(images courtesy of Justine-Henin.be)
After some much needed time away from the courts, Justine Henin has begun preparations for her assault on the North American hardcourts and her second US Open title. Her last match was, of course, the shocking semifinal loss to Frenchie Marion Bartoli at Wimbledon.
During her break, Justine not only showed off her new fashion smarts. The World No. 1 also had a chance to work with her charity, 20 Hearts Foundation, where she spent 3 weeks in the Swiss Alps at a therapeutic holiday camp. If that wasn't enough, the feisty Belgian and her long-time coach, Carlos Rodriguez, launched an elite tennis player development program, JUST iN TEAM, an extension of their tennis academy 6th Sense. Recently, Justine and Carlos held a press conference and spoke about the program and its goals:
JH: "I am very happy that JUST iN TEAM was born. It's begun and ready to go. All the necessary things needed to launch this project enables us to start quickly, but we also think it's a good moment to do it now. We answer to the desires of many people in our tennis academy. From the adults who wish to play one hour a week to a young person's tennis lessons. I feel that this project is the logical extension of our academy."
CR: "The goal is to integrate these players into the professional tennis career environment. We know how difficult it is in the transition from junior level to the full time pro circuit. Its especially tough for young males because the differences between boys and men are extreme. [...] Justine and I have learned so much, and it's our turn to teach what we know. We do not see the performance as the end in itself, but a state of mind. The matches won, and the rankings become the results. It is this approach which we want to give our academy and JUST iN TEAM. We want the parents and young people to realize that the goal in fact is to give your best all the time, and nothing else."
JH: "We have two great people joining us. There's Andres Bruno, he worked previously at the Juan Carlos Ferrero tennis academy. He has vast experience as a coach, and toured with Juan Carlos Ferrero and Guillermo Lopez at tournaments. In addition, we have Philippe Dehaes, who was the coach of Kristof Vliegen, Christophe Rochus, Xavier Malisse, and Gilles Elseneer."