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Sadly, it's time to do something we've already done before.
Word came today that we need to bid adieu, again, to Justine Henin. A career-ending right elbow injury has forced the 28-year-old Belgian to announce her retirement from the game for the second time.
On Wednesday, Henin said goodbye on her official website: "I turn, and this time, an incredible page of my life…what a wonderful trip, I have experienced during all these years. Today I am calmer and I can create positive and rewarding look on this experience in my life…Finally and most importantly, thanks everyone. Thanks for standing by my side during all these years. I will never forget your support and your loyalty."
The disparity between Henin's two departures from the game is stark and intriguing.
The first time Henin left was in March 2008. She was a seven-time Grand Slam champion, petite and lithe compared with many colleagues. But being vertically challenged amounted to nothing against her talent and competitive spirit.
Nevertheless, hard knocks in life -- her mother died when she was quite young, she had a rift with her family that is now repaired and went through an early marriage and divorce -- gave for a hard edge. Henin almost always looked morose. Finally admitting she found no joy in playing tennis and lacked "motivation," Henin became the first No. 1 player to ever hang up her rackets.
She had a personal quest to pursue. Henin wanted to find the path to happiness, and that journey needed to be done away from the grind of tennis.
Henin kept busy as a charitable do-gooder. She worked for UNICEF and created Justine for Kids to assist sick children and their families. She also founded the 6th Sense Academy with her coach, Carlos Rodriguez. 6th Sense has tennis facilities in three Belgian locations and locations in Florida and China.
Surprisingly, in the end, Henin's soul-searching concluded with the road to contentment leading back to tennis.
To the delight of everyone who knew women's tennis was in dire need of a competitive infusion, Henin came out of retirement at the beginning of 2010.
Her reappearance provided quite the buzz. The game was back on. Henin was in the mix. Kim Clijsters had recently returned after a break to start a family. Serena Williams, once again, had some capable foes.
Remarkably, a very different Henin arrived on the scene. This older, more comfortable-in-her-own-skin Henin was indeed happy. She smiled. She laughed. She enjoyed. These were not characteristics fans normally associated with Henin, but no one was complaining.
While she did not add another Grand Slam title to her list of 43 WTA singles trophies, she did reach the 2010 Australian Open final in her second tournament back, challenging Williams throughout three sets.
Henin added two more titles to her career finery -- Stuttgart and 's-Hertogenbosch -- before the right elbow injury flared during her fourth-round loss to Clijsters at Wimbledon last year.
She attempted to play again this month in Australia, making it through to the Australian Open third round, where she fell to Svetlana Kuznetsova, 6-4, 7-6 (8). It was easy to see the elbow issue was simply not going to go away.
Sadly, her second sojourn in tennis was short-lived. Her retirement is destined to kill a lot of the buzz surrounding the women's game, especially with Williams still missing in action and only being seen in the gossip columns since Wimbledon.
Fans, however, should feel lucky to have been blessed with Henin's brief second career. It brought us a very different view of the once serious-only Belgian. We always knew she was a great champion, but now we know she has a softer side, too.