Justine Henin has been the most dominant female tennis player this year, and the most consistent the last few years. She impressively won her seventh Grand Slam at the US Open without losing a set and defeating both Serena and Venus Williams consecutively. Justine has already secured the year-end No. 1 ranking and holds a gawdy 54-4 record this season.
Steely and determined, the mighty Belgian has begun showing her 'softer side' and allowing the world to peer into her inner-workings. Competing at the Zurich Open this week, the World No. 1 met with the press to discuss her incredible year, the state of her health, and the inevitable comparisons to her male counterpart, Roger Federer.
On her standout 2007 season:
"I'll have played just 14 tournaments but I'm almost at 60 matches now, with exceptional results. So far 12 tournaments, eight victories. I can't ask for much more." [...] "I want to end the season on a high, I still want to take one or two titles more."
On the state of her health:
"It'll be the first time in several years that I can complete my season," [...] "That's my other big victory this year."
"When you see what the greatest girls in the sport, like Martina Navratilova and Steffi Graf, have achieved then you have to think that nobody is going to do that again in the women's game," [...] "It's a great feeling to be winning a lot of Grand Slams but my motivation is just that I love so much being on the court and competing at the highest level."
On the prospect of winning the "Golden Slam" (all 4 Grand Slams and the Olympic gold) in 2008:
"That's a tough, tough goal, so let's go one step at a time,"[...] "I will definitely be at the Olympic Games which is one of my main goals for sure. My win in Athens was the most beautiful experience of my career. As for Wimbledon, I will do everything I can to win there. For a little girl who dreamed of winning Grand Slams it would be a great achievement if I could win the lot. But if I don't do it, I won't feel any less of a champion because there are a lot of great players who never managed to win all four."
On comparisons to World No. 1 Roger Federer:
"It's an honour to hear those kind of compliments," [...] "But I never like to compare myself to anyone because I just like to do my job the best I can. I do it for myself, the people I love, my fans - but I don't really run after being part of the history of the sport."
(images via AP Photo, source 1 & 2)