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Tennis Star Justine Henin's Stay-Fit Secrets

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Two-time U.S. Open champion Justine Henin shares how she stays in shape even when sidelined by injury.

She won the U.S. Open in both 2003 and 2007. In 2010, Belgium's Justine Henin was freshly anticipating her return to the tennis world and the Open after a 16-month retirement. But a serious elbow ligament injury is keeping her off the court for at least a few more months. We sat down with Henin, 28, at an Adidas Barricade tennis shoe event to learn about how she stays in shape when injured and what her passions are off the court.

FITNESS: "How is your elbow?"

Justine Henin: "It's getting better. It is very serious though, to break a ligament, so I still need a few weeks off. The injury was tough because it came soon after I returned to the courts [after retirement]. I plan to return to competition in Australia in January."

"How do you stay fit when your body is not 100 percent?"

JH: "Well I took a bit of time off because I was exhausted after Wimbledon [being knocked out by Kim Clijsters in the quarter-finals]. Now I'm biking and starting to run, but very careful when moving my arms."

"Are you sticking around New York and attending the Open still?"

JH: "I'm actually just here for the weekend. I don't really know New York at all! I see the city really differently being here and not competing. Before I go home, I hope to eat a nice brunch of waffles or pancakes and perhaps some New York cheesecake."

"Who are you rooting for in the women's U.S. Open bracket?"

JH: "The door is really open with Serena not being here. That leaves room for the new generation. It may be a surprise who takes the title!"

"How do you fuel your active lifestyle?"

JH: "I can get sick fairly easily, so I focus on nutrition a lot. Before a match, I eat pasta and vegetables, then right after I eat a bit more pasta and vegetables. Later on, I'm sure to get plenty of protein. And I never have sugar after dinner."

"You're a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. What is your most memorable experience through that role?"

JH: "It was the best thing that happened to me while retired. I felt very far away from tennis and very emotional when visiting places like Cambodia to talk about the importance of vaccinations. We travel, then return to our home countries and talk about what we see on the field. I am 200 percent behind UNICEF because they are really out there educating."

"What is one thing people may not know about you?"

JH: "I like to sing karaoke and sing in the shower!"

Originally published on FitnessMagazine.com, September 2010.

 

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