Brisbane comeback for tennis ace Henin

SYDNEY: Belgium's world number one and seven-time Grand Slam winner Justine Henin said Wednesday she would make her comeback from retirement at Australia's January 2010 Brisbane International.

"After a 15-month absence I am pleased to begin my second tennis career at the Brisbane International," Henin said in a statement.

"It will be great to get back to playing competitive tennis again and with the strong field, the same court surface and a similar climate to Melbourne, it will be the perfect preparation leading into the Australian Open," she added.

Brisbane will see Henin, 27, square up against compatriot and fellow ex-retiree Kim Clijsters, who won September's US Open just five weeks after returning from a two-year retirement.

"It will be tremendous to see Justine match up against her former rival and countrywoman Kim Clijsters," said tournament director Steve Ayles.

"With the former French Open champion Ana Ivanovic and Australian Open quarter-finalist Jelena Dokic confirmed, we are looking at an extremely strong women?s field," he added.

Henin won a total of 41 WTA Tour titles and held the world No.1 spot for 117 non-consecutive weeks, the ranking she had when she retired on May 14, 2008, citing a succession of injuries and a desire to live a life away from tennis.

Ayles said she would be given one of four wildcard entries into the tournament because she had no current WTA ranking.

Henin will play two exhibition events in Charleroi and Dubai later this year to gain match fitness before her tournament return, he added.