Justine Henin - Quarter-finals
Miami, Fl., U.S.A.
March 31, 2010
J. HENIN/C. Wozniacki
6 7, 6 3, 6 4
An interview with:
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. In the second set up 3 2, you went over for treatment. Take us through what was going through your mind at that point.
JUSTINE HENIN: Well, I've been, you know, in a lot of trouble in the first set because she pushed me to play and work a lot on the court.
She's very smart player and has been really tough. I was doing a lot of mistakes and I couldn't find a good rhythm.
I had to be aggressive, but I had to be patient in another way. That wasn't easy for me to find a good balance. And then I got really tired in the second set. I mean, I'm injured already for a week or ten days now, so in the second set it was pretty difficult.
My lower back was hurting, so I asked for some treatment. This really helped to release a little bit the muscles.
But I was under pressure. At 3 All I got some opportunities at 3 2 to break her, but I couldn't do it. I've been facing a few breakpoints after that, and then after that I really played my good tennis: going more to the net and be aggressive, especially on the return.
In the third set it was really the rhythm I needed to win the match.
Q. Looking at the stats, you have over 50 winners and over 50 unforced errors, what does that tell you? Is it that you're playing more of a high risk game?
JUSTINE HENIN: Yeah, I mean, a lot of balls were coming back in the court, you know. She didn't do a lot mistakes and pushed me to, you know, do everything at some point. That wasn't that easy.
I didn't have, I mean, two balls in a row that were the same rhythm, and I need this kind of match to get used also to a different kind of game.
But, I mean, my unforced errors I'm not really worried about, because I did hit a lot of winners. It's just that I have to find yeah, I have to be more consistent during the whole match.
I did 30 unforced errors in the first set and only 20 for the last two sets. I prefer these stats actually. (Smiling.)
Q. The match went almost three hours. After not playing that long, talk about that, being on the court that long.
JUSTINE HENIN: Yeah, I mean, like I said, I didn't play for two years, so it's good to be on the court a little bit longer. Still, physically I was feeling, I wouldn't say fresh at the end, but I could play my best tennis on my last service game. The last few service games I could play my best tennis.
So that was something I was happy about. It means at the end even physically I was a bit tired I could make the difference. But it's good. It's the kind of match I really need. Even in terms of tennis, I mean, there have been ups and downs, and I have to be more consistent.
Like I said, in terms of my fighting spirit on the court, I think I proved that I was still there at the my best fighting a lot. That was really important for me to keep, yeah, going on every ball 100%.
I was very happy about that.
Q. Were you surprised how she kept points alive for so long when they seemed won by and you they were still going?
JUSTINE HENIN: Yeah, it was incredible. She has such a good defense. First time I played against her. I watched some videos and everything, but a lot balls were coming back into the court.
And like I said, she's really smart. She never hits two balls in the row with the same rhythm. She does a lot different things, especially with her backhand.
So that wasn't easy for me to find a good position in the court. Sometimes I was too far; sometimes I was too much in a rush.
So finally, the third set I could find the good rhythm.
Q. You haven't seen a moonball in a while, have you?
JUSTINE HENIN: No, it wasn't that easy, but I came through.
Q. Talk your back a little bit. Are you concerned it could flare up in the semis, whether it's Kim or...
JUSTINE HENIN: I've been under antiinflammatories for a week already, and I just, I mean, keep going. I'm sure I'm gonna be able to walk on the court. I hope I can be at my best and play my best.
But it's the kind of little injury that you have to deal with when you didn't play for such a long time. And especially on hardcourts it's very hard at body.
Still, after three months of being back on the courts, I'm still pretty positive about how I feel physically. But my hip, yeah, hurts, my hip and low back and different muscles there.
But I'm sure I'm gonna be okay.
Q. Your backhand is the more spectacular shot, and people love it, but your forehand is effective, too. Is that a general trend.
