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adidas International

January 10, 2003

Kim Clijsters


THE MODERATOR: Obviously, Kim's got the doubles finals. We need to keep this to about five minutes.

Q. That was a very high-quality match, wasn't it?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, very. I think from the first ball until the last, I think it was a very high standard match. Like, only a few unforced errors from both of us. I think, yeah, we -- the score definitely sounds a lot easier than, you know, than what it was. I mean, every game was so close. I mean, I think the games that I broke in the first set, I think she was 40-15 up a few times as well. Those are games where it could have gone either way.

Q. You played the pressure points while you were down a few breakpoints.

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, definitely. I think definitely on my serve games I served well. I really took my time to try to get my first serve in, and it worked. I think against Justine, that's very important, to try to keep the pressure on her. From the moment that you hit that second serve, she really tries to attack it and tries to get an advantage situation.

Q. You've got the doubles coming up now. Lindsay finished this afternoon. Are you a little bit worried about being fatigued?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I think I'm about ten years younger than her, so I should be all right (laughing). I've done it before and it's not that I'm not fit enough to do it. But, you know, but, I think on the one hand it can be a disadvantage, and on the other hand, it's also good to have those, you know, those few matches a little bit more. Because then for next week at the Australian, I have to be there seven matches if I want to be able to do well and if I want to have good results. So I have to be able to stay fit throughout, you know, especially the first week you have to stay fit. So, you know, that's what helps, I think, to have this extra match.

Q. Do you take much into your previous matches against her? It's a 6-3 record down, but I think you've won two of the last three on hard court. Do you read much into that?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I'm not really a big fan of focusing on previous matches. I mean, every match is different. So I don't really -- of course, I mean, I think for the public and for the media it counts, you know, because they like to see the head-to-heads. For me, it doesn't really worry me. I just go into that match like it's the first time I play her. Of course I know her better, I know her game a lot better than in the beginning. But it's nice, you know. It's great to have this match, you know, just before a Grand Slam. It's great to have these high-profile matches.

Q. Have you ever felt so happy about your form and as confident at the start of the year?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I mean, last year I wasn't even close to playing as well as what I am now, and I made the semifinal of the Aussie last year. So, you know, it's -- it doesn't always mean that you do well, you know, if you play well the weeks before the Australian Open. But it's definitely, you know, for your confidence, it's definitely a lot better to be there from the start. Also at the Hopman Cup I started playing a lot better than the beginning last year.

Q. Are you much more confident than even in the past under pressure?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, I do. Yeah, I think it's, I mean, when you get older, I think you learn to - sorry, but (laughing) - no, just, you know, when you get more mature, you learn to handle those situations. Because I think I remember the first time I played against Serena was at the US Open in '99 I think it was. I was up 5-3 in the third. All of a sudden, I just choked, completely, because I had never been in that situation. Now, I know how to handle the situations and I know that I have to take my time and focus on my serve, on the return, whatever. So, you know, that's definitely something that I've improved, and you learn that.

Q. Have you two got to the stage where you can put aside your personal friendship and just got on with it?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I think so. I've never really had a lot of trouble with it, I think. It's -- I think maybe it was a little bit tougher for her to sort of change it a little bit. I think now we -- definitely, after seeing this match, it's always nice to have these great matches against each other. It really helps both of us I think. Although, you know, someone has to lose, but I think it helps both of us definitely going into a Grand Slam. It's really good for both of us.

End of FastScripts….

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