home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


July 7, 2006

Justine Henin


THE MODERATOR: Good morning, Ladies and Gentlemen. We have an opportunity this morning to speak to the ladies finalists. Could I have your first question, please, to Justine.

Q. Do you get a sense now that this is your time, this is your destiny to finally win Wimbledon?
JUSTINE HENIN-HARDENNE: It wouldn't be good to have this feeling. It's for me another opportunity to win another Grand Slam. But we're going to be two players on the court and we both want the same thing, so it's not as easy as this.
I want it a lot, but it will depend of the way I will play, will depend how Mauresmo is going to play. So it's still very early. When I arrived here, I said step by step. Now it's one more match, but I'm still far away from that.
I just try to stay focused on what I have to do, my practice today, then my goals on the court tomorrow and we will see.

Q. But you would say this is the best tennis you've played at Wimbledon and it's probably as healthy as you've been, as well?
JUSTINE HENIN-HARDENNE: I'm healthy and I have a lot of motivation for sure here, as always. It's been hard for me in the last two years here in Wimbledon. It's good tennis I played in my first six matches. But in tennis you have to start again all the time, so tomorrow is going to be another match. The best will win.

Q. What do you think you can bring from your first experience of playing in a Wimbledon final to tomorrow's match?
JUSTINE HENIN-HARDENNE: It's a long time ago and a lot of things happen since that. I cannot say I have to bring a lot of things from that experience, first because it's not the best memory of my career, and also because I was very young, it was my first Grand Slam ever here. It seems far, far from now.
Yeah, it's tough. It's hard for me to remember about that. Let's get focused on this final, the experience I got in the last Grand Slam finals. It's going to be I think eight tomorrow. I'm a better player than I was for sure five years ago and I improved a lot.
But, yeah, now I will have to be at my best level if I want to win this one.

Q. Did you watch the Mauresmo/Sharapova game?
JUSTINE HENIN-HARDENNE: No, I never watch the other matches in women's tennis.

Q. What do you think you can take from your last couple of meetings? Obviously, the Australian Open final.
JUSTINE HENIN-HARDENNE: Not a lot from that. No, no, no, I wouldn't say we play the same game, but same kind of style. It's going to be interesting. It's going to be tactically very exciting, very interesting tomorrow. We both move forward a lot. We come to the net. We have both a good game on grass. It's probably her best surface, I think. Her victories over Myskina and Sharapova gave her for sure a lot of confidence. It will be 50/50 on the court tomorrow.

Q. Why don't you watch matches?
JUSTINE HENIN-HARDENNE: Because I don't want -- you know, it's going to be another match against me tomorrow, I don't want to take anything from that. I know her game pretty well. She knows mine pretty well. There are no surprises about that.
I don't want to have a wrong feeling, you know, watching her playing against someone else. I watch a lot of the men's tennis. I learn a lot from that because there is no concurrence, anything. I don't watch a lot the women's tennis.

Q. What do you learn from men's tennis?
JUSTINE HENIN-HARDENNE: You know, it's a very different kind of game. The fact, you know, in the last couple of months I played much more with my forehand. The men are doing that a lot. They move forward. They're very relaxed. They have different kind of attitude. So it's pretty interesting. When I watch Federer playing tennis, it's really fantastic.

Q. At the very top level, women's tennis, when all the players are so talented, how much is the decisive factor which player is better able to control her nerves, do you think?
JUSTINE HENIN-HARDENNE: I think that's the key at this stage of a tournament. When you have the top four players in the semifinals, it's no question really about tennis, it's a question of how you deal with the situation, the nerves are very important.
Women are more emotional, so it's more than mentally, it's really emotionally you have to control this. It's not easy all the time. You need to move forward and try to take the opportunities. That's what I did yesterday.

Q. Was there a point in your career where you made a breakthrough in that area, that wasn't a problem for you any more?
JUSTINE HENIN-HARDENNE: I've always been very emotional. I'm still. But I control that much better now than I did in the past. I would say early in 2003 I felt something was different. I was seeing the game differently. I was No. 4, No. 5 at the time. I said, Do you want to stay at this ranking? It's great, but is it why you playing tennis or do you want to become a champion and win Grand Slams? Then I knew I had to do more than what I was doing.
It's been pretty amazing that after that emotionally I changed a lot. Also when I went to work in Florida with Pat Etcheberry, mentally I changed a lot of things, I understood the efforts I had to make if I wanted to become a champion.

