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March 11, 2003

Kim Clijsters


MODERATOR: Questions.

Q. You looked happy hitting that ball into the top of the stadium.

KIM CLIJSTERS: I just got all my anger out on that ball (laughter). Definitely not my best tennis I've played. But I won. I think in those types of matches, that's the only thing that counts. As soon as I lost the second set, just completely refocused and started off zero, just tried to put my energy in that third set. I knew that I had to get a good start, otherwise she was going to just walk over me I think in that third set. As soon as I broke, I felt like I was putting a little more pressure on her serves, her second serve. Yeah, so it was good. I was happy with the third set, that it was going so quickly.

Q. In the second game of the third set, you had the breakpoint opportunity. She missed a pretty routine overhead. I sensed from that point on she was sort of defeated.

KIM CLIJSTERS: Well, that's the thing, you know, you have to try to make every ball. You never know, they can miss it. I mean, it was an easy shot, I think. The whole other side of the court was open. She tried to go to the side where I was coming from, as well. Like I said, in those type of situations, doesn't matter who you play, if you play Serena or someone who is ranked a lot lower, you have to make them play for every shot and make them win the point. Then you can have the type of points where they can make easy mistakes, miss volleys or overheads.

Q. Do you think perhaps you struggled a bit with your concentration this year?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, I've been playing a lot of matches. So this year I've been playing a lot of matches in singles and in doubles. I think at the moment everything is sort of -- you know, I'm not playing my best. I'm fighting. If it doesn't happen straightaway the way I want, it get a little frustrated. I'm starting to get a few small injuries here and there. That's definitely not going to make it any easier for me. You know, I have to hang in there. I have to keep fighting, keep trying, try to get that momentum change again, try to make my rhythm come back and fight. I think that's the most important thing at the moment, is just to fight for every ball.

Q. Do you think there's a reason why you're going through a sticky patch of form?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I think it's a matter of I've been playing so much. I haven't had this since Luxembourg last year. I played all good matches. I think it started a little bit at the end of the tournament in Scottsdale, where I played a really good match against Meghann Shaughnessy in the semis. Sort of from then on in singles, I haven't even been close to the level I made in that match. But I'm still winning. I'm in the quarterfinals now. On the other hand, I have to see it in a positive way. Although there's not a lot of positive to take out of the way I've been playing. I have to just keep fighting and keep working hard, you know, try to get that rhythm back, to get that chance again.

Q. All the other things you have going on, the attention, I presume that doesn't help dealing with fatigue, being tired.

KIM CLIJSTERS: No, I think I'm quite good with just like blocking all those things out. I know there's a lot of players, doesn't matter if I'm the No. 1 seed here at the moment, I can lose to everyone. That's sport. Lleyton almost lost today as well. He's the No. 1 seed. He's No. 1 in the world. That's tennis. That's what comes with it. You're going to win some great matches and you're going to lose some bad ones. Everyone goes through those stages, when those stages come, you're not playing your best, you lose a few matches, you have to stay focused, stay professional, it will come back automatically.

Q. You mentioned Lleyton. Does that help you to have Lleyton at a tournament?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Sure, sure. It doesn't happen a lot that we can spend a lot of the tournaments together. It's always nice to have his support on the sideline.

Q. If you're feeling tired, having injuries, why are you playing doubles?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Because I like it. I love playing doubles, I really do. Yeah, I mean, I've been playing great in doubles. Even yesterday, I've been playing well, although in my singles the day before I didn't play good, I'm playing really well in doubles. I'm trying to sort of get that back, sort of practicing a little bit on my return and stuff so that I can get it back in the singles. Yeah, I mean, I don't think I've ever pulled out of a match, except when I had my shoulder problem. Ai and I, we're playing really well. We're having a lot of fun. As long as I can still stand up, I'll keep playing.

Q. You were talking about the return of serve. In the second set, was that the frustration?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Oh, yeah. I was missing way too many returns, giving too many easy points. Like her serve, it wasn't a bomb or anything. I just had to make her play and make my way into the point.

Q. Is it just a case of wanting --?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Maybe trying to do too much, as well. You're so focused on making the return, it can have the opposite effect as well. Sometimes it's better not to think at all and just hit it, don't worry about where you're going to hit it or how. I think the more you start thinking, the worse you're going to get in your head. You're going to stay in trouble. Sometimes you can't get out of it anymore.

Q. Are you enjoying your tennis at the moment in terms of the singles?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Well, I mean, of course I didn't enjoy that second set. I get a lot of satisfaction out of the way I fought until the end, the way I could turn that match around in the third set. But, of course, I enjoy -- you enjoy it more if you're playing well. That's what it's all about. You try to play your best tennis. That's when you're enjoying it. You can't always play your best tennis. You have to work your way in and try to enjoy yourself.

Q. Dominant third set. Have you ever had a thought she might turn it around in the third set?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I don't really think ahead. I just try to focus on each point and try to win each point. So, no, I never really was thinking that she could turn the match around or anything. I just try to focus on each point and try to get an early lead. That's going to be the big disadvantage for her to get it back, if you get an early break, if you can go up to 3-Love or 4-Love in the third set.

End of FastScripts….

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