Henin says she considered surgery after Australian Open

MIAMI Wed Mar 26, 2008 6:07pm GMT

Belgium's Justine Henin celebrates victory over Bulgaria's Tsvetana Pironkova in the second round of the Proximus Diamond Games tennis tournament in Antwerp February 14, 2008. REUTERS/Thierry Roge

Belgium's Justine Henin celebrates victory over Bulgaria's Tsvetana Pironkova in the second round of the Proximus Diamond Games tennis tournament in Antwerp February 14, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Thierry Roge

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MIAMI (Reuters) - World number one Justine Henin said on Wednesday that she had considered surgery earlier this year because her inflamed right knee was so painful.

The Belgian chose a more conservative approach instead, receiving a cortisone injection between the Australian Open and last month's Antwerp tournament.

She also took some time off, missing this month's Pacific Life Open at Indian Wells to rest her knee and train properly.

"It's been a chronic problem and it's doing much better," the seven times Grand Slam champion said at the Sony Ericsson Open. "It's already two months after the injection and my knee is really good.

"That was my main concern the last two months and it's going really well, so I'm really happy."

"In Australia, I didn't really have the time to rest and my knee was bothering me and I was thinking about surgery," she added.

"After Dubai, I said it's time for me now to really have good preparation, so the last four weeks I've worked really hard.

"So the preparation I should have had in December I've only had in the last few weeks because I was ready mentally and physically to do it."

Henin and Carlos Rodriguez, her coach of 12 years, have just opened a branch of their European tennis academy at the Mission Inn Resort and Club in Orlando, Florida.

"How often I am going to be there is hard to say because my main concern is my career now," said Henin.

"It's really important I keep the emphasis on my tennis the next few years, but when I'm going to be in the States between tournaments for example, or before Miami, than I will be there."

The 25-year-old said the attention she pays to her preparation was the key to continued career success. "I don't just plan for a season, I plan for two or three more seasons because my career is not over yet," she said.

(Editing by Alan Baldwin)

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