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Henin joins Venus on Fed Cup sidelines


 

Originally published on: 26/04/10 17:08

Justine Henin has been forced to withdraw from the first day of Belgium’s Fed Cup match with Estonia after breaking her little finger in training.

The 27-year-old, ranked No.24 in the world after her three comeback tournaments, suffered the injury when trying to catch a ball during training on Wednesday, but did not realise the extent of her problem until the pain became too severe for her to practise on Friday.

“She was at the net and the ball came over and she didn’t know whether to volley it,” explained Belgium captain Sabine Appelmans. “Instead, she took it with her hand and broke her finger.”

Kim Clijsters and Yanina Wickmayer are expected to lead the team in the seven-time Grand Slam champion’s absence, though Henin may be called up later in the tie.

Meanwhile, Venus Williams has ruled herself out of the US Fed Cup team’s semi-final clash with Russia with a knee injury.

“I am continuing to rehabilitate my knee and regret that I will not be able to participate in the Fed Cup tie against Russia this weekend,” she said in a statement on the USTA website.

“I waited until this moment in the hope that I would have an opportunity to play, but I am being advised by my medical support team that I will need more time to recover.

“I will be rooting for a United States win and look forward to returning to Fed Cup competition.”

With Serena Williams also out of action, captain Mary Joe Fernandez named Melanie Oudin, Bethanie Mattek-Sands and doubles world No.1 Liezel Huber to face Russia in Birmingham, Alabama.

“We’re kind of used to not having either Venus or Serena around, so it’s not like a shock to the team that really disrupts it.”

Russia havefaced their own problems in getting a team to the tie, having been caught up in the transport chaos brought about by the volcanic ash cloud above Europe.

Elena Dementieva and Ekaterina Makarova have been practising in Birmingham, with captain Shamil Tarpischev, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Alla Kudryavtseva due to arrive overnight.

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