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adidas International

January 9, 2003

Kim Clijsters


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Again, I suppose on the whole you're pretty pleased with that, weren't you?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, very. I played very consistent, I think, from the start until the end, and I served well. I think my first serve percentage was pretty high, my coach told me. So that's definitely something I've definitely been working on since playing at Hopman Cup. It was pretty low there. I really wanted to make sure I have a high first serve percentage, and it worked. It's always good against players like Chanda, because they return pretty well. Her serve wasn't working at all today, I think, but I think she serves well. So I think it was important for me to - she returns well - so to get the high percentage in.

Q. Was it even better than yesterday?

KIM CLIJSTERS: It's different, because I was playing completely different opponents. Against Patty, because she hits the ball higher, it's tougher for me to finish off the points quicker. I mean, I definitely felt in control today, like almost the whole match. I definitely felt more under control than yesterday.

Q. Some pretty snappy volleys there, too?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, I don't know where they come from (smiling). Two in a row even there.

Q. The irony was you lost that game.

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah I was 40-love up. I think it was a pretty good game. I think every point was like a good point. There weren't many unforced errors in that game. She played really well. I think she started to step her game up a little bit as well because she felt like, "I had to do something different." Even though I lost, I was still pretty happy with my volley.

Q. Is that something, too, you've been working on, because you know you probably will need to do it?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, that's something that's probably the worst part of my game, is probably my coming in. I really, like, enjoy using my drop volley, not as much my volley. That's why I also try to play some doubles here and there, and that also works for your singles. I actually have another doubles set this afternoon, if we win another match. So, yeah, but it's nice, I think, to have those doubles matches. You can work on some things that weren't going well in the singles or work on your serve or return. Definitely for my volleys it's always nice.

Q. John McEnroe always used to say his best practice for singles was playing doubles.

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah. I think so, too. You're playing a match at the same time. It's good, like if you go out after a singles match and go out and practice a little bit. But the mentality is still it's a practice match , a practice session, and you're not focusing probably as much as you are in a doubles match. But on the other hand, in a doubles it's also, you know, you have a partner there and you can talk a little bit. It's also relaxing.

Q. There's been a bit of talk from some players about moving the Aussie Open back. Some players think it would be a better tournament later in the year. Do you agree with that?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, I mean, I think it would be nice for all of us, because our season is so long. Also for a lot of players who would like to spend Christmas and New Year's at home, I think it's also nice to have a bit of a longer break. But on the other hand, it's been working like this for so long already. I mean, I wouldn't care less, I think, if it would stay the same week or if it would be moved, you know, a bit later.

Q. There's sort of some concern about the extreme heat conditions. Do you think that's a problem?

KIM CLIJSTERS: The heat conditions? Well, I don't know. I think it's still warm, like if you're gonna play a week or two weeks later. I think it's still gonna be pretty warm I think, no? I don't know.

Q. There's talk of it being held in March.

KIM CLIJSTERS: Oh, really? Oh, I hadn't...

Q. It's come out overnight.

KIM CLIJSTERS: Oh, I haven't heard that.

Q. Yeah, it's come out overnight, the ATP bosses.

KIM CLIJSTERS: The latest thing I heard, it was they were thinking about moving it a week or maybe two weeks later so we could have sort of the Christmas and New Year's at home and then have some more time off so we could have actually a whole month of rest before we start training again. I hadn't heard anything about March...

Q. Apparently, that's the talk.


Q. Do you think that's realistic, March?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I don't know. It's hard to say. I've never been out here in March, so it's -- it's hard for me to comment on that. I think it would be maybe good to try it one year and see how it goes. But I think, you know, if you -- on the other hand, you know, if you have it once, I think it should stay, you know. You don't want to switch every year from one week to another. I think you should have a set date for the next few years then.

Q. How do you put your game at the moment heading into the Australian Open? How's your preparation going?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I feel pretty good I think. There's always little things here and there where you can work on, especially before the Grand Slams. Especially in Sydney as well, I mean, I had a lot of chances I think today to finish points even quicker and to come in a little bit more. Some short balls, I missed a few. I think it's also with the wind, your footwork is not as good as it should be. You're sort of looking for the ball a little bit more. I think that's why it's good I have another doubles match today, to try and work a little bit on that. I feel for the rest -- I feel fine. Physically, I feel good. That's definitely an improvement over last year where I had my shoulder problem.

Q. You've been to the semifinals in Sydney before. Do you think you can go the extra step this time?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I hope so. Like I said, you know, I feel fitter, and I think I can. But the matches are going to get tougher and tougher now. I think I have to play Justine if she wins, or Amanda. They're both pretty tough players. So either match is going to be interesting. But I really enjoy playing those matches because these are the matches that you really look forward to before playing a Grand Slam, the big matches.

Q. Can you talk about your opponents.

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, well, Justine is obviously from Belgium as well. I mean, she's very quick, she defends very well. I'll have to expect every ball to come back. Same against Amanda. I mean, she maybe doesn't hit the ball as hard as Justine, but she runs really good as well. I mean, she's got so much experience. I think she's been on the tour for a while already. So I know she's going to be a tough one as well. But, yeah, either way, like I said, in the semis, there's no easy matches anymore. But it's always nice to have these type of matches.

Q. There's talk there might be EPO testing. How do you feel about that?


Q. Your feelings why you're fine with it?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Well, I think we're a high-standard sport. I think, you know, I think as much testing as possible is good for the sport I think.

Q. Do you suspect any players are taking drugs at all?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I don't know (smiling). I don't know. I don't think so.

Q. You don't think so?

KIM CLIJSTERS: No. Well, I mean, because we get tested almost every week. So if there would be, I mean, you know, it would have come out already.

Q. Is it spoken about in the dressing room?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I'm in the committee of the WTA, so I've been told about it and had some meetings with the people of the drug testing. So, you know, I think it's -- the only thing is I'm a bit scared of needles. That's the only way to test EPO, is with the blood test. So that's the only problem, but I could learn. But, no, I mean, it's good. And also now the out of competition testing as well, I think that's good as well for women's tennis.

End of FastScripts….

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