If they told me at the beginning of the season that I would become number 1 in the world on October 2003, I wouldn't have believed it. Today it became reality; a little girl's dream came true.

The Beginning

Women's tennis player Justine Henin-Hardenne was born on June 1, 1982 in Liège, Belgium. The 1.67 m (5'5 3/4''), 57 kg (126 lbs.) athlete started tennis at the age of 5 by spending all of her summer vacation playing at Tennis Club Rochefort. A year later she joins Tennis Club Ciney and the French Tennis Federation where she trains under Jean-Pierre Collot and Luc Bodart. Justine leaves the federation and enrolls at Tennis Club Géronsart in a private program under Gabriel Gonzalez. She left Gonzalez and spent 2 years with Michel Mouillard. In 1995, 13 year old Justine suffers a personal loss with the death of her mother. A year after her mother's death, Justine meets Carlos Rodriguez who coaches her until the present. By now her training is taking place in Mons and she decides to continue secondary school in the town.

In 1997, Justine wins the Orange Bowl junior championships (at age 15) and halts her studies in 1999 to become a full-time professional. In the same year she makes her debut in the Fed Cup with the Belgian national team. She grabs her first WTA Tour singles title at Antwerp against Sarah Pitkowski. She makes her debut at the US Open and the French Open as well as winning her first grand slam match at Roland Garros. 2000 saw Justine sustain injuries and break off ties with her father. She struggled that year by only reaching the fourth round at the US Open, second round at the Australian Open and first round at Wimbledon.

Rising to the Top

2001 was her career turning point with victories in Gold Coast, Canberra, 's-Hertogenbosch as well as reaching her first grand slam semifinal (Roland Garros) where she lost to fellow Belgian Kim Clijsters. She was stopped in the fourth round at the Australian Open by Monica Seles and reached the final in Wimbledon (lost to Venus Williams). By the end of 2001, Justine was ranked #7 in the world, had attained high status in her native Belgium and had earned $998,704.

In 2002, Justine won her first WTA Tour doubles title with Meghann Shaughnessy and reached the singles final at Gold Coast, where she lost to Venus Williams. In Sydney, Henin-Hardenne lost to Kim Clijsters in the semifinal and reached the doubles semifinal match with Meghan Shaughnessey. The Australian Open had Justine lose again to Clijsters in the quarterfinal while at the Fed Cup she helped Belgium win over Australia. Her first title of the year came at the German Open with a third set tie-breaker victory over then #5 Serena Williams. At Wimbledon she was defeated in the semifinals by Venus Williams and at the US Open reached the fourth round (defeated by Daniela Hantuchova). She finished the year with a #5 spot, her highest yet to date.

2003 started with an upset at Sydney by Kim Clijsters in the semifinal and a career-best Australian Open result by reaching the semifinal (defeated by Venus Williams). She made history at the German Open by being the second woman to defend her title (Steffi Graf was the first woman to do so in 1987-89 and 1992-94) - Justine defeated fellow Belgian Kim Clijsters. Her first grand slam title came at Roland Garros where she defeated Serena Williams in the semifinal (thus ending Williams' bid for a fifth straight grand slam title) and defeated Kim Clijsters in the first ever all Belgian grand slam final. After Roland Garros, she rose to a career high #3. Justine surpassed the $4 million mark in career prize money after she lost in the semifinal to eventual winner Serena Williams at Wimbledon. Her second grand slam title came after she defeated Kim Clijsters in the first ever all Belgian US Open final.

In 2004, Justine defeated #2 seeded Belgian Kim Clijsters at the Australian Open thus making it her third grand slam victory.

Pierre-Yves Hardenne

In 1999, Justine met Pierre-Yves Hardenne while making her professional debut. She married Pierre-Yves Hardenne on November 16, 2002, and changed her name from Henin to Henin-Hardenne.


Her career prize money is $6,185,680. Justine has 16 WTA Tour singles titles, 2 WTA Tour doubles titles, 7 ITF Women's Circuit singles titles and 2 ITF Women's Circuit doubles titles.

Grand Slam (singles) History:

                              W/L   03    02   01   00   99
Australian Open     13-4   SF   QF   4r   2r    -
Roland Garros       13-3   W    1r    SF   -     2r
US Open               16-4   W    4r    4r   4r   1r
Wimbledon            16-4   SF    SF   F   1r    -

Championships History:

              W/L   03   02    01   00
Singles    4-4   SF   QF   QF   -

Other Facts:

Plays right-handed, using a Wilson H Tour tennis racquet.

Her win in Antwerp in 1999 made Justine the fifth person ever to win a WTA debut.

After her first grand slam title at Roland Gerros, Justine met with the Belgian royal family (including King Albert II, Queen Paola and Crown Prince Philippe) and later appeared before a cheering crowd on the balcony of Brussels' 15th century city hall.


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