Justine Henin: 'Serena Williams was the toughest I ever faced'

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Justine Henin: 'Serena Williams was the toughest I ever faced'

In an interview, the Belgian player Justine Henin commented on her two great rivalries with Serena Williams and Kim Clijsters. Henin said: "These two were interesting for different reasons. Kim and I are from the same country; if she wasn’t there at the same time as me, I probably would have been a good tennis player.

But she really pushed me to another level because when she was winning, I wanted to do the same. When you are from the same country, that creates a lot of expectations from the crowd. Also, there was a lot of pressure. That is why we have never really been able to play our best tennis against each other.

Serena was the toughest mentally that I had to face. I have a very good record against her, but she pushed me to finally believe and find a conviction that I can beat her. Against Serena, it really proved, when you work on yourself, when you prove to yourself if you work hard, ‘I can win this match’, then you have a good chance to do it."

Reflecting on how tennis has changed, Henin added: "Surfaces are much slower. We will not see serve and volley any more in the future. Players at the nets, we won’t see that very often. Okay, it is evolution, but in the past, it created more specialists; you see fewer specialists on clay, for example, now", concluded the former world No. 1.