JUSTINE HENIN: Well, my backhand is the most natural shot, I would say, so that's why a lot of people are talking about my backhand.
But in the last few years, even in my first career, I think my forehand really gave me the winners. I can build the point with my backhand, but I hit the winners more with my forehand.
It's always the same thing with myself. If I have the attitude of going more to the net and being more aggressive, when I want to do something with the ball and just try to play game, everything is going pretty well.
But it's really a question of the good attitude on the court. I've worked very hard on my serve and forehand. That's because it's been something sometimes difficult in the past.
My backhand sometimes I'm getting lazy on it because I don't work as much, but it still gives me, I mean, a few points. When I was facing breakpoint at 3 All in the second set, I did hit a good backhand down the line. That helps.
Q. When you walked away for 18 months and you were No. 1, you cited part of reason as being burnt out, if I'm correct.
JUSTINE HENIN: Uh huh.
Q. The way you were playing at the Australian Open and the way you're playing now as a wildcard, are you rejuvenated?
JUSTINE HENIN: Yeah, I enjoy much more every win on the court, I would say. Before that it was like everything was normal, and I forget how I could enjoy my tennis. I had the feeling I was getting a little bit lost. I've been No. 1 also for a while.
Like I said, I've been away to just find myself again and trust myself as a person. Now that I have this great experience behind me and to come back with everything I know that I didn't know two years ago, I enjoy my game much more than in the past.
Every win has a very sweet taste at the moment. I enjoy I'm 33 in the world, and I just want to keep improving and get better.
What I was before is from the past. Even if I can keep some experience, I have to build different things now. It's very interesting.
Q. You call it your first career. Do you really view this as a whole separate career now?
JUSTINE HENIN: Yeah, in terms of how I want it live it, it's different. Not a lot of things have changed about my game. I'm just a little older now.
But for the rest, it's just the way I want to I mean, I didn't change my personality. We never change our personality, but we can grow up a little bit and understand a few things that can help and to live things differently.
That's just the biggest difference now for me is how personally I want to live it. I mean, I know I'm at the right place at this moment, so that's a good sign.
Q. Talk about the possible reprise of your long standing rivalry with Kim. I think you're up 12 11. You won most of the big ones. Talk about how special that is and could be still for years to come.
JUSTINE HENIN: It's always been special, and it will always be special, because Kim and I, we grew up together; we arrived on the tour almost at the same time; we played good at the same time; we retired at the same time; and we come back at the same time. (Laughter.)
So it's just like you know, it's strange. It's amazing. And our matches, I mean, the one we've played in Brisbane was one the most impressive we've played in the past, in our first career.
It's always a special match between the two of us. Same country and, you know, there's a lot of the concurrence, but a positive one. I think that we have been at this level and helped each other a lot to get better. I think it's been something really positive for both of us.
Now, you know, Kim, she had a baby, and I grew up also. So we're are at different stage of your life and career.
So if we have to play each other again, I hope it's gonna be a great match like we've played in Brisbane. We have been at our best, especially in the third set. I hope we can give something good to the crowd.
Q. Has your relationship with each other changed and evolved over the years? When you were juniors you were maybe more bitter rivals. Is it still that way, or are you more friendly?
JUSTINE HENIN: I think when we were younger we were quite close traveling a lot together. Have a lot of good memories with Kim.
And then when you arrive at the top, you know, the same interest, you want to win. But we never miss the respect to each other. Never, ever, ever. Even if people can talk about it, we never had any problems, Kim and I.
Now the relationship is very good. We can feel the respect. We also can feel that we grew up a lot actually, and we can feel that we're more mature than in the past.
Q. Is it difficult to come up with a strategy when you face a player for the first time?
JUSTINE HENIN: Yeah, it's always difficult. Especially now that I'm coming back, I like to know a little bit about what can happen. When you face someone that you never played if the past, you don't have any yeah, you just look after your confidence on the court and how to feel comfortable with the game she gives.
So I do prefer to play someone that I know better.
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