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March 27, 2003

Kim Clijsters


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Can you talk about the match? At 4-4, it looked like it could go either way. She just seemed to roll after that.

KIM CLIJSTERS: She, I think she played, you know, really consistent throughout the whole match, I think. I think my level just dropped a bit. Ever since then, I think, 4-all, you know, there were a few long points there and the first set took pretty long, I think. I was just struggling with getting my -- mentally and physically getting myself back. It's been a long trip, and, you know, a great trip. But at the end, it can get a bit tough sometimes.

Q. You said you were going to take four or five weeks off. How exhausted do you feel at the moment?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I feel pretty tired. I just think, you know, as well as mentally, and my body as well, you know, I need some time off. I think we only play Fed Cup in about a month. So I won't be doing anything since then, until then. Maybe the week before, I'll start hitting, but I won't do anything for the next two or three weeks, I think.

Q. Do you think you've taken on too hectic a schedule over the last couple of months?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I mean, it's good. I didn't play that many tournaments, but I did well in all of them. So it's not like I, you know, I mean, I've had some time off as well. But I just did well in both events, singles and doubles, in every tournament I've played. So as long as the results are good, then you take it and everything comes with it. But, yeah, I'm sure after a while, you know, you need the rest, definitely.

Q. This is the price of success in a way, the better you do...?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, sure, sure.

Q. Number of errors off both sides. Was that a product of fatigue, or did you feel like you had to go for big shots?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Well, I think in women's tennis today, because we hit the ball so hard and we go for so many shots, I think you'll see a lot more unforced errors than, you know, than a few years ago when, you know, the players like Sanchez and even Martina, when they were at the top of the game, and you'll see some amazing points, some amazing winners from maybe a meter behind the baseline. But you'll see some unforced errors as well. As long as the balance between winners and unforced errors is still better on the winners' side, those come with it. I've always played, you know, risky tennis. You know, if you see all the players that are in the Top 10 now, they all hit the ball very hard and they all make some mistakes because they take so many risks.

Q. Only six winners for you in the match, someone as powerful, that's surprising?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I played probably the best mover in the game. I don't think that's very surprising.

Q. What do you plan to do during your time off?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Well, rest a lot. And, you know, I just got a new dog after LA last year, spend some time with her and stuff like that. And go out with family and I haven't seen my sister for a while, so I'll take her out. Go and do stuff with my family.

Q. What sort of a dog is it?

KIM CLIJSTERS: It's an English bulldog. Her name is Beauty.

Q. How did you come across her?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Well, I've always wanted one. Then after LA, Justine and myself, we had to play in an exhibition in Belgium. The day I got back, I arrived at 12 noon. At 5 o'clock in the afternoon, I had to play against Justine, that match. It was a surprise, my mom arranged it through the guy who was arranging the exhibition. Yeah, so it was a very big surprise, yep. They walked on, they told me that one of my sponsors, Siemens -- because I'm building a house in Belgium, they said, "We want you to be safe. We'll give you an alarm system," they said. The lady from Siemens, my sponsor, walks out, she's holding a big basket with a big bow on top of it. I'm expecting this electricity thing or something, for an alarm system to be there in the basket. All of a sudden, I see this little head pop up. I'm just completely in shock. Yeah, it was a very nice surprise. She was too young then still, she was only four weeks. I had to bring her back to the mom for four weeks.

Q. Have you always wanted a bulldog?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I have two other dogs already, a Saint Bernard and a Newfoundlander. They're really big. I like a bulldog. I've seen it, one of my friends has got one. They're really funny. So, yeah.

Q. What does Lleyton make of all the dogs?

KIM CLIJSTERS: He's actually allergic to dogs, so that's not a great thing (laughing). No, he's okay. I mean, he loves the bulldog, yeah. She came to the tournament in Antwerp. She was sharing the room with us. Yeah, she was really good.

Q. You must miss them?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I speak to them on the phone even, that's how hard I miss them, yeah.

Q. If Serena is playing her best tennis, is she, at this moment, unbeatable, or what are your thoughts on that?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Well, I think, you know, she... I mean, I think if she plays her best tennis and she leaves the unforced errors out, I'm sure she hits the ball, I think, even harder than Venus. She serves better than Venus, I think. She moves unbelievable. So I think if she leaves the unforced errors out, I think, yeah, for sure. I mean, I don't see how anyone else could -- but, you know, in a tennis match, I mean, it's -- it doesn't always go your way. It happened even in LA, she wasn't playing her best tennis. I was just fighting for every ball, made her play all the shots. She was missing a few. Those are the chances you have to grab. Today, I just didn't get any of those.

Q. If that's the case, is there anything that you can improve, you be the one who would be unbeatable, or do you just wait for her to have a bad day?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I think Serena, I think she's maybe a head taller than me. She's, you know, a lot stronger than me. So, you know, I think a lot of those things, I think, make a difference, definitely. But, yeah, I mean, I think those things are definitely probably the biggest difference. I know for myself, I mean, I don't want to, you know -- I'm probably as fit as I can be. I can always, you know, be fitter or stronger, but then my movement will go off or I'll get slower if I want to be stronger. And the other way around, if I want to, you know, be fitter and lose weight, then I probably won't be able to hit the ball as hard anymore. So you have to mix and match a little bit. But, I mean, so far I've been going pretty well with the way my body and the way I'm feeling. So, no, but I mean, she's worked, I'm sure, all her life already to get this far and to get, you know, probably as strong as she is.

Q. I was struck during your match, how many times you almost do the splits and you reach so much. Does that ever make you nervous? I was nervous.


Q. You're comfortable, just do it?


Q. It's amazing.


Q. You had a couple of the breakpoints. Do you look back early and think, "You can't fritter those away against a player like Serena"? Could that have changed the match?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, but I don't really -- after the match is over, it's over. Of course, you think back on it a little bit, but you just try to, you know, keep things in mind maybe for the next time you play them. But I'm not really going to say, "Why didn't I do this? Why didn't I do that?" It's too late anyway. But you definitely learn things out of every match, out of a win or loss. But, yeah, even, you know, against Serena, even if she's a breakpoint down and she hits a second serve, she even hit that, like, really good kick serve where I could hardly get to on the second serve, there's this -- she takes risks, I think. If she's on, then those risks, they go in and she -- you know, that shows when she's on, yeah.

Q. You beat her in LA, you had a close match in Australia. What was different today?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Do I have to start the whole press conference again or what...(Smiling)? Everything we said, well, what I've said before that was different. But it doesn't matter, I think, if every week we play in different circumstances, different stadiums, different weather conditions so, you know, a lot of things make a difference.

Q. You had a good run at Indian Wells last week. The Williams sisters weren't there. Had you beaten Serena today and lost in the final, would that have felt like more of an accomplishment than winning Indian Wells?

KIM CLIJSTERS: No, winning such a big event, I don't think it makes a difference. It doesn't matter who is there. I've got that tournament victory, and, you know, I really don't care who was there, who was not.

End of FastScripts….

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