Belgians pose threat in Paris

Belgians pose threat in Paris
By Eurosport

23/05/2006 at 19:29Updated

Amelie Mauresmo was deservedly announced as French Open number one seed on Monday, but there is no doubt where the French player's main threat will come from when the tournament gets started on Sunday - neighbours Belgium.

And the pair head into this year's tournament in Paris with the experience of having finally won Grand Slam titles, something they could not claim a year ago.

Henin-Hardenne finally broke her Grand Slam duck in 2005, bagging the French Open title against French player Mary Pierce, and taking her record on clay to an exemplary 24 victories on the bounce in the process.

Unfortunately, the player from Liege - who turns 24 in the first week of action this year - has not been able to carry on where she left off last season, and is yet to win a tournament on the red stuff in 2006.

Henin-Hardenne eventually lost to Nadia Petrova in the final, but the victory over Mauresmo was her sixth career win over a reigning number one player; conclusive proof if there ever was any that the Belgian is capable, on her day, of beating the very best.

Mauresmo so proud


The victory gave Clijsters the enviable honour of having won at least two titles on all four surfaces, and took the Belgian closer to regaining the number one ranking.

But the 22-year-old - who will also celebrate her birthday during this year's tournament in Paris - crashed out in the third round in Rome a fortnight later and was denied taking back the top spot by eventual winner Dinara Safina.

Despite her success on clay - including two runners-up places at Roland Garros - the surface remains Clijsters' least favourite.

But the world number two is determined to give it her best shot, safe in the knowledge that she is powerful enough to overcome all-comers.

"I can play my game on hardcourt like I want to play it. On clay, it's a lot different. The movement is a lot tougher for me.

"But I keep playing my own game because I'm powerful enough to get through my opponents with my strokes."

"Nothing is stopping me from going out a hundred percent, that's the most important thing," she continued.

"Nothing is restricting me from playing, so that's a great feeling to have."

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