J. HENIN/S. Kuznetsova
Q. Justine, can you win Wimbledon?
JUSTINE HENIN: Well, I didn't expect this first question.
Q. It's the only one you haven't won.
JUSTINE HENIN: Know, but just let me enjoy this moment. Just let me enjoy this one. Wimbledon is so far away from now, and I'm in trouble over there. No, it's just ‑‑ it's great. This one is maybe the most important one. The quality I played in the last few matches is amazing. It's just a great feeling because I had a tough draw and I had a lot of things to prove to myself ‑ not to anyone else, just to myself. And I did it. So I've been so consistent for two weeks and so calm, so relaxed, and it's been great. I didn't lose a set in Toronto and in here, so it's just great what I did and I'm really proud of it.
Q. Is there a connection between what's going on off the court and how you play on the court?
JUSTINE HENIN: I don't want to find any connection. I'm just feeling happy. And the fact that I have my family back helps for sure a lot, my family back in my life. They give me a lot of support. I'm feeling in peace with myself, and that's very important feeling for me because I hate to fight with people. I hate that. So I do prefer when it's calm, when it's normal, and it is right now. It's much better in my life. So I can imagine there's a little impact on my tennis. But I've been professional a lot, like always, and didn't know really what to expect from this season when it started pretty badly for me. I just kept fighting and came back probably stronger, so it's just great.
Q. Given the way you began the year, how difficult it was for you, and missing the Australian, can you talk about the impact of both this victory and in particular Carlos' role in this?
JUSTINE HENIN: Yeah, I mean, I can tell you today it's a big day for Carlos and I because just the two of us really know how hard it's been, and I can tell you we been in the year pretty ‑‑ I mean, it was tough. He gave me an unbelievable support. Never judge anything. He was just there for me, he and his family. We just kept fighting together. He knew I really needed it at that time, and he never stopped pushing me a lot this year. He's been hard with me also, but he had a big role for sure. He's been so happy that I have my brother and sister back in my life. He was really proud also at the French Open, I could dedicate my victory to them. It's been just a great year for both of us. That's why I wanted to go see him in the stands today.
Q. You may not be the tallest or strongest player on tour, but during this tournament and even parts of this year, you looked like the strongest, more aggressive player out there. You're winning tournaments now almost playing offense all the time.
JUSTINE HENIN: Yeah, when I move forward my defense is so much better, and I could prove it, I'm very quick. I work with a good fitness coach also. I work more in a functional way. I'm not injured any more. I'm feeling much better. I'm feeling strong. I mean, my nutrition is much better. That changed a lot of things in my preparation. I changed a lot my nutrition in the last year, and it's little details make a big difference. But I'm really proud not being that tall and I can compete and be the best player in the world like that. Not a lot of people really thought I could do it, and that's why I'm really proud of it because probably Carlos has been the only one that told me every day, You can do it, you can be the No. 1 player in the world. Not a lot of people thought I could win this Open with the draw I had, and I did it. It's amazing for me.
Q. Svetlana says the score didn't reflect the game. How do you see this?
JUSTINE HENIN: Well, I've been consistent. I've played very well on the important points. I could take control from the beginning of the match. I never stopped being aggressive and took the opportunities on her serve. She did mistakes when she probably couldn't do that mistakes. I've just been nervous on the last game. I was feeling so close of winning the Open. I got nervous a little bit. But the way I finished the match and the match point proved I wanted it so much. I think I've been the best on the court, and that's it.
Q. It seems that today you are trying to be more aggressive and shortcut the rallies, means to put more in each balls, in each shot. Is it true?
JUSTINE HENIN: Well, I was pretty tired. Yesterday was tough. I really slept only four, five hours, so I was pretty tired today. And I knew I had to be aggressive and just push myself, be really intense. I was a bit scared before the match that I would be tired, not being aggressive enough. So I pushed myself on every point. I just kept the intensity all the time, and I was there in the rallies. I didn't give her a lot of free points. I didn't serve my best today, but I've been so consistent in my game, so that made a big difference.
