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Discussion Starter #1
It was only a year ago that Justine Henin-Hardenne was known as a choker, and it was at least year's French Open that she froze in the 1st round because of the prospect of being a favorite to win (yeah, yeah - she was sick, too).

Only a year later, though, Justine came in ready to win, she believed she could win, and she had the mental toughness to do it. What changed? Did she see a sports psychologist like Mauresmo? Did something just click? What? Props to her, by the way.

I ask because now it seems Kim has become the old Justine. Kim has choked away a few matches this year, and Kim has come into both majors as a real threat to win, and both times she has froze at the prospect of winning.

Can Kim turn this around like Justine did, or is Kim destined to become another Sabatini (too nice/passive to win majors)?
 

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she had a shrink and he gave her a pillow and that pillow was kim and she had to hit on it as hard as possible;)

no serious I have all respect that she worked on it and it actually worked
sabine appelmans also said that the match against monica in dubai was the change and that might have changed her

and maybe being really happy for the first time in her life with her husband helped too'

so kim marry now :p
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I wish more people would reply, and this is a really important question for Kim.

The difference between Justine and Kim is that Justine is more honest about her mental problems. To this day, Kim maintains that she didn't choke against Serena in Australia. That's not true, and until Kim is honest about it, she can't overcome it.

Today Kim was clearly nervous, and it clearly caused her game to be off, yet she said this in her post-match interview:
Q. Just how much were the nerves churning in that first set when nothing was going for you?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Well, I mean, of course, like I was nervous, and maybe a little bit more than normal, of course. I mean, it's always a big occasion.
But not that I think it was influencing me on my tennis. I think so far in this tournament I haven't played my best tennis. And I haven't come close to what I'm capable of doing. I still went through to the final, so I think that's a good sign as well.
But, no, I wasn't that nervous. I mean, of course I was, you know, nervous. But I think in a good way.
Justine, meanwhile, has always admitted to having problems with her nerves, and she has worked on it. In her interview after beating Serena, she said she panicked when serving for the match at 5-4. In today's post-match interview she says:
Q. In the first set, you're hitting the ball so crisply, so sharply. Kim, there was so much air under her ball in the first set. Did you sense that she just didn't have very much rhythm out there, or perhaps was a bit nervous?
JUSTINE HENIN-HARDENNE: I think she was a little bit nervous, but I was, too. I was really nervous, I can tell you. I didn't sleep very well last night.
Justine has no problem admitting she was nervous, and she even adds that she didn't sleep well.
 

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I think what it boils down to is that justine was red hot over the clay season and she earned some very big victories. By the time the French Open got here, she knew she could win it, she knew she was the class of the field on clay. So I don't think she's found a way to quell the nerves, just that she's playing with so much confidence right now.
 

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Trust me, it was entirely because of Henin's bronchitis that she lost that match, not because she froze. No-one loses to a player with the abominable serve that Kapros has unless something is physically wrong with them.
 

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Justine got married, I think that gave so much more confidence and stability. Well done Justine - fabulous fortnight!
 

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I think she got stength from her mother, on GOTW on ES she spoke about how she told her Mum she was going to try and win it one day. I think she wanted to win it for her Mum.
 

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Justine cheated to change her mental toughness? Hmm, interesting...
 

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She changed her clothing sponsor which meant she can now concentrate on her shots instead of worrying everybody could see her underwear.
 

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Like jenglisbe says: Justine admits she's nervous, didn't sleep well... Imo Justine is very adult for her age, her marriage brought her a stable life and a secured future..she has only tennis to concentrate on. Justine is very realistic and driven by her dream to become the world number one. She will keep improving 'till she reaches that target.

Kim says she plays for fun. I don't think that's the ideal spirit to win.
 

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I fail to see how not telling the umpire to give Serena a first serve is cheating. But whatever.


Justine's fitness has improved along with the rest of her game. Her amazing clay season also gave her supreme confidence going into RG.
 

