Justine's Semi-Final Interview
J. HENIN/V. Williams
THE MODERATOR: Questions.
Q. Three major crises for you in this match, and you rallied back from each. Can you talk about how mentally you recovered?
JUSTINE HENIN: Yeah, it was really tough at that time 'cause I started the match so well. I was playing unbelievable. But the fact is that against this kind of player you know that every point is so much important. As soon as you give just a little bit, they come back in the match very strong. Yeah, it was tough. The end of the first set was great tennis. It was high quality, and I played very well in the tiebreak. Mentally it's been tough, but that's the kind of situation I like a lot. Then I was leading 3-Love in the second set, but Venus played well to break back. And then at 5-3 I did my best, but, yeah, I was just trying to play every point hundred percent.
Venus gave her best, too. I think it was a very good match. I'm happy about this one.
Q. A lot has changed since the last time you played her four and a half years ago. How important here is it to finally get through against her after losing seven in a row?
JUSTINE HENIN: Yeah, it's a great feeling. I really believed I could do it, and that's maybe why I did achieve that. I don't think a lot of people thought I could beat her here in this tournament. I was really proud. It's not easy to play Serena and Venus, you know. I think I just did a great job. My tournament is not over yet. It's been tough last few days. I just hope I can have a good recovery and get ready for tomorrow night.
Q. For a long time, were you one of those people?
JUSTINE HENIN: Yeah, probably. Yeah, I didn't believe enough in myself, didn't trust myself enough in the last few years against them. And then this year a lot of things have changed. I trust myself much more.
I still have a lot of respect, but I'm not scared any more. It's been really, really important to me in this tournament to play both of them. It was a great challenge and I did it, so it's great.
Q. Was there any moment when you were worried that the match may be turning away from you?
JUSTINE HENIN: Yeah. I thought end of the first set was tough. It was very intense at that time. I could feel she was a bit tired also at the end of the first set. I was a bit worried at 3-All, Love-40, on my serve. That was a tough moment. She did two or three mistakes at that time that she didn't do a lot in the set. She gave me some help, and I really needed it at that time. It was important. At 5-3 I just did my best, but she played so aggressive. It was important to finish the match in two sets.
Q. You scored a lot of points in this match by reading what she was going to do, being in the right place. Can you talk to us about that ability.
JUSTINE HENIN: Tactically it was important for me. It was very clear in my head. Venus likes to play when she has angles. She loves to move. She doesn't like that much that we play in the middle, then open the court a little bit more. I think the key was just my return also, and I've been so aggressive on the return. And that was really important. She was serving very fast, but I could hit back and very strong. And I served very well, too. The one who was taking the opportunities was winning, that's for sure. It was just battle of who was going to take the chances.
Q. She called a trainer. Later we found out it was because of dizziness. She also said afterwards that she was not a hundred percent.
JUSTINE HENIN: I'm surprised (smiling).
Q. Are you a little disappointed that she's talking about her health?
JUSTINE HENIN: No, I don't care. I mean, I'm focused on myself and I don't care. I just want to be a little bit no more comment about that. It's better.
Q. Did she feel any different when you were feeling her on the court?
JUSTINE HENIN: No. I had the feeling we were both fighting a lot. I mean, I had some breathing problems for a couple of months, but much more the last two, three days. I saw the doctor also. I could say I wasn't hundred percent, but I was fighting on every point with my qualities today. She probably did the same. I think it was just a good match. No complaint about that.
Q. Is anybody after eight months on this tour this year a hundred percent? Isn't everybody sort of aching someplace after all this tennis?
JUSTINE HENIN: Yeah, I mean, it's tough. What we do out there is pretty tough physically and mentally. There isn't one day where I don't have any pain some way, so it's normal. I mean, we are running a lot out there. It's very intense. So it's not easy. We just try to deal the best we can. Especially now it's almost the end of the season. Everybody starts to get a bit injured or tired, but I still feel pretty fresh.
Q. You said before you used of to fear her game and Serena's game. What sense do you have of their feeling for your game when they're on the court against you?
