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May 17, 2003

Kim Clijsters


THE MODERATOR: First question for Kim, please.

Q. Well done.


Q. Could you just talk about the match and how you think your performance went.

KIM CLIJSTERS: Well, I think in the beginning I started pretty slow, I think, because I just needed -- like I said yesterday in my press conference, all my previous matches have been sort of completely different. Maybe Myskina yesterday, but after three shots, she was missing -- making a lot of mistakes. I think my first few matches against Black and Ruano Pascual, they were completely different. In the beginning, I just had to get used to the rhythm. Ai was really standing on top, like in the court, and taking the balls really quickly. That's something like since I've played in Berlin, I haven't played a type of player like her. So it was a completely different situation. In the beginning I just had to get used to it. I think I was a little bit defending too much and I wasn't really playing my own game. I was just running around, and I was making a little bit too many mistakes I think with my forehand as well. But then, you know, I felt -- I think because Ai's forehand is a little bit weaker I think than her backhand, with her backhand she can really dictate the points and she can really make me move around. I really felt like I had to try to attack her forehand until she would loosen up a little bit in there, and then I could go for some easier shots.

Q. How difficult is it playing your doubles partner, somebody you know so well?

KIM CLIJSTERS: It's tough because I know her a lot better than most of the other players. It's always -- in the beginning, it's different. But, no, because we're really good friends and, you know, I'm used to being like -- used to sitting next to her on the bench. It's also different playing her like in doubles, you know. I know how aggressive she plays. And sort of on one hand, maybe it's a little bit of a disadvantage; but on the other hand, I know some of her weaknesses and strengths as well. In that case, it could be an advantage as well. But it's never, you know -- I mean, I always want her to do well as well because she's a very nice girl and we get along so well. So it's always... But I was really happy to win today because I've lost to her a few times before, so...

Q. The win gives you more points towards the No. 2 ranking. I know it's something you try not to think about, but was it in your head at all?

KIM CLIJSTERS: No, not at all, no. But of course it's nice, you know. It's always nice to see the rankings go up, of course. But that's something where I'll look at at the end, you know. That's not something before a tournament I'll look at and say, "If I do this or this, I'll go there." That's something I don't really think about even. I think if I do that, I feel, you know, like I am already thinking, "Oh, yeah, I'm gonna go through, I'm gonna go through," and I want to take every match as serious as possible.

Q. Did you see the Williams match? What do you think went wrong for Serena there?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I just saw a few points here and there because I was getting ready for my match and warming up. So I couldn't really -- you know, I didn't see any of the main, I think, situations. I just saw a few points here and there, so it's very hard for me to say how, you know, what went wrong and what Amelie did well or what Serena did wrong, yeah.

Q. With you as No. 2 and Serena losing, we look at that and think that maybe they're not going to be dominating the sport in the way that they have been. It might be a sign things are changing. Do you think things are changing?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Well, if you see the last few tournaments, I mean, a few players have beaten them. I think in the beginning when they really sort of came on the tour, I think they were so intimidated, a lot of the players, because they hit the ball so hard. So a lot of players like myself and everyone sort of in the Top 10, if you wanted to get higher and if you wanted to keep getting better and try to beat them, we had to get stronger and we had to get fitter as well just to keep up with the level of tennis that they've brought through to women's tennis, I think. In that way, they've really brought women's tennis a lot higher. But on the other hand, I think, yeah, you know, if you see like Amelie beat her now, she beat Venus two weeks ago in Warsaw, and then, you know, Justine beat her as well, so it's definitely possible I think. It's just a lot of players, I think, don't really believe that they can beat them, yeah.

Q. Sorry to keep banging on about the rankings and your position, but the fact that you have taken on the No. 2 position means you will be the No. 2 seed in Paris. Is that a relief for you?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Well, it's always nice to see your name sort of, you know, like the No. 2 seed in a draw. Just for me, it's still, you know, that's still a surprise I think to see my name up there. Yeah, so in one way it's a little bit weird as well sort of because I still look up to all the other players. Like when I see Jennifer, when I see Davenport, Monica Seles or Venus and Serena, I still look up to them as they're like, "Whoa!" I do, I really do. So in that way, it's weird, I think, to see my name getting in between those names. But it's nice. I mean, it's great to, you know, to see that happen. I think also like a lot of the other girls, they, you know, they like to see, you know, a change I think as well. So I think that's why everyone's been working really hard. So, yeah, it makes also the draw a little bit different as well.

Q. Can you just talk about playing Amelie.

KIM CLIJSTERS: I've played her at the US Open and at Filderstadt, I think. I think that's the only two times I've played her.

THE MODERATOR: Last year, you played her as well (inaudible).

KIM CLIJSTERS: Okay. So I played her four times (smiling). It's good to have him. No, so I played her four times. I've never played her on clay...


KIM CLIJSTERS: That's right (laughing). I think she's -- watching her beating Serena today, I mean, it's definitely -- I saw her match last week against Justine as well in Berlin. She's, I think, together with Justine, she's definitely one of the best clay court players I think at the moment out there. So it's gonna be really tough, especially because she serves so well and she hardly gives you anything for free. So I'll definitely have to be consistent throughout the whole match and try to keep the unforced errors really low. On the other hand, I'll have to be very aggressive and try not to get her into -- dictate the points and try to keep her under pressure.

End of FastScripts….

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