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January 13, 2008

Justine Henin


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Compared to the last few years, will we see a different Justine Henin this year?
JUSTINE HENIN: Well, you tell me. I don't know. Yeah, it's just great to be back here in Melbourne. I left Melbourne with a strange feeling two years ago and wasn't here last year. I missed it a lot.
I love Australia. I love to play here. It's a tournament that brought me a lot of joy in the past. So it's great. I'm feeling healthy. I'm feeling happy. It's just a great feeling to be here again.

Q. Do you feel there's a bit of unfinished business here after what happened in 2006 and missing last year?
JUSTINE HENIN: I feel comfortable about what happened two years ago. And last year everyone knows why I wasn't here. So I don't have the feeling I have to prove anything to anyone. I just have a lot of motivation because it's a tournament I like a lot and because two years ago I couldn't be at my best and I couldn't get my chances to win another Grand Slam title. And last year it was pretty special not being here.
Yeah, I'm just so happy to be back. But I don't have the feeling I must prove anything to anyone.

Q. You're on an amazing run at the moment: 28 games in a row. Anyone that can beat you at the tournament?
JUSTINE HENIN: Well, every time I walk on the court before a match, I imagine how it would feel if I win and how it would feel if I lose, because I know anything can happen.
It's great, you know. But numbers are not the most important thing. I'm here to give my best. You all have to start again in every match. You need to be at your best. I always say little details make a big difference.
A Grand Slam is tough. It's long. So I don't know what's going to happen for me in the next two weeks. I can tell you it's great what's happening to me. I don't want to take it as an extra pressure. I have enough like this. So I just try to enjoy my tennis, that's the key for me.

Q. How much confidence do you have for this tournament, based on your conditioning?
JUSTINE HENIN: Yeah, well, I have a lot of confidence because I won in Sydney. When you win, that gives a lot of confidence. But in another way I know my opponents are there and they want the same thing and there is a lot of concurrence.
So I'll go match after match. I don't want to look too far. I'm just really focused on what's going to happen tomorrow, and that's it now for me.

Q. Who do you see as your big threat this year at the Australian Open?
JUSTINE HENIN: It's going to be -- it's open. It's going to be an interesting tournament. First Grand Slam in the season is always a bit special because you never know what to expect. You don't know if you're in good shape or if you still need a little bit of time to be at your best. A lot of things can happen here in Australia.
We will see. We'll have answers in the next few days.

Q. Serena last year I suppose surprised a lot of people. This year she's looking fitter and stronger than ever before. Do you see her as a main threat?
JUSTINE HENIN: Well, I'm sure she had a good preparation. I'm sure she's one of the favorites. So it's very hard to say now what can happen in two weeks. Let's wait a little bit more. I don't want to be focused on the other players. It's hard enough to be concentrated on myself. I don't pay attention too much to that.

Q. How did you recover from the other night, the three sets?
JUSTINE HENIN: Yeah, I felt physically very good in that match. And I recovered I think pretty well. Had to travel. I traveled yesterday. Had a lot of meetings. But I could hit on the Rod Laver Arena this morning.
Conditions are a bit different from what it was in Sydney. The weather is different. The ball's a little bit maybe heavier. I have more control so I like the conditions here. I thought it was a great match against Svetlana in Sydney. It was a good final, very intense, the kind of match you need before a Grand Slam I think.

Q. How do you expect the new surface to play?
JUSTINE HENIN: I think it's a good surface. I'm not quite sure it's a big, big difference from what it was on Rebound Ace. The color is different, for sure. Except for that, I'm not quite sure there is a big, big difference.
I like the court. I like the conditions. That's good.

Q. What have you made of Lindsay Davenport's comeback so far?
JUSTINE HENIN: Well, I think it's interesting. Yeah, I didn't think she would come back so quickly. She looks like she doesn't have any pressure now. She just plays because she loves to play tennis, and we can feel it. So I think it was a tough challenge for her, and she's doing it. It's great that she's back.

Q. Could she be a factor here and possibly for the rest of the year?
JUSTINE HENIN: Well, she has a lot of experience. Now it's going to be her first Grand Slam since she gave birth. So it's a different tournament, a Grand Slam, than from the others. But we'll see in the next few weeks or few months what's going to happen.

Q. Lindsay is unseeded. That's the way it works with the rankings. Is that something perhaps tournament officials should look at, someone like Lindsay who has a great track record?
JUSTINE HENIN: I don't think so, no. I don't think so. It's a danger, for sure, but that's how it works, and I think that's the right way.

Q. What is your main goal for this year?
JUSTINE HENIN: My main goal? Well, for me every match is a goal. I'm here because I love to play. I'm going to walk on the court tomorrow and try and win. That's really my main focus now.
In terms of long-term in the season, I think about Wimbledon, I think about the Olympic Games for sure. But just try to stay healthy. That's the key for me, one more time.

Q. What do you know about Aiko, your first-round opponent?
JUSTINE HENIN: Nakamura, yeah, I played her I think once only in my career and I won. But a first round in a Grand Slam is always a bit special. That's not my favorite round (smiling). You need to get in the tournament, get used to the conditions, to the atmosphere. It's always a bit difficult match. But I hope I can be at my best level and have a good first match in Melbourne.

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