Q. You really wanted to win Wimbledon. You had the huge win over Serena, then a tough match. This tournament, big win over Serena, Venus, no letdown. Could you talk about that.
JUSTINE HENIN: Yeah, it's been disappointing for sure in Wimbledon. It's been tough. But I could accept that I lost against a better player that day. Did I do a mistake? I don't know. I mean, I was pretty tired emotionally, physically. It's not easy all the time to push yourself and be at your best level. Sometimes you have to accept that you have downs. I could take a lesson from that. A lot of humility also. That's very important, because I have a lot of respect for my opponents. She's been better that day.
Am I going to win Wimbledon one day? I have no answer. I'm in a little more trouble on the grass than I am on hard court. I'm the kind of girl that needs some rhythm, that it is for sure, to play good tennis. I don't get it as good on grass, but I keep thinking that I can do it. But now I just think about my seven Grand Slams, and it just starts to be an amazing number for me, and that's great.
Q. Carlos was saying he encouraged you to not put up a wall, to show people who and what you are. So who are you and what are you?
JUSTINE HENIN: Whew, that's pretty personal (smiling). I think now I'm getting closer from a lot of people. From my fans, too. I could feel a big difference this time in the States when I came here. People were coming much more easily to me. I think I look more open. I look myself. I can be a funny person. You know, people that really know me, I love spending time with people that I love. I'm a normal person. But I'm not the kind of person who is ‑‑ I love to share a lot of things with the good people. And I think that people really start to really know me a little bit better, and it's been a big difference in my life the last few months. I'm just feeling healthy, happy, and I just can be myself. So it's very good.
Q. Is that change affecting your tennis?
JUSTINE HENIN: I think it did help, for sure, 'cause I enjoy my game much more than in the past. I'm just feeling myself. I grew up a lot, and I think we can see it on the court. Yesterday against Venus I did show a lot of emotions, and you probably never saw that in the past. But that's the way I am. I'm very intense person, and I think we could see it during the tournament.
Q. You mentioned you were fatigued after last night. How much of an emotional carryover was there? How did you overcome it?
JUSTINE HENIN: I was tired because I didn't sleep a lot. That's the only thing. Emotionally I was feeling perfect today. I mean, it was too short. I think it was better for me to play today than having a day off because I couldn't think about a lot of things. I just had to stay in my tournament. So the pressure of winning never came down. I was just tired a little bit because I didn't sleep that much in the last few days, and I'm not probably going to sleep that much tonight, so (smiling). But that's for good reason.
Q. It's always been easier for you to have emotional strength on clay, the best surface for you. Have you ever felt as emotionally and mentally strong as you are right now on the faster courts?
JUSTINE HENIN: I always felt very good on hard court. I did win a lot of tournaments on hard court. Not as much on clay. I don't think I have the same ‑‑ not a lot of girls like to play on clay, and that's probably the biggest difference. Because when they go to Paris, not a lot of players believe in themselves and think they can win the tournament, and I grew up on that surface. I really feel the clay a lot. But I feel great on hard court. I love as much hard court than clay. I'm feeling quick. I'm playing much more aggressive. I just find my way. It's been good for me to win on another surface than clay this year for sure. That proves a lot of things to myself.
Q. Can you talk about the last game, how nervous you were, particularly when that fan whistled out?
JUSTINE HENIN: Yeah, I got nervous a little bit on that point. I served an ace. That really, yeah ‑‑ I was feeling so close. It was emotional at that time, but I could save breakpoints and then played very good points at the end. It's been for a few points that I've been scared that I was going to be at 5‑4. But I just played point after point, and I was feeling strong. Except just being so close to win it you get nervous a little bit, that's for sure. But finally I could make it, and that's great.
Q. Serena wins Australia. You won the French. Venus won Wimbledon. So coming in here, if one of the three of you took the title, they would be more or less considered Player of the Year. Did you think about that coming in? How important was it for you to come out with two majors this year?
