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May 15, 2003

Kim Clijsters


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You played well in your match today. (Question in Italian).

KIM CLIJSTERS: I understood, yes. Like I think a lot of the other players, you know, I think especially Serena, this is her first clay court tournament that she's playing and those are always the tough matches. I mean, I played -- my first clay court match was in Fed Cup, and I didn't play good at all. So I think on clay especially you need a lot of matches to really get your game up there. I've had a lot of matches so far. I've played Fed Cup, Berlin - singles, doubles. And I've done well there. So that's how I feel, I need a lot of matches on clay before I'm really on my game.

Q. You think that on clay there is more competition between the players, that the level is higher than on other surfaces?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I think so. I definitely think so. Maybe not with the matches I've played here, like this week. But I definitely feel like, you know, the lower-ranked players, you have tougher matches against them as well because, you know, the balls don't come as quick. I think that's where the Top 5, Top 10 have a little bit of an advantage, because we hit the ball a little bit harder I think than some of the girls who are ranked a little bit lower. Then on the clay courts, I think that's what makes a big difference. The balls come back a little bit more and they're not as, like, hard, you know. So they can get a lot more balls back. I think that's why I think -- you also have a lot more Spanish players who feel a lot more comfortable on, you know, on the clay court than on the hard courts. There's quite a few out there. So, you know, they're definitely the tough ones to beat I think as well.

Q. What do you think about when you win a set 6-love? Do you feel sorry for your opponent? Is it a message you send to the other girls?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Well, you try really not to think about it, but of course it's never nice. Yeah, I mean, I just try to focus on my tennis and try not to really worry about how my opponent is feeling. Because if you're gonna feel sorry, then you're not gonna keep winning the second set if you've won the first set. But you just have to try to keep like focusing and not to worry about it too much. But, of course, it's, I mean, I'm human as well and of course I don't like to see someone, you know, like...

Q. When you shake hands at the net you don't say, "Sorry"?

KIM CLIJSTERS: No, I don't. Like I said, "Sorry."

Q. "Lucky," "You won a set, a game"?

KIM CLIJSTERS: No, no, no. No (smiling).

Q. You played 38 matches already this year. Do you feel physically better now perhaps than you have at all in your career?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I feel very good physically, although I felt like I needed the break after Miami. I think that's what has made me a little fresh again I think for the clay court season. Like I was really exhausted that trip - not the trip - the end of the trip. Yeah, I've played a lot of matches, especially with the doubles and everything, and doing well in both competitions, you know. It's a tough choice, but I love to play doubles. And a lot of people tell me, "Well, why don't you drop the doubles," but I think in one way it helps me as well for my singles. And it's fun playing doubles. Yeah, I'm playing well, and I think you can only -- you can do as much work, I think, as you want physically outside of the tennis. But I think, you know, you can only get your tennis, you know, physical as good as -- by playing matches. That's how you train, you know. You can train on the court and stuff, but matches, it's still a little bit different.

Q. You play this year at a much higher level than last year. Do you think that the kind of accident which happened last year in Roland Garros when you lost the third round 6 -4, 6-0, you can avoid that now?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Well, I think having my shoulder injury after the Australian Open and having to retire there for a few tournaments, I got a lot more mature I think. It's something that you have to deal with. With injuries, it's never -- that was the first real injury I had where I had to pull out of a few tournaments, where I had to take a few weeks off. I think that's made me -- maybe I wasn't -- when I came back straightaway, because I lost first round Indian Wells, and didn't play a good French, Wimbledon, didn't play good at all. But then later on in the year I think it sort of helped me, having that injury as well. It wasn't nice at the moment because I wanted to play tennis, but I think in one way it made me, you know, focus and made me feel how much I missed tennis and how much I love tennis. You know, I think that's why now as well when I'm on the court, I know how it feels like. I know I'm really enjoying it, because I know one day, you know, I might not be able to play and so yeah...

Q. We don't want to talk about Hewitt, but...

KIM CLIJSTERS: Then why do you (laughter)? "But" what (smiling)?

Q. When you make your phone call to Hamburg which is very cold, and here it's hot and warm, what do you say about Rome, about this ambiance?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Well, you know, I like Rome and that's what I tell him as well, you know.

Q. But do you think someone else made the wrong decision to go in the cold weather?

KIM CLIJSTERS: No, no. Well, it's -- you know, sometimes you cannot make those -- sometimes you have to make the right decisions. And, you know, he's had some health problems already in the past, that's been the case why he didn't play here. So it's not something I want to keep going into, but that was his decision. But I love coming to Rome. When I talk to him on the phone, I tell him I go shopping. He just tells me, "Don't spend too much money." But it's good.

Q. He has no Coliseum.

KIM CLIJSTERS: He went last year, I think. We went.

Q. Not in Hamburg.

KIM CLIJSTERS: In Hamburg, no (smiling).

THE MODERATOR: Hamburg's nice, too, though.

KIM CLIJSTERS: I prefer Rome, though, than Hamburg (smiling).

Q. Who do you think has the best chances to win Roland Garros: You or Lleyton?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Jesus, what questions I'm getting here (smiling)! I have no idea.

Q. Both? Tell the truth.

KIM CLIJSTERS: I always tell the truth. I have no idea, I'm serious. I have no idea. It's not something I worry about actually.

Q. You met and defeated Myskina in the Australian Open. What kind of player is she for you?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Well, I've lost to her before. Last year in Leipzig I lost to her. She's a tough player. She plays a little bit like a ball machine, I think. The ball always comes back in the same pace. You know, she moves very well. I think I have to definitely attack the serve. I think she is maybe not -- her weaker part of her game is probably her serve, I think. I definitely have to try to attack there, and I have to be able to move a lot because she likes to hit the ball from down the line, cross court. So it's gonna be a tough one. I played good against her in Australia, played a really good match against her. But she, you know -- beating Kuznetsova today, I think Kuznetsova, she's a really good player I think, a very good clay courter. So it was, yeah, a little bit -- like for me, it was a little bit of a surprise I think that she won today.

Q. Yesterday you said that you did some shopping. Do you shop every day?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Not yesterday, no, no, no. If I have some time. But the other day I went shopping just because we went to have dinner near the Spanish Steps and then we were a little bit early with the reservation that we made. So we were about half an hour early and we just went to a shop next to the restaurant. It was price first. It was a good store. I liked it, yeah.

Q. Yes?


Q. What was the name?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Dolce & Gabbana.

End of FastScripts….

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