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January 24, 2010

Justine Henin


J. HENIN/Y. Wickmayer
7-6, 1-6, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You struggled early. How did you recover from a second set 1-6?
JUSTINE HENIN: Well, it wasn't that easy. Of course, the first set asked me a lot of energy and a lot of intensity. Then the beginning of the second set, uhm, I slow down a little bit. She didn't give me a lot of points at that time. And she played very good tennis.
Just tried to stay calm. At the end of the second set, it was difficult mentally to stay in the set. But started to be really focused on the third set. I got the opportunity to start it pretty well, and that's what I did. It was important to put the pressure early in the third set. Finally I could keep my serve.
I served very well today. I'm very happy about that. In the third set, I've been aggressive enough, and there was a good tennis. So glad the way I finished. Really it's a great feeling to be in the quarters. I enjoyed my time on the court. It wasn't an easy match. I was expecting a tough match. That happened. I'm glad I could come through.

Q. What part of your game is improving every match?
JUSTINE HENIN: A lot of things improved in the last few matches. The way I play more aggressive, coming to the net. I think my game at the net is just better than it was before. I just need to be brave enough to do it. That's what I did on the important points today.
I served very well, very consistent. More than 60%. It's not very often that happen to me in my career. I'll try to enjoy that.
No, I was glad that mentally in the third set I've been a hundred percent on every point. Of course, it's difficult matches. Physically it's long matches. The last few days hasn't been that easy. But I feel just so happy. I'll give my best again in two days.

Q. You've spent a lot of time on court. You must be very pleased how you finished that game, physically as well.
JUSTINE HENIN: Yeah, very happy. Of course, my left leg is quite sore. Sprained my ankle today also when I fell down. I hope it's going to be okay tomorrow. So physically it hasn't been easy in the last few days.
But, like I said, I didn't play tennis for two more years, so I probably love to spend more time on the court. But it's the kind of match that gives confidence, of course. When you have to fight, that's probably what I need. It's just more than what I could expect. I couldn't think I could be at this level at this time of the year, after almost two years off.
It's, yeah, magical out there the way I feel. I feel so happy on the court. I feel it's my place. I feel I wouldn't say different, but I enjoy it much more, and I find the passion again. That's a great feeling.

Q. How do you feel you're playing this week compared to when you were at your best?
JUSTINE HENIN: It's very hard to compare because a lot of things happened. I feel probably I'll live things differently. But it's only the beginning. So it's early for me to take conclusions on that.
But I think my game improved. It's just that we can still feel that it's only my second tournament. You know, a few situations during the match that I shouldn't do what I did. But that's going to be the competition that is gonna give me that. I have to play matches, a few tournaments in a row. So I know that I'll need that.
But it's more than what I thought I would be. I mean, in this tournament, at this level, I take everything as bonus. Yeah, it's just fantastic at the moment.

Q. We saw what Kim did in the US Open. Do you feel you could win this thing?
JUSTINE HENIN: I don't go that far. I just go step by step. Every match is a goal. Every match, I know everything can happen. It's probably the right attitude to have, just to be focused on this moment right now.
That's what I did since I arrived in Australia, and I think it worked pretty good. So, no, I don't look too far. I dream of every match that I have to play. I dream that I can win it. I know how I built my career: slowly, took my time a lot, because I thought that long-term was the best for me. And I think the key for me, I was dreaming, of course, when I was younger, but I took my time a lot. That's what I'm doing at the moment also.
Of course, I have dreams. I'll try to go as far as possible. If it's till the end, it would be amazing. But it's still too early to talk about that. Probably the hardest part about that is coming. No, I just live this moment right now and try to enjoy it.

Q. Are you surprised your quarterfinal opponent is Nadia Petrova?
JUSTINE HENIN: I'm not surprised because I know how well she can play. I played her in Brisbane. It was a very good match, very good quality. Well, Carlos told me that day that she would do a good Australian circuit because she was in good shape already. Now in this tournament she's in confidence. She played a great match against Kim, got more confidence today against Kuznetsova. So I know it's going to be a big fight.
Nadia is a tough player, a real fighter. So I know I'll have to play my best tennis if I want to go to the semis.

Q. Have you ever felt as at ease, as relaxed as you seem right now in the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam?
JUSTINE HENIN: Not in the past. But I've been No. 1 for a long time. When you're No. 1, you have to deal with the pressure and the situation. It's not the same. I'm not in the same kind of situation, but I hope that one day I'll be in the situation again.
It's just that it's still very early for me. You know, it's only my second tournament, so to talk about that... I feel the distance I took in the last two years helps me a lot at the moment. I live the pressure differently, the expectations and everything differently at the moment. So it's really positive.
I hope that I can fix it in the future; that it's not something just now, and that it will last for my second career.

Q. Your thoughts on Yanina?
JUSTINE HENIN: I was impressed the way she went for everything. You know, she didn't give me a lot. She has been very solid, very consistent, real fighter on the court.
She put a lot of intensity in the ball. I had to play a good game to win. So I was ready to fight. But I was impressed the way she played, yeah.

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