Q. Your first defeat here for six years. How big a disappointment is it for you for that run to end today?
JUSTINE HENIN: Well, of course it is disappointing. I mean, never easy to lose, and especially in this kind of situation.
I just wanted so much that the adventure could keep going. I haven't been of course, yeah, at my best today. Samantha was the best player on the court. She took her chances, the opportunities.
Yeah, it's of course difficult, but it's part of the sport. And when you come back at this level, you know, after, I mean, two years off, you know it's not gonna be easy to deal with a lot of situations. That means I still have to work harder and see it as a big challenge.
Like I said, I took this year as a year of transition, so of course it's hard. But in another way, it seems a bit normal. I'll just try to keep a lot of positive things and get focused on the future now.
Q. How much have the weather conditions here over the past few days affected you mentally? It's such a wonderful surface, and to play out there when it's warm and it's sunny, now you have this weather to deal with. Does that have any impact on you?
JUSTINE HENIN: It hasn't been easy, of course, the last few days, to play so many days in a row, even if it's not full match, but stop and start again the day after and finish the match.
Of course, the conditions haven't been the best that I knew here in Paris, but it's part of the game. It's the same for all the players, and I just did my best to, yeah, deal with the situation.
But it's true that it hasn't been the best weather to play a good game here. But like I said, same for everyone. Emotionally, it was difficult to deal with all these matches, I mean, the two matches I had to stop and start again, especially against Sharapova emotionally probably took a lot from me. That wasn't easy to come back on the court today.
Q. Samantha Stosur has been playing well. Sometimes players will come up and nibble around the edges, but they won't really maybe break through. Do you see her as potentially a real top 5 sort of player and contender at Grand Slams?
JUSTINE HENIN: She has a lot of qualities. She really starts to be very consistent, especially on the clay. I mean, probably her best surface. She can do a lot of good things.
Q. You've actually been back now about for five months. So now, having got back into the circuit and had a look at it, are you still convinced that you can be as good as you once were before you took the break from the game?
JUSTINE HENIN: Well, it's gonna take some time. I realize that.
But I said it from the first minute, you know, I was back on the tour. Even if the ambitions are to, you know, do the best and really get better, I also said while it's not easy to come back, it's gonna take a little bit of time.
There have been a lot of good things in the first five months of the season, but that's not easy. I mean, I knew 2010 would be difficult. I mean, even if in Australia I got very good results, you know, it was also the surprise, you know, to come back for the other players and everything.
After that, you have to confirm. We can see there are some ups and downs, and I think I mean, I knew it could happen. Now it's probably gonna be really the time that I'll have to, you know, just say, Well, it's now that I have to find, because there are difficult moments. I think I'm ready to do it.
Q. Is Sam Stosur mentally a tougher player than maybe the Australian media have given her credit for in the past?
JUSTINE HENIN: Well, she's like I said, she has a lot of qualities, and she improved a lot in the last few months, I would say. We can see she's in confidence, also. I think that she's very calm on the court, very quiet. You know, she invests a lot in her game. So very, very good player.
Q. Is it okay just to ask how you sort of see obviously her next match against Serena, both pretty powerful games?
JUSTINE HENIN: No, I have no idea about what's gonna happen now.
Q. You just came off the court. It's very hard to switch your perspective, but many of us won't see you for a while. What are your thoughts? What are your anticipations about Wimbledon? What did you think about it in the many months when you were gone? Is that your prime goal now, to win that title?
JUSTINE HENIN: Well, I mean, I don't want to predict anything. It's a difficult moment right now. The only thing I can say is that I'm gonna take a day or two days off and then start to work to get ready for Wimbledon and for the rest of the season, and just to work, you know, on my game and just to get better.
So in terms of what I'm gonna play before Wimbledon, I still have no idea about my plan. We gonna discuss a lot about that with my coach in the next two days. Yeah, I mean, like I said, I want to go as far as possible over there. But in 2010, it's probably a bit too early to say, Well, it's gonna be my goal to win it.
There are so many things I have to work on, and we'll see what's gonna happen.
Q. But in your game, have you been working on strokes and technique in anticipation of grass play?
JUSTINE HENIN: No, I just work on myself to improve. That's it.
Q. You say it's a transition year, but when you came here, did you see yourself as a real possible champion this year in Roland Garros?
JUSTINE HENIN: No, I didn't feel it this way. I mean, all the expectations are coming from the outside, you know. Everyone wants to see me as the level that I was and to compete really, but the confidence I got, you know, in 2007, it took many years to be at that level in terms of, I mean, mental and confidence.
No, I was really here to play match after match, and that's what I did. I keep some positive things from this tournament, but I didn't consider myself as the favorite. If I could win one more match or two more matches you can start dreaming, but that is not the case anymore.
Q. Do you still get an idea of how far you are from the others Justine that quit tennis? If you would play against that player right now, what would be the score, do you think?
JUSTINE HENIN: Well, it's very tough question. I don't want to compare I mean, these two careers, because it's so different. I need some time now really to I mean, like I said, the player I was at that time, it took me so many years to be at that level, you know.
And to come back physically and mentally and emotionally, you know, we can talk about nerves and having the nerves at the right moment when you have to be strong. But you don't used anymore to be in this kind of situation, so you have to start again. That takes some time, so it's very hard to compare.
What's from the past is from the past. I have to move forward now.
Q. Having said that, it's been quite difficult and a transitional year. Does that make you think it's even more remarkable what Kim managed to achieve so soon after her comeback?
