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May 16, 2002

Kim Clijsters


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Kim, please.

Q. At one stage you were very angry with the umpire. What happened there?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I don't even -- I don't even remember what the score was in the tiebreak. It was 5-all or 5-4.

Q. 5-all.

KIM CLIJSTERS: 5-all. Panova hits a backhand cross-court, and I don't know what I did - I hit it back. Then I ran to the mark and I showed her the mark. She refused to come off the chair. So that's the thing that she tells us before we did the ball toss, you know, "If you see the mark, I'll come down to the chair and show you where the mark was, if there was another mark." But she refused to come and show me the mark that she saw.

The linesmen -- I said that that was the mark that I was pointing out. It was two to three centimeters out. They're the boss. There's not much I can do then. But she has to come down to the chair -- like off the chair to check the mark. And she didn't. So...

Q. Did she give you any reason?

KIM CLIJSTERS: No, no. She refused to come down.

Q. Did you actually use the anger that you had then? Because you started the third set extremely well.

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, yeah.

Q. Was that as much anger as anything else?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, yes. Yes. I admit it, it was. It helped me. But it's -- you know, I don't know what... I don't know why she didn't want to do it. But, I mean, I lost the set, but like at the end. I blocked her out of the court and...

Q. Not easy?

KIM CLIJSTERS: No, not easy. No. That's true. Oh, yeah.

Q. Yesterday there was exactly the same incident that happened in the match between Pierce and Schnyder.

KIM CLIJSTERS: Was it the same umpire or...?

Q. No, not the same umpire. I was just wondering if you know the rules, if they don't want to get --

KIM CLIJSTERS: No, I went -- straight after the match, I went to the WTA office and I said, "Well, what are the rules?" They said, "If you show the mark, they have to come down to the chair, off the chair." And even if she saw another mark, you know, fine. Like there was this case that happened, I let the ball bounce twice in the first set, 3-all in the first set. She didn't see it. I stopped playing the point. I've got no problem saying that I didn't -- that something happened, you know. But then... It's the second time. She gave me a warning because I went to get my string savers at the Australian Open. I don't know if she's got something against me or what. Like it's... I won't be very, very happy, I think, if I have her in another match. I'd go, "Oh, please, not again."

Q. Your sister just won. She's going next week to Bonfiglio. How far do you think your sister can go? Can she reach a high level?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, it's been hard for her as well because she sort of had to -- like she was always -- the people always compared her towards me. And then if I played a lot of the tournaments and I won one or I made the finals, and if she lost in the quarterfinals, that was still good. Like she thought that she didn't do good enough because I did better. Now, actually, she's playing really well. We had a good week. I won in Hamburg, she won in Salsomaggiore, singles and doubles. So it's going well. Yeah, no, it's not easy for her. But I think -- I think it was good for her to have this first win. Yeah, I hope -- she can get into the French Open now, so she'll be there (smiling).

Q. How do you feel about your game?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Well, it's not the best tennis that I can -- it's not the best that I can play. But I was -- I'm happy with the way I fought and the way that I kept going for it. And it worked a few points, and it didn't work some other points. But, yeah. I think it's good to have some of these matches before getting into the Slam, you know. It's -- to have some matches where you have to fight and where some things happen, what you don't expect to happen. But it's good. Like it's good to have some three-set matches, than winning them over easy. So yeah...

Q. How is your arm?


Q. How is your arm?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, still hanging on (laughing). No, it's -- yeah, it's been going well. I mean, I can still feel it after my practice, and in the morning it takes a little bit longer than -- to warm up. But, yeah, it's -- the exercises -- after Miami I had another MRI, and it showed that it was improving. So let's hope that whenever I have my next MRI that it's going to be even better. But, yeah, no, I actually feel -- it feels good for the moment. But that's the thing, I have to see from day to day how it holds up.

Q. Your next match is against Sandrine Testud. What is your feeling about that?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I've never played her so... I'll worry about myself, like (laughing). No, it's -- yeah, Sandrine is a player who has a lot of experience, has beaten a lot of good players already. She's got a very good serve. She moves well. So it's going to be a very tough match. But I don't know, what am I, in quarterfinal now? No easy matches in the quarters. So everyone who's in there is good and wants to win. And so yeah... We'll see.

Q. Is it true that you can play soccer well?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I can manage playing with the ball, yes. Yeah (smiling)...

Q. Is it true that you might change your nationality?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Oh, my God... I think that was a misunderstanding then, what happened. I spoke to an Australian lady during the Fed Cup. The only thing I said is that I would like to live there because it was a great country, and it was raining in Belgium for the - I don't know - tenth time that day. The only thing that I said, I would like to live there. I love the country, but I never said that I'd play Fed Cup for Australia or that I would change nationality. I'll stay Belgian. I'm proud to be Belgian, and I'll stay Belgian.

End of FastScripts….

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