2003 French Open 2003 French Open

She said, she said

Serena cries foul, but Henin-Hardenne offers no apology

Posted: Friday June 06, 2003 10:48 AM
Updated: Friday June 06, 2003 6:59 PM

Crowd gives Serena no love
PARIS, June 5 (Reuters) -- Justine Henin-Hardenne and a hostile Parisian crowd reduced Serena Williams to tears and shattered her Grand Slam dominance at the French Open on Thursday.

The Belgian, aided by partisan centre court fans, created history by guaranteeing the new Roland Garros champion will be Belgian -- a first for France's neighbors. She meets Kim Clijsters in the title match.

It was a win which was greeted with euphoria by supporters who had gone overboard at times, cheering the champion's double faults and leaving the American distraught.

"It was a tough crowd out there ... the story of my life," Serena said before breaking down in tears.

Wiping her eyes, she sobbed: "I am not used to crying, I am sorry.

"I can get up here and say 'You know, I can do it ... it is easy'. But deep down it kind of hurts."


PARIS (Reuters) -- French Open finalist Justine Henin-Hardenne was unrepentant on Friday after being accused by Serena Williams of "lying and fabricating" during their acrimonious semifinal at Roland Garros.

The Belgian's 6-2, 4-6, 7-5, victory on Thursday exploded in controversy midway through the third set when Henin-Hardenne appeared not to follow normal tennis etiquette and allow Williams to replay a first serve.

A tearful Williams said later: "I was a little disappointed with her. It wasn't the turning point of the match, I should have still won the game. But to start lying and fabricating is not fair."

Henin-Hardenne, who faces compatriot Kim Clijsters in Saturday's final, said on Friday she felt comfortable with what happened.

"I wasn't ready to play the point. The chair umpire is there to deal with these kind of situations. I just tried to stay focused on myself and tried to forget all the other things.

"It's her point of view but that's mine now and I feel comfortable with it."

The incident occurred at 4-2, 30-0 on Williams's serve in the third set.

Unseen by Swedish umpire Stefan Fransson, Henin-Hardenne raised her hand to indicate she was not ready to receive and Williams then served into the net.

Williams had hoped Henin-Hardenne would tell the umpire she had raised her hand and allow the American to replay her first serve.

The Belgian said nothing and Fransson did not intervene, forcing Williams to play her second serve. She lost the next four points to lose the service game and, eventually, the match.

"I didn't have any discussion with the chair umpire," Henin-Hardenne said. "He didn't ask me anything.

"I was just trying to focus on playing the returns. She saw me and she served. It was her decision to serve. I just tried to stay focused on the second serve.

"But one point in the match doesn't change the outcome.

"We must not forget how intense the match was, how beautiful it was, how it's good for women's tennis.

"It's very important to concentrate on the positive things from the match and try to forget this kind of incident."

Henin-Hardenne's victory means for the first time since the 2002 Australian Open there will not be an all-Williams final at a grand slam between Serena and elder sister Venus. Serena's loss ended her run of four straight grand slam triumphs.

"I hope other players will believe in their chances when they have to play Serena," Henin-Hardenne said.

"The Williams sisters are doing a great job for women's tennis ... but it's good to see different faces at the end of the tournament."

Related information
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SI's Jon Wertheim: Serena slammed
Henin-Hardenne enjoys role as official Serena-killer
Distraught Serena in tears after French loss
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