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January 25, 2006

Kim Clijsters


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Kim, please.

Q. Did she have you concerned?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Well, I had myself concerned. You know, I think, yeah, I just felt like I wasn't really -- I was feeling very weird out there today. I just, in general, not injury-wise, just in general, I was just -- I felt very empty out there today.

Q. Is that because of playing sort of a legend and her coming back, all the distractions of that?

KIM CLIJSTERS: No, it's not the first time I'm playing her. So, you know, it's not like I'm in that situation for the first time. Obviously, I've played big matches before. I don't think -- you know, whoever I would have played today, I think it would have been, you know, I would have felt like that. Obviously, when my opponent would have been as good, you know, I still would have probably still worked my way through like two sets maybe. But today, you know, the second set wasn't good at all.

Q. It was okay up to basically 2-Love, Love-40. Then what happened?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, I just hit the wall, I think. That's all. Just felt very empty out there. All of a sudden I just felt like I was going for wide backhands, felt no power in my legs to push off and to, you know, to create, you know, the power that you have to create, I think, to be able to beat her, to break her game. You know, third set, I started to keep -- I was hoping to keep the rallies a little shorter again, and it worked. You know, I still made a lot of unforced errors, but went for some good winners at important times, at important moments.

Q. Did the power come back in your legs?

KIM CLIJSTERS: No. That's why I was trying to keep the rallies short. And when I had a chance to step in, and with my forehand it was a little easier because I can just like swing my arm through. Yeah, just made some good winners with my forehand in the third set.

Q. Carrying the injury for almost two weeks now, has that started to take its toll on other parts of the body? Do you feel the rest of you is getting more tired because you are having to play off balance, compensate?

KIM CLIJSTERS: You definitely compensate. I think over the last two, two weeks or so, I think I've talked enough or spoken enough about my injury. You know, I'll have to take care of that after the tournament. I don't see any more use in talking too much about it while I'm still in the tournament. Yeah, that's why I'm wearing the tape because I was compensating more with my leg.

Q. The reason I asked the question, could you connect it all to the fact that you're feeling flat out there, whether it's a physical thing of playing under duress?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, I don't know. Maybe if I didn't -- if I wasn't injured, I could have felt the same. Sometimes you have these days, you know, not just tennis players, I think every person in general has these days where you just feel tired. And you kind of feel it when you wake up in the morning. You just feel like it's a little harder, everything is a little bit more of a struggle. I think that's what, you know, was just one of those days for me today.

Q. You've been struggling with injuries during the two weeks. Are you surprised you've gotten as far as the semifinals?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Of course I am. Of course, it's one big surprise for me, yeah.

Q. You don't have a long time before the next match. How will you get yourself up mentally?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I'm just going to try to make sure I take care of my body. Have lots of massages. Maybe have like a hot and cold shower, bath tonight. Just eat lots of carbohydrates, just fill everything up. Hopefully I might still be warm because it was really warm out there today. Might still be ready to go. It's going to be a tough match tomorrow. Amelie is playing great. But, you know, it's getting closer towards the end. So no matter what, if I win, great, if I lose, I get to go home, so it's good, too.

Q. Have you been surprised by the level of Martina?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, I think she definitely hits the ball a lot harder than she used to when I played her in the previous times. So, yeah.

Q. She's already now better than three years ago?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I think so, yeah. I think she hits the ball harder, definitely.

Q. What can she do this year?

KIM CLIJSTERS: It's funny, because we were talking a little bit in the locker room before the match. We were just chatting. I was just seeing how much she would like to play this year. It was a good talk. It was fun to see how motivated she is to play well and to get back. So it's, you know, I don't know. Like I don't have a crystal ball here, but I think she's definitely -- she's very professional, and she puts a lot of work into not just her tennis but everything else around it as well. As long as you keep doing that, it pays off. I mean, she has more than the just talent. She definitely has a lot of talent in the game.

Q. The game she brought against you today, where has that put her just right where she stands in the women's game?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Well, I think she -- you know, like I said, she's a kind of player who, you know, when you play all the girls, you can sort of read their game, you know when a girl's going to hit crosscourt. You can sort of read a little bit better. But with her, you can go down the line. Normally another girl would go crosscourt. She will go down the line again. She tries to just keep you off your foot all the time. That's where she's more so, that's why she's so strong in her game, because physically she's not the most powerful player out there, but she just reads it so well and plays it tactically so well, she's -- that's why, you know, she got to the quarterfinals, too. She's definitely -- I still think by getting more matches and more rhythm and everything, she's going to improve even more.

Q. Do you prefer to play someone who doesn't mix it up as much as Martina does, someone that hits the ball more straightforward, with more power so you get more rhythm?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Well, I think Schiavone is a girl who mixes it up well. You know, she's definitely somebody who I think -- in a different way than Martina, obviously, with more spin and slice and everything. Amelie, too, in a different way. But with Martina, it's just harder to read, I think.

Q. So the better players in today's tennis, as in top 10, tend to mix it up a lot more than other players who are not quite there, do you think?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, I think so. And physically, too, I think it's, you know, a little bit more power maybe, a little bit more consistency than, yeah, some of the other girls out there.

Q. Last couple games you played at a pretty high level. How did you get that back again to finish off like that?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I was getting towards the end. I was like, "Come on, just keep fighting, it's almost finished." Like I said before, I was just trying to keep the rallies short because I felt like whenever I had to go for a wide backhand, I was missing a lot of backhands out there, and I just felt like if I had a chance with my forehand, 'cause it felt like that was going pretty well and I could produce a lot of power or actually create like a shot where I could come up, you know, if I could hit a harder forehand, more powerful forehand, then I could get in a little closer and sort of finish off the point maybe in the next shot. That's what I was trying to do, was trying to keep it a little bit shorter out there at the end.

Q. How would you rate Martina's level? Is she top 10 again or top 20?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I mean, that's a tough question. You know, she's definitely -- she's definitely, I mean, a great player. It's hard to put a number on there. It's not -- a lot of things depend on that. You know, it's not just, you know -- I think she's definitely, I think, like I said before, more powerful. That was something that she was missing, I think, when Venus and Serena started coming up, when she was, you know, still dominating women's tennis. She's improved that a lot better. I think she's definitely still capable of still improving a lot more. Yeah, she's definitely, definitely capable of getting back to the top.

Q. You think she can make a run at another Grand Slam?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Oh, yeah, yeah. Definitely.

Q. Are you more worried about the mental or physical part tomorrow?

KIM CLIJSTERS: The combination, I'd say, yeah (smiling).

Q. Amelie Mauresmo, she's sort of where you were I guess before last year in terms of looking from the outside in at Grand Slam winners. What's going through her mind as she gets this deep in the tournament and what advantage do you have that you know how to get there?

KIM CLIJSTERS: It's hard. I'm not really going to comment on other players like that. I don't know what she's thinking or what's in her mind. Every person's different. But she's a great player. You know, obviously she won The Championships last year. That was probably like a really big -- was a big breakthrough for her as well. So I'm sure she's playing with a lot of confidence. She's been playing well today, too. She looked very, very in control out there today, and that's when she plays her best, is when she can play her game. She's a great player. I don't think it will take much longer for her to win a big one.

End of FastScripts….

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