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July 1, 2003

Kim Clijsters


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Kim.

Q. How do you account for such a dramatic change of fortune?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I think in the beginning, just with her slices and stuff, I was just finding -- couldn't find my position on the court. She was -- with her forehand, she was hitting the ball really deep, so she was keeping me on my back foot and out of balance. With her backhand she would mix it up. It was a matter of finding my footwork. I think in the beginning it wasn't there and I didn't have those small steps that I normally take to get right where I have to stand to hit, you know, hard shots and to hit winners. And then at 5-4, I got this beesting right in my stomach and, you know, I just -- I just got a bit confused, didn't know if I should call the trainer or what to do. And I was very happy I didn't blow up out there, so just to know I didn't have any allergies to that. I mean, just, in the second or third set, I played really well. I started dominating and, you know, keeping her out of balance a little bit, keeping her on the back foot and just serving better as well.

Q. How does it feel to go further at Wimbledon than ever before?

KIM CLIJSTERS: It's great. It's a good feeling, I think, to be in another semi. And especially here. I think this is a Grand Slam that really means a lot to me. I really enjoy playing here. You know, overall, I'm really happy with the way my level has been, compared to the last few years. That's definitely been a big, big change for me.

Q. Did the sting hurt? Has that ever happened to you?

KIM CLIJSTERS: No, it's never happened, but it did hurt. Never happened to me. For the first, probably until 2-love, 3-love in the second, it was really pretty painful. Even now, I can still sort of feel like -- I don't know, it's weird.

Q. Did you rub it?

KIM CLIJSTERS: No, I just at 5-4, I just hit this -- I felt something and I just hit it off. You know, I saw it, you know, go away. You know, I don't know. It never happened to me before.

Q. So you didn't put anything on it after, you just left the stinger in?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, I don't know. I just played. I mean, I tried not to worry about it. I said, "Well, just put your skirt right on there so you don't think about it and don't rub it or something. " And then, you know, as soon as I came off the court, I went to the physio, and had something put on. And then they had a look and, yeah, so...

Q. At 5-4 exactly?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, exactly. Yeah.

Q. After the change?


Q. As well as you've been playing, when you're playing Venus, if you have a bad first set, it's going to be harder to recover?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Definitely. Definitely. I mean, against anyone, I think, you know, in the Top 5, Top 10, it's tough to, you know -- you have to be there from the start. And you have to serve particularly well, I think, especially against her. You know, once you get down a break and stuff, it's gonna be very tough, I think, to break her back. But, you know, I mean, that can always happen and you just have to keep believing in your chances and keep going for it and try to make matches turn around if you're down and trying to turn sets around. But, you know, I still -- you know, it was a long day yesterday as well, and I was feeling pretty tired in my doubles last night. And so I was happy -- I'm happy to have, you know, the rest of the night off and have another, you know, more quiet day tomorrow before I get to play her.

Q. How nervous were you after you lost the first set?

KIM CLIJSTERS: No, I wasn't nervous at all. You know, I knew that, you know, she wasn't hitting me off the court. You know, it's not like she was -- but I was making -- she was definitely making me make the unforced errors. But I just had to make sure that I was, you know, playing aggressive enough and, you know, mixing my game up enough to make her make the unforced errors, and looking for the lines and make her go from side to side, and not try to hit too much like in the forehand corner all the time so she can really start dictating. I definitely tried to go a little bit more into that backhand corner and sort of keep her under pressure there. Once I had an easier shot, just attack the forehand.

Q. Do you think also the fact that she missed a few easy overheads created some problems to her psychologically, or do you -- you don't think?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I think maybe. The first one she missed I think maybe stayed in her head for the next few ones that she missed as well. I think, you know, there were not -- there were a few lobs, I think, that I hit over her backhand that were maybe tough to hit. But then there were a few as well that were pretty easy. I think she maybe wanted to go to the lines too much and she missed them by a little bit. So you just have to -- that's the thing, you know, just keep trying to bring every ball back and your opponent can always miss the shot. And if they make it, too good. But just try to make them play that extra shot.

Q. You've talked about this before, but now you go on to the semifinal against Venus. You're playing well. Is your best game good enough to beat her best game?

KIM CLIJSTERS: It's hard to say. I mean, it's, you know -- I don't think we've played each other in that situation yet. I think, I don't think we've played each other where we're both at our best, I think. And so, I mean, you know, I know here it's gonna be really tough because the balls hurt so much more and the serves are so much stronger here. So I'll definitely have to, you know, be very, you know, very aggressive myself. So I don't know. I don't think in any of our matches that we've both played our best tennis yet, I think.

Q. You're very close to being No. 1 in the world. How much of a motivation, extra motivation, is that?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I mean, it's something, you know -- I don't really want to think about that at the moment. If it happens, of course that would be great. But, no, I'm not there yet. And, you know, it's definitely something -- I mean, it's always nice, I think, if you can be on top of, you know, your sport. I think in any sport, whatever it is. So it's not really -- I mean, I know -- I just want to focus on what I'm doing here and then we'll see, you know, what happens at the end of the tournament.

Q. A lot of players have taken losses in Grand Slam finals like you did at Roland Garros, then they go to a place like Wimbledon and completely bomb out because mentally they aren't able to recover. You seem to recover so quickly from losses. Have you always been that way? Why is it like that?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I don't know. I think it's -- I mean, it's just, I think, the way I deal with it. It's just -- I always try to -- I think that's the way you get grown up, I think, by parents as well, and the way people around you sort of -- I think that makes a big influence on you as well. You know, having my parents there and my coach, you know. On the other hand, you know, I lost in that final, but still, you know, I made it to a final and I won the doubles. So I'm definitely not complaining about the way that tournament went for me, not at all. So I just try to take the positive things out of it. And it's not, you know -- I didn't have a lot of time either to think about and reflect on what happened because the next day I had the doubles finals. And then, you know, two days later or three days later, I was practicing in Rosmalen already on grass. So it's not that I had, you know, a lot of time to reflect but, you know, even in the past, I just -- you know, I mean, I don't like losing, not at all and I'm disappointed after my matches. But, you know, it's never for very long. I mean, it's maybe the day and the next day, but then I'll get over myself and start working hard again for the next event.

End of FastScripts….

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