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January 26, 2006

Kim Clijsters


THE MODERATOR: Kim is on her way to get an MRI in the hospital, so we'll do five minutes in English and then five in Flemish.

Q. Even before the injury, you looked like a player that was frustrated in knowing what to do but couldn't quite pull it off physically. Is that a fair summary?

KIM CLIJSTERS: No, I think I played a great first set. You know, I think so far probably the best tennis I've played so far, which is great. Yeah, it's a shame it had to happen. I think Amélie played a really good second set. From the start, I felt that she was a little bit more aggressive on, you know, the second, third ball straightaway. Made a few too many unforced errors. But got myself back together in the third set. I think it was going to be a close one.

Q. Could you take us through what actually happened on the baseline there.

KIM CLIJSTERS: I went for -- I ran around my backhand, tried to hit a forehand inside out. As I landed, I think I just went over on my ankle, and I felt it straightaway. So, yeah, there's not much more to say, I guess.

Q. There's been a lot of debate the entire fortnight about the quality and state of the court. Do you think that had anything to do at all with what happened?

KIM CLIJSTERS: No, I don't think so. You know, I'm not the kind of player -- the court is the same for every player out there. I'm not going to complain about the court. You know, we're all here, we're all playing on the same surface. So, no, I don't think that has anything to do with it.

Q. Did you think you could play on?

KIM CLIJSTERS: If I could have, I would have.

Q. Grand Slam semifinal, such a close match, this must be one of the most difficult matches of your career?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Definitely. That's why I'm going to try to, you know, go to hospital as soon as possible to know what's going on. It's very frustrating, you know, because I was really -- I felt like in that third set, I was really getting into it. I started to play better again. I was starting to hit the ball cleaner again, and that's a great feeling to have. Yeah, I really felt like, you know, if I kept playing the way I was going that, you know, anything could have happened. Of course, it's frustrating, yeah.

Q. You've been doing a lot of compensating for your back. Do you think that has anything to do with it?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, maybe, yeah.

Q. Can you tell us a little bit about the Melbourne family that you met recently in the Melbourne hotel.

KIM CLIJSTERS: Sir, I'm sitting here with a pretty sore ankle, so I don't know how you even want to ask me that question right now.

Q. I know you've been waiting a long time, I know it's frustrating for you, but can you talk about Amelie's quest to get back into a Grand Slam final and if you're happy for her.

KIM CLIJSTERS: Of course, I would have rather seen myself there on Saturday. But, you know, she's a good enough player. I mean, she's beaten every player out there - just not in Grand Slams. You know, so she's definitely capable of doing it. You know, I think if she plays like she did in the second set, from the start be aggressive, she has a good chance. But I still think Justine is going to be the favorite I think out there. I think she played great today. She's moving really well and she seems very confident out there. I'll put my money on her (smiling).

Q. Can you describe from the beginning to end the tournament, your physical problems, did they get better, worse, did other things happen, how the whole struggle went.

KIM CLIJSTERS: Well, I was definitely, you know, after Sydney a little worried. I didn't know if I was going to be able to start. Saw a lot of doctors, had some MRIs throughout the week. First couple of matches, you know, still I feel very lucky with the draw that I've had. You know, that's why I was in a semifinal. My first two matches, I just played I think terrible but still won just because, you know, my opponents made more unforced errors than I did a lot of the time. That's why I got through those matches. Then gradually, you know, it started to feel a little better. I think I played a really good match against Schiavone. From then on, you know, even -- I'm not the kind of player who is going to -- whenever I have a problem, you know, I'm not going to quit for nothing. I'm going to go out there and try as much as I can. Even with pain, you know, today, too, with the ankle, I still wanted to try. But I felt it straightaway with the return that, you know, I wasn't going to be able to push off sideways on my forehand. Yeah, it's been up and down I think throughout this week. Yeah, very frustrating week.

Q. When you were here yesterday you said you were flat through yesterday's game. What was your state of mind like before you came out today?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, I felt ready to go from the start, which is great. I mean, that was a great feeling, 'cause comparing to Martina's match, you know, I really felt like I was ready from the first ball. I think I played a lot better, too. That's why this makes it even more frustrating.

Q. Come back here, concerning your private relationship to Australia, how did it feel to stand there again in front of the public?

KIM CLIJSTERS: It was great. That's probably one of the only things that kept me going. You know, it's been such a long time. Obviously, missing it last year because of my wrist injury, you know. I was here, I thought I might as well give it a go. You know, I've always had great fans here. I've had some great matches here in the past. I made the finals here before. So, yeah, I have a lot of great memories here. You know, hopefully it's not the last time.

End of FastScripts….

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