Henin feels she's getting old

Three-time champion Justine Henin is already concerned that she is getting too old.

updated: May 28, 2007 14:35 IST
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Justine Henin will celebrate her 25th birthday during this year's French Open, and the three-time champion is already concerned that she is getting too old.

"It's very young in my life, but when you see these young players going at 15, 16 years old that push us a lot, it's not easy," said Henin, who won the French Open last year and reached the final at the other three majors. "My body doesn't recover as well as it did five years ago."

The top-ranked Belgian will begin her quest for a fourth title at Roland Garros on Sunday when she faces Elena Vesnina of Russia in the first round.

"A Grand Slam is hard (to win), and especially on clay," Henin added. "Physically and mentally you have to be really strong."

Serena and Venus Williams will also be in action on the first day of the French Open, while Marat Safin, Juan Carlos Ferrero and Fernando Gonzalez play matches in the men's draw.

The French Open will be Henin's first Grand Slam tournament of the year. She pulled out of the Australian Open for personal reasons, and soon after announced she was separating from her husband of five years, Pierre-Yves Hardenne.

"It's been hard for me not to play in Australia, but many other things in my life were much more important at the time," Henin said. "But now I just feel ready to be in this kind of situation again."

With another French Open victory this year, Henin will become the first woman to win three consecutive titles at Roland Garros since Monica Seles in 1990-92.

"Everyone knows it's my favorite tournament," said Henin, who is 7-1 on clay this season. "I feel good at the moment and I have great pleasure playing here."

The one thing that could make her stay in Paris unpleasant is the weather. Henin likes it dry, but torrential rain soaked the city on Friday and Saturday was mostly overcast.

"I had to fight against the weather conditions (at the last two tournaments), so it was very difficult," Henin said. "I know the weather is not going to be perfect in the coming days, but it's going to be better anyway."