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January 23, 2006

Kim Clijsters


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Kim, please.

Q. That was a good test for you, wasn't it?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, you can definitely say that. I mean, I always had, like I said in my previous press conference, I always have really good matches against her. And I feel like, you know, I had to come up. When it was getting close, I really had to come up with some good shots. And then that's fun, you know, when you're able to play like that and feel like you're hitting the ball well. You know, that's a great feeling to have against those kind of players. When you have to do it, it's good to be able to do that.

Q. There were moments when you were missing quite a few forehands.


Q. That was normal? That was a problem that you felt in your situation?

KIM CLIJSTERS: No, no. You know, I think it's -- overall I, you know -- I know I was missing a few because I felt like I was trying to keep the rallies short from the start. And that's, I think, why I started to miss a little bit more, because she's a great mover. She defends so well. And you feel like you always have to, you know, be a little bit more precise, be a little more accurate when you're playing and always have to go for that little bit extra. I think that's when a lot of the time I felt like I was out of balance, I wasn't moving right, in the right position. And I felt like I was falling back with my whole body a few times when I was trying to go inside-out. So, you know, lucky enough I had some good ones at important points. I just think about those now.

Q. You didn't seem to have any body problems today.

KIM CLIJSTERS: No, felt good. Felt good. I'm happy with the way everything is going. So I'm not complaining at all (smiling).

Q. Lucky to get out of that first set?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, of course. I think I played the end of the tiebreaker really well. So I am, yeah, very happy.

Q. Would you characterize this as a good competitive match you just had?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. Definitely. That's why like I always look forward to playing against her because you always have -- she's not a girl who's going to hit you off the court. She's not a girl who hits as hard as, let's say, Lindsay Davenport. But she is a girl that moves incredibly well, can come up with really good shots and never gives up. That's fun to play against someone like that. You can really go for your shots. You always have to expect every ball back again. It's fun to play these kind of matches.

Q. Do you find that she made some improvements compared to the previous match? I mean, because we have that feeling.

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, no, I do. Not only -- I didn't just see that or didn't just felt that today in my own match, but when I saw her play in Sydney, that's the first thing I said, is she seems to be hitting the ball harder. You know, I mean, I knew that she was a great mover and she still is, but I feel like she's a little bit more aggressive and she can come up with, you know, stronger, like, strokes. That's what, you know, I felt a little bit today as well. Like she can mix it up a little bit more. She can go for that, you know, even the winners. I think she's doing that a little bit more than what she was last time I played her in Hasselt maybe.

Q. Where are you with your injuries? Was that the kind of test you needed to feel as though you're on top of everything?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I think this was definitely physically, you know, for me the toughest match for me today. You know, obviously I'm still wearing the tape. But, you know, the question now is the reaction. You know, this is the first time -- I mean, you've all probably seen that in my first few rounds which I don't think I had five rallies like there were today in all three of those matches. It's just a matter of seeing how it reacts. I'm going to have treatment again today. Just make sure that everything stays, you know -- keeps the inflammation down, take my tablets. That's it. Just have treatment again tomorrow.

Q. How much confidence does that give you?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Oh, this is good. You know, this is great. I feel like I -- hopefully, you know, nothing flares up tomorrow, and then this was definitely a good match for me.

Q. Is there still doubt in your mind going ahead into the week?

KIM CLIJSTERS: My injury's not gone, you know. The pain is gone because of the tablets I'm taking. That's a way for me to block it out, yes. So that's a good sign that I can be out there and, you know, play without feeling the pain. But I know that once I get home, you know, there's gonna be some work to do.

Q. You will be playing Martina next.


Q. Thoughts on that?


Q. Sam?


Q. You could be playing Martina.

KIM CLIJSTERS: In tennis, you never know. So, yeah, if I play Martina, I mean, it's been a very long time since I've played her, obviously. I don't know exactly when the last time was that I played her, but it must be five years ago or something. I've seen some of her matches here. She seems to be, you know, hitting the ball really well, very clean. She's always the kind of girl who can sort of just do with the ball whatever she wants to do. She can come up with these slices, dropshots, and she's very handy like that. So if I get to play her, I really look forward to that. It's always fun to play against somebody new or someone that you haven't played for so long. If I play Sam, you know, that will be tough, too, because she's maybe not as good as I think Francesca, but in a way a little bit similar. You know, like heavy balls. So if I play her, it's a little bit, you know -- you can compare a little bit with today's match, I guess.

