Justine Henin-Hardenne has told Australian Open officials she won't be playing in the year's first Grand Slam for "personal reasons." The jokes come a little too easily, considering this was the tournament in which she pulled up lame against Amelie Mauresmo. Without a specific statement on Henin-Hardenne's reasons, we are left only to guess:
1. Broken fingernail?: Possible. If it goes into the skin, those things can be a bitch, causing minutes and minutes of untold pain, especially if you toss some salt onto it. I usually just go straight to the Percocet.
2. Can't find favorite shoes: That does suck. I know it's not supposed to make a difference, but when your gear doesn't match, it can throw off your entire game. You get self-conscious, thinking everyone's thinking you're color-blind -- it all adds up.
3. Lack of energy: One of her standbys from last year. With a little more than a week before the start of the Australian, this is something you could possibly never recover from. An unspoken pro tennis rule: A two week tournament requires two-week energy storage.
4. Pregnancy: The great thing about this one is getting to take the time off, and looking like a real trooper whenever you do decide to play again. I can just hear Cliff Drysdale now, "You know, pregnancy is a tough injury to come back from."