth shut.
Two days ago the national TV stations had the honour to have her personally coming over to announce her comeback. Justine looked rather serene and answered all the questions very calmly. And then she spit it out that she still has a few dreams out there waiting for her in the company of a tennis racket. On top of her list still that one cup that she was not able to hold in her hands and granting her life time membership to the All England Club and a nice seat in the champions box!!
Well, that is why! And I do understand why this exceptional player suddenly reconsiders her future plans. She managed to talk Rodrigues to join her once more and in a few weeks she will be back standing down there at the baseline. Ready to face the enemy and chasing that one dream she is after! So, 'Allez Juju', tie those laces of your tennis shoes and grab that racket and walk towards that one field were dreams can be created!
Reasons enough to have a press conference!
P.S.: Hopefully Justine and Kim will have also some icecream after playing some winners! And yes they are both in the picture her above. Believe it or not!!