Justine Henin: There's a lot of potential in India

The 36-year-old Henin said she saw a “lot of potential in the Indian players,” and that some quality work had been done in terms of their “technique.”

Justine Henin has won seven Grand Slam titles.   -  Getty Images

Multiple Grand Slam champion Justine Henin was happy to watch and interact with some of the best Indian juniors, and promote clay court tennis at the French Open junior wild card tennis tournament in New Delhi.

The 36-year-old Henin said she saw a “lot of potential in the Indian players,” and that some quality work had been done in terms of their “technique.”

Henin said she loved talking about Roland Garros as it was “so close to her heart.” She had won the Grand Slam four times after having ignited the dream of being a champion by winning the junior title.

“I felt that the players here have a lot of passion. That is the key. They want more for sure. It is not easy at that age. They aim to be professional tennis players. They need all kind of support. I can see a certain level. I also watched the boys’ final for some time. It was a tactical game, and it was interesting,” said Henin.

Inspiring presence

It was inspiring for the Indian juniors to play with the former world No. 1 and interact with her . “We all need inspiration. The kids really need that,” said Henin, promising to make another visit to India in the future to see a little more of the country.

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“It is a unique opportunity for these kids to live their passion and go through this experience as it will give them more motivation. They will realise how precious it is,” said Henin.

For his part, Lucas Dubourg, responsible for the development of brand Roland Garros around the world, pointed out that it was a great opportunity for the junior players to compete in the French Open on the main courts.

Picking Halep

Asked who the favourite was on the red dirt of Paris this year, Henin picked defending champion Simona Halep as the “best prospect,” adding that there were many other contenders, including Naomi Osaka, the winner of the last two Grand Slams — US Open and Australian Open.

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“It is going to be interesting. Simona has done well. Clay demands a complete game, patience and you have to work hard for the points. All tournaments are being won by different players. That makes it interesting. Osaka has won the last two Grand Slams. It will be another chance for her. There are many young players who are ready to surprise, and this will be good for the fans. There is still Madrid and Rome. Those events will give us some idea,” said Henin.

The Belgian said it was a challenge for the girls to stay healthy and compete well in a “demanding calendar.”