Q. Do you think a victory would complete a personal Grand Slam for you, will that encourage your motivation in the match?
JUSTINE HENIN-HARDENNE: I see this opportunity to win a sixth Grand Slam more than maybe winning my first Wimbledon. It would be a great achievement, but I don't have to be too focused. It doesn't have to be an obsession for me. I try to keep that idea away from me.
It is a motivation, for sure. But a lot of -- I think when Federer never won the French Open and he is a champion, you know, everybody's asking how many Grand Slams did he win. If it would be a sixth one for me, would be great tomorrow. If it will be my first Wimbledon, it will be a great achievement in my career.

Q. (Indiscernible) reactions were unfair after you pulled out of the Australian Open final?
JUSTINE HENIN-HARDENNE: Oh, you know, it was in January. Already we are in July. I just -- the only thing that matters is what's going to happen tomorrow. What happened in Australia is far away. I'm fine with that. I'm a different player now. I don't want to think too much about that.

Q. What did you learn about her in Australia in the final?
JUSTINE HENIN-HARDENNE: You know, I wasn't in good shape enough to learn anything at that time. For me it's a match that I forgot. It's from the past. It's been a bad experience and that's it.

Q. Was that one of the worst experiences you've had?
JUSTINE HENIN-HARDENNE: No. I think it's an experience in tennis life. That's it.

Q. It's a 2:00 start tomorrow. How do you spend your morning? Are you quite relaxed, nervous?
JUSTINE HENIN-HARDENNE: Quite relaxed? I don't think I will be quite relaxed. I would be very scared if I get relaxed tomorrow morning (smiling).
No, I'm probably going to wake up pretty early. I love to come on-site pretty early also, 10, 10:30, get my practice, eat two hours, two hours and a half before the match, just get ready.
I will start to be focused and be in my match probably later today. Tomorrow morning I will feel very nervous, but it's normal and I need it.

Q. Will you sit there quietly? How do you relax in that time waiting for the match to start?
JUSTINE HENIN-HARDENNE: I stay with my entourage. An hour before the match, I go in the locker room, I prepare my racquets, then I try to see what's going to happen in the match, what I want to do on the court. It's very important that you prepare yourself to get ready.

Q. How big a battle are those prematch nerves for you? Do you ever have sleepless nights before a final, physically sick the morning before you have to play in a big match?
JUSTINE HENIN-HARDENNE: I think it's very normal. All the players are getting nervous before this kind of situation. The fact is that how you deal with it, that's going to be the main key.

Q. I was wondering how debilitating it can be when you feel yourself being really wound up, whether it can affect you physically in terms of how you're able to prepare for a match.
JUSTINE HENIN-HARDENNE: You know, I'm going to feel probably very tired tomorrow morning and that's it. It's normal to have this kind of feeling. Then you forget about that because there's a lot of tension. It's these kind of moments that I like a lot in my career, so I'm sure I'm going to be fine.

Q. Yesterday Sharapova and Mauresmo were very emotional on court. You seem very cool and collected when you play. Can we expect maybe a bit of that in the final?
JUSTINE HENIN-HARDENNE: I don't know what to expect tomorrow. You don't control this. It's coming, and that's the way it is. Sometimes I show a little bit more my emotions. When you win a semifinal, the tournament is not over yet. You need to keep that a little bit more.

Q. Do you actually think a final between you and Amélie on grass is the perfect finale for this tournament, the way you bring, the grace you bring to the game?
JUSTINE HENIN-HARDENNE: I think it's good. I hope we can show a good match, we can show good tennis. That's the only thing I really hope right now. We are two very good players. I'm sure on grass we both play good tennis.
We'll see tomorrow. It's a Grand Slam final so you never know what to expect, how you're going to feel, the tennis you're going to give. But I think it's good that both one-handed backhands on grass, I think it's a pretty good final.

Q. What do you think can give you the edge tomorrow?
JUSTINE HENIN-HARDENNE: We'll see. Right now it's very hard to talk about that 'cause the way we both will feel tomorrow walking on the court. The player who will be the most ambitious, who will take the opportunities, who won't be too scared to move forward, try to take her chances, will win.
I will have to be brave.

Q. Tactically, physically, to be good, what is most important?
JUSTINE HENIN-HARDENNE: I think I just answered this question. You need to be at your best level. You need to be focused on every point. You need to be really concentrated on your goals, try to forget about everything else, yeah, keep going the way I did in the last 17 matches.

End of FastScripts...

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297