May 28th, 2010, 02:54 PM
Day 6 - Justine Henin
Friday, May 28, 2010http://www.rolandgarros.com/images/players/wta080350.jpgQ. You want to just assess yesterday and then today's performance and how you feel overall?
JUSTINE HENIN: Yeah, it was a difficult day for everyone yesterday. As, you know, at some point I thought, well, I'm gonna play and then I'm not gonna play and then I'm gonna play. So it was really difficult, but I just tried to keep focused.
It was really dark last night when we played from the beginning of the match, and at the end, both of us, we couldn't see anything, so it was really I mean, it was very strange.
But, yeah, I was leading. I did a good job. In these conditions it was a good job, and then I came back pretty confident on the court today. I just had to finish a good job, and that was good enough. So I felt pretty good out there.
Q. You've had two matches both good enough. Now into the third round you might have to play Maria, and all of a sudden the intensity level, I would think, would have to go up very high.
JUSTINE HENIN: Yeah, of course. It's gonna be an interesting match. Comes very early, of course, third round, but I expect a big fight as we always had in the past. It's gonna be very exciting to play her again, you know, in the second career.
I think, of course, I'll have to raise my level and really put the intensity, the concentration, and the motivation is gonna be really high just to keep going in this tournament. I know it's gonna be a tough match, but I feel ready for it.
Q. I remember you talking about Australia, about the last time you had played Maria, which was Australian Open. That was one of the matches when you knew maybe you don't have the motivation to continue anymore. So can you talk about your form now and how you're feeling now versus that time?
JUSTINE HENIN: Yeah, it seems so far away. I mean, even seems like it never existed, that moment. I didn't want to be on the court anymore at that time, and now I have a lot of motivation to be out there and to fight and try to keep winning.
So the situations are very different, of course. But we had a lot of good matches in the past. I played her here at the French in 2005, I think in the quarterfinals. Yeah, I hope we can play a good match. That's for sure.
Q. You haven't played her on clay since then, if I'm not mistaken. Do you have a sense of how her game has improved on clay? She just won her first European clay court event last week.
JUSTINE HENIN: I didn't see any match of Maria since I'm back, I would say, because she's been troubled last few months with injuries and everything. So I didn't see her play on any surface. On the clay last time was when I played her here five years ago.
So I don't have a lot of things to say about that. She's a real fighter, of course, and everyone knows everything she did in the past. She remains someone very, very strong. Because she has the fighting spirit, it's gonna be a question of attitude and just try to be aggressive. I want to win the match tomorrow.
Q. Fans find you so interesting, so intriguing, in part because you've gone through so much in your young life. You said in the past, My gasoline has always come from something negative. What did you mean by that?
JUSTINE HENIN: But it changed a lot, actually. You know, I had a lot of things happen in my life, and it's true that in all these things I was fighting something positive, you know, and just try to fight for that.
But it's been a lot of suffering, and it's not anymore. So I just want to, you know, be happy and be, you know, competitive at the same time. I think it's something very realistic at the moment that I can do. I can have both, you know.
It's not only on negative moments you can build great things. I just want to be my gasoline must be something positive, and I think that's the case right now. I feel very happy about that.
Q. What is the difference when you go out there trying to do it for yourself? What's the difference between the two sides?
JUSTINE HENIN: Well, it's very hard to compare, you know. I really I still say it at the interview right after the match. I really have the feeling there was my first career and there is my second career. A lot of things have changed. I can use everything I did in the past, the experience and everything, but I live things so differently now.
I think I can enjoy a lot of things now than in the past. You know, the traveling and the way I can share all these things with my entourage. That is very rich, and I enjoy every moment of it.
Q. Little less serious topic. Dirty clothes. How much laundry do you generate and do you submit?
JUSTINE HENIN: That's a crazy question. I don't know how much, but a lot. Every day. Every day.
Q. We're talking several shirts. You guys are changing shirts with practice and that sort of thing?
JUSTINE HENIN: Three or four shirts a day. Well, you know everything about my life, actually. That was quite personal. A lot. A lot.