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1. She got help. She said last year that she saw a sports psychologist or similar for help on the mental side.

2. Her coach deeply believes in her greatness, and his belief is slowly transmitting itself to her.

3. As others said, her personal happiness and sense of security has grown astoundingly since her marriage. She feels loved and accepted, win or lose, and that frees her to play without fear. Do not underestimate the affect of this total acceptance and unconditional love.

4. As for your post: you couldn't resist the nasty dig there about last year, could you, jason. Justine had bronchitis & fever and was told to stay in bed. But she desperately wanted to give it a try. For that effort you say she choked? Nice try! :p
 

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I've got no idea, I'm just happy it changed.

Before I knew she had great potential, but the I was affraid the mental aspect would always limit her to reach greatness, now, she's got it all going for all, and this recent success can only encrease her mental toughness :D
 

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I would also like to include her marathon victory over Lindsay in this year's Oz quarters. It was her first win over Lindsay and to beat Lindsay on hardcourt definitely gave her confidence.
 

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Martian KC said:
I would also like to include her marathon victory over Lindsay in this year's Oz quarters. It was her first win over Lindsay and to beat Lindsay on hardcourt definitely gave her confidence.
Sure, I think it was the last top player she hadn't beaten yet during her career, and doing it the way she did, must have pleased her a lot
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Something else interesting. In her NBC interview with Bud Collins, Justine admitted that she thought about the 2001 semifinal when Kim was getting it back to 4-4.

Kim was asked the same question in her media interview, and she said she didn't think about the 2001 semifinal.

That is interesting to me, though I am not sure why.
 

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decide she'd do anything necessary to win.
 

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Justine
2003 Singles Activity

Sydney, Australia
SF Kim Clijsters (BEL) L 2-6 3-6
Win/Loss: 2/1
Australian Open at Melbourne, Australia
R16 Lindsay Davenport (USA) W 7-5 5-7 9-7 :)
SF Venus Williams (USA) L 3-6 3-6
Win/Loss: 7/2
Antwerp, Belgium
SF Kim Clijsters (BEL) L 2-6 6-7(3)
Win/Loss: 9/3
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
SF Jennifer Capriati (USA) W 7-5 4-6 6-4 :)
F Monica Seles (USA) W 4-6 7-6(4) 7-5 :)
Win/Loss: 13/3
Miami, Florida, USA
QF Chanda Rubin (USA) L 3-6 2-6
Win/Loss: 16/4
Charleston, South Carolina, USA
April 07, 2003
F Serena Williams (USA) W 6-3 6-4 :)
Win/Loss: 21/4
Amalia Island, Florida, USA
QF Monica Seles (USA) W 6-2 6-4 :)
SF Elena Dementieva (RUS) L 6-3 4-6 5-7
Win/Loss: 23/5
Fed Cup (WG-1R) AUT vs. BEL in Belgium
Win/Loss: 24/5
Berlin, Germany
R16 Patty Schnyder (SUI) W 6-2 6-3 :)
QF Vera Zvonareva (RUS) W 6-4 7-5 :)
SF Amelie Mauresmo (FRA) W 7-6(6) 6-4 :)
F Kim Clijsters (BEL) W 6-4 4-6 7-5 :)
Win/Loss: 29/5
Roland Garros at Paris, France
R16 Patty Schnyder (SUI) W 6-3 2-6 6-2 :)
QF Chanda Rubin (USA) W 6-3 6-2 :)
SF Serena Williams (USA) W 6-2 4-6 7-5 :)
F Kim Clijsters (BEL) W 6-0 6-4. :)
Win/Loss: 36/5

She beat Lindsay and closed out a tough tight match, did it again against Monica and Jennifer. Then she worked her way through the people like Chanda who had caused her problems and maintained dominance over people like Patty and Monica who might be challengers. Finally she took Kim in a close match. When it mattered she has learnt to win tight matches, expects to beat most of the people in her quarter and has a Serena and a Kim scalp to look at?
 
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