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January 19, 2006

Kim Clijsters


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Kim, please.

Q. How is your hip progressing?

KIM CLIJSTERS: My hip is actually pretty good. It's my lower back that's not doing too great. Yeah, no, I mean, the problem that I had in Sydney with the fluid, I think it's with the antiinflammatories that I'm taking, you know, is reducing and it's helping a lot. It's just my lower back that's struggling, yeah.

Q. Is that kind of because of compensating for the hip?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, I think that's -- my hip has always probably been, you know, not the strongest part I think of my body, especially when I was younger growing up, as well, I had always had some lower back problems. Never really had too much trouble, like too many problems with it. But once in a while it flares up, but it's never been as bad as this.

Q. When did it flare up?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Well, one day I had a really bad backache in Hong Kong, but then it disappeared. So didn't think too much of it, you know, because it happens quite often that my lower back is -- I flew a lot, as well, so maybe it was from all of the traveling. And then in Sydney, yeah, I think it sort of came together. I hurt my hip, and then my back started. I don't know if it was because of compensating or how it started, which started what off. I'm not really sure. Yeah, so, you know, I'll either have some more tests done here on the lower back or either when I get home. I'll just have to see. You know, I mean, it's not going to change the treatment at all, you know, if they tell me, you know, that I have a worse problem in my back, you know. It's not going to change anything.

Q. The same treatment can be done for the back and the hip?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, yeah. I mean, no, of course, you know, with the hip, I had more local treatment on my hip. But now on my back, I'm just trying to do a lot more exercises for the muscles around my back so it keeps the pressure a little bit off the muscles or on the bones that are sore.

Q. Are you saying you will have some extra tests on your back?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I'll have to. I'll have to do more. Either if I do it here when I'm done or if I do them when I get home. So but I'll definitely have to have it examined more.

Q. Pain aside, it looked like you were hitting your groundstrokes harder than your first match. Did you feel that yourself?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I feel like I'm just using my arm out there. I feel like I'm not really doing too much with my movement. I feel like I'm a little bit restricted, especially with the serve. The extension was worse today than in my first match. But I felt like I was -- you know, overall I feel like I'm hitting the ball well. I feel like I'm hitting the ball clean, I'm seeing the ball well. You know, that's why it's even more frustrating because, yeah, just imagine if I would be feeling fine. It would be a great feeling to have, just knowing that -- playing well and not have too many other things going on.

Q. Do you assume it's going to keep getting progressively worse as the two weeks goes on?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Well, I'm just sort of taking it like one day at a time. Yesterday it felt pretty good. Just walking around, I didn't have a hit. Then this morning in practice, you know, I was just warming up. Just want to save my energy, save the pressure that I'm putting on my back. So I'm just trying to, yeah, just rest as much as possible when I can and have treatment. Yeah, just like I said, rest I think is very important now.

Q. What was the nature of the treatment at the end of the first set?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I was just trying -- because I was having lots of problems with the high forehands, so that's when my back again goes into extension. Yeah, I think she was just trying to mobilize it a little bit, you know, the muscle. She said it felt really tight when I went up there. So she just tried to loosen it up and did, yeah, some (moves?). There's only that much she can do in I guess three minutes. My treatment that I have twice a day takes about an hour, in the morning and at night. You know, but it was more probably to get the painkiller in me.

Q. Did it feel better in the second set?

KIM CLIJSTERS: A little bit towards the end. I think the painkillers needed about 20 minutes to kick in. So maybe next time I should take them before. I'm not really a big fan of taking them, so...

Q. Are you confident you will be able to play your next match?

KIM CLIJSTERS: No. I mean, that's what I'm saying. Every day I hope it improves. But, you know, I'm sort of waiting every day and see how it feels. So I can't tell you now yet. You know, I'm not someone who's going to give up and if I say, no, it hurts tomorrow, I'm not going to hit. I'm going to try. At least I'm going to try out there and see. You know, you never know, so...

Q. What do you think of your opponent? She also had a serious injury in the qualifying and first round.

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, she was wearing a lot of tape. I'm not sure what her injuries are. But, you know, she seemed to be moving well. She was moving pretty good. You know, I think she was also a little nervous. I think it was her first Australian Open this year, first time on a big court. So it's always, you know, a new situation for her, too.

Q. When you see an opponent strapped up like that, the way you're feeling, is it...

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, let's go (smiling). No, I mean, it's better to have someone there who is like jumping around. But mainly I'm just trying to focus on myself. I'm just trying to focus on how I feel and how I can feel better for my next game. That's the most important thing. But it was funny, though, that we've both got the injury timeout at the same time.

Q. Given your buildup to the Australian Open, coming back after missing for a couple of years, there's a sense of frustration you can hear in your voice at the moment because of the injuries.

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yes, of course. That's what I'm saying. I feel like even Hong Kong, you know, I didn't play my best tennis, but I felt like, you know, I'm hitting the ball well, I'm hitting the ball clean. That's the most frustrating part is if I -- you know, if I would be playing or feeling fine or feel like I felt in America, because I feel like I'm hitting the ball like that, I can really, yeah, sort of do with the ball whatever I feel like doing if I'm in the right position. That's why, you know, my back is restricting me a little bit from that. That's definitely the frustrating part because my game depends a lot on my movement and, you know, on my footwork and everything. You know, I feel lazy out there because I'm not capable of doing, you know, what I normally -- how I normally move.

End of FastScripts….

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