Saturday, February 26, 2011

Justine Henin admits she cheated Serena Williams and Kim Clijsters.

Eight years later and Serena Williams and Justine Henin are still looking for closure.

"Question,'' Williams wrote on her Twitter account. "I keep hearing about admittance to someone cheating me & lying about it after at the French open? Did she confess finally?''

Well that "someone'' Williams could not bring herself to say was Henin. And if Williams were truly interested in finding out if Henin had fessed up to what happened at the 2003 French Open, the infamous Hand Incident, then Williams could have just Googled it. Instead, she wrote it in a question with very pointed words to her two million Twitter followers, including media members who would make those words even more public.

So this was about sending a message. For some reason, Henin did talk about it, and other controversial moments in her career, in a TV interview in Belgium. She is acknowledging wrongdoing in several things, possibly for closure, while taking a slow exit from the stage since retiring last month.
"It's true,'' Henin said about the Hand Incident Wednesday, "that is not my best memory.''

I'll get into the specifics in a minute. But this is an amazing example of how a small, somewhat insignificant moment can escalate over the years, blow up into hard feelings and rivalry and probably even hatred. It all shows in the fact that both of them still feel the need to talk about it now.

In Henin's case, I assume it has been eating at her. I wouldn't say she cheated exactly, to use Williams' word, but what she did was provide a shocking example of terrible sportsmanship. It would define her in several ways for the rest of her career.

In Williams' case, I think she has let the discussion build up and re-shape the facts in her head. Henin was the one in the wrong that day, but somehow, that moment has grown over the year's into something that cost Williams a major championship.

Where she really was robbed was the 2004 U.S. Open quarterfinals against Jennifer Capriati. That match was one terrible call after another at crucial moments. Maybe she has some peace over that one because U.S. Open officials apologized publicly to her. And that match is seen as leading to the use of electronic line calling.

Henin had never acknowledged doing anything wrong to Williams, and sometimes you just want to hear someone admit it.

Those two moments surely added to her distrust regarding the 2009 U.S. Open, when she "foot-faulted" and then went into an f-bomb laced, threatening tirade against the line judge who called it. The buzz and talk about that has swirled in Williams' head, too, changing truth. I believe she did not foot fault that day, but I wasn't there to judge.

You can see the hand incident at about 3:50, Justine was very much at fault.

"Perhaps I should have said that I raised my hand,'' Henin said this week, "even though, in honesty, I still think that it didn't change the course of the match.''

Henin seemed to say that the Williams sisters played games of intimidation, and that she was using the incident at the time to stand tall against Serena and show that she couldn't be pushed around.

Last year, Serena played Jelena Jankovic, and was so concerned that Jankovic might think she was doing something unsportsmanlike – she was not -- that when they shook hands at the net afterward, she said, "Don't think I would do that. I'm not Justine.''

Oh, and if coming clean on the hand incident wasn’t enough, Henin admits now that she cheated on a 2004 call in the Australian Open finals against Kim Clijsters. She’s not exactly the most sportsmanlike person around, and she drops in my book for that reason.


altius said...

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Luis Ernesto said...

that bitch

Anonymous said...

No one can make you a cheater unless you are one. Good for you Serena

Anonymous said...

It is interesting that this article takes on the tone that Serena is somehow problematic. The fact that she chose to ask a question on twitter where she is regularly makes her motives suspect. Wow, i am stunned that this writer is not working for a major publication. If you didn't catch it, that was sarcasm.

Anonymous said...

Seems to me like you are very biased and pro on henin. I would not consider it a small incident. Justine cheats and causes serena a grand slam. Considering she did not win another french ever since then it is a big deal to me.

Anonymous said...

Serena cheats lol

Anonymous said...

I think there's little question that it was a foot fault.

Anonymous said...

It was definitely not a foot fault.

Anonymous said...

Both exhibited unsportsmanlike behavior at times. Grunting louder and louder as the rally goes on in an effort to intimidate her opponents is just as bad in my books. Ghetto-ball has no place on the professional level.

Anonymous said...

"ghetto-ball"? Seriously? Does Maria Sharapova and Victoria, with their loud grunting, play "gutter-ball"also?

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

You non-French speakers need to stop relying on shoddy translations and also Henin did not admit she cheated nor did she ever "deny" allegations...she simply did nothing during the match.

Serena's dubious gestures on balls that were supposed to be out, grunting, and other things were booed by the crowd as it deserved.

Serena threatening people with physical harm is she did Sanchez and that lineswoman at the US Open.

Anonymous said...

I guess when your talent isn't as consistent and you feel intimidated, not that confident in your own abilities; it would cause someone such as Justine Henin to not speak up clearly when an opportunity to display sportsmanship presents itself. she is no champion which calls in to question her late age heroics in winning titles were they aided by illegal substances which would account for her seemingly unexpected exit. Her admittance to cheating on more than one occasion makes one wonder.

Anonymous said...

She did dope. Never was that talented for whatever reason. which is why she won't be remembered.

Anonymous said...

Lol, Serena is the one who ran into a panic room when the steroid inspector came. There's a reason her name is trash within the general community. Only racist fans love Serena and will forgive everything because she's black.

Anonymous said...

Serena nunca admtirá que se dopa

Anonymous said...

A racists? Really, that person came to Serena's house which is in a gated community and knocked on her damn door. Was she supposed to let some stranger into her home to "test her".....I'll wait. Asshole

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