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August 24, 2001

Kim Clijsters

John DeStefano

Anne Worcester


ANNE WORCESTER: Hello. It's been quite a day. Pilot Pen Tennis is very proud to be working with the City of New Haven on a number of new initiatives this year. I think everyone knows that July 11th we had a really fun street clinic with Monica Seles right in front of City Hall featuring the Mayor and a couple of other local celebrities. Working together with the City, we've also brought jazz to the Pilot Pen for the first time. Thanks to Barbara Lamb and her group and the Office of Economic Development, the Yale Tercentennial New Haven Jazz Festival has been very popular and well-received this year. The third new initiative, the piece d'resistance, has been the "Mayor's Passport to Downtown Dining." I think the members of the media have been hearing a little bit about it throughout the week from the players. But basically eleven of the finest downtown restaurants - they're all listed on this board over here - have opened their doors and invited all of our main draw players, both singles and doubles, to eat for free. The City of New Haven and Pilot Pen Tennis created this new program to welcome the players to New Haven in the most hospitable way, and also to promote the downtown restaurants. The genesis of this program was really that the Mayor wanted to do something nice for the players. We talked a little bit about maybe having a dinner party in the Player's Lounge. He said, "No, I want them to get out and discover New Haven. There are so many wonderful things." Am I stealing your thunder?

MAYOR JOHN DeSTEFANO: No, I don't recall saying that, but I'll defer to you.

ANNE WORCESTER: Well, I heard through one of your staff members that you felt very strongly about it. So together we all created this "Mayor's Passport to Downtown Dining." It's been so much fun being in the Player Lounge all week. I don't think Scott Healy will ever forget this week. (Laughter.) But before I turn the floor over to the Mayor, Kim Clijsters, No. 5 player in the world, who has taken advantage of the program, just wanted to say a few words about the program before she departs for New York. So, Kim, thanks for hanging around for a little while longer.

KIM CLIJSTERS: You're welcome. I just think it's a great idea. We always eat -- like at the clubs, we always eat like pastas. So now like we've been able to have Indian food, Ethiopian food, Malaysian, Chinese, everything possible. So I think it's great for the players as well to try different things and to go into the city. I mean, we always have to sit in our room like from -- like to rest. So now we can actually go out and enjoy ourselves. It's been great. I know a lot of players were competing like to see who had -- like who was winning and who had the most -- who had been to the most restaurants already. So it's been great. We were giving each other like tips to which restaurant to go to, and so it's been very good. And it's, yeah, I mean it's definitely something that -- like it's great for the players, I think, yeah.

Q. Which one was your favorite?

KIM CLIJSTERS: For me it was the Indian. I really loved the Indian.


KIM CLIJSTERS: Nirvana. Yeah, that was very, very good.

ANNE WORCESTER: Was there an opinion somewhere from somebody else close to you?

KIM CLIJSTERS: My boyfriend. He loved the Indian as well, so...

ANNE WORCESTER: Her boyfriend, Lleyton Hewitt, the tennis player, the top tennis player. So we had two strong votes from both the men's and women's tour.

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, So he enjoyed going to that one.

Q. So did he come back from New York for the Indian food? (Laughter.)

KIM CLIJSTERS: We actually went to the Indian when he came back, yes. (Laughing.)

Q. Which ones did you go to?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I went to Lalibela, and then I went to Nirvana. I went to Royal Palace. I went to Zinc and --.

ANNE WORCESTER: That's great.

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah. So I did a few, yeah. It was very, very good.


KIM CLIJSTERS: And I had very good dinners at all of the restaurants, but Nirvana was my favorite, yeah.

ANNE WORCESTER: All right, Kim. I know you're trying to head to New York. So we appreciate your --.

KIM CLIJSTERS: You're welcome.

Q. Can we ask you one question?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, sure.

Q. Actually, just about -- not about food. Two Belgian players in the Top 10 between you and Justine. That's pretty unbelievable considering the size of your country. Do you guys ever stop to talk about that? Or did you guys grow up together?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, I mean, definitely. We grew up together. I've been traveling with Justine since I've been ten. I mean, we always played the under-12 like international tournaments together. We played doubles together. And like we shared rooms and everything. So like I've known Justine since we were both very young. So it's great. It's great to be able like to see like two young like friends to grow up together and get into the tour and get to know like everything. Like we were getting like -- like we were both having good results at the Juniors and then like raising our levels like to go up to like the Top 10. And it's been great. I mean, it's -- of course it's like we have to be competitive as well. But off court we're still very good friends, and I think that's like great for women's tennis, yeah.

