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January 18, 2003

Kim Clijsters


MODERATOR: Questions for Kim.

Q. That looked relatively straightforward. Are you happy with the way it went?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, definitely. It was a lot better than at the French. I was really ready for a revenge, I think. I know I wasn't playing my best tennis at the French, but I really felt -- she's a player who gets a lot of balls back and she runs really well. I felt like I, you know, had to keep the pressure on her and try not to let her get into the match like I did at the French.

Q. Did you lose your concentration in the first set?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, maybe a little bit. I think my serve wasn't coming through either, you know, when she broke me, as well. Maybe I tried to do a little bit too much, as well. I missed a few backhands, a few forehands when I tried to run around on them. I think I tried to do a little bit too much. But, you know, I focused again. Yeah, so I broke back straightaway.

Q. You've only dropped six games over three rounds. Is this as good as you've felt at a Grand Slam?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, well, the score shows, you know, that I'm playing well. My first match was definitely I think the toughest one. I think I'm more comfortable out there already than in the beginning. Because I think it's always tough after you win a tournament to, you know, regroup yourself and to get ready again for, you know, for a first round again because you're been on the road for a while. But, no, I feel good now. It was nice to play a match on the Rod Laver Arena, you know. To get one on the center court was good as well. I was really happy with that.

Q. How important is it for you to break through and win that first Grand Slam tournament?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Well, I mean, I've never really thought about that. I mean, you know, of course the Grand Slams are very important I think to all of the players. But, you know, I'm definitely not the type of player who only focuses on the Grand Slams. Like, I try to win every match I play. You know, I think that's why I do so well, as well, I think in the small tournaments, like the ones in Europe and America. I've really played some of my best tennis in those tournaments. So, of course, you know, a Grand Slam win would be great, but I'm still far away from that, and I'm not focusing on that at all. I mean, I'm just focusing on my matches one at a time and I will see because there's so many other tough players out there who, you know, can beat each other. So you have to be ready for every match.

Q. The scheduling was a bit kinder to you today after waiting four hours the other day. Relieved to get a first-up match?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Definitely. I prefer to play the first matches because then at least you know what time you have to start. With the men's, they don't have just over an hour matches. Definitely the one, when I had to play after Stepanek and Kuerten, that was definitely a long one. And you lose your whole day sort of just waiting around, and you get tired. So I was happy with this one. I can just go and relax and have some time off.

Q. You were described on local radio as "Our Adopted Aussie Daughter." Is this about as close as you get to a home tournament, being in front of a crowd like this?

KIM CLIJSTERS: We have a few tournaments in Belgium now. There's one in Antwerp, where I'm really looking forward to play. Because of my shoulder injury last year, I couldn't play. I went to watch Justine play there, just to see how it was all going. I did a few things for charity, for my sponsors. You know, I felt really sad that I couldn't play that because I think the crowd was just amazing. So, you know, it's definitely the closest. We get a lot of Belgian support also at the French because it's so close. And I think definitely like the Australian Open and the French are definitely some of my favorite tournaments overall, not only Grand Slams. So, yeah, that's why I play well, as well, because I enjoy myself and I feel very relaxed here.

End of FastScripts…

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