Disappointed Seles Praises Henin

There was a certain amount of disappointment as the Wimbledon title eluded Monica Seles once again but the holder of nine Grand Slam titles was philosophical, accepting that, as the years go by, it becomes increasingly more difficult.

“That is definitely the case and I’m fine with that,” she said. “But I will give it my best shot – that’s the best I can do. I really want to win any Grand Slam but obviously Wimbledon even more because I’ve never won it.”

There was no thought of retirement, either. “After a match like this [against Justine Henin], that never crossed my mind. I’m just more disappointed about that match and that’s what I worry about.”

What was perhaps more galling was that she was beaten by a girl who was not only eight years her junior, but a player she had never lost to in four previous encounters, though none had been on grass.

“Grass suits her game more than other surfaces and she played a wonderful match today,” said Seles. “While I think I played well overall during the tournament, I could have been less error prone. But Justine was just too good at the end there.”

Henin admitted that today she finally cast off the shackles that had hampered her in their previous matches. “Today I finally wasn’t afraid to play my game against her,” she said. “The key was to be aggressive and take the match at the net, and I did just that in the tie-break. That was what was important, that I went out to take the match.”

Looking ahead to her next opponent, the defending Champion who beat her in last year’s final, Henin said she had not had time to think about it.

“It is going to be tough, especially on grass,” the Belgian said. “She has won her matches easily so I know it is going to be difficult, but it was difficult today and I won. I have nothing to lose.”

As far as she was concerned, last year’s final was part of her learning curve for she believes that she will appear in many more Grand Slam championship matches. “I needed more experience,” she declared. “It is good for me to be back in the semi-final and I will just try and enjoy my game, be aggressive and serve like I did today. It’s going to be another day and we’ll see what happens.”