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No regret over Open withdrawal: Hardenne

28/01/2006 06:08:43 PM Comments (0)

A bitterly disappointed Justine Henin-Hardenne says she has no regrets after pulling out of the Australian Open final against Amelie Mauresmo on Saturday because of an upset stomach.

The 2004 champion told a news conference that she had doubled the dose of anti-inflammatory tablets she was taking for a shoulder injury this week and that was the likely cause of her illness.

"It's my decision, my choice. I decided to walk on the court because I'm professional, I want to try," said the Belgian eighth seed, who won A$610,000 ($457,500) as the losing finalist.

"I have no regrets about the decision I took," she said, before breaking down in tears.

The Belgian went on to add that she understood some people would think she should have played through to the end of the match despite her discomfort.

"Everyone has the right to think that but it's my health," Henin-Hardenne said.

"I have to think about myself right now. It's me that was feeling bad."

Henin-Hardenne, who won the French Open last year after coming back from a knee injury, said she had been on anti-inflammatories for two weeks and realised before the final that her performance would be affected.

"I knew at the beginning of the match I couldn't win it. I just really tried to stay in the match but there was no chance for me," Henin-Hardenne added.

"If I would have kept playing, maybe I would have injured something else, so that was the best decision even if it was very, very hard for me."

"My stomach was so painful, I just couldn't put anything on the ball. There was no reason I could keep playing."

The Belgian said retiring from the final was one of the biggest disappointments of her career.

"I don't know what is harder, to lose even when you're playing well or when you have to retire like that," she said.

"I think it's very disappointing because I was playing so well and had a lot of good chances to win here. When you lose that like this, it's pretty hard."

The four times grand slam champion also admitted that she had endured an uncomfortable night on the eve of the final.

"When the stomach is so upset and so inflamed, you just don't have any energy," Henin-Hardenne said.

"Last night I was feeling so bad I thought I would have to go to see a doctor at three in the morning."

Henin-Hardenne had earlier said she was enjoying the tournament and was playing without pain for the first time in eight months after a hamstring problem cut short her 2005 season.

She was a clear favourite with bookmakers after winning the Sydney International two weeks ago, but became the first woman to retire from the final of a grand slam tournament in the Open era.

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