a letter to juju… from the tennis establishment


Benjamin Snyder contributes to Fortune.com and writes for his blog, TenaciouslyTennis.com. He serves as an editor for Goucher [Md.] College’s newspaper, The Quindecim, and plays for the college’s varsity tennis team. Benjamin swears that he is distantly related to WTA veteran Patty Schnyder. Today he pens a letter to Justine Henin. From the tennis establishment.

Dear Justine,
What happened? You’re retiring, again? After everything you’ve been through, you’re letting an elbow injury prevent you from playing for good? Fine. It’s not like any other big name players are sidelined right now. Oh, wait. Sorry, Serena and Venus….

But let’s get this straight: Kim wins the US Open as a mom, and you decide it’s time to hit the courts again. You seem jealous that she’s getting all the attention. You’ve never been best friends with Kim, especially with such an intense rivalry since childhood. Plus, there’s that time her father accused you of taking drugs in 2003. Things improved between you both, the Belgian Sisters were back, but Clijsters prevailed in the end.

It’s 2010. You play a tournament for the first time, losing to Kim. But it was the match of the year. You shock the world by clawing through to the Australian Open final. There, you face Serena, make it to the third set, and lose again. You take two titles during the year, lose to Kim some more, and hurt your elbow against her at Wimbledon. Ouch. But – fine – it makes sense that you lay low for the rest of the year.

In 2011, you’re not feeling 100 percent, but decide to play. Why? Apparently, winning again means more than anything. You tell the press that another major would be “a bigger achievement than what I did in the past.” | More from the TSF Vault: Justine Henin

Apparently, that’s not enough anymore. You tweak the elbow against Svetlana Kuznetsova in Melbourne and completely call it quits?

Happier (and healthier) times: Justine once held the tennis world in her hand. (Philippe Buisson)

That doesn’t sound like the Justine I know. The Justine who overcame so, so many challenges. A mother who died when you were young. A divorce. An estrangement from her family. Big babe tennis. Being vertically challenged. An obsession with pudding.

You say that you came back with “a lot of questions and a lot of doubts,” but you’re leaving us with even more by retiring so quickly. You’re in shock, according to your farewell letter – and we are, too. Remember the first time after getting owned by Dinara Safina as the world number one? These retirements come pretty quickly after losses. Don’t you want to take some time to think it through?

Well, I’m sure Kim will be fine that you’re taking the spotlight away from her again. It’s not like she’s about to win the Australian Open, or anything. Oh, and how about teaming up at the 2012 London Olympics? Good luck with keeping that friendship.

We’re left with another burning question before you tune us out: Who is going to make a comeback to inspire you to play again? Elena Dementieva? Not likely. Guess you better call Belgian Idol, they’ve got a microphone ready for you.


The Tennis Establishment

(justine ao photo via getty images)


9 Responses to “a letter to juju… from the tennis establishment”

  1. Tweets that mention a letter to juju… from the tennis establishment « tennis served fresh -- Topsy.com Says:

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Tennis News and Tennis Served Fresh, Tennis Served Fresh. Tennis Served Fresh said: Pudding makers delight in Justine's retirement. But the tennis establishment? It's sad, writes Benjamin Snyder. http://bit.ly/gaUoAS #tennis […]

  2. A Letter to Henin After Her Shocking Retirement « Tenaciously Tennis Says:

    […] To read this story in its entirety, see here. […]

  3. chris Says:

    Hey Ben! Great to see a fellow Gopher (I’m Class ’01) getting some press!!!

  4. Cherry Says:

    A lot of fans were surely disappointed because of this news. However, we need to respect Henin’s decision to retire and just hope that she will be happy with her decision.

  5. the battle of the husbands « tennis served fresh Says:

    […] of Belgian rival-turned-friend-turned-rival Justine Henin. Yeah, JuJu came back and then retired for the second time just as Kim claimed a spot in the Melbourne final. […]

  6. kenneth Says:

    Good riddance (again). This shockingly SELFISH woman needs to get her herpes under control and leave all of us alone.

  7. Serena Williams: Why Tennis Needs Her Back Now « Tenaciously Tennis Says:

    […] Remember, she dropped just one set at the Sunny Slam and that came in the final against Li. Justine Henin’s retirement also leaves more room for the Belgian to keep conquering […]

  8. Serena Williams to Play Exhibition: Why Tennis Needs Her Now « Tenaciously Tennis Says:

    […] Remember, she dropped just one set at the Sunny Slam and that came in the final against Li. Justine Henin’s retirement also leaves more room for the Belgian to keep conquering […]

  9. short balls: ladies in wanting « tennis served fresh Says:

    […] balls: ladies in wanting By nmccarvel Aussie Open contributor Benjamin Snyder is back for more. Taking on the longest of tasks: short […]

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