On Wednesday Justine Henin announced she would be retiring from tennis. This surprised me for two reasons. The first reason I was surprised is because she is only 25 years old. The reason I was really shocked is because Justine Henin was ranked #1 by the WTA.
She is going out on top.
But wow. This was really unexpected.
I don't know about you, but I'm floored. For her to retire is one thing. For her to retire right before the French Open, which she loves and which she's won four times is shocking...
There's got to be more to this story. It's entirely possible that Henin's burnt out and after twenty years in tennis, she feels it's time to move on, but I'm wondering if there's not some injury we don't know about or some personal issue we don't know about.
I have to say that I was wondering the same thing as Megan. Has she secretly been sick of tennis for years? Is the pressure too much? Is she sick of the paparazzi? Is she pregnant?
Sorry. Sometimes I am such a girl.
My first thought was She is only 25. I'm sure she will start playing again in a couple of years, but at her press conference she said that this was something she had been thinking about for a long time.
She also said "I've won everything I need to win, I have more money than I can use in three lifetimes, and I don’t have the will to play one day more.”
You have to respect that. I respect it a lot more than when I hear that a football player isn't going to training camp because he is holding out for that last $150,000 on a $6.8 million dollar contract.
Erica from Rackets and Balls doesn't think Henin will come out of retirement.
Some think she’ll come back - to win that elusive Wimbledon title. I’m just not so sure. Maybe Henin will leave tennis and find out she really does love it, but there was something about this retirement address. It sounded final; it felt final. And, at the very least, Henin went out on her own terms and I can respect that in anybody.
And Elena (from Sportsramblers) makes a really great point about what being 25 means to an athlete.
Although 25 doesn't seem old in the real world, the reality in tennis is that when girls are breaking in and having success by the time they're 18, you're an old lady by your mid 20s. These days you never know about a comeback, but it will be strange watching someone else win Roland Garros this year.
She has a good point.
I'm 35. If I were in politics I would just now qualify to run for President of the United States but if I played professional sports I would be O-L-D. Maybe it wouldn't be so bad if I was a golfer (speaking of which, we'll discuss Annika Sorenstam's retirement some other time) but when I see people playing in the NFL or the NBA at my age I make fun of them. Dude. He was drafted when I was in college. He is ancient. I could be mistaken by I think Sheryl Swoopes is the oldest player in the WNBA at 36.
Good luck to Justine. She genuinely seems to be happy about the retirement.
I know one person that is happy about the decision.
Maria Sharapova will be the new #1 ranked women's singles player in the world.
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