Q. Thank you.

KIM CLIJSTERS: You're welcome.

ANNE WORCESTER: Well, Kim, we look forward to seeing you next year when you can try some more of our downtown restaurants.


MAYOR JOHN DeSTEFANO: I'll just add a little piece. You all have the winners. I'll tell you one thing. We contribute to this; we're an underwriter of the tournament, the city is. We made that decision four years ago. I feel like it's been a great decision that we all made. To see what's been happening over the last several years is a real testament to the hard work and energy of the tournament. So, congratulations! We're excited about this, glad to have the players down. And could I have a hug, too? (Laughter.)

ANNE WORCESTER: So who are the winners?

MAYOR JOHN DeSTEFANO: They got it in the press release.

ANNE WORCESTER: Well, we need to announce them.

MAYOR JOHN DeSTEFANO: Okay. We could do this. You know, everyone won so I'm a little suspicious of this. I don't know; everyone won. (Laughter.) Menu authenticity: Lalibela. Overall dining experience: Bentara. That's the atmosphere? Yes.

ANNE WORCESTER: I think it's overall everything.

MAYOR JOHN DeSTEFANO: Oh, that's it. Bentara is the big winner. I had lunch there today, really.

ANNE WORCESTER: Bentara is -- did you really?

MAYOR JOHN DeSTEFANO: Yes, yeah. It was okay. What did you have? Decor: Hot Tomato's. Very grand space. Ambiance: Union League. Very formal, ties only. Desserts: Zinc. Okay. Menu variety: Polo. You know, that's okay. Trendiness: Caffe Adulis. Now, I think the Italian Americans ought to claim Caffe Adulis, because we occupied Ethiopia for a period of time. (Laughter.) That's why they have red sauce. This is true! (Laughter.) This is true! This is true! You may laugh about this. That is true. Ethiopian is really Italian. It's true. (Laughter.)

Q. You guys don't eat with your fingers, right?

MAYOR JOHN DeSTEFANO: Yeah, we do with our T-shirts. (Laughter.) Originality: Tibwin. Appetizers: Pika Tapas would make sense.

ANNE WORCESTER: Tapas, right.



MAYOR JOHN DeSTEFANO: Everybody's a critic in election year. (Laughter.) Service: Royal Palace. Entrees: Nirvana. So that was cool.

ANNE WORCESTER: Everybody won.

MAYOR JOHN DeSTEFANO: Everybody won, just like life. That happens in everything but elections - only one of us are allowed to win. (Laughter.) So thanks for covering it, guys. Good job.

ANNE WORCESTER: On behalf of all the players, they really loved the program. There's so much buzz. The people from the WTA actually said we should patent the idea because now all the other tournaments around the world are going to want to imitate it. But imitation is the finest form of flattery. So thank you, from all the players. And thanks to Barbara Lamb and Scott Healy and somebody called Carla Pinta (phonetic spelling) who's off in Ecuador right now who really helped to pull it all together. It was really fun to do, and I think the players want to do it next year. Is that okay?

MAYOR JOHN DeSTEFANO: Yeah, that's okay. I think that's okay.

Q. Same restaurants?

MAYOR JOHN DeSTEFANO: Wait a minute, would any of you disagree with these selections? (No response.) No one? What about the press? They don't get a "Passport" program?

ANNE WORCESTER: No. But they've all asked me, and so have all of my bosses - and I have a lot.

MAYOR JOHN DeSTEFANO: I mean, I looked at some of the food. I think you guys could expect a little bit more for the food next year. I would expect that. What do you think?

ANNE WORCESTER: The media eat in the food court at the Pilot Pen, which is crepes, penne pomodoro.

Q. Put any kind of food in front of us, and we're okay.


ANNE WORCESTER: We treat the media very grandly this week.

Q. That's sportswriters, not political writers. (Laughter.)


ANNE WORCESTER: Thanks, everybody.

End of FastScripts....

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