Henin follows Clijsters back to the court

FORMER world No1 Justine Henin will return to competitive action next year after declaring she has rediscovered her love of the game.<br /><br />The 27-year-old, who retired from the sport 16 months ago, confirmed she is to make a comeback in 2010 during a television broadcast in her native Belgium last night.<br /><br />The seven-time grand slam winner, who has 41 singles titles to her name, will play two exhibition tournaments this year before January&rsquo;s Australian Open.<br /><br />Upon retirement in May 2008, Henin admitted she had lost her passion for the game but yesterday she expressed her delight at her imminent return to the court.<br /><br />&ldquo;I&rsquo;m really happy and deeply moved to be able to announce that I&rsquo;m coming back to competitive tennis,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;These past 15 months have been enriching but there is a flame that has been re-lit. I thought it had been put out forever.&rdquo; Her announcement follows the inspirational return of compatriot Kim Clijsters, who shocked the sport by winning the US Open this month for a second time.<br /><br />Clijsters returned to the sport for the US hard court season, citing the challenge of playing at the highest level again as the reason for her U-turn. The 26-year-old became the first unseeded player and wildcard to win the title in only her third tournament back after retiring in May 2007.<br /><br />Henin&rsquo;s diminutive stature &ndash; she is barely 5ft 5ins tall &ndash; and her graceful yet unrelenting one-handed backhand made her a rare talent.<br /><br />She won every grand slam bar Wimbledon including four French Open titles, two US Opens and one Australian Open, and her coach Carlos Rodriguez said her drive to win at SW19 was a major factor in her decision to pick up a racket again.<br /><br />He said: &ldquo;The desire to win Wimbledon is one of the main reasons she&rsquo;s come back and I&rsquo;ll do everything to help her do it.&rdquo;<br /><br /><strong>JUSTINE HENIN </strong> FACT FILE<br /><strong>Age:</strong> 27<br /><strong>Highest world ranking: </strong>No1<br /><strong>Grand Slams:</strong> 7 (4 French Opens, 2 US Opens and an Australian Open)<strong><br />Total titles:</strong> 41