BRUSSELS, Feb 14 (Reuters) - Former world number one Justine Henin will decide in the coming months whether she needs surgery on an elbow injury that ended her tennis career last month.
Speaking to reporters for the first time since announcing she was retiring from the sport for the second time, Henin said her elbow problem was complicated and may need surgery even if she did not return to the game.
“I hope I will be able to live normally, without surgery. In a few months I will have to make a decision on that,” she told a news conference in a Brussels restaurant on Monday.
Henin, 28, announced her retirement on Jan. 26, shortly after losing to Svetlana Kuznetsova in the third round of the Australian Open. [ID:nLDE70P20T]
Henin, who first retired in 2008 only to return to the game in 2010, said she felt her elbow was improving slowly at the end of last year but that stepping up her game for the Australian Open had made matters worse.
“When I came back from Australia things were much worse than after the fall in Wimbledon in July,” she said, referring to the tumble in the fourth-round defeat by compatriot Kim Clijsters at Wimbledon, the only grand slam title to have eluded her.
“I injured the tendon, the ligament and the nerve. It’s quite a complicated case.”
The seven-times grand slam champion said she was looking forward to her life after the sport and would focus on her tennis academy and charity work.
Henin, who began her career in 1999 and won 43 titles, said the highlight had been winning gold at the 2004 Olympic Games.
When she retired for the first time in May 2008 after becoming disillusioned with the game she become the first woman to quit the sport while ranked number one.
Her 2010 comeback was short-lived as after hurting her elbow at Wimbledon she missed the rest of the season and though she returned this year she could not practise without pain and was a shadow of her former self during the Australian Open. (Reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek; Additional reporting by Vanessa Romeo; Editing by Sonia Oxley; To comment on this story: firstname.lastname@example.org)