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March 9, 2003

Kim Clijsters


MODERATOR: Questions.

Q. A good test out there today.

KIM CLIJSTERS: Definitely. I've played her before and I lost to her at the Hopman Cup once. I knew I had to be close to my best to beat her. She's very tough. She runs well. With the high spin she plays, it's very hard for me to play my aggressive tennis. Sometimes I have to make sure that I try not to do too much and try to go for too much. You know, I'm happy with the win. I'm happy with the way I fought and the way, you know, I finished the match. When you're not playing your best tennis, the only thing you can do is fight. When you can win those matches, that means sometimes more than winning them 0-0.

Q. You won both sets with service breaks.


Q. Every time you got down, you had the answer.

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, I think when she broke me, I was making a little too many easy mistakes too early in the game. Especially when she's up a break, you have to try to stay with her in the beginning of the games or even lead. I think the first -- when she was serving for the first set -- was she serving? I don't know. I think so. She wasn't nearly, like, serving as well as what she was in the previous game, so I think maybe she was getting a bit tired and making a few more easy mistakes that game, as well. You know, you just have to hang in there. Even if you're down a break, it's never over.

Q. Can you remember the year you lost to her at the Hopman Cup?


Q. Could you share it with us?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I played very bad. I didn't play well at all.

Q. What year was it?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Let me think. I played -- I played with Xavier now, so three years ago.

Q. In your mind, how far away is No. 1?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Two spots (smiling).

Q. How big a jump are those two spots?


Q. Is it huge?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Of course, it is. It is for everyone.

Q. Are you that far, though?

KIM CLIJSTERS: You know, I really don't care how far I am from No. 1. That's not at all my goal in my tennis career.

Q. It's not?


Q. What is?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I know for myself that I give everything I have, for every match I play, for every practice, for anything I do, you know. If you work hard and you can get the best out of yourself, then you see. If it doesn't get to No. 1, then who cares. I did the best what I could do in my career. You know, this is even out of my expectations to be No. 3 in the world. When I was younger, I remember watching Jennifer when she was playing the French Open. You know, it's huge. Then you start thinking, "Well, I hope that one day I'm able to play the Grand Slams." But No. 1, it's never a goal - for me it's not. If it's there, it would be great. You know, I'm not thinking about rankings at all. Doesn't matter if I'm 3, if I'm 10. Doesn't matter. I know for myself that I give my best in everything I do. I try to be disciplined with everything that involves tennis, then we'll see how high I can go. That's what I've been doing. I'm No. 3 now. That's what I've been doing. I'll keep doing. We'll see where it ends.

Q. From conversations you have had in the locker room, do you think most of your peers have that same mindset?

KIM CLIJSTERS: We actually don't talk about tennis at all in the locker rooms. We're more watching the men's tennis or watching whatever. We don't really talk about it.

Q. So you don't know?


Q. You said there's a lot of tournaments between last year and this year. Obviously next round you have Dechy again.

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah. I look forward to that. I lost to her here last year. I really want to, you know, get that revenge back. I'll definitely have to play better than what I did today. You know, she's a good player, very tough. She hardly makes any mistakes, and she runs well. But, yeah, I'll make sure I'll be ready for it.

Q. Your last three matches, the two here and then the Sugiyama match, you haven't been playing your best. Is it confidence or technically is there something going on that's not really working?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I don't know. I think I played one of my best matches against Meghann in that semifinal. Sort of since then, I think the timing is not exactly where it should be. Maybe the movement, I'm not feeling as fast as I could be, I think. I feel like I'm struggling a little bit more when I have to move back to the court, running back. It's something I'll work on. I'll go to the hotel and do some small footwork and sprints and stuff. I'll have doubles tomorrow, so I can work on the timing a little bit more tomorrow. But it's tough. You have to hang in there. You know, I've had an incredible year already. So far everything has been going well. Even if it doesn't go well, I'm still winning my matches without perfect timing, so it's not bad. But for the next match coming up, you know, I'll definitely have to improve that because otherwise it's going to be a real struggle.

Q. You said your goal isn't to be No. 1. Would you feel differently if maybe the Williams sisters weren't there?

KIM CLIJSTERS: No, no, no. Even when I was playing Juniors, rankings has never been on my mind. First of all, I think the most important thing is to be healthy. That makes you capable of playing. Then you just have to do everything to be healthy. But, no, it doesn't matter if they're playing or not. Like rankings to me, they don't really matter. Just something that comes with the tennis, I think. Also for the public, it's very interesting to see the rankings. But I think for the players, especially for the top players, it doesn't really matter if they're 1, 2, 3. Except for Serena I think she loves to be No. 1. I think for the other players, I don't really think -- I mean, that's how I think about it. But I don't think they really worry about they're 5, 6, 7, 8.

Q. You play Nathalie next. She beat you last year in the second round. What are you expecting from her in your next match?

KIM CLIJSTERS: You know, she's very tough. She runs well. She makes hardly any unforced errors. She likes the pace, as well. She likes it when you hit the ball hard. She likes to take advantage of players that hit the ball hard. I'll definitely have to mix my game up a little bit. Most of all, just try to get my timing back before, what is it, Tuesday. Yeah, I'll have to serve well. I think today my first serve percentage was pretty good. I'll have to keep that up.

End of FastScripts….

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