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May 14, 2003

Kim Clijsters


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Do you prefer Real Madrid or Juventus?


Q. Which player in particular?

KIM CLIJSTERS: No, not really one particular. I like the team, yeah.

Q. Easy match?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, it was. I didn't expect it to be, to be this easy, especially because I was feeling a little bit tired after my matches in Berlin. I think I played eight matches in four days there. So that was a tough schedule. But it was good that I got a late start and that I could play tonight as well. It was not as warm, so I could get my rhythm, you know. And, yeah, I was really pleased with my level as well. I did well last year, so that makes me also come back and want to come back and play good. So, yeah, that definitely helps as well. If you have a tournament where you go back to and you've had a good result there the year before, it makes you even more motivated to do the same.

Q. After Miami did you have a break?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yes, I had a break. I just was feeling -- because I played so many matches, you know, in the beginning, from January until Miami. I had a few weeks off, like one week here and there. I always played singles and doubles, and in every tournament I went at least - in the singles and doubles - at least to the semifinals. So I was really like dehydrated and exhausted at the end of Miami. I was sick. So I just went home and did nothing. I just had a few weeks off, and then I started training again on the clay court for Fed Cup. We played Fed Cup. It was really nice. It was, you know -- I had a lot of fun at home. It's nice. Because sometimes I can spend two days, three days at home and then I have to leave. Now, I was actually there for two weeks and it was, yeah, it was really nice.

Q. What do you think about Rome, about the city and about this tournament?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Well, you know, I always play good at the tournaments where I feel good and where I like to go to, so Rome is definitely one of my favorite cities - although, I think the driving and everything can be a little bit crazy sometimes. I'm putting my seatbelt on straightaway (laughing). That's the first thing I do when I hop in the car. But, yeah, no, it's good. I really like it. Yesterday I went to -- you know, my mom is here and a friend of my mom as well, so we went to shop a little bit near the Spanish Steps. We had dinner there. So it's really nice. I think, you know, because there's so much other things to do out of the tennis that I think for me, it's good to have something else to focus on a little bit as well so you don't always have to think about the tennis all the time.

Q. Did you buy something?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I did. I bought some pants and a handbag and a shirt, so one outfit - and a belt, too, yeah. It was nice. I went there and I didn't think ...

Q. Which boutique?

KIM CLIJSTERS: It was Dolce & Gabbana, yeah. It was nice. I went in and I thought, "Oh, no," because in the beginning it's very fancy and they have the very special -- but mine is just plain, just beige, normal pants. Nothing too...

Q. It's for people young like you.

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, yeah (smiling).

Q. Serena didn't play very well yesterday. What do you think about this?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Well, you know, I think the fact -- this is the first clay court tournament she's playing so, you know... I mean, if I would have shown you a video of my match when I played Fed Cup, my first match on the clay, it was terrible. So I think it's just a matter of getting used to -- you know, tennis is a completely different game on clay, I think, and you need a lot of -- you can practice as long as you want to, but you need the match rhythm on clay especially. I think that's what she was just missing a little bit, but she still won in two sets. So, I mean, so she's still strong enough even if she's not playing good at all, she can still beat some good players in two sets.

Q. Do you have a good sensation for the red clay season?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I do. You know, I don't think it's the best surface for my game, but I feel comfortable. I always -- I grew up playing on clay in Belgium, especially in the summer, so I enjoy playing on clay. Like I said, you have to work harder and the rallies take a little bit longer. Like on grass or on hard court, if I hit a good shot or a good serve, you know, most of the time it's a winner. But here on the clay, you have to work and you have to expect every ball to come back . Especially on clay, there's so many more good players as well. The lower-ranked players are tougher to beat as well. So every match is a tough one.

Q. Tomorrow you have to play against Black, Cara Black. What do you think about her?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I've played her a few times, on hard court a few times. She's a very tough, tough girl, you know. She runs a lot, she gets a lot of balls back. She has a good serve, good volley. She's a good doubles player as well. So I'll have to play as good as today, I think. I'll have to be on my game, and I have to be aggressive because she's the type of player who, you know, I have to keep her under pressure and try not to let her get into the match.

Q. For you, is it difficult to be aggressive?

KIM CLIJSTERS: No, but I have to focus myself on doing it the whole match, because sometimes in the beginning -- I always start well, you know. I start playing well. But then sometimes my game loses a little bit of concentration or, you know, I'm not focusing as much. That's what I'm really trying to work on, is being consistent throughout the whole match.

End of FastScripts….

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