JUSTINE HENIN: Yeah, I mean, it was great what she did at the US Open, and I admired that a lot because I know how hard it is. I wasn't that far in Australia, but after that you have to confirm. We could see it wasn't that easy for the players, you know, that came back. After a few tournaments we can see ups and downs, and that's pretty normal, actually.
Q. I was wondering when you started practicing again? And also, you were just talking about nerves. Was that the issue on the first point of the last game when you had an open court and the short backhand?
JUSTINE HENIN: Yeah, probably. But, you know, it's I mean, of course. Generally I haven't been in the position in the second and in the third to really put my game and, you know, being aggressive. She was in control of the rallies, and she was hurting me a lot with her forehand and her serve.
But I think it's a bit more mental than talking about tennis, so that point is one point in the match that probably, yeah, tell us that I mean, the story of the match.
When I'm gonna start practicing again? Was that the question?
Q. When did you start for your comeback?
JUSTINE HENIN: When did I start? In August last year.
THE MODERATOR: Questions in French, please.
Q. If we compare with the Stuttgart final, what did Samantha do better today to be able to defeat you?
JUSTINE HENIN: Well, I think she was very consistent. She was very consistent. There's nothing to say about that. She just grabbed the opportunity. She took control over the rallies in the second and third sets. She really hurt me.
I was not in one of my best days, obviously. It's difficult to come to grips with that, but maybe it's showing me a few things. That's what I think is positive. I know now the road still ahead of me.
Today I was against an opponent who was stronger, more consistent, stronger when she needed to be stronger in the important times of the match. I did not start off too badly. I was doing what I was supposed to do.
But then afterwards, there was always aggressiveness missing. It means that I still have to work a lot, quite simply.
Q. When exactly did you feel that things were changing in your game?
JUSTINE HENIN: Very early in the second set. She was leading 3 0. My nerves were simply not strong enough today. I felt very nervous, very upset, which is normally not the way I am.
You know, the last few days have not been easy either, and playing all those matches back to back was not easy. This teaches me a lesson. I lost a lot of energy at the beginning of the tournament, and maybe today I was feeling some nervous fatigue. Maybe that nervous fatigue prevented me from seeing things in a calmer way.
But, yes, I felt right from the beginning of the second set that the match was turning.
Q. And the ball into the net, is that the turning point?
JUSTINE HENIN: She was serving at 5 4, but, you know, you don't win or lose a match in one point. I think she deserved to win, full stop.
That point did not make the difference. I could have been more conquering much earlier in the match. It was too late by now to overturn the situation, so I would not say that that was the key to the match.
She quite simply was better than me.
Q. What are the feelings today for you? Frustration? Disappointment?
JUSTINE HENIN: It's not an easy time for me. It's always difficult to lose, especially in a place as much as I love Roland Garros, without having been able to show your best tennis.
But that's part of my life. I mean, I'm a high level athlete. I've never had to manage difficult moments like this in my first career. I have to come to grips with it. I have to work on it.
But I'm prepared to do it. This will be my objective for the near future. I will consider this as a challenge. I'm going to work a lot. As I said, I will leave here with some very positive lessons. It shows me that the road is still long. If I succeed to do it, then it will be useful for the future.
Q. Maybe a high level tennis is one thing, but managing defeat would be more useful for you. I mean, you don't really learn to manage defeat, but you were talking about being nervous. Is this more difficult to manage?
JUSTINE HENIN: Well, yes, this is not the right time to talk about tennis. It's all about learning to go for it at the right time, do what is necessary to win, and maybe this is what is lacking right now for me.
It will take time. I'm quite aware of it, but I'm not going to give up. That, I can promise.
Q. Two finals, Brisbane and the Australian Open, so you're at the top level immediately. But maybe wasn't that a bit negative for today's result?
JUSTINE HENIN: Well, yes, I'm back at top level, but I was missing something. Maybe I could have pulled it through there. But on the other hand, when you come back, you're euphoric; the other players are surprised.
So it all adds up. You can come back at the top level, and yet experience some very difficult times. I think we should not overreact now. I should simply set my ambitions where they're supposed to be, knowing my current capacities and knowing that it takes time to come back to your full self.
Q. What can we hope for in Wimbledon? How do you analyze your situation vis a vis this tournament right now?
JUSTINE HENIN: Well, I just walked off the court. It's not easy to provide such an answer. I will try to have fun in Wimbledon. In the meantime, I'm going to work, do my best, and then I'm simply going to try and seize the moment and we'll see what happens.
Q. The match against Sharapova, did that take a lot of emotion, energy away from you emotionally? And when you come back to competition, isn't the most difficult aspect that you have to play matches back to back?
JUSTINE HENIN: Absolutely. Maybe a day off would have been welcome, considering the emotions I've been through in the last few days. But there's nothing for it.
Yesterday's tension was just receding when I had to increase my attention again to face today's match. So that was not easy to manage, and probably did not manage it correctly. It shows that I still have to work on it.
Yes, playing matches back to back is difficult when you've not done this for some time.
Q. It's like a small sparkle today that was missing?
JUSTINE HENIN: Yes.
Q. Two years off the courts. Everybody talks about the mental capacity, but is it possible to come back to the same physical fitness, physical condition that you had before you stopped playing?
JUSTINE HENIN: Yes, yes. I think that is not the issue. Of course. It means a lot of work and things I still have to work on, but I do not believe that the issue is my fitness.
It has more to do with challenging difficult times and considering this as a challenge. But I have to invest on this work. I have to be consistent, rigorous, and it cannot be done overnight.
I've already changed a lot in several aspects, but I have to continue working. But no, my physical condition is not the issue. I'm not worried about that.