September 3, 2001
NEW YORK CITY
THE MODERATOR: First question for Kim, please.
Q. How satisfying is it going to the quarterfinals of a major championship?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, it's great. It's my first quarterfinals of my career here. It's my best result, so it's been very good. I'm happy with the way I played my first set and my third set, so I'm very satisfied, yeah.
Q. Assess your game. You came in with a little bit of an injury. You pulled out of the tournament prior. Any remnants of that injury?
KIM CLIJSTERS: No, I'm feeling good. This is like the second match that I'm actually feeling that I can give myself 100%. The only thing I'm feeling right now is that my left leg is getting a bit tired. So it's maybe because I'm compensating a little bit because of my right leg. So I'm trying to, like, put not as much pressure on it. For the rest, that's easy to like get treatment for. So I just need to get a lot of massages on my legs and then I'll be fine.
Q. Is it good to have a match under your belt with a player of the caliber of Dementieva, who did so well here last year and we all know can be a very strong opponent?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Oh, yeah, definitely. I mean, she's one of the players that is a very tough fighter. I mean she's had great results so far in the career, and she goes for every ball, every rally is long. So it's hard to, like, have easy rallies against her. It was really important for me that I felt 100% and to give myself 100%.
Q. Dementieva is a great young player, but Venus is generally considered to be the dominant player these days. Presuming she gets through Sandrine tonight, do you think you're ready to beat her?
KIM CLIJSTERS: I don't know. I mean the way Venus has been playing unbelievable the last two years, like even before that, but she's been really dominating tennis. And I mean she can have an off day sometimes, so like the way she played against Barbara Schett at the French Open, those top players, it can happen to those top players as well. They always can have like an off day. But when they play their best tennis, it's very hard to beat them. I think the way she's been playing here, she's been playing very well. Either way, I mean she's gonna have a tough match against Sandrine tonight. Sandrine serves very well. I'm in the quarterfinal. I mean, I've never played Venus before, so I'm looking forward to play her. I know it's going to be fast, like quick rallies and a lot of winners and unforced errors as well I think. But, yeah, that's what I'll be ready for.
Q. What do you think is first to go in Venus' game when she has an off day?
KIM CLIJSTERS: I just know, like, you have to put the pressure on them as well. You have to try to hit the ball hard. Like if you're gonna hit with a lot of speed, just hit the winners past your ears. It's like you have to, like, even attack the second serves, and because they serve so well, it also like puts pressure on your own service game. So it's very important for my next match - if I play Venus - that I serve well and that I have a high first percentage, first serves.
Q. First six games of this match serve was broken four times.
KIM CLIJSTERS: Breaks, yes (smiling).
Q. Why? You hadn't settled in yet?
KIM CLIJSTERS: I don't know. It was weird because, yeah, I wasn't feeling my return like very good in the beginning. Normally that's one of my strongest points, and I wasn't like getting -- I had to get used to like everything again. Like I had a day off yesterday, didn't practice. And so I had to like work myself into the match a little bit. But I was pretty -- I mean, it was pretty good. After that, I mean, she broke me a few times in the second set as well. So I mean she returns well, especially with her forehand. She hit a few winners on my serve. So I mean I just -- and then but I served well. I tried to put more first serves in like to the backhand with a higher kick serve because she's got like a western grip with her backhand, so it was really important to put pressure on her backhand from the beginning.
Q. The Russian player Krasnoroutskaya switches hands with her backhand. Rather untypical. Do you think this gives her an advantage? Do you think, "Hey, it's better to stick to the traditional style"?
KIM CLIJSTERS: If it would be better, you would see more players doing it. But that's the way she grow up, I think, so it's not really up to me to tell her that it's not good for her game. She probably doesn't know how to play a backhand. I don't think it's an advantage, because the way you saw her playing, like she's holding the racquet so high with one forehand that she doesn't have like a far reach. If you hit it fast, like if you keep moving from left to right, it's also hard to switch. So I don't think it's an advantage. But, I mean, she's qualified and she's done pretty well here. So, I mean, it's not bad, yeah. But I wouldn't do it. I have enough power in my left arm.
Q. Where do you get your mental strength? Do you get it from your dad?
KIM CLIJSTERS: My dad. I don't know. That's what I've -- I've always been pretty good with -- not mentally. Even when I was playing Juniors, like when I was practicing, like when I was 12 or something, I always wanted to compete. And I think that's what I enjoy and I think that's why I do it as well. So as long as I enjoy it, I'll stay like mentally focused.
Q. There were a few moments where you got a little out of focus.
KIM CLIJSTERS: Yes.
Q. Kicked the tennis ball and actually missed it. Hopefully your father wasn't watching that. But have you been able to control a little bit better?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah. Well, sometimes if you -- like if you walk on the court and you don't do anything if you lose a point, like that's gonna have the average -- like the other way of -- yeah, like it's gonna have the other way of effect. And so sometimes you have like get everything out and just forget about it and just like motivate yourself for the next point. I mean, it doesn't matter for me. Like I don't think it's bad to scream sometimes or to like hit a ball in the ground or like this just to get all your frustration out of it. But, yeah, as long as you can get focused again like after you did that, I think that's the way to do it. For me, I mean some players really have to stay focused. For me, that's probably the way I have to do it.
Q. So many tennis players have athletes as parents. What's the single most biggest advantage of having an athlete as a parent?
KIM CLIJSTERS: I've been pretty lucky. I mean, I've got my mom. She was a gymnast. I've got the flexibility of my mom. That's why I can slide and that's why like I don't have that many injuries until the one I had the last one. But, yeah, then I've got the strength of my father. He always had really strong legs, like when he played soccer. I've got those as well. So I mean it's -- I think it's an advantage as well. My dad has always been famous in Belgium. He's always like had to do interviews. So he sort of like he helped me in that way. He really has been the greatest support in that way.
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