When she was 2 years old, Justine Henin’s family made a life-changing move, from Liège, Belgium, to a house adjacent to the Rochefort Tennis Club about 70 kilometers south. She soon became a student of the game -- and fell in love with the singular stroke of her idols, Steffi Graf and Stefan Edberg.

“I thought it was so beautiful,” Henin has said. “I watched Steffi and Stefan, even if they used more slices, for me it was normal playing with a backhand like this.”

Is there anything more aesthetically pleasing than a stylish one-handed backhand?

Henin, always small for her age, resisted attempts to change to the more conventional two-hand backhand. It was a compelling argument. Imagine a baseball player trying to hit a major league fastball with only one hand on the bat.

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“I remember when I was 8, 9, 10 years old, that I had been working on it a lot,” Henin said. “So many people, my dad wanted me to take it on with two hands because I was not powerful enough, but again, it was another challenge.”

But she was stubborn and worked to perfect what became one of the sport’s signature shots. Her mother, Françoise, would bring her young daughter to Roland Garros and they would marvel at the world’s greatest players.

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Soon, Henin would become one of them, winning the 1997 junior title and, ultimately, four French Open crowns, as well as the year-end No.1 ranking in 2003, 2006 and 2007.

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Leylah Fernandez never saw Henin play. Fernandez was born in 2002, the year Henin finished in the Top 10 for the second time and won titles in Berlin and Linz.

“I didn’t know who Justine Henin was, but there was a coach who kept mentioning that I play a lot like her or my style of game can be a lot like her,” Fernandez said in Paris after winning her first-round match against No.21 seed Magda Linette.

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“That’s when my dad actually looked her up on YouTube because by then she was retired. So when we looked her up, I saw her play. I just loved the way she was hitting her one-hander, how she was hitting the slices down the lines, using the variation of her game to her advantage. It was interesting how she made the players uncomfortable while doing that.”

Henin was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2016, but her influence continues.

After knocking off No.8 seed Maria Sakkari, Karolina Muchova said her coach, Emil Miske, first brought Henin to her attention.

“He really likes her,” Muchova said, “and he likes the aggressive style and going for it. So I watched some videos. Smart and aggressive. She’s not so tall and still she could play so well against the big players. You could see the way she moves.

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“That’s very impressive.”

Henin, who stood only 5-foot-6, was a marvelous all-court player, just as comfortable attacking and moving forward as she was on the baseline. The power of her groundstrokes was deceptive, her timing exquisite.

Her quickness, footwork and toughness under duress helped compensate for the size advantage that belonged to the big-hitting Americans Venus and Serena Williams and Lindsay Davenport.

And then there was that beautiful one-handed backhand stroke -- the one John McEnroe called “the best in both the women’s or men’s game.” Using just one hand, it was easier to disguise whether she was going to use topspin, that maddening slice or throw in a drop shot. And because it was only one hand, she could create a bigger backswing, which gave her more power.

Henin won the title in her first professional tournament in 1999, as a wild card in Antwerp, only the fifth player to accomplish that. Her first major final came at Wimbledon in 2001. Only 19, she forced Venus Williams to a third set before falling 6-0.

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Two years later in Paris, Henin would return the favor, indirectly, to fellow Belgian Kim Clijsters. She took the Roland Garros final 6-0, 6-4, becoming the first Belgian to win a Grand Slam singles title. It was only the third time in the Open Era, after Australia and the United States, that two women from the same country played a major final. Henin defeated defending champion Serena Williams in the semifinals, ending Williams’ 33-match win streak in majors.

After adding the 2003 US Open and 2004 Australian Open to her resume, Henin won again in Paris in 2005. Henin overcame a match point in the fourth round against Svetlana Kuznetsova and went on to defeat Mary Pierce in the final.

She would win her second and third consecutive French Open titles in 2006 and 2007, beating Kuznetsova and Ana Ivanovic in those finals. Henin didn’t drop a set (or play a single tiebreak) in either run. Henin was 4-0 in Roland Garros finals.

In addition, she won the singles gold medal in the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, as well as the year-end WTA championships in 2006 and 2007. Henin finished with 43 WTA Tour singles titles and a total of 117 weeks at No.1.

“It was very impressive,” Fernandez said of watching highlights of Henin. “Growing up I’ve always wanted a one-handed backhand. When I did try, it was a lot of fun, but it was super hard to control. And to be able to control a heavy, fast ball the way that she did, it was incredible.

“I think it’s inspiring to see a player who technically isn’t that big, that tall, being able to put taller and powerful players uncomfortable.”

Through the miracle of YouTube, Fernandez isn’t the only one reaching back into history.

“Justine, everybody knows her and she’s an amazing player,” Ons Jabeur said. “She really inspired a lot of generations. That determination in her game and the fact that she’s fighting all the time to be a champion, that’s really inspiring.”

In 2011, she retired (for the second and final time) with a chronic elbow injury.

“My elbow is too fragile,” Henin said. “Having followed the advice of doctors, it is now clear, and I accept that here my career ends.”

But not before defying convention -- with only a single hand.