Amelie Mauresmo was rightly lauded for
winning the Australian Open women’s crown, her first Grand Slam title, not only
by the French media but by French President Jacques Chirac, who not only
congratulated her but provided his own post-final review of her game.
In a hand-written note, Chirac said:
“Bravo! It’s really splendid! France is
moved and extends its heartfelt congratulations to you. Thanks to you, French tennis is once again
honoured. Besides your physical qualities and exceptional
technique you showed during the competition a control and new serenity.”
Belgium’s VRT Nieuws didn’t hold back in showing its disappointment, even
if it did rate the story second in priority to Germinal Beerschot’s win over
football title contender Anderlecht.
“Justine Henin had to give up during
the second set due to stomach problems. The Walloon tennis player was visibly
disappointed,” said the report, adding: “Her tennis was as lousy as she felt: she had no reply to Mauresmo’s
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Associated Press has a piece
sympathising with the on-court decision Henin-Hardenne faced, weighing further
illness/injury against the will to continue. But to understand what a complete dud the
women’s final was, you needed to have the stomach of John Pye, from AP, who was
brave enough to actually dig into the statistics:
“The Belgian lost 19 of the first 24 points,
committing a rash of mistakes … There were only nine combined winners in the
nine games and 31 unforced errors, 20 by Henin-Hardenne … (she lost) the first
set in 33 minutes on consecutive forehand errors. She got only 29% of her first
serves in,” he wrote.
No wonder the four-time Slam singles winner felt so
sick. That’s not a good day at the office.