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May 18, 2003

Kim Clijsters


THE MODERATOR: First question for Kim, please.

Q. Well, there you are, two points from defeat. Do you pay any attention to the score, or do you just play the points?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, of course you know what the score is and you know she's getting really close. But, you know, I just try to -- because I think in the beginning of the match I was making too many unforced errors, easy mistakes. I really tried not to give it to her at the end. If she did do good on those points, then she would have been too good. I just tried to work her and make her come up with a good shot to finish it off, and she did. I just kept hanging in there. And when she -- when I won that second set, I really believed that I could do it. In the beginning, I wasn't playing well and stuff. And when she, you know, she asked for those 10 minutes, and I knew that she was maybe a little bit tired from her match from yesterday and everything. But, yeah, no, I felt really good. It's great to -- last week in Berlin, I had a few matchpoints there. And it's nice to, you know, to have a win as well where I've been down.

Q. What did you do to your forehand? You made so many unforced errors, and none in the third set.

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, I don't make them on purpose. I think, like -- you know, in the beginning I just felt like my movement on the court, I didn't know if I should step into her balls with the spin, if I should take them early, or if I should wait a little bit and, you know, like play them back. I think at the beginning I was just looking, really looking for the way I had to play, and I was making a little bit too many mistakes. Sometimes I tried to, you know, hit them just back into her forehand and sort of in defense. The other time, I tried to be really aggressive. Both didn't work. So in the beginning I think I was thinking a little bit too much about the way I had to play and how I should, you know, take her shots on. And, yeah, I just got more comfortable throughout that second set.

Q. Do you think the most dangerous situation was when she served for the match at 6-5 or the point for 3-love in the second set?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I don't know (laughter). I don't know, really.

Q. Do you remember that, that she had the point?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, of course I remember that (laughter). No, but, you know, I think both situations were probably, you know, big situations for her to try to, you know, finish off that match. Because if I would have, you know -- if she would have taken a bigger lead in the beginning of that second set, I think it would have been really tough for me to keep going. But, yeah, I mean, like in tennis, everything is possible, you know? You know, it showed today as well that, you know, it's never over until, you know, the match is completely finished.

Q. After last week's result, does this give you a tremendous amount of confidence going into the French and then Wimbledon after?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Sure, but already after last week I felt, you know, I've played probably one of my best clay court matches, I think, against Jennifer that I've played in my life. That was definitely one of my, you know, biggest satisfactions I think out of Berlin. Then losing to Justine, I mean, I was really close , you know - really close, about two centimeters. But that's tennis. You know, it was good for me to come here straightaway and focus again on my next tournament and not really worry about, you know, what happened in that match. And, you know, I did really well. I just try to block it out and, you know, if I -- just sort of get a revenge I think in this tournament.

Q. Are you in a hurry to get to Germany or France?

KIM CLIJSTERS: No, to Belgium, home. Yeah, I have to do a press conference for Siemens tomorrow morning, so I'm taking the last flight out tonight.

Q. Does it mean something to be the only Belgian who's ever won this?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Sure. It's always nice, you know, to have that part of "history," you know, for Belgium. But I hope, you know -- I think Justine was really close last year, but I hope there can be many more, you know. Doesn't matter if it's gonna be for Justine or for me, I think it would be great for both of us if we could come here and, you know, win this event.

Q. This is your first final, and you win. How do you feel?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Sure, it's always, you know -- this has been one of my, you know, one of my favorite tournaments I think in the whole year. I think in the beginning, you know, the first year I played, I think I was just maybe not focusing enough on the tennis; I was doing all the other things outside of tennis, and I was going shopping too much and I was doing too many things. But, yeah, but you learn out of the matches. It's always different in the beginning, the first time you play in a tournament. It's always -- you know, you just have to get used to everything. And, you know, making the semifinal last year was definitely a good experience for me to, you know, to come back here this year and have a better result.

Q. Being No. 2 in the world, does it give you now the confidence that there is no more gap with the two Williams? They were always in the finals in the Slams, in the last four Slams. Do you think now they lose to you, they lose to Amelie and so on?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Well, you know, I think it's great, I think, to see, you know, that there's a few more other girls who are capable of beating them. And I think, you know, in the beginning, you know, when they started playing the finals against each other, a lot of people, they were -- it was getting boring I think for a lot of people. I think now it's been great, I think, for women's tennis to see the changes now a little bit, to see that a lot of other players can -- or a few other players can do the same thing and can be, you know, compete against them - maybe not always win, but have really good matches against them. And, you know, I think that's what tennis is all about. It's, you know, competing against the best and trying to, you know, to have good matches.

Q. Is to become No. 1 your major goal?


Q. Or first to win a Slam?

KIM CLIJSTERS: No, none of them actually. No, well, you know, it's always -- I mean, you know, like seeing my name on the No. 2 ranking at the moment, it's -- just saying it now, it's still -- it doesn't seem, you know, it doesn't feel like... yeah, it's weird. It's a weird feeling, I think. That's why I want to enjoy being No. 2. I just want to enjoy being on the court, and then we'll see if I keep up these results. If I can go to No. 1, it would be an unbelievable feeling. If not, I would still be happy. I can tell my kids when I'm older that I can -- been No. 2 in the world. That would be great as well.

Q. So what is the major goal at the end?

KIM CLIJSTERS: To be happy, to be happy (smiling).

End of FastScripts….

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