Justine Henin

Ms. Justine Henin, UNESCO Champion for Sport.

A three-time winner of the French Open over four years, Belgian tennis player Justine Henin has won 24 titles to date, including the U.S. Open, the Australian Open and a Gold Medal in the 2004 Athens Olympic games. She turned professional in 1999 and is currently ranked number one by the Women’s Tennis Association.

Justine Henin was born on 1st June 1982 during the Roland Garros Tournament. She discovered her love for sport through her sportive environment in Rochefort where she has lived within a stone's throw from the local tennis club. She did her first steps in a tennis court when she was five years old and passed her first official tennis test for competition at the age of six. The Belgian-Argentinean Carlos Rodriguez has been coaching her since the age of 14.

In 1999, Justine Henin became a full-time professional. It was also the year of her first participation at the Fed Cup with the Belgian national team. Her first steps in the women circuit were a wonderful success as she won the final of the tournament of Antwerp against Sarah Pitkowski.

It was said that the year 2003 would be Justine’s year: winner of two Grand Slams and five other tournaments. It is logic that the champion would be the number one of the world by the end of the year. From January 2004 on, she won the two most important tournaments in Australia: Sydney and Melbourne, and then she won the tournament in Dubai and the tournament with the big reputation: Indian Wells. In 2002, she went to the Olympics in Athens, and won the Gold medal. This is, she said with great emotion, the most beautiful victory in her career. An illness and some wound thwarted her career but in 2005 she won three tournaments, Charleston, Warsaw and Berlin, and then Roland Garros once again.

Justine Henin's mother died of cancer when Justine was 12 years old. Since late 2003, she wanted to contribute to the fight against cancer. In 2004, she created her own foundation “Justine’s Winners’ Circle”. The foundation’s goals are to give financial assistance to families with sick children, to make the dreams of the children come true and to organize meetings with Justine.

As a UNESCO Champion for Sport she is entrusted with a special mission to promote the fight against doping in sport.

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