Q. What kind of challenge will you present to Martina that she hasn't seen here yet? I mean, a step up in competition?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I don't know. I'm just going to go out there and play my own game and that's it. Martina, obviously, she's a great champion. But when you're out there, you just focus about what you have to do. I'm not, you know -- obviously, you know, I know what I have to do out there when I have to play against her. But, you know, I'm still going to focus on what I have to do and not think about who you're playing. I think when you're younger, you're more, you know, you're more aware of who your opponent is. But as you get more experience and you play, you know, the best players out there, you don't think about that at all. You just focus on the ball and on the game and that's it.

Q. Do you prefer a tricky player, smart player like Martina, or the big hitters?

KIM CLIJSTERS: It's fun. It's fun to play those. I don't mind either. You know, they're both a challenge. When you play the hard hitters, you just have to make sure that you move well. That's about it. You have to make sure that your movement is there. You have to go for every shot. I like that. And there's days where I love playing those kind of matches. But there's days like today where I was really into it, like I was having so much fun out there today. It just depends, I guess, what mood you're in, too.

Q. Schiavone accused you of overstating the extent of your injury. She said that someone who ran around like you did today can't be that badly injured. How do you feel about that?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Well, I mean, I think, you know, that's 'cause she's lost. You know, some things can be said like that. But I'm happy to show you my MRIs if I have to.

Q. She wasn't criticizing that match.


Q. She said she was respecting you, but she said also today you were running pretty fast.

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, no, I know that. I felt like I was pretty good. So I think you got it wrong, sir.

Q. Is the key to playing well getting into your own rhythm and sticking to that?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah. Like I said, this whole week I felt like I've been hitting the ball really well. Today, I still made a lot of unforced errors, but I think I was going sometimes, like I said before, going for the rallies a little bit -- going for my winners a little bit too soon. That's something that against someone like Martina you definitely have to, again, try to make sure that you hit the ball aggressively, but wait for the right time. I think that's just a matter of focusing on my game and take things from this match, take it into my next match and just work on those things a little bit.

Q. Since you beat her, Francesca, five times in a row, of course you are the better player. But do you think today your win was more mental than -- I mean, you were stronger mentally than her in the important points?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I can't read her mind, but, you know, I think obviously when, you know, when you play the important points better, you know, I mean, there can be some luck. I mean, you need everything, a little bit. Everything has to be going your way. You need some luck. Mentally, you have to just focus and not worry about the score. When I was down in the tiebreak, you just put everything behind you and just focus on what you have to do. You know, I know like I made some easy mistakes in the beginning of that tiebreaker, but when I was down, I just told myself, "Just don't give her anything for free. Make sure if she's going to win this set, just let her work for it and don't give her anything, like easy presents." I think that's what I did well. I was waiting and, like I said, I was just being a little bit more patient at the right times, I think.

Q. What kind of a routine will you have on the off day? Do you have a certain routine once you get into the second week of a tournament like this on your off day?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah. Especially, you know, normally my routines are I would practice in the morning. But now I'm not practicing on my days off just to have the rest. I'm having treatment around eleven o'clock in the morning, another treatment around five, six at night. So that's about all I'm doing. Then I'm just resting.

Q. Do you get out and do anything aside from that as far as like shopping, going out?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Not too much. You know, obviously I would like to, but now I just want to rest, too, and make sure that I'm, you know, laying on my bed a lot, just resting, watching some tennis on TV. That's about it really.

Q. Can you go out in Melbourne or anywhere else and not get hit by autograph hounds or anything?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, yeah, that's fine. Like I said, I haven't really been doing much this week just because I would like to -- yeah, I need the rest forr my injury. That's all now. But it's been driving me crazy a little bit, but in a way I've been happy. There's air conditioning in the hotel room so it's nice and cool inside there.

Q. We talked about focusing on your match. How much of your focus is taken away by the injury, do you think?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I mean, in a way, it's added more focus. Like I said, I would like to go out and go shopping or go do some fun things just to do other things. But now, you know, it's a little harder now. I'm in the hotel room. Probably whatever channel you put on there's tennis on these days. But with my injury, too, I'm just in a way like I focus on that for my tennis because I want to play, you know, be able to hit as good as I can. So, yeah. I mean, it takes a little bit away of -- in a way, it takes a little bit away, I think, on my matches. But on the other hand, it adds more, yeah, discipline and professionalism on the other way.

Q. And what are those miracle tablets you're taking?

KIM CLIJSTERS: They're nothing. Nothing special. They're painkillers and antiinflammatories. That's all I'm taking.

End of FastScripts….

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