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June 25, 2002

Kim Clijsters


MODERATOR: Questions.

Q. How did you find your performance today?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I know this year like has been a very tough year for me because I've had my arm injury. You know, I sort of have to look for a good schedule and a good balance between enough rest and playing. Definitely today wasn't my best tennis, but it was good enough to go through. I think that's the most important now, that I sort of raised my level the longer I'm in the tournament. I think that's the most important.

Q. Seems like you were struggling to find a rhythm through the whole match?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I definitely didn't feel very comfortable on my return games. I felt pretty comfortable on my serve games. I served well today, and that helped me to get out of some breakpoints. So that was good. But I definitely didn't feel very comfortable returning today.

Q. Is it tough mentally to play a match knowing that you don't have your coach now on the side of the court?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Actually, I had a coach for these two weeks. His name is Harry. He's from Austria. He's been helping me out these two weeks. He's going to help me out these two weeks. So, yeah, it's been good. A new face next to the court. And it helps. You know, it gives me more motivation. And also working off the court, you know, it's different. It's something new. Maybe that changes.

Q. Is the injury still worrying you or not?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I mean, it's still there. You know, I'm going to have another MRI after Wimbledon probably, see how it goes. I've had a few MRIs. It's been getting better slowly, like better every few months, but it's still there. I certainly don't want to play too much so that it comes back because it's still very sensitive at the moment.

Q. Are you still doing the two hours a day of rehab?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yes. I'm sick of it (laughter). No, but, I mean, it helps. The way I feel now, like I said, I'm serving better than I was even before I had my injury. So, I mean, it's definitely helped me a lot, and that's what keeps me going. Sometimes it gets a bit boring, doing it like the same every day. With the physios, the WTA physios, they try to build a mixture of exercises so I can do like not always the same, so it's good.

Q. Physically, can you last seven matches?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I mean, I've worked enough. When I've had time off, when I was resting for my shoulder, I've worked on the things where I didn't have to use my arm. I was running a lot, riding the bike, doing those things a lot, sprints and everything. I think definitely -- physically I think I'm definitely stronger than I was before I had my arm injury.

Q. Is it much better for you to play on grass considering the shoulder? Is it easier?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Maybe, yeah. Also like on clay, I felt, you know, with the high balls and the points, they take a bit longer. It puts a lot more pressure I think on my arm. Especially the way I play, you know, all my shots I used more my arm than some other players. Yeah, you know, but definitely here on the grass, shorter points. If I serve well, I get quicker points, so it definitely helps.

Q. Are you and Lleyton good at raising each other's morale?

KIM CLIJSTERS: It's funny, we don't even talk that much about tennis. There's always something, like you talk about something. We don't really go -- you know, he goes his way, he has his coaches, I've got my coach. We sort of do those things with the people that are around us.

Q. On the Lleyton subject, there was a report in the British tabloids that he proposed to you on top of the Eiffel Tower.

KIM CLIJSTERS: Sorry for my language, but it's not true. I don't know where they get it from. I think by now we've been engaged a few times, we've been divorced, we've been married. I don't know where they get that from.

Q. What was untrue, the proposal, the Eiffel Tower or both?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Both. I've never been to the Eiffel Tower. I live three hours from Paris, I've never been to the Eiffel Tower. It's not true. I don't know where they get it from. Got no idea. It even surprised me, so (laughter).

Q. Obviously, a lot of stories of that nature this time of year. What's your reaction to them? Do you find them amazing, offensive?

KIM CLIJSTERS: You know, I just have a laugh at it, I think. But it was actually funny. On my birthday, people congratulating me. I thought it was for my birthday. These people were actually congratulating me because they thought we were engaged. I mean, I laugh at it. I think you guys have to sell things, as well. But, yeah, it's...

Q. There's been a lot of talk about pressure on young stars. Did having sporting parents actually help you?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, it's definitely helped me a lot, especially with my dad, because he's been in the soccer world. He knows a lot, you know. I think me and my dad, we have a very good relationship. You know, he knows what's best for me, and he helps me out. You know, he knows that when I'm home, I don't want to do too many things. When I'm home, I want to rest. I try to do the things when I'm away. You know, when I'm home, I've got friends, I like to do things that normal teenager does. And for my dad also, I think the most important is that I enjoy myself. I don't play tennis to be, you know, on TV all the time and to be in the magazines. I play tennis because I enjoy it. And these things come with it.

Q. What's the best advice your dad has given you?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Well, he's always said you know, that you have to enjoy yourself when you're on the court. If you enjoy yourself, then the results will come automatically and you'll play better. My parents have never, ever put pressure on me about playing tennis or about doing something else. They said, "If you don't want to play tennis, you want to go swimming, whatever, can you do whatever you want to do."

Q. When did you realize that your dad was famous?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Well, you know, when we went to dinners, they asked him for autographs when I was younger.

Q. Did you ever feel you had to live up to being the daughter of him?

KIM CLIJSTERS: No. Maybe like when I was younger, I think like the spotlights were a little bit more -- when I was playing, say, like the under-12 tournaments in Belgium, the spotlights were maybe a little bit more on us because my dad was more famous. But I've never, ever felt like I had to "achieve something" because my dad was famous, no.

Q. You said you should enjoy yourself on the court. When you had a tournament such as this, there's a great deal of pressure on you, expectations. Is it easy or difficult to have that attitude?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I love playing the Grand Slams, and especially this one - because I did so well here. I started with the juniors. Especially the Juniors, I made the finals. I've played well here. When I was younger, I qualified -- when I was 16, I qualified, lost to Steffi Graf in the fourth round. So I really feel like, you know, I have fun here, like I enjoy being out here. But everything, the atmosphere, the crowd and everything is just like makes it even more enjoyable.

Q. You've been on that court before?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yes, last year.

Q. Are you happy with the surroundings?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I like it. It's a closed court. I saw like there were a few Belgians and even a few Australians supporting me. No, it was good. You feel like the crowd is closer to you. So I like that.

End of FastScripts….

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