JUSTINE HENIN: Yeah, it was important to me. I was feeling confidence when I arrived in New York because I proved a lot of things this year and I've been very consistent and I knew that Serena and Venus were going to be dangerous ‑ especially Venus. I think she was the other big favorite. And we proved it with the match we played yesterday, because it was a high‑quality match. So, yeah, that gives a lot of confidence like four years ago: I won two the French and US Open. But I did everything the same like four years ago. I went to Niagara Falls after Toronto. It's been the lucky thing (smiling). No, I felt great during these last two weeks. I hope I can keep a lot of confidence from this tournament. Because beating Venus, Serena, then to win this way today, must give me a lot of confidence.
Q. You went up and hugged Carlos afterwards. Can you tell us who else you hugged up there? Was any of your family there?
JUSTINE HENIN: No, unfortunately, it's the jetlag and the distance. I wish they would all be here today, but it's no way it was possible. Carlos is behind me for 11 years. Like I said, it was a really important one for both of us. We had a very calm tournament. No fight, nothing (laughter). Everything went so well. We had perfect communication in this last two weeks, which is not the case all the time. Like in any kind of relationship, sometime we communicate better than usual, and it was great. It's been a good adventure with him. I was glad that I could go and hug him. It was really important to me.
Q. You said on the court you're four years older than your last win. Are you not four years stronger and a better player?
JUSTINE HENIN: I'm a better player than four years ago, that's for sure. I have four years of more experience. I'm more mature. But my muscles feel older a little bit (smiling). I know I still have good legs. But, no, it's just great. I feel better now than when I was 21 years old, that's for sure. A lot of things happened in my life, and I just take it as great experiences and I have no regrets about anything. I just want to move forward, so that's good. I want to enjoy every moment of my career because I know it's not going to be that long anymore. I don't say one or two years, but it's not going to be for 10 years, so I have to enjoy every moment of it.
Q. For however long your career is, how many more titles do you think you can win and do you want to win?
JUSTINE HENIN: I wish I can give you an answer, but that's the good thing. Who knows what's going to happen in the next few years? When I was a little girl I was dreaming of winning just one Grand Slam in my career, and I won seven. It's still hard to believe that I did that. All these numbers that are talking to me, that give me a lot of confidence. It's more than a dream. I gave everything for tennis for 20 years, and it's going to be like that for the next few years. Just going to try to enjoy a lot my game on the court, win as many matches as possible, and just staying healthy. We'll see what's going to happen.
Q. There is a feeling that you're moving forward to be the Roger Federer of the women's circuit.
JUSTINE HENIN: I didn't say that. Roger is Roger. He's unique. But I've been very consistent myself. That's for sure. I hope we can keep growing together at the same time.
Q. Every top player has to come to New York and America to play the US Open. Is it something you do because it's a slam and a major, or do you have a joy?
JUSTINE HENIN: Tonight I love New York. But sometimes I hate New York (laughter). No, New York takes me a lot of energy. It's probably the hardest Grand Slam to win 'cause it's a crazy city, it's a big show over here. I wasn't used to it really. It's not in my personality. But I started to really enjoy every moment of it this year. It was a great atmosphere. It's gonna as a very good souvenir for me.
Q. Do you sometimes laugh? I mean, Center Court at Wimbledon, it ain't.
JUSTINE HENIN: Yeah, it's different. That's good. Four different Grand Slams in four different atmospheres. I love the four of them. This one is probably not my favorite, but today I love it a little bit more than last year at the same time.
Q. Considering how far you've come this year, all the success you've had, what did hearing your name mispronounced on court sort of make you feel?
JUSTINE HENIN: No, I don't care about that. It's been a big part of my life. I have to accept it. I wasn't ‑‑ that was okay for me. I heard it, but that was okay.
Q. Did it make you realize how far you've come in the last few months?
JUSTINE HENIN: Yeah, maybe. But I didn't think that much on that at that time. I just wanted to enjoy every moment. It's been a little mistake, but it doesn't change anything to my joy tonight.
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