Jusinte Henin after defeating the 27th-seeded Alisa Kleybanonva 3-6, 6-4, 6-2.
Henin was just one point away from being a set and 4-1 down but broke back
in fifth game to get herself back in the match.
An interview with:
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Are you proud of your comeback in today's match?
JUSTINE HENIN: I'm happy I'm in the fourth round. I kind of survived a little bit today.
But, no, it's always good to win this kind of match because I came back from nowhere. It was so difficult for me after last match. Physically I suffered a little bit in the last two days. I wasn't feeling the energy enough to be able to compete at my level.
I've been patient. Slowly but surely it was better. And she was dangerous because, I mean, when you need the rhythm, especially because physically you're not feeling well. She put a lot of pressure serving well. That wasn't the kind of game that would help me come into the match. But finally I did it.
So I'm very happy that I'm still in the tournament, that I have another chance to get better in the next round.
Q. From the position you were in, was the outcome more down to you or to your opponent?
JUSTINE HENIN: Well, I wasn't at my level, of course. And she was doing a great job. But I wasn't able to put the pressure on her and to take the opportunities and to be consistent. It was hard for me to move. It was hard for me to, yeah, just like I said, find the energy.
But she was doing a very good job at that time. Then I just tried to wait for the opportunities. She started to serve not that good at the end of the second set. I took my chances. In the third, it was much better. Was able to, yeah, express myself a little bit more.
Q. Was it just tiredness from the previous game or is there anything specifically physically you were feeling body‑wise?
JUSTINE HENIN: Well, I face, yeah, a few issues. And my body suffered a lot. It's not used to it anymore. I didn't have 48 hours. It's been quite short to recover. Not enough slept. I slept terribly. I was in bed at 2 when I beat Dementieva. I slept five hours. Not that much last night.
When I woke up this morning, I felt it's going to be tough today because I'm tired. I'm happy. I'm sure I'll have time enough to recover and feel much better in two days than today.
I was ready for a tough match. I was ready mentally, emotionally and physically it would be difficult. I have a bit of inflammation in my leg. I hope it's not going to get worse in the next 48 hours. I think it's generally I need to recover from that. I'm pretty positive these two days I have are going to help me now.
Q. After the Brisbane final, you told us about your leg. Are you a bit nervous that your body will hold together for a few more matches?
JUSTINE HENIN: Well, I decided to be really positive. I'm sure it will be okay. No, of course, now I feel that even physically I'm ready. Competition is just another story. I mean, that kind of match against Dementieva with this intensity. The match against Kim, that takes a few days to completely recover.
Fortunately today it hasn't been that physical on the court. Even if the match was pretty long, it hasn't been like very long rallies. It's just my reactions were pretty slow. Yeah, the way I was feeling generally that I was quite slow on the court.
But, no, I mean, challenge now is to recover, get better. I mean, if we talk about long‑term, I know my body is going to be fine. These few weeks, it's matches at a top level. After almost two years off, it's normal that it takes a little bit to really get used to it physically, that the muscles are in good shape enough.
Q. You faced a few challenges in your TV show. Is coming back to Grand Slam tennis the biggest challenge you've ever faced?
JUSTINE HENIN: It's different to be in a Grand Slam. When I was in Brisbane, it was a different atmosphere. Coming here in Melbourne after one tournament, being in a Grand Slam, it's not the easiest part. But it's also almost the most exciting.
So it's a big challenge to come back. And I think I love challenges. That's the way I am. I cannot live like normally. I need always to push myself and to push the limits back. And I feel, again, that, well, I'm very proud of what I'm doing right now. I enjoy my game out there. That's the most important thing.
Q. Are you impressed about some of the other players in the tournament? If you could say something about Caroline Wozniacki.
JUSTINE HENIN: You know what, I never saw her playing, not even a point. So it's very hard. I didn't watch any tennis since I retired. And I didn't watch the US Open final neither. So it's very hard for me.
I know she's young and very good player, that she proved it already. But that's all I know.
Q. Faced a Belgian in the first round. Wickmayer won. You may face Kim in the quarterfinals. Are you pushing soccer off the back page at home?
JUSTINE HENIN: It's special that we all in the same part of ‑‑ same quarter. It's pretty strange, pretty crazy. But it's the way the draw is. I've never played Yanina in the past. When I retired, she was just coming.
But she proved with her results last year that she is in top form. Again, this week she's fighting a lot. So I know it's going to be a tough match for myself. Yeah, it's a bit disappointing that we're all in the same part, of course. In another way, Belgian tennis proves that we are back, and that's a very good feeling.
Q. Are you playing Fed Cup?
JUSTINE HENIN: Not in February. Maybe in the future, but not the next match.
Q. At this point in your comeback, with the tournament here, also earlier this month, are you most concerned with how you're recovering mentally or how you're recovering physically?
JUSTINE HENIN: I'm not really concerned about that. I know it's going to be fine. I mean, I feel mentally and emotionally pretty fresh. But it's just I have to deal with, you know, the tight situations like two days ago. It's not in a tournament. What I do after such a long time off is just amazing. I know it's gonna take a while just to find a lot of stability and some consistency.
Physically I know it's going to be the same thing. I know my body is going to be fine. But I need more time.
Q. You talked the other day about feeling nerves at the end of the Dementieva match. When you were down 3‑1, were you more relaxed today?
JUSTINE HENIN: I just tried to stay calm. I just tried to, you know, wait for that things were going better, and that paid. That was the most important thing. If you get crazy at that time, I mean... I just tried to play point after point, be focused on every moment, even if it's not easy.
Proved again that that's probably a good attitude to have. But sometimes it's okay, and sometimes you lose. But today I feel like I'm very happy to be in the tournament, to have another opportunity to play another match.
It's been more than what I could expect when I arrive in Australia. Now, even if I have the ambition to go further and win every match that I'll play, everything's bonus for me.
Q. Is there a story behind the new diamond ring you have on?
JUSTINE HENIN: Well, it's not coming from a lover, if that's the question (laughter).
Q. Is it just something you've treated yourself with?
JUSTINE HENIN: It's a gift from a friend. But nothing else, yeah (smiling). I was surprised the question didn't come earlier actually.
Q. For the reasons you've already covered with your body, the short turnaround, are you having to ask yourself physically to do something you've never done before?
JUSTINE HENIN: More treatments. I'm lucky I have my trainer with me. So that's a good thing because we can go back in the hotel, work a lot. We worked more than four hours yesterday on my body. It's a lot, of course. But my body needs it.
For the rest, you know, there are no secrets about how to recover well. So nothing special. Nothing more than in the past, except that we have to, yeah, spend a lot of hours to get it ready.
Q. You talk about regaining the mental side of things. Does that just come from playing matches, finding that consistency?
JUSTINE HENIN: Of course. Yeah, of course. It's the competition that gives that. The fact that you are in these tight situations where you have to play well on the important points, to keep the intensity, concentration. Just playing matches will give me that.