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August 30, 2001

Kim Clijsters


MODERATOR: Questions for Kim, please.

Q. How much freer in your movements were you today than you would have been, for instance, on Tuesday?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Well, my opponents were completely different. I mean, Pavlina Nola is one that plays with a little more topspin and she doesn't use -- she doesn't play as fast as the girl I played today. So today I had to make a little bit more explosive movements than I did in my first match. I haven't been practicing a lot, and I haven't been practicing like 100%. But I'm feeling like in my practice sessions that I'm hitting the ball clean, that I've got a lot of rhythm. It's not really necessary to be hitting a lot of practice balls, like after my matches. I mean, definitely today like she's got a good forehand. Yeah, I mean, with some of the movements, I was maybe like a little bit scared to go all the way. But I was still like moving good enough to finish it off quickly.

Q. You think you're close to being 100%?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I don't know, maybe 75, 80%, yeah.

Q. Are you wondering how long 75 or 80% can last?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I'm one of the players, like I use my legs a lot, and I've got strong legs. Like in tennis, you use your arms and your legs. Like it's a bit of a stupid injury to have at this stage. Like when I play as well, I'm very explosive. That's why like I can get myself, when I'm out of position, I can put myself back in position - because of my legs. That's what makes it tough at the moment. That's what maybe scares me also at the moment, to give myself all the way during points.

Q. Still with the leg, 45 minutes. Are you amazed at how fast all of these matches are going?

KIM CLIJSTERS: In my first match, I was playing pretty well. Also because Nola, she hits the ball pretty high, I could hit a lot of winners. The girl from today, I really had to make her make mistakes. That's what I did very well today. I didn't hit that many winners, but like I moved the ball around and I made sure that she made the mistakes before I did.

Q. What do you do on a day where you're finished by 12:30?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I'm icing right now my leg, and I'm going to see the doctor, like the physios, they'll be treating me. I'll have a massage. After the massage, I'll stretch my legs for about 20 minutes or something with the physios. Maybe later today I might have another treatment. Tomorrow I'll have treatment and treatment. That's probably the most important thing at this stage. Rest a lot, as well.

Q. You're 75 or 80%, but you skated through your first two matches not dropping a set yet. Does that tell you something about yourself and your ability to deal with this injury, or are you a bit concerned that you haven't had a true test out there?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Well, like some of the points today, like I was feeling -- I tried to slide. It was the first time that I actually felt that I was able to do it. Like in my first match, I was still a little bit unsure if I would be able to do it. After sliding, I had to push myself back into position, if I would be all right. Today I did it. I missed a shot, but I did the sliding move, and I didn't feel anything at that stage. Like I was pretty happy then. I was a little bit surprised as well that I didn't feel anything. That was good news. I could still feel like sometimes when I was moving, I could still feel sometimes like someone is putting needles into you, like your muscles. I was feeling that a little bit at one stage. That's something I have to live with. My leg is taped. I don't think I can make it any worse than it is. But it's just something I have to deal with.

Q. What is the treatment that you're getting besides massage and icing?

KIM CLIJSTERS: A lot of soft tissue, a lot of like ultrasound and stim and stretching I think is important as well, yeah.

Q. I read that you were a big fan of Sabine when you were younger, even using the same racquet that she used. Do you see that with young kids now back home who are now growing up being Kim fans?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, they are. There was a girl in the tennis school, she was a good friend of mine, you could sort of see that she started playing with the same racquet as I'm using now. She's also like wearing the Nike clothes. It's pretty nice. It's nice to be sort of like a role model for them. Yeah, that's why I like -- also at tournaments, I like to do like kids' clinics, I like to be able to teach children what it is to be a professional tennis player.

Q. Allison has had a problem with fitness. Were you aware of that when you began the match? Is that one of the reasons you wanted to move her around?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Definitely. I think she's a girl that hits the ball very well. She serves very well, as well. Today I think she made -- I think like that's what I was feeling during my match. She's very unsure on her second serve, so it was very important for me to put the pressure on, like try to win the first point of her serve games. I think if I could be 15-Love up on her serve game, I think she was like starting to - I don't know - get a little unsure about her serve. That's what I was trying to do. I was trying to move her around a lot. If you hit the ball to her, I did that a few times, she like finished the point off. It was very important for me to run her around.

Q. Were you aware that she had served 19 double-faults in her first match here?

KIM CLIJSTERS: No. You could have told me that yesterday (laughter).

Q. You played Martina, Serena, Lindsay recently. You played quite well. You know the way they move you around the court. Consider the injury, does it occur to you at times, "The way I'm feeling right now, I couldn't run the court against those girls"?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I don't know. I haven't been able to do that yet so that's why I'm not sure. Even when I have like a rest day, I'm only hitting for like 20 minutes just to get in my rhythm. Of course, today I did it a few times, but it's not the same as against those top players. You have to do it every point. I haven't done that yet. No, like I know that if I get to the stage where I have to play those top players, I know that I have to be at least 90% of my strength to be able to keep up with those girls.

Q. What do you think it says about the depth of competition that you're 75% and you're winning a match easily?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I think for myself it's pretty positive for myself. Yeah, to be able to win those matches quite easily, like under an hour even, that's pretty good. I'm feeling like today I didn't play my best, but...

Q. Do you think it says anything about the quality of the opponents?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I don't know. Like, I mean, I played Pavlina Nola on clay court. She's a different player on clay. I like to play on hard courts. It suits my game, as well. It would be like I'm happy that it sort of happens here. If it happens on a clay court, I would have had no chance to be able to play with all the sliding and with all the power you put on your legs at that stage. But, no, I mean, the girl today as well, she won her first round like in three sets, but she still won. That's why I was pretty careful for the way I had to play today.

Q. How did you avoid not becoming a soccer player with your family background?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Women's soccer is not very big in Belgium. I don't know. I think my dad was getting pretty sick of all the soccer attention, and he was pretty happy that he had two girls that would be able to do something else besides soccer. I don't know. I don't mind playing soccer. As a warm-up sometimes I do it with my coach or some other players. I did it with Amelie Mauresmo, we played like tennis soccer before we warmed up last week in New Haven. Those are things that are like amusing, because otherwise you always have to run around the court. You get sick of that, as well. Sometimes it's pretty nice to be able to have like a change in your warm-ups, to do something different.

Q. Women's soccer is getting a lot bigger in the last ten years. Do you think if you were ten now, it would be a harder decision to choose?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I don't know. It's not that big in Europe than it is in America. Like I've been in America for a few weeks already now, and I've been following it, I've been watching a few women's soccer matches on TV. It's pretty amazing how rough they are, how they really get into the matches. I really like that. I mean, if I wouldn't play tennis, I think I would have tried. It's something amusing. I like to play like on a team sport. Yeah, I don't know. Maybe if I didn't play tennis I would have tried it. I don't know. It's hard to say.

End of FastScripts….

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