posted on Dec, 30 2004 @ 09:01 AM
Belgium's Justine Henin-Hardenne admits she does not know if she will be able to muster a worthy defence of her Australian Open title. Henin-Hardenne,
a former world number one, on Saturday played her first match - an exhibition at Charleroi - since contracting the virus that has kept her off the
circuit since the US Open.
This year Henin-Hardenne won the Australian Open and the Athens Olympics singles gold medal in a season otherwise dominated by Russian women.
Anastasia Myskina's win in the French Open was followed by Maria Sharapova at Wimbledon before Svetlana Kuznetsova lifted the US Open crown.
And Henin-Hardenne does not know if her health will enable her to resist the Russian tide.
"I will be going to Australia in a state of uncertainty," she told French sports daily L'Equipe.
"The doubt will be there, I know it. But there will be less pressure on me than last year even if I have a title to defend.
"The early matches will be crucial and will be difficult for me."