Henin regrets hand incident with Serena

Wednesday, February 23, 2011 /by

In an interview with Belgian TV, the now-retired Justine Henin discusses her controversial win over Serena Williams in the semifinals of the 2003 French Open, when at 4-2, 30-0 on Williams' serve in the third set, Henin raised her hand to indicate she was not ready to receive and Williams then put her serve into the net.

Williams thought she would be allowed to replay her first serve, but the chair umpire didn’t see Henin raise her hand and the Belgian didn’t say anything. Williams lost the next four points to lose the service game and, eventually, the match 6-2, 4-6, 7-5. Later, a tearful and angry Serena accused her of  "lying and fabricating."

Henin now seems to regret the incident.

“I think she saw it and she was disturbed by that,” she said. “There is a lot of tension, actions are a bit by instinct. So it's true that it is not the best memory. If I had been convinced that she had seen it, had been bothered by it, I might have reacted. But you react on instinct. At the same time what happened was magic. I don't know if that changed the match. I hope I’m not saying that in bad faith.

"Maybe it was a way to give me respect, because you know that Williams have an attitude, sometimes difficult. They play with a lot of intimidation. know that the Williams had attitudes that were sometimes difficult. Today, it doesn’t scare me any more. When they walked on the court, the other one was already there at her side. It was a big moment in my career, in the history of Roland Garros, too.
That [weak] handshake, the start of a long story between us, but I think we kept mutual respect. Not one of the warmest moments in the history of tennis, but still remains a great memory."—Matthew Cronin

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