JHH's SF Post-Match Interview
Henin-Hardenne Interview - Day 10
Thursday, 6 July, 2006
Q. You playing as well as you've ever played on grass?
JUSTINE HENIN HARDENNE: Oh, it's hard to compare. Different situations. It's more about the tennis, it's more about the nerves and how I deal with the situation. Today I played my best tennis on important points and when I had to, so that's great. I'm very happy the way the match ended and very happy to be for the second time here in the final.
Q. Compared to over the years playing on grass, how does that rate?
JUSTINE HENIN HARDENNE: Yeah, I'm for sure better player today than I was few years ago. Had a lot of trouble on grass in the last two years, didn't play a lot. So very happy to be back at my top level this year on grass, for sure.
Q. How are you dealing with the fact that obviously it's been a while since you had a break? You had the emotion of Roland Garros, then latter stages of Wimbledon.
JUSTINE HENIN HARDENNE: Yeah, it's long and it's tough because, you know, in the last six weeks I played five of them. Even if physically I won a lot of matches in two sets, emotionally and mentally it's pretty hard. That's why the fact that it's so close doesn't make the situation easy for me. But I have a lot of motivation, and I enjoy my game. I feel lucky to be healthy. For sure I'm getting a bit tired, but I will have time to think about that on Saturday night.
Q. As beautifully as you're playing right now, it seems like your game could still get more aggressive. In the second set you started to come in on a ball, then you went back, ended up losing the point. You hit a great lob, stood at the baseline watching it when maybe you could have come forward. Why can't you push yourself to continue to play aggressively like you did in the first set?
JUSTINE HENIN HARDENNE: Yeah, it's not easy to keep this intensity during the whole match against this kind of player because she put on me a lot of player and I know it. So I know I have to be at my best level all the time, and that's not easy, especially on grass. You know, we have to come back a little bit. It's been hard for me in the past to be an aggressive player, come to the net. I'm doing it more often now. But still, it asks me an effort, it's not very natural. I have to keep working on it but it's much better than it was a few months ago, so I am in a good way.
Q. Can you talk about the pressure you're under, having such a long Roland Garros and now here. Did you find it easy to turn off between games, like now and the final?
JUSTINE HENIN HARDENNE: Yeah, now I just have I'm very focused on my job and what I have to do. That's the main important thing, just to stay very concentrate. And after maybe Fed Cup and then for sure a break after so I will have time to think about all these last few weeks in a couple of days. But now I have to stay really focus and ready mentally, physically. And even if it's not easy, you know, it's gonna be the last effort and I have to make it.
Q. Amélie Mauresmo is up a set and a break. Is there a part of you that would be grateful if you're given the opportunity of playing Mauresmo again in a Grand Slam final after the events of Melbourne?
JUSTINE HENIN HARDENNE: It's, for me, far away from now. It's from the past. I want to think about myself, and another opportunity to win another Grand Slam and win for the first time Wimbledon, but not thinking about what happened a few months ago because the situation is different. I hope we can both be in our best shape and show a good tennis to the crowd.
Q. Seem to be calmer about it, if you were able to come out, be healthy, fit and ready to play this time and put on the show that you would have liked to have put on if you were given the opportunity in Melbourne.
JUSTINE HENIN HARDENNE: I don't have anything to prove to anyone anymore. I think I proved enough on the tennis court how the fighter I am, how much I can compete, you know. There's always a lot of determination. So it's just about myself, and I hope I can win this title, for sure. But in front of me, if it's Amélie or Sharapova, it's gonna be a tough match anyway. So let's stay concentrate on the main thing, and it's the game, and then we'll see.
Q. You have so many great tools for the grass court game. You consistently have talked about how much you prefer clay and that's the best surface for your game. Is that just merely a matter of habit and because you grew up on it, or is there some other aspect of it that really makes you say your game is better for clay?
JUSTINE HENIN HARDENNE: Well, I feel very comfortable on clay because, uhm, not a lot of players can play well on clay also. Just I feel the surface pretty well. I can slide pretty easily. It's feeling natural for me. And I have a lot of time to build my game on clay. It's much slower. Here, on grass, I don't have any other choice than being aggressive. That's why maybe it's a bit more difficult for me. That's what I'm working for right now, going to the net a lot, improve my serve so that it helps me on this surface. But clay remains a surface where I feel the most comfortable.
Q. Can you compare yourself now as a player and as a person to the last time you made the Wimbledon final.
JUSTINE HENIN HARDENNE: Oh, lot of things have changed. It was my first Grand Slam final. At that time I was still very young, no experience at the time. So just all my successes in Grand Slams and all my victories on the tour and the fact that I grew up, that gave me confidence and experience. That's the biggest difference, I would say. So, yeah, just it's five years. It's long time ago. It seems very far away from now. And I improve so much and I grew up a lot and I did great things in my career already. So, yeah, I was very young and not mature at all at that time.