JUSTINE HENIN: Well, I think I change probably more than what they think about my game now. I change my point of view when I play against them. But I don't know. You should ask them the question. You know, it's tough to say. I mean, they both have a lot of personality and a lot of character, and I think they are both great champions. I can admit that, and it's tough to play against them. But you should ask them what they feel about my game, yeah.
Q. Do you see anything in the way they play you now that's different from in the past?
JUSTINE HENIN: No, I don't think so. They still do the same thing as five years ago.
Q. Is this one thing you can point to in your training that has produced the amazing power that you have, despite your small frame?
JUSTINE HENIN: It's tough. I change I'm working with another guy in the last few months physically. I work a lot on the functional way, which is good, keeping me away from the injuries. I have a lot of stability. I've always been quick in the past, but to be powerful like that, I don't know, it's questioning of timing also. Technically I worked very hard. I think it's important to say that technically you can get a lot of power if you have a good technique. So I did work. I keep working every day on my technique when I'm not in tournaments because it's so much important because I can improve my game. I have the feeling I still can be better, so, yeah, it's good.
Q. We can see you really want to win. What's the biggest motivation to win this tournament?
JUSTINE HENIN: It's a lot of motivation. I hope I can win the US Open this year. It would mean a lot to me, after my disappointing loss in Wimbledon and the fact that I've been dominating the clay for the last few years.
I've been playing very well on hard court, but no major, so I hope I can make it. It would be a big mistake to think that I did the hardest work because tomorrow is going to be the big day, and I hope I can be in my best shape to do it.
Q. I think after the first set, or sometime in the second set, you opened some envelope. Was it an inspirational message from someone?
JUSTINE HENIN: My coach. You were expecting probably another answer (smiling).
Q. You had two very emotional matches in a row. Now you don't get a day off. How difficult will it be to come back tomorrow?
JUSTINE HENIN: Yeah, it will be difficult, that's for sure. That's why it's tough. I mean, I want to enjoy this moment now, but I know tomorrow is going to be another big day and I have to be a hundred percent focused on that one. I will just try to take my experience from the past and talk a lot about that with Carlos. Just, yeah, I have to go and win it. I mean, I have to do it. I'm not gonna wait that she gives the match to me, because she won't. I will have to be very, very, very aggressive. With a lot of determination I believe I can do it, but we're both going to be feeling the same tomorrow.
Q. Your scouting report on Svetlana. You've beaten her 14 times.
JUSTINE HENIN: Yeah, but Venus beat me seven times and me only once and I won today, so doesn't mean a lot of things. Last time I lost to Svetlana to on clay in Berlin. It was a different situation. Going to be like a little revenge for me tomorrow.
Q. The way you began this year, would you have been surprised to know you would win one Slam and put yourself in position to win another?
JUSTINE HENIN: Yeah, I can tell you I started the year, it was difficult. Not going to Australia, there were many other things in my life going on, probably much more important than my tennis. But I was a bit concerned about professionally how I was going to come back on the tour. It took me a few weeks, but what I did since then has just been amazing. I've been very consistent. Haven't lost before a semifinal for a year and a half now, since Miami 2006. The numbers are great. I just hope I can keep going this way. I'm feeling healthy. I just love being out there and I enjoy my tennis much more than in the past.
Q. You expressed a little concern about the recovery tomorrow night. Could anything be ever as tough as coming back from that Capriati match, having to play the next night?
JUSTINE HENIN: It was tough. It was amazing. I was in my bed at 4:00. I know I'm probably not going to sleep very well this night 'cause it's going to be a big final tomorrow. The adrenaline is still going to be here for a couple of more hours now. It's very exciting, what it was out there. It's going to be another day. Four years later. I'm older. Tough to recover (smiling). But it's one of the best memories of my career, what I did against Jennifer here a few years ago. I hope I can get a lot of great moments. Kind of a little revenge what happened last year. I lost in the final. I hope I can do better tomorrow.