Justine Henin Interview - Australian Open, Jan 20

Posted on January 20, 2010

Justine Henin Interview
Australian Open
Wednesday 20 January 2010

An interview with: JUSTINE HENIN

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Normally there is an applause for the winner of the tournament, but maybe tonight you deserve it.

JUSTINE HENIN: Well, it was a great match. It was very emotional for me on the court at the end because there was so much intensity. To play this kind of match in the second round, for me, after two years off in a Grand Slam, it's just the kind of situation that I needed.

The crowd gave me so much. So respectful at the end. It was a special night tonight. That's why I probably came back on the tour, was to live this kind of matches.

Q. Was it also a special forehand, the one you missed in match point?

JUSTINE HENIN: Yeah, I think it's there that we can see that I miss the competition a little bit. When I missed that, when she came back to 5‑All, I thought about Brisbane and the opportunities I got over there. Already playing well, and got the opportunity to finish the match and I couldn't, because my nerves wasn't probably solid enough.

And today I thought it was going to happen again. I really thought in the tiebreak I wouldn't be strong enough. And when I got the opportunities, and the way I finished on serve and volley, I mean, it was the best I could dream of.

I felt, All right, let's go for it. It was brief. But that's what I needed. I was almost cramping at the time. Physically I was a bit exhausted at the end so it was the good thing to do.

Q. In such a tight match, what was perhaps the difference between the two of you?

JUSTINE HENIN: You know, we both fought very hard. It was great fight. I think maybe my game at the net. Maybe I took the opportunities a little more, you know, attacking. It was the key. I mean, both of us, we tried to hit the ball very hard, long.

I've been able to play a lot down the line, which I think was a little of a surprise for her. She doesn't like it that much. But she tried to do the same thing. So there was a big fight.

But we both have been pretty solid. And I think maybe the difference was just at the end, you know, to play well on the important points. When I had to save the set point in the tiebreak, I had to be really aggressive and attacking the ball. And I think that made maybe on a few points, but important points, the difference.

Q. Is your problem now going to be recovery?

JUSTINE HENIN: Of course, yeah. Of course. And I don't have any answer now how I'm going to recover in the next 36 hours or so. Well, I'm feeling very happy tonight. Of course, we're going to work a lot now on the recovery, a lot of image, drinking a lot, just trying to get ready. Everything's going to be bonus for me.

Even if I have ambition to go as far in the tournament, today was important for me to win in the tournament because it was my first top‑10 player and I needed that match to get a little bit of confidence and to feel that I'm really back.

Even if I'm not feeling yet at my best level, that I can improve a lot with the intensity and concentration, especially, I'll need more tournaments for that. But I'm glad about what I'm doing here, of course.

Q. Talking about little bit of confidence. Don't you have much now?

JUSTINE HENIN: Well, now, of course, it's great feeling. It's magical to win this kind of match in this kind of atmosphere. Yeah, I'm concerned about tomorrow, when I'm going to wake up, how I'm going to feel. I said the other day I wasn't feeling old. Well, I'll see tomorrow morning (smiling).

Q. Do you feel now you basically can match it with everyone out there?

JUSTINE HENIN: It's difficult to say because, I mean, today I've been able to compete. I've been able to compete against Kim in Brisbane. If we talk about consistent in a whole Grand Slam, well, I don't have any answer now.

I just try to enjoy my game out there. I think I'm already at an amazing level for not having played 18 months, and the draw was pretty tough. But it's the kind of thing I need for my confidence. Now we'll see.

I go step by step. Every match is a bonus that I can play here in Melbourne. If I stay healthy, that's the main important thing.

Q. How are you handling the expectation everyone has on you at the moment?

JUSTINE HENIN: Well, there are expectations. In another way everyone knows also I need competition to really come back at a very good level. What I showed is that I'm still probably a real fighter. But I'll need more time to feel really comfortable and play well on the important points and to be able to make the difference.

But the way is still very long for me. I feel it. Even if people are expecting things, I don't feel that pressure that much at the moment. I knew I could win. But when you don't play for 18 months, you come back, you beat one of the best player in the world, I mean, you just go for it, and that's what I did.

Q. You lost a match with Kim having match points. When tonight you missed the match point, you were down 3‑1 in the tiebreak, you had probably cramping.

JUSTINE HENIN: Almost cramping.

Q. What were you thinking? Again?

JUSTINE HENIN: Yes, I thought when I missed that match point, when I was down in the tiebreak, I was feeling, Well, it's going to be the same kind of situation. But mentally I just tried to stay focused on every point because I knew it was going to be a hard third set. It was already 2 hours and 45 minutes I think or so. So I was ready to give everything in that tiebreak, and that's what I did.

But, of course, that match in Brisbane, it would have been hard for me to lose that way today because I played a very good tennis. It's just that you have to make the difference when you have to. Finally I could make it at the end of the tiebreak. So that's a good thing for me.

Q. Did you have a third set in you if you needed it?

JUSTINE HENIN: Well, I would have played third set, of course. But what's going to happen? I mean, I think Elena was tired, too. Physically and mentally was also difficult. No, don't think about the third set. I prefer not thinking about that.

Q. Can you remember ever playing a second‑round Grand Slam match like this one?

JUSTINE HENIN: I mean, not a second round. I don't think so. Maybe I had difficult matches, winning three sets. Probably it happened to me in the past. But not playing a top like that.

I mean, Davenport I think in 1999 at the French Open, it was 7‑5 in the third. It was my first French Open. And I think it was the second round. But I was 17 years old at that time, so. 10 years later it's a different kind of story.

Q. Any parts of your game that didn't go as you wanted?

JUSTINE HENIN: Well, I've been struggling with my serve, with my toss. Lost a little bit of confidence in the last few days on that. It means that I still have to fix that. It's been ups and downs. Especially I did a couple of double‑faults especially at the beginning of the match.

But, no, generally I was happy that I took the opportunities and went a lot to the net. Mistakes, but a lot of winners also. And I think that made the difference, that I've been moving forward a lot. So that was a good thing for me.