‘I Was Smaller Than Her..’ – ‘Intimidating’ Serena Williams’ Fearsome Impact on Rivals Affirmed With Honest Revelation From Tennis Legend

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It was the year 2003. The top seed, Serena Williams, breezed through to the semifinals of the French Open after comfortable wins. However, in the last four, she faced a familiar foe in the form of Justine Henin. The latter was playing on one of her strongest surfaces and the battle was sure to provide the thrill. The semifinal clash didn’t disappoint as they produced one of the matches of the tournament. Eventually, it was Henin who won the match in three sets. Recently, the Belgium tennis legend reminisced about her rivalry with Serena.

Henin eventually went on to win the tournament, defeating compatriot, Kim Clijsters, in the summit clash. Let’s find out what she said about the American legend.
The 7-time Grand Slam champion was featured in the latest episode of the Memories of a Champion by the French Open. Henin went on to win four titles there and became one of the tournament’s greatest players. During that episode, she talked about Serena Williams and their epic battle at the 2003 French Open.
Opening up about this, Henin said, “It’s true that, like I said, Serena was the greatest champion I’ve ever had to play. But at the same time, she’s intimidating, she’s scary, I was afraid to play her. It took me a while to overcome that. But it’s true that, in matches, she had the habit of making you feel like you were smaller than her. I mean, I was smaller than her, that’s undeniable. But smaller on all levels. Her attitude, her behavior, how intimidating she is, her mental strength, all those qualities.”
Further, she went on to add, “Our rivals help us grow. She was my greatest rival, in a way. I respect her and am extremely grateful to her for that.”
While Serena Williams dominated the rivalry against most of her opponents, her matches against Henin were closely fought. Here’s how the two stacked up against each other.

The duo’s rivalry began way back in 2001 at the US Open. Playing in front of her home crowd, Williams got the better of Henin in straight sets. What was interesting to note is that she inflicted a bagel on the Belgium star in the second set of that match.

However, Henin came back strongly in the matches against Williams. The two played against each other 14 times, with Serena Williams winning eight of them. Despite Williams having a slender lead, their matches were often closely fought and intriguing to watch.


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