Q. Without being too personal, the clay, any problems getting the clay out of your socks and things?
JUSTINE HENIN: Yeah, that's true. That's true. A lot of people have trouble to take off the clay. But that's okay. It's a nice mark. So it's okay.
Q. With your new attitude and playing the matches on the center court and when the stakes are this high at a Grand Slam, is it difficult for you to enjoy yourself during the match?
JUSTINE HENIN: No, I enjoy a lot being out there. The expectations are very high, especially here in Paris. When I go on center court, it's a lot of emotions that are coming back. Of course you want to be at your best and you want to win and you want to play well, but sometimes it's not the case.
It's not easy all the time, but you have to remain positive and having a good attitude on every point. It's true it's not easy all the time, and that's why also the crowd gives unbelievable support.
But that's why we are playing tennis. It's to live these kind of moments. Sometimes it's ups and downs, and you have to accept them. Just keep fighting.
Q. You were talking about the match against Sharapova. It feels like it doesn't exist. You were also saying the first career and the second career. So the 2007 title, the last one you won here, does that seem very far away, or is it closer to you?
JUSTINE HENIN: No one will take it from me, of course, because I did it. But it seems a long time ago, yeah. I mean, to me. I didn't come here to Paris as defending champion, because of the last time I won the tournament. So everything is pretty new.
But it's something that remains in my heart, of course. I can feel the emotions I got that day, you know. It was a very, very emotional day for me.
I mean, it's seven years I won my first Grand Slam, seven years ago. It seems so far away, and a lot of things happened. When I remember that, it's only good memories.
Really, right now, it's this moment and the future. I just want to look forward. So it seems far away, but I keep the emotions of course very closely.
THE MODERATOR: Questions in French.
Q. Would you have preferred not to play yesterday?
JUSTINE HENIN: Well, it was difficult, you know. There was a moment when perhaps, yes, I hoped that it would continue to rain or they would cancel all the matches.
But the decision was you know, Sharapova and Kirsten's match should be played in parallel with mine. That was their priority. They didn't want the center court to be empty too early.
But when Monfils was back on the court it was long for me. I was here at 9:00 a.m., so it was a very long day, yet I was still very much into it. If you look at the conditions yesterday, it was okay for me yesterday evening. It was really tough. I couldn't see anything. When the match started, I couldn't see much.
And then in the middle of the first set it was very difficult for the returns, mainly to have the right reactions was something complicated. But I'm very happy to go to bed having an advantage yesterday and to have started well today.
So I lived this correctly. I can't say that I had missed these types of days in my first career.
Q. At the end of the first day, I think you wanted to finish this game. It was important to be up 3 2, I think, before it was dark.
JUSTINE HENIN: Well, I wanted to have time off before, or the match to stop before. I discussed it with the umpire, but we had to continue. So I followed the decision that he made. But at the time it was very difficult.
When the second set started it was difficult, but it was better to be up 3 2 than to be 2 2 or 2 All. Had it been 2 All, it wouldn't have made a big difference.
But I went to bed, and I was quite serene yesterday.
Q. You only played 16 minutes today. Is this enough? Had you played longer, would you have had more difficulties.
JUSTINE HENIN: Well, I practiced this morning. Yesterday was a painful day. I think that I've practiced in the past days, so, no, I don't worry about this. But I will probably walk for a while. I'll have people taking care of me, as well.
You know, when I didn't play, I practiced something like 50 minutes or an hour. Yesterday it took a lot of energy from me. So no, no problem.
Q. Maria is taller than you, taller than most players.
JUSTINE HENIN: A little taller.
Q. What are her advantages when she plays against you? And given your size, what are your advantages against her?
JUSTINE HENIN: We have different features and qualities, of course. She is tall. She can be very powerful. She can be a slugger when she hits the ball. I think there's one thing we share, a quality we share, which is we are winners. We are fighters.
With this girl, it's never over. This is something I think that we share. On clay, I try and use other weapons I have, like the quality of my balls, the fact that I vary my game, I change the pace. I'll have to focus on my match, my objectives, what I want to do, and then you have to have the desire to win. This is the most important thing.
