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Last Updated: Saturday, 7 June, 2003, 17:31 GMT 18:31 UK
Henin-Hardenne lost for words
Justine Henin-Hardenne
Henin-Hardenne dedicated the win to her late mother
Newly-crowned French Open champion Justine Henin-Hardenne said she was overwhelmed at winning her first Grand Slam title.

The 21-year-old defeated Belgian compatriot Kim Clijsters 6-0 6-4 to become her country's first ever Grand Slam winner.

"It is very hard to find the words. It's a very special emotion. I can't tell you now. I don't realise yet what I have done," she said.

"It was just amazing."

The champion dedicated the win to her late mother, who died when Henin-Hardenne was 15.

"I want to dedicate this to my mum who is watching me from paradise, I'm sure she's very proud of me," she said.

"When I came here with her 11 years ago (to watch the 1992 final) I said one day I will be here on this court. I think she gave me all the energy I needed today."

I am not so tall, I am not so strong but I can still win
Justine Henin-Hardenne

Henin-Hardenne admitted that she had been more consistent against Clijsters, who appeared to be affected by nerves.

"I wasn't afraid to lose. I said 'if you want to win this tournament you have to play you best tennis' and I did" she said.

"I came onto the court very clear in my head what I had to do. I was very aggressive at the start of the match.

"I was nervous but I was bit more solid than Kim. But she is strong and we will see her again in the finals of other Grand Slams."

Clijsters was optimistic about her future prospects after struggling to find top gear in Paris.

"I was unable to display my best tennis in this tournament," she said.

"In the past two weeks I never got close to the level I can usually produce, but I managed to reach the final despite that, so I am quite happy with it."

Links to more French Open 2003 stories


French Open champion Justine Henin-Hardenne
"When I woke up this morning I said I had to do it for my mum"

Runner-up Kim Clijsters
"I wasn't even close to playing my best tennis today"

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