Returning Henin says she's aiming for career grand slam
The moment Justine Henin realized her tennis career wasn't finished came this past June, when the Belgian watched Roger Federer finally hoist the French Open trophy, the one Grand Slam title he was missing. His triumph reignited a passion that had been dormant inside her.
In an interview with The Associated Press at her central Florida training site Saturday, the 27-year-old Henin said she wouldn't be returning to tennis if she didn't believe she could win Wimbledon and complete her own career grand slam — as soon as next year.
"I started to say, 'Well, I missed Wimbledon,'" Henin told the AP. "That moment was something, I don't know, something came over me. It's a dream. I don't know if it will come true, but I like to dream. I dreamt about it a lot."
Henin rocked the tennis world by suddenly walking away in May 2008. She became the first woman to retire while ranked No. 1.
Henin said she didn't pick up a racket or play any sports — not even go for a run — for nearly a year. She spent most of that time reading, had some spot appearances on Belgian television and traveled as a UNICEF goodwill ambassador.
She'll make her return to the WTA Tour at the Brisbane International in January, two weeks ahead of her comeback to Grand Slam tennis at the Australian Open.
Serena pulls out of Fed Cup final
Serena Williams withdrew from the U.S. team that will face Italy in the Fed Cup final, deciding she needs to rest after a long season. Williams informed U.S. Fed Cup captain Mary Joe Fernandez she won't play in the Nov. 7-8 matches, U.S. Tennis Association spokesman Chris Widmaier told The Associated Press on Saturday.
Vania King replaces Williams on the roster, joining surprise U.S. Open quarterfinalist Melanie Oudin, Liezel Huber and Alexa Glatch. Fernandez had announced this week Williams would play Fed Cup for the first time since 2007.
Willliams will play sister Venus Williams in Sunday's final of the WTA championships in Doha, Qatar. She has been playing with her left thigh strapped in the season-ending tournament.
"I think I'm just going to be wiped out by the end of this," she said after winning her semifinal Saturday when injured Caroline Wozniacki quit in the second set. "I'm literally just giving everything I have."
PGA Tour officials cancel Viking Classic
PGA Tour officials canceled the weather-stricken Viking Classic on Saturday because of unplayable course conditions in Madison, Miss. There will be no makeup date. Annandale Golf Club received 1.75 inches of rain overnight Friday and Saturday, completely soaking an already marginal course that had areas of standing water and large tracts of mud. "I told them this was closer to a FEMA disaster site than a golf course," tournament director Randy Watkins said. "Somebody asked if you could play somewhere else. I don't think you could play golf within 150 miles of here."
■ John Cook shot a 5-under 67 on Saturday take a six-stroke lead in the Champions Tour's season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship in Sonoma, Calif. Cook, who shot a tournament-record 62 on Friday, had a 19-under 197 total on the Sonoma Golf Club course, the best three-round score in a 72-hole tournament on the senior circuit since Jack Nicklaus also had a 197 total in the 1990 Senior Players Championship.
■ Ross Fisher beat Masters champion Angel Cabrera on the third playoff hole to set up a World Match Play Championship final against Anthony Kim in Casares, Spain. Fisher secured a 1-up win after Cabrera conceded on Saturday, having needed five shots to reach the green. Fisher had powered his second shot 244 yards to within 5 feet of the pin in fading light at the Finca Cortesin golf course.
Kim rallied from an early two-hole deficit to beat Robert Allenby 5 and 4, pulling away at the 27th hole when he holed an approach from 101 yards. The 36-hole final takes place on Sunday.
■ Ian Poulter was 4 over through six holes in the third round of the Singapore Open, dropping him into a tie for the Singapore Open lead with Thomas Levet and Kodai Ichihara in Singapore.
■ Na Yeon Choi shot a 1-under 71 and Yani Tseng had a 70 to share the lead at 5 under after the wet and windy second round of the LPGA Tour's KOLON Championship in Incheon, South Korea. Top-ranked Lorena Ochoa was 10 strokes back after a 77.
Four UK runners earn All-SEC honors
Four University of Kentucky runners earned honors at the Southeastern Conference Cross Country Championships on Saturday in Oxford, Miss. The UK men placed seventh and the women eighth in poor running conditions on the University of Mississippi Golf Course.
Freshman Luis Orta led the UK men to the finish for the second time this season, completing the 10K course in 25 minutes, 12 seconds to place 13th and earn All-SEC second-team honors. Junior Adam Henken clocked in at 25:29 to finish second on the team and 20th overall. Matt Sonnenfeldt, who placed 31st overall in a time of 26:02, earned conference All-Freshman team honors along with Orta.
On the 6K women's course, Chelsea Oswald was the first Wildcat across the finish line for the second time this season, placing 14th with a time of 21:56 to claim All-SEC second-team recognition. Fellow freshman Cally Macumber clocked in at 22:16 to place 19th. Both were honored on the SEC's All-Freshman team.
■ A week after totaling the best score in the NCAA this season, the UK rifle team rode an outstanding performance from senior Jen Pason to a 4,654-4,567 win over Jacksonville State on Saturday at Barker Hall. Pason had a team-high 588 in air rifle and a 582 in smallbore.
■ Kentucky sophomore Alex Musialek advanced to the final of the Crimson Tide Fall Championships by defeating Tennessee's J.P. Smith, the nation's second-ranked player, 7-6, 2-6, 7-6 on Saturday in Tuscaloosas, Ala. Musialek, who is competing in just his second fall tournament, will play Vanderbilt's Charlie Jones in the final Sunday. "This is a breakthrough win for Alex," UK men's tennis head coach Dennis Emery said.
EKU teams sweep cross country titles
The Eastern Kentucky University men's and women's cross country teams each won their fourth consecutive Ohio Valley Conference championships on Saturday at the Vaughn's Gap Course at Edwin Warner Park in Nashville. Junior Wesley Ruttoh won the men's 8K race in a time of 25 minutes, 39.24 seconds while freshman Picoty Leitich won the women's 5K race in a time of 19:29.05.
Ruttoh was named the league's Male Athlete of the Year, following teammates Jacob Korir (2004-07) and Joseph Maina (2008). Leitich was named booth the Female Athlete and Freshman of the Year; she is the first EKU woman to win the award since 2003. Coach Rick Erdmann also picked up a pair of Coach of the Year awards, the 39th and 40th of his career.
"I'm pleased for the kids," Erdmann said. "They competed today — all of them — and that's what this is really all about."
WKU women win 4th straight title
The Western Kentucky University women's cross country team won its fourth straight Sun Belt Conference cross country championship on Saturday in Monroe, La. Janet Jesang successfully defended her individual title, navigating the muddy and water-laden 5,000-meter course in 19 minutes, 8.83 seconds. Teammate Marion Kandie, took runner-up honors with a time of 19:29.53, and the one-two punch was enough to slip past Middle Tennessee State at Louisiana-Monroe's Selman Field Course. The WKU men tied Troy for fifth place.
The last word
Miami guard Dwyane Wade on the Heat's shot distribution:
"I like my shots. Michael (Beasley) loves his shots. That's the difference."