Henin Interview: Mentally difficult match
J. HENIN/S. Williams
6‑4, 3‑6, 6‑3
THE MODERATOR: Questions.
Q. Was that a gutsy dropshot you made at 15‑30 in the final game?
JUSTINE HENIN: Yeah, it's not the only point I remember from the match, but it was a good one. It's been tough on the nerves today. It's been mentally a very difficult match.
I'm very happy to come through. Physically it's been pretty hard also. Yeah, it's been a good fight. I was a little bit disappointed to lose a single set this week. Couldn't hold my serve twice at the end of the set. I was really very close to finish that match, but I wasn't good enough.
Very good reaction beginning of the third set. She served very well. My shoulder is a little bit painful now because it's been pretty strong serves. Yeah, it's the kind of victory that gives a lot of confidence that I really needed here.
Q. Knowing if you had missed that dropshot or she got it, you would have been looking at two breakpoints and a lot of momentum.
JUSTINE HENIN: I would have been in trouble at that time, yeah. I was a bit nervous at the end. We could see it at 5‑1. At 5‑2 she served well, played well. Then at 5‑3 I went to the net a couple of times.
It didn't really pay. But finally I could finish the match in that game, and that was really important because who knows what would happen if it was 5‑4.
Q. What's the difference between playing Serena on clay and grass?
JUSTINE HENIN: Well, it is very different. Clay remains my best surface and grass with hard court her best surface. It's a lot of differences.
She served very hard. I had pretty good returns when we see that it was 120 usually or 115. I was pretty good on the return.
Yeah, then she's hitting the ball very hard. She can control a little bit more the court than she does on clay. She's much better here, for sure.
Q. Before you served at 15‑30, you were talking to yourself. What were you saying?
JUSTINE HENIN: No, I did something good at that time at 15‑All. I go to the net but lose the point. I was getting nervous. I knew every point was important at that time. I just wanted to stay in the match, you know, not losing that game, so I was really aggressive.
That's what I needed at that time, just being aggressive and do what I had to do, just be brave because we could see the tension on the court.
Q. Did you have to assume she was fully fit?
JUSTINE HENIN: Well, I didn't see that she had a lot of trouble to move. Maybe a little bit at the beginning of the match. After that, I think she could run pretty much, especially on the dropshots and everything. She served great.
You know, I just did my match. I wasn't really focused on what did happen on the other side of the net.
Q. Is Key Biscayne on your mind?
JUSTINE HENIN: It was a little bit, yeah. No, Key Biscayne has been a big lesson for me 'cause I was so close to win that match, and I should have won that match.
But I lost it because I had someone stronger mentally at that time than me. I didn't want to do that mistake in Paris and here either. That's why every point was so intense and so important at the end of the match because I didn't want to lose this one for sure.
Q. What would it mean to you to hold up the plate on Saturday?
JUSTINE HENIN: Well, still going match after match. I have a semifinal now. Still that's how I build something good, I hope. On Friday it's going to be another tough match. Even if on the paper I'm going to be the favorite, it's going to be another kind of story on the court.
So it's still too early to talk about it. It would mean a lot, but still have a lot of work to do.
Q. You were concerned coming in here with your overall fitness just as much sort of mentally and emotionally because of having won Paris. What's the status report on your enthusiasm, energy level, emotional fitness?
JUSTINE HENIN: Well, it's going pretty good. I mean, physically it's been a tough match. Mentally, emotionally it's been very intense.
But I do the best I can to remain fresh. I have my physio with me. We're working a lot. I feel great. I mean, I want to play. That's the most important thing. I enjoy being out there.
So it's very hard to compare from where I was last year. And I took the decision to play Eastbourne. We're going to see at the end if it was a good decision or not, because am I going to be fresh enough to win here or to go to the end? We'll know in a few days.
Q. What do you do away from the court to keep fresh mentally?
JUSTINE HENIN: Yeah, I just try to think about something else. That's important. And I have Carlos. I have his kids. I have my brother here. We spend a lot of time talking about anything. Just live normally.
I need to be alone also a few hours during the day just by myself and listen to a lot of music, watching some DVDs, just try to keep my energy for the court.
Q. Is that focused on the match or completely shut off from tennis?
JUSTINE HENIN: No, it's a pretty strange feeling. You're very concentrate. I mean, you know you are in the tournament, but you can do something else or think about something else at that time.
But you feel you are very focused on something important, yeah.
Q. You've spoken about how you're in a happier place now. Does that help in the big matches?
JUSTINE HENIN: Well, I don't know. I never took any decision in my life to be a better tennis player. I just wanted to be happy and a better person. And I think if that can help my game, it's great.
But I love being out there. I enjoy being on the court. That's a great feeling. I don't know if it does help me. I just know I'm healthy and I love to be there. So that's the most important thing.
Q. Who is the best grass court player you've ever seen?
JUSTINE HENIN: It's very hard to say. Everyone has different qualities. When I played Mauresmo last year, I thought she was great on the surface. But Serena proved she was very strong here.
We have many other players who won so many time here, but I was too young to watch at that time. So it's very hard. It's such a strange surface. You need to be very intense on every point, and I'm getting better.
I start to really love playing on the grass. It's much slower this year also, so maybe it helps a little bit.
Q. Your backhand is usually the shot you use to open up the court for your forehand. Today it seemed like your backhand was the more devastating weapon. Did Serena allow you to use your backhand today?
JUSTINE HENIN: Yeah, probably a little bit more. It was important for me to go down the line today. Sometimes I was going too fast down the line and I didn't take my time to really open the court and go down the line.
Tactically I did a couple mistakes sometimes in the match, but generally my forehand remains the shot I hit a lot of winners with. But today she gave me a lot of time on my backhand, that's true.
Q. What kind of music do you enjoy?
JUSTINE HENIN: I listen a little bit of everything. Nothing special. You know, like anyone else.
Q. How was it to be playing with the threat of rain, knowing it was possibly damp?
JUSTINE HENIN: Yeah, I think that's one of the things that made me nervous at 5‑1 because I could feel the rain a little bit. To serve, it wasn't that easy at that time.
Maybe I was a little bit in a hurry to finish the match. I thought we would have to stop. But it was finally okay. I could deal with a lot of things, yeah.
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