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March 16, 2003

Kim Clijsters


MODERATOR: First question for Kim.

Q. Victory for broccoli?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yes (smiling).

Q. Lindsay said it was not the greatest level of tennis. Did you kind of feel the same way?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I think in the beginning I was making, you know, a few easy mistakes, especially on my serve, I think. But I think my level -- you know, I think I raised my level, you know, during the match. I think that was very important to not give Lindsay, you know, that second set and to finish it off in two sets, because I think otherwise it would have been really tough. But even if it's not good tennis, you know, you just have to keep fighting. Even if I was down a break in the first, down a break in the second, you just try to make every ball. You know, even on that match point, she missed a smash that in normal situations I think she wouldn't miss those. Yeah, I was pretty happy with that.

Q. So you felt like you played very good defense today? You seemed to be moving very well.

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah. Against Lindsay, that's very important. That's probably one of the most important things. Against every top player, you have to move well and try to make that extra ball. She missed a few, you know, easy shots on those points where I got a break back. Those are very important points to change sets around, I think.

Q. It also seemed like you closed out sets, your level raised.

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, I think maybe, you know, I didn't start that well in the beginning of the two sets. But, like you said, I think I ended them really well. And I think that's really important. Also against Lindsay it's important to show that, you know, you're fighting and that you're trying to get to every ball, showing that you're really hungry to play. I think I did that really well. I think she was, you know, maybe not -- you know, I could tell, like her body language wasn't great, wasn't as good as when she played Jennifer. So I knew that I had to just keep pushing and try to make her, you know, make those unforced errors.

Q. Lindsay said it was ridiculous to have a final this early. Do you agree?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Well, there's nothing -- there's nothing you can do about it. That happens. You know, that's for both of us, of course. I would have liked to play a little bit later, as well, but you can't change the schedule, and no one can change the weather from yesterday. Of course, if everything would have gone well yesterday, we would have played at 12:00. There's nothing we can do about it. I mean, I didn't mind whenever we were going to play. If we had to play at 7 or 8 in the evening, I didn't mind.

Q. It didn't affect your game in the early going?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Maybe just a little bit. I don't think I got the good warm-up that I wanted to have because the outside courts were still wet, and so we were hitting balls to my coach, just to the middle, middle. I wanted to move a little bit. I think in the beginning, it was a little bit tough to get used to the hard strokes of Lindsay and to the serve, as well. But, yeah, just a few details that can sort of change your rhythm a little bit I think before a match.

Q. Did the court play any differently because of all the rain? Was it slower or anything?

KIM CLIJSTERS: No, no. I didn't feel anything different.

Q. What time did you have to get up?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I got up at 6:30.

Q. What time did you practice?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I hit -- I started around 10 to 8.

Q. Lindsay said that the transition she's seen in your game over the last game that is you're smarter and you're much more confident. Would you agree with both of those?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Well, I feel like I'm more consistent, and that's definitely -- that's what I feel in my game, that I'm more consistent. Even when I'm down, you know, I don't panic. When I was younger, maybe I was trying to do too many things to get back. And now I know I have to, like I said, make all the balls and try not to go for too much and make your opponent make the mistake. I think, you know, my game, you know, I can move well and I can be aggressive as well. I think that's a good combination, you know, to get to a high level.

Q. What does winning this title mean to you?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Oh, I don't think it has sunk in yet. Yeah, it's my first Tier I, I think. Yeah, it's pretty good (smiling).

Q. I think you lost the last two of three finals.

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, I definitely wanted to win this one.

Q. You've done really well in California. There has been some talk of your possibly leaving Belgium. What are the chances we might see you here?

KIM CLIJSTERS: To move to California?

Q. Yes.

KIM CLIJSTERS: No, I always -- you know, I've always done well. I played well in Stanford, all those tournaments, and I enjoy playing in America because I think also the public, there's a lot more atmosphere, I think, and the public, they're not shy of getting into the matches and screaming. So, you know, I really enjoy playing here. But I don't want to live here. You know, it's a long flight, I mean. But I'm a very family person, and whenever I'm home, whenever I have a few weeks off, I don't want to be in another place and be in a different place than home. Yeah, so I'm already looking forward to go home and see my new dog and my family.

Q. But you also said you like to stick to certain routines. You've had such success here. Any chance you'd tough it out and stick with the pasta and broccoli?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I don't know. Because yesterday there was actually no broccoli in the restaurant, so I was a bit worried (laughter). I had to put a few green beans in just to make the color look similar. No, yeah, you see, those superstition things, they don't always work. Even the broccoli was not there yesterday. Yeah, no, I think I'll try a different one, a different menu next week.

