HENNIN HARDLY NEEDS THIS AUTOPSY

Henin knows despair but has stoically found her way through it all.

Not that controversy was limited to the men's tour for numerous autopsies were conducted on the Justine Henin-Hardenne pull-out in the final. Many were not complimentary. Undoubtedly victory for Mauresmo would be sweeter if the match were completed, but suggestions the Belgian's ailment was a victory for the performing arts seemed unreasonable.

Mauresmo, a gentle woman who has suffered puerile taunts for her musculature, sexual preference and failure to win big finals, did well by walking across to Henin post-match to sit with her, a gesture some felt should have arrived the other way around.

Fair enough, the Belgian is not always the most graceful of champions. Still, her retirement, while punishing the crowd, was unfortunate and not much more. Estranged from her father, losing her mother early, forced to push her reedy figure to its maximum physical capacity to win, undone in her peak by a debilitating virus, Henin knows despair but has stoically found her way through it all.

For this writer, if she could have played, she would have, toughness is her signature.

Her stomach apparently collapsed under heavy does of anti-inflammatories, and had she continued on, unable to move, hitting shots into the net, gifting points to Mauresmo, the match truly might have descended into a farce.

No woman plays stirring three-setters against Sharapova and Lindsay Davenport and then wilts just because of adversity, that simply is not Henin-Hardenne.

Her tears were many and she deserves the benefit of people believing they were genuine.