Q. I know it's a tough question, but in these five years, what are the one or two things, big picture, that you really have learned about yourself?
JUSTINE HENIN HARDENNE: I had a lot of ups and downs in my career, when I wasn't healthy anymore, when I couldn't compete, when I couldn't do what I love so much, traveling and playing all over the world. I was very it was a tough time. But now I'm back, healthy, at my best level. So that's very important. Yeah, my first Grand Slam final here was very special. I lost my grandfather that day, and I hope this year it's gonna be different. So it's very emotional for me again. It's been five years and that was someone I love so much and I was very close to him, so I will have a lot of motivation on Saturday.
Q. Did that affect your play?
JUSTINE HENIN HARDENNE: No, because I knew it after the match.
Q. And what do you remember about the match?
JUSTINE HENIN HARDENNE: Not I was I mean, it was one set all, but I was far away from win it. I was in front of a player who was such in confidence on the surface. When I lost here 20001, 2002, 2003, it was always against one of the Williams sisters. It was a time in my career when I was very scared about the power of the other players. I was a bit impressed by these players. I was younger, and not the experience I have today. So it's not the best memory of my career, the final here.
Q. Did something get stuck in your throat in the second set, you needed a drink?
JUSTINE HENIN HARDENNE: Yeah, because I always eat energetic bar.
Q. Wasn't a banana?
JUSTINE HENIN HARDENNE: No, wasn't a banana.
Q. You just needed a drink to swallow?
JUSTINE HENIN HARDENNE: Yeah, yeah.
Q. No problem?
JUSTINE HENIN HARDENNE: No, no.
Q. Can you talk about the challenges Mauresmo and Sharapova pose to you.
JUSTINE HENIN HARDENNE: Yeah, they're both great players. Mauresmo is very consistent player. She's always at the end of tournaments like this, and she proved it. And Sharapova, she's a fighter. It's never over. She's young and she has a lot of motivation. Any way, it's gonna be a tough match against both of them. It will be a really tough match, and I will have to keep playing the way I played today, very aggressive, not thinking too much about the issues, stay focused on every point, every moment, and then we'll see what's gonna happen.
Q. How will you unwind tomorrow? To many of us, you seem quite a focused, some might even say intense person. What do you do to relax?
JUSTINE HENIN HARDENNE: Yeah, I'm very intense. That's my problem sometimes, but that's also the reason why I did so many things in my career. So it's probably a good quality. But tomorrow I will be for sure really focused in my match on Saturday, but I will try just to practice a little bit, thinking about what I will have to do on Saturday. But probably on Saturday morning I will be I was pretty nervous this morning and it's always a good sign. I hope I will be as nervous on Saturday.
Q. You don't have any hobbies or anything you do to take your mind away from that, apart from skydiving.
JUSTINE HENIN HARDENNE: No, no, I won't go tomorrow, I promise. Always come back to the skydiving (laughing). No, I'm a normal person. I live like a normal person. I will watch some TV tonight, I will read a little bit, I will be with my coach, my husband. There will be a good time tomorrow.
Q. What are you reading?
JUSTINE HENIN HARDENNE: Right now, I'm watching more TV so I have to start a new book. So maybe tomorrow.
Q. Just to clarify, the grandfather who passed away, was that on your mother's side?
JUSTINE HENIN HARDENNE: Yeah.
Q. What was his name?
JUSTINE HENIN HARDENNE: Georges.
Q. Has Mauresmo been a more difficult opponent for you because of the variety she brings to the court? She hits with a lot of spin, slice, but she can also hit with power.
JUSTINE HENIN HARDENNE: Yeah, I wouldn't say we have the same game, the same kind of style. We are different kind of players on the tour. Amélie and me, we just mix it up a little bit more. On grass, she has great qualities. She is playing very, very good tennis. She's coming a lot to the net. She's very aggressive. So I think it's probably her best surface.
Q. Make her more unpredictable than, say, a Sharapova or Clijsters?
JUSTINE HENIN HARDENNE: Yeah, it would be a different match, for sure. But I will have to take it very seriously in both situations because it's only one more match, but I'm still very far away from it.
Q. What would it mean for you to complete the career Grand Slam?
JUSTINE HENIN HARDENNE: I don't know now 'cause I don't realize what it would mean. Maybe after the match I hope we can talk about that. But let's go step by step. Tomorrow, some rest, and then Saturday I will have another great match, and I hope I can play my best tennis and win it. But who knows what's gonna happen. I'm gonna try to forget about that, play it as another Grand Slam final. I hope I can get another title, but, uhm, like I said, you have to work very hard every day, and we'll see.
When you believe, somehow you will. You will, when you believe.
Your mind will take you far. The rest is just pure heart. You’ll find your fate is all your own creation.
There’s so much strength in all of us, every woman, child, and man.
It’s the moment that you think you can’t - you’ll discover that you CAN.