Q. The last time you played in '08 during the Australian Open, it was not good memories. There was a lot of tension. Her father was in the stands and was quite angry. Is this something that you can't really accept even today?
JUSTINE HENIN: No, not really, because it's a new page now for me, frankly. And by the way, I have an incredible memory, as you know, and there are many matches of the past that I've forgotten, because it's a new page for me. I see things totally differently today.
And as far as Sharapova is concerned, there's no special tension in the light of what happened that day. It was not the best day of my career, but I've had so many beautiful days against her. I'd like to think about those and remember those.
What's going to happen is tomorrow. This is the most important thing. I think we're going to start from scratch more or less, so it's a very important third round. Maybe that's when I really enter the tournament, if I can go through to the third round. I like these types of challenges. This type of challenge I like. And you have to think big and play big in some circumstances. I'm totally aware of this.
Q. You've said you've forgotten this match in 2008 against her. What about the one you played against her in Madrid in 2007?
JUSTINE HENIN: There you go. No, not this one. I can't remember why, but I have not forgotten this one. Of course I have not forgotten what happened in 2008. I know perfectly well what happened in 2008, and even in Madrid, as well.
It was a crazy match in Madrid. I know what happened when I lost against her at the US Open or when I defeated her here. I don't think this will have any impact on what's going to happen tomorrow here. This is the most important thing.
Well, since we're talking about Madrid 2007, the Masters, this is an incredible memory, incredible, yes.
Q. A different question altogether. The balls, do you choose the balls? Have you got some type of fetishism, or not? If not, do you understand the players that do?
JUSTINE HENIN: Well, we all have these things we do. When there's more tension, I usually play with the ball I have just used to win the point. When I'm tense, this is what I do. Not all the time, but when I'm more nervous.
And then we choose the ball boys or girls. I know it's ridiculous. But we pay attention to these details to gain more confidence.
Q. You've said you were not playing your best tennis in 2008 in Australia. According to you, who or when was the best Sharapova? Was it in Madrid or was it during the US Open in 2006, the finals?
JUSTINE HENIN: I lost 6 4, 6 4 in 2006. I was not playing bad, but I was not strong enough to win this type of match.
Now, then, Madrid, if you look at the intensity of the match and the ups and downs, I really was a fighter. This was like the climax between us.
And also, my win here in terms of tactics, I do what I need to do. Even though it had been very difficult against Kuznetsova, I had managed to save a number of match points. In the morning we discussed with Carlos the match and this match against Sharapova.
It was really something I understood, and then I won the quarters and the semis and the final easily. So I was very much thinking about these moments.
Q. Maria Sharapova was also injured. Do you think that her style is going to change? Now she knows how to play on clay, to win a tournament.
JUSTINE HENIN: Well, what I expect is everything. This is the most important thing. We know that the beginning of the season was difficult for her, but now I think she's gained more confidence on clay.
So I think this is a very dangerous match to come, and I'll have to notch up my style. I am back. She's gone through difficult times as well.
So the two of us are in radically different situations. At the time we were more or less dominating women's tennis. The situation is, of course, different today. It will be interesting, as you will see, to see what's going to happen because so many things have changed.
Q. I'd like to pick on this. You've often played against her during quarterfinals, semifinals, finals, and now it's only the third round. It's very early. Is it different?
JUSTINE HENIN: I don't know. I want to continue on the same tracks. Here, this is the most important thing to me. A big match is a big match in any case. Dementieva during the Australian Open was very intense. It was the intensity of a final, and it was only second round.
So this is how we can build on things, you see. If I want to climb up to the summit, this is what I have to do.
Now, I'm out of the rankings and I'm doing well. Five months ago, I was not ranked at all. So, you see, there are so many things that are positive. We have to accept this.
Of course, the draws were not really favorable, but I like that because this helps me to some extent to improve faster. So I'm rather positive as far as this is concerned. But I look at this match as if it were a big match, as if it were a quarterfinals, semifinals, or even the finals.
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