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June 23, 2003

Kim Clijsters


MODERATOR: Questions for Kim.

Q. You can't start a Grand Slam challenge any more emphatically than that. You must be very pleased?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Definitely. I mean, I played pretty well at the end of the Rosmalen. I was happy to let my game get into this week and have that level, the same level. That's always tough in the beginning of a Slam to be right on your game. You know, to have a match like this is obviously great. I was feeling the ball very well. It's always nice to have one of those, yeah.

Q. You obviously weren't distracted by what had happened before?

KIM CLIJSTERS: No, I wasn't.

Q. Did that give you any extra motivation?

KIM CLIJSTERS: No, not more or not less than any other match would have been in front of me, no.

Q. A lot of players choose not to play the week before a big Grand Slam. You did and you won. Does that give you more confidence or do you usually prefer not to play?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Well, it all depends on the time that you have. Of course, I -- I think -- I didn't have a big gap between the French and Wimbledon here. But I felt like I needed some matches. I think Rosmalen is the perfect tournament to get a few matches under your belt before getting into the third Grand Slam of the year. But it all depends on how much time you actually have and how many weeks before. At the French, I didn't do it, I didn't play a tournament before, because I played Berlin and Rome. But here I felt like it was necessary to have those first few matches on grass, yeah.

Q. You've been so close to winning a Grand Slam. Do you think this is where you can do it?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Well, I'll work as hard as possible. There's not more than I can do. I'll definitely fight as hard as I can and I'll do everything a hundred percent. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn't, you know, I can't blame myself for not trying or not trying hard enough.

Q. Do you feel this offers you your best chance of winning a Grand Slam?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I don't know. You know, there's a lot of players at the moment that are playing really well and that have a big chance, I think. So it's just a matter of being professional. I think a lot of the details count I think once you get further into the tournament.

Q. Also the surface and the event here.

KIM CLIJSTERS: I do. I think you play well in places where you feel well. And definitely Wimbledon is, you know, a place that means a lot to me, and I love coming here and I love the atmosphere, because I played Juniors final here a few years ago, three or four years ago. So that was obviously very, very nice, as well. And that made me sort of like enjoy coming back to Wimbledon even more. So I definitely feel like this Grand Slam means more to me, I think, than any other one, yeah.

Q. Do you feel you've gone as far as you should have, given your talent, at Wimbledon?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I don't know. I think, you know -- last year I think it was a matter -- I mean, I hardly practiced since I had my shoulder injury, coming into Wimbledon, and the French then, as well. It's just a matter of the preparation that wasn't good enough. I think the year before I lost to Lindsay, who is obviously a good grass court player, as well. I don't think I've definitely played my best tennis here, you know, so far, definitely not in the last few years.

Q. How much of a shock was Lleyton's defeat?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Well, you know, I mean, of course I would love him to win. But, you know, tennis is tennis. You go with two on the court. If your opponent is better, there's nothing more that you can do, just give yourself a hundred percent and keep fighting until it's finished. I'm sure that's what he did, as well. So it's hard. Of course, like I said, I would have loved him to, you know, win that match. But there's a hundred other players who, you know, also want to win their first matches. So, of course, it's not nice for him to go through this now, but I'm sure he'll get over it.

Q. Are you still shocked at the result?

KIM CLIJSTERS: No, no. Of course, you know, I would rather see him win, but I'm not shocked. I think as a tennis person you know how hard it is to be out there and to play those first rounds. You know, maybe not for me today, but I think in some other occasions I've had pretty tough matches as well, and other occasions there have been a lot of top players who lost in early rounds. So I don't think it's a matter of being shocked. I think it's a matter of understanding the game I think a little bit.

Q. Did it take a while to work the disappointment of the French final out of your system?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I think it was pretty good to have that doubles the next day, as well, because I could sort of focus towards that a little bit more and not really reflect on what happened. And then when I went home, the next thing I was going to Rosmalen and practicing on grass. It was sort of a completely different view, different circumstances, as well. So I don't think I really had -- sometimes it can be a good thing in tennis, you know, to not have that much time, and sometimes, you know, it can be a negative thing, as well. You win a tournament, you don't have that much time to enjoy it as much. But, no, I mean, I don't -- if -- you know, I felt great about the way my clay court season has been. You know, I couldn't have done much better. So if, you know, the results at the French would come the same as here, then, you know, of course I would be super, super happy I think, yeah.

Q. What do you crave more, the No. 1 spot or a Grand Slam?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Oh, I don't care. I really don't care. Any would be nice, of course. I don't really have a preference. They're both 50/50.

End of FastScripts….

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