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March 8, 2002

Kim Clijsters


MODERATOR: Questions for Kim.

Q. Yesterday you were saying that you were not feeling well.

KIM CLIJSTERS: I still sound pretty bad.

Q. How much of a factor was that today?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Well, I saw the doctor yesterday. I had a sinus infection and an ear infection. It's not the way I really want to plan my comeback a little bit. It's bad timing. I mean, there's not much you can do about it. I don't know where I got it from or how. But I gave my best out there today, and I tried, but it didn't work.

Q. Did you think about withdrawing? Did you consider withdrawing?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Like I haven't played for a month. I haven't played any tournaments since the Australian Open. So I was really looking forward to come out here. I love playing here because I had such good results here in the past two years. I was really enjoying practicing here and looking forward to play my first match, but then two days ago I got all this. But I never really thought about not playing. But, of course, it doesn't make you feel better or make you feel more enjoyable on the court.

Q. Were there any problems with the arm today?

KIM CLIJSTERS: No, I mean, I've been doing a lot of exercises since the Australian Open. I've had a whole new schedule. I've redone my schedule. So, like I said, I mean, I'm in the gym for two hours every day just for my shoulder exercise, that's only for my shoulder. It's hard work actually to try to get it all in balance and to try to get the pressure off of my forearm. But I hope it's getting better like day to day. I mean, it's still not a hundred percent. I mean, it's an injury that takes maybe a few months to heal. So that's what I'm trying to do now, is sort of rebuild all my muscles around the back of my shoulder to keep everything stable. I'm not going to put too much pressure on my forearm, on my upper arm. So it's going to be -- yeah, it's hard. I mean, I've never really had a bad injury, and all of a sudden I've got one that is pretty serious. It's something I'll have to think about. I mean, I've been thinking about it for a while already. I had to redo my schedule. But, yeah, it's a challenge, though. It's something I look forward to every match to see how it is and, yeah, I'm just trying to focus on my game at the moment. Of course, I have to do a lot of things for my shoulder. But try to forget about it, as well.

Q. Most people that lose will take off. Will you be staying around?

KIM CLIJSTERS: That's the thing with Indian Wells and having Miami, as well. I'm not going to go fly over to Belgium and come back in a week or something. It's always nice that Lleyton is still playing, so I can watch his matches. But, no, first I'm going to let this all heal and finish off my antibiotics. And then, yeah, I'm going to start practicing again.

Q. Off the subject, do you remember what you were doing or where you were on September 11th?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Actually, I just left a few hours before it all happened, I think. Lleyton won at the US Open, and he had to do the whole photo shoot on Monday. Then Monday night, there was a thunder storm at New York airport, we were a few hours delayed. We left at 11:30, flew to LA, then from LA to Sydney. Like I think we were about three to four hours into our flight when it happened.

Q. Do you think that anything has changed for you as a result of this attack or your life particularly?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I've been very realistic with everything. You know, tennis, it's great to be able to make your hobby and to earn money out of what your hobby, what starts at your hobby. My mom has had cancer, my dad has had cancer. So I'm very positive in thinking there are more important things than just tennis. September 11th thing just makes it clear I think to all the rest of the people in the world that there's more important things than just your job or just, yeah, your sports or whatever.

Q. What is the best thing about tennis to you?

KIM CLIJSTERS: The best thing -- I've done it all my life. The best thing at the moment is because I started -- like I started because I loved it, and that's still now. But I've made it into my occupation sort of. I'm doing what I love, and we get to travel and see all the nice places, we can stay in nice hotels, we get to meet a lot of nice people, different people all the time. So it's a very, very interesting sport, I think, because we travel so many times, like every week. It's not like swimming, swimmers, they focus on the Olympics most of the time. That's like every four years or something. I love it. I mean, this is what I dreamt of, to be able to give press conferences and to play on big tennis courts, so it's nice. But there are also other things that -- there are like a lot of advantages and a lot of disadvantages, as well. If you have your family, you don't get to see them as much. And the traveling can make it a little bit hard sometimes. Every week you have to pack your bags. If you lose, you can sometimes be on the plane for 50 hours and played for two hours a match or something. But that's why I think tennis is also a sport that you don't see people play until they're so old, because it takes a lot out of you and it's a sport where you have to give yourself a hundred percent and you have to be fit, because if you're not, someone else will take your place. I think that's what we have to realize, the moment that you're there, you have to look after yourself and do what they expect from you.

Q. Even if you were not a healthy person today, what did you think of Nathalie's game?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I played her I think three years ago in Bratislava. She's been struggling. I know Nathalie pretty well. We're pretty good friends on the tour. She's been injured on her stomach muscles. But she's obviously playing with a lot of confidence at the moment. She's had very good results lately. She played very well today. But, yeah, Nathalie played really well today, I think.

Q. Besides the sinus infection, how close were you to a hundred percent with your arm?

KIM CLIJSTERS: It's hard to say. That's the thing with this injury. You never know how it is. I was practicing last week in San Jose and everything was fine, but that doesn't mean that it's not there. I mean, that's the thing, with this injury, it takes a while before it starts getting inflamed again. Like I said, that's why I'm doing a lot of shoulder exercises now to try to take the pressure off my upper arm. I want to take the pressure off, and I hope it can heal and get better.

Q. Is this an injury that needs time to heal?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, yeah. It's not going to heal by just taking two weeks off or something.

Q. Are you going to try to plan some time to rest it?

KIM CLIJSTERS: That's what I'm doing now. Like I said, I've redone my schedule. I'm going to play Miami and then after Miami I'm having three weeks off without playing tennis, then I'm going to play two weeks. So I'm not playing any tournaments for five weeks again. That's something. Till the end of this year I'll have to plan my rests and my tournaments very well to try to not play too much for my arm. Otherwise, if I get a fracture in it, I might be out for a year or something. That's not really what I want. But, yeah, then I'll try to finish off this year. At the end of October, I'll have another two months off. That will be my longer break.

Q. After Miami, what will be your first tournament back?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I don't know yet. I've signed up for Hamburg. I don't know if I'm going to play that. Probably Berlin or Rome. That's what I don't know. Like I signed up in all of those tournaments, but I'll have to see how I feel after two weeks of practice. If I feel like it's still bad or if I can still feel it, then I might have to drop the first tournament and just go for Rome and the French Open, yeah. It's a very hard thing.

Q. Obviously it's disappointing to lose, last year's runner-up and also as the top seed, but is it easy to accept the loss because of the way you're feeling?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Well, I sort of -- I'm very competitive, and I wanted to go out there and give myself a hundred percent because I knew that even if I wouldn't feel a hundred percent, I still think it might be 50/50. And you never know what happens. The girl doesn't have to play her best tennis, and I might be able to beat her. But today she played very well. It was for me very tough to have the long rallies and to be back after the long rallies because I could hardly get my breath, and I wasn't hearing anything, I could hardly hear the ball bounce. It was hard. But it's something I chose before my match, before I got out on the court. Once I was out on the court, I said, "You're here now, you're going to give yourself a hundred percent, and we'll see when it finishes."

End of FastScripts….

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