Q. You get up at 6:30. You don't really know what you're going to play, do you?


Q. How do you eat? What kind of a breakfast do you have?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Well, I've been having the same breakfast all week, so that wasn't very hard to change. You know, I had breakfast at 7:00. It's tough because you're not really -- like also with Guga and Rainer, you didn't know, it could be like 20 minutes it could have been over, it could have gone for another hour, like it did. To hit and have a warm-up before your match, you're not sure when you want to hit and for how long. But, yeah, I mean, it worked well today. I played a few games of cards before my match with my coach, just to keep the nerves down a little bit. Yeah, so, it was good.

Q. What is the breakfast?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Well, I take the fruit medley, that's just a fruit play. I have to talk about food every press conference (smiling). Some muesli and some yogurt, then I'll take some raisin bran with banana cereal.

Q. Can you get to No. 1? That is your goal for this year?

KIM CLIJSTERS: No, I don't have goals like that. I don't have goals that have anything to do with rankings. You know, my most important goal is to stay healthy and to enjoy all this, to have fun for every minute that I'm out on the court. So far I've managed to do that all my life already. You know, I'm just going to keep doing it. I'm not the type of player who sets goals in rankings, no.

Q. Do you think having a goal like that would put too much pressure on yourself, maybe unnecessarily?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I mean, to me the ranking, it's not the most important thing. I want to play tennis and I want to, like I said, be healthy and give it my best. Of course, the rankings, they come with it. They show at the end, you know, who's been the best player of the year. To me, that doesn't matter at all.

Q. You've beaten both Williams before. What is the key to beat them?

KIM CLIJSTERS: What's the key to beat them? Well, everything has to be good to beat them. You have to serve well, you have to move well, you have to return well, you have to try to grab every chance you get. Even when they're playing really well, they'll have a moment in their match where they're maybe not as focused or not playing as precise. Those are the chances that you have to grab.

Q. This the first time you and Lleyton are on a big final on the same day. Is it more stress for you or less stress?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Not at all. He was still sleeping when I had to leave. I don't think he was worried about mine too much (laughter). No, yeah, you know, he's been in these type of situations, you know, in big finals more than I have. But I don't think there's too much stress involved, not on my side. I was happy I got to play first in the end because otherwise I would have been watching more of his match. I think then it would have been harder for me to focus for my own match, so I was happy that I got to play first.

Q. Did you talk a lot about the finals, yesterday, for example?

KIM CLIJSTERS: No, no, because I went to the hotel, and we didn't get canceled yet until like 6:30, 7:00. I was more worried about, you know, going back to the courts. So, no, I wasn't really thinking about the finals at all.

Q. You play against Davenport again in doubles today. You played them last weekend. Is this kind of a grudge match for them or just like anything else?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Well, Ai and I, we try to like win every match. So far we've played really well together this year. I think we've won Sydney, Antwerp, Scottsdale, and we lost to the Williams sisters at the Australian Open. We've been playing really well. I think in Scottsdale, they both were -- I think before the match, they were pretty convinced they were going to win because we played so many matches that day. The third match I played, we played so bad. We felt so tired. I think it was just adrenaline that made us win that match. I think they were a bit surprised by that. I'm sure they'll be ready for this one, I think. I think Lindsay, after losing a final, I mean I would feel like that, that you don't want to lose two finals in one day. I'm sure she's going to try really hard.

Q. Have you ever been in that situation where it's two weeks in a row you're in a final against the same team? Is this the first?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I think so.

Q. Putting the ranking aside, if you play your best tennis 100%, do you feel like you can beat anybody?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Well, it's not only -- it doesn't only depend on me. It also depends on the level that the opponents get. I mean, Venus or Serena, if they play their best tennis, it's going to be very tough, even if I play my best tennis. Like I said, you know, almost in every match you're going to have these chances. Those are the chances where you have to work for it and you have to try to get those in a match. But, I mean, I don't think -- I don't think about those things at all. I mean, they're hard questions for me to answer.

Q. When did you meet Lleyton?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Oh, well, I've known him for so long. I remember playing in Japan, the under-14s. I was like 11 and he was like 14. I was just like the reserve of Belgium. So I remember watching him play then. But we've been together now for about three years and a few months.

Q. Did you say hello?

KIM CLIJSTERS: No, no, no. I was very shy. When I was 11, I was (smiling).

Q. When did you say hello?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Oh, I can't remember when we said hello.

End of FastScripts….

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