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May 18, 2002

Kim Clijsters


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Kim, please.

Q. Kim, you seemed to have trouble finding your concentration. Is that true?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Oh, no. I think I felt very focused. Until 5-all in the first set, I felt like I was dominating all of the points. And I just had my chances in the first set as well to win it, you know. I could have won it 6-2, 6-3 maybe. But, yeah, I mean, it's tennis. And Justine is a fighter, and she defends very well. So it was tough for me. Like the ball kept coming back a few more times. I think I misjudged a few of the short balls a little bit, with the wind, I don't know what it was. But Justine just played well. In the second set, I tried fighting. And I was still fighting. Justine was just not making -- not letting me get into the match anymore.

Q. What challenges does Justine present that other players perhaps don't, who play a more conventional baseline game with the two hands? What does Justine present that's difficult to play against?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Well, she's a good player. Like every other top player, you know, they all have something different and they all have something special that makes it tough to beat them. And it's like Venus having the power and Serena as well, you know. But it's -- like I've beaten Justine a few times, she's beaten me a few times now. So it was a close match. The first set could have gone either way. But Justine, like I said, she fights for every ball and she defends really well. So when you play her - especially on clay when you play her, the ball keeps going back a few more times. And it's tough, because, you know, with the slice, you don't get a lot of high balls to finish off the points quicker, so you sort of have to go for the winner a little bit quicker against her to try to -- or for a harder shot to try to go for the winner.

Q. I know you've played her many, many, many times. Is there something about her strokes that are still very deceptive, even though you know pretty much what she's going to do?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah. No, I... Yeah, today she definitely did it in the second set. I felt we were playing really good tennis in the first set. I mean, I'm happy with the way I played. And especially to go the week before a Grand Slam, I'm really happy with the way I played here. But Justine, she, yeah, she fights. That helps her to get through like a lot of matches. And then (inaudible) she's got a great backhand. But also, you know, people talk a lot about her backhand, but her forehand is good as well. Yeah, she's got a good mix.

Q. Will you go right to Paris and practice there?

KIM CLIJSTERS: No, I'll go home for a few days, I'll see how long. I need a few days off for my shoulder as well, just for the French. You never know, you could be there for a few weeks. And then I'll go a little bit earlier and practice.

Q. It's likely that Belgium will have two players in the Top 5 when the new rankings come out. We in Britain are looking for two in the Top 200 (laughter). What advice would you give to young girls who --?

KIM CLIJSTERS: They asked me yesterday about the Italian people.

Q. Oh, really? I didn't know that.


Q. Sorry. We're intrigued. That's why.

KIM CLIJSTERS: I don't know. It's not that Justine and I, that we were in the same environment together or anything. You know, we both had our own coaches and we both -- because we were living like three hours away from each other, or two hours. So it's not that we did the same things. I mean, we have two Federations in Belgium. She was in the south one, I was in the north one. So I don't know what she did, but I just did... I don't know (shrugging).

Q. It's a fate, it's just a quark really?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, yeah.

Q. You said that Justine is a great fighter. You are a great fighter, too.


Q. How much did your shoulder affect the game in the second set?

KIM CLIJSTERS: It's always harder with the wind, because like I have to -- that's what I'm doing now, I'm stabilizing my shoulder. With the wind, it's always a little bit tougher to serve and everything. So... But, you know, it felt pretty good today. Of course, like I said, with -- with the wind a few times, with the serve, you can feel it a little bit. But, you know, it's not as bad as it was at the Australian Open or anything, so...

End of FastScripts….

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