September 4, 2005
NEW YORK CITY
THE MODERATOR: Before we start, I want to say something on behalf of Kim. She's actually donating $25,000 to the American Red Cross. From there, let's move it to questions about the match.
Q. The plot thickens. Venus is up next. When you've played her, have you played her the same way or do you try different things, try to find the right formula?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Well, I think what you have to do when you play against her is just make sure you play aggressive tennis. You know, if you don't do that -- because that's the game they play. If you don't do that, if you don't play aggressive, if you don't go for your shots, you know, they're just too good. You have to try from the moment you get a second serve or a weaker first serve, just go for it. Sometimes you have to take some risks. Just have to make sure and keep going for your shots. I mean, even when you're down, just keep believing in chances. Sometimes they can miss a few, as well in a row, then you get your chances back. So you just have to make sure that you keep working very hard out there for each point.
Q. Have you always done that with her?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah.
Q. Have you gone into a tighter cocoon?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, no, no. I've always done that. You always have to. A couple matches I've played against her, you know, once she gets on a roll, you know, that's very tough. If she starts serving well, if she starts seeing the ball well, then you know, she can, you know, just hit winners out of every corner, I think, of the court. But, you know, you have to try to make sure that you are one step ahead I think. That means I'll probably have to take some more risks. You know, if that's what it takes, then...
Q. While you were waiting today, did you see any of the Williams versus Williams match?
KIM CLIJSTERS: I watched the first two games, I think, then I went out to practice. When I came back, I think it was just the end of the first set. It was a tiebreaker. I watched a little bit of the rest. Then I was getting ready, so it was bad timing, I think.
Q. Do you agree that watching them play each other is not terribly instructive because when they do play each other, it's like a completely different match?
KIM CLIJSTERS: I mean, I have a sister, and she used to play. It must be the toughest situation to be in. I mean, it's different. That's family standing in front of you. So I don't know. It is a completely different situation. It's very hard to block that out of your head, I think.
Q. Venus said she didn't think the Stanford final was a good indication of her level, that her confidence wasn't affected at all by the loss. Talk about what that did for your confidence and whether or not you think that's going to make a difference for you.
KIM CLIJSTERS: Well, I didn't do too bad the tournaments after that. But I felt like, you know, I played well that match. But, you know, there was still some things where -- I know she made a lot of unforced errors, but I definitely felt like I could improve a lot of my shots as well. I think I definitely didn't play my best tennis in that match, and I think she didn't. I know she didn't. So, you know, it's give and take a little bit I think.
Q. When you play her, if she starts fast, are you going to wait and see how she's playing first, whether or not she's making errors, or do you feel you have to play aggressive?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, you have to. You have to. I mean, that's how you're going to produce errors from the other side, you know, if you keep playing aggressive tennis. That's how you're going to -- like I said, that's how they're going to make mistakes, too. If you're going to let them get into the match by just hitting winners all the time, that's when they get confident. I just have to try to make sure that I serve well, if I get a second serve, step in a couple times, just change it up a little bit.
Q. Back to your confidence. How big of a win was that for you over her, given that she's played you tougher than many of the players on tour, more so than Serena?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, uhm, well, it was. It was very important, I think, that match for me. I think gradually each match in Stanford, you know, my confidence became better. You know, I played pretty well in Fed Cup, as well. So every match I got better. I think there, as well, that just topped it all off. I think that made me stronger for the rest of the American summer.
Q. Against her specifically, talk about that. There are certain players you discussed who you find it harder to play, and she might be one of those.
KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, I mean, of course. It's always good. In the situation that she was in, coming from winning Wimbledon, having played as well as she has, it's always a good feeling to have when you beat those kind of players, yeah.
Q. Is the next match, the match against her in two days, going to be more mental for you or do you think a lot of it's going to be on the day how you play?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah. On the day, I think. It depends how my level's going to be, yeah.
Q. Is it possible to really compare a match in a lower-tier event with a Grand Slam? If you play a top player at Stanford or San Diego, Los Angeles, is there really a comparison with how that match will transpire at a Grand Slam event where there's more on the line?
KIM CLIJSTERS: I can only speak for myself. You know, I don't know how the other players prepare for the smaller tournaments, but I give myself 200% for each match that I play. Doesn't matter if it's in Stanford or if it's a tier three or a Grand Slam. You know, it doesn't matter. If you play Lindsay Davenport, Venus Williams, Justine, Serena, it doesn't matter who, in any tournament. You know, those are matches. It doesn't matter where you're at. You want to play well against those players at any time, even if it's in the practice session. You know you want to play well. That's just my mentality.
Q. Do you find that your level actually subconsciously goes up when you're in a Grand Slam match?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, yeah, I think so, yeah.
Q. Do you think you've had a bad day since Wimbledon on court?
KIM CLIJSTERS: On court (smiling)?
KIM CLIJSTERS: I don't know. I'm not going to say no because it might be in a couple days. Maybe, I don't know. I don't know. But, you know, sometimes if you don't play your best tennis, you know, the first couple rounds of a tournament, it's okay to have -- you can have it once in a while, maybe not playing your best tennis. Maybe not a bad day, but still you need to focus more, it doesn't go automatically, but not where everything was off, no, I haven't had that.
Q. Do you feel you need to have a great day against Venus?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Of course, yeah, yeah.
Q. How often did you play your sister?
KIM CLIJSTERS: My sister?
Q. Did you play her in tournaments?
KIM CLIJSTERS: No, no. When we were younger we did, yeah, in Belgium.
Q. How was that mentally?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Oh, it's terrible. You know, we start arguing in the car on the way to the tournament already.
Q. You don't play Davis Cup, but do you find it amusing to find out what's going on with the Belgian Davis Cup team?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Of course.
KIM CLIJSTERS: What do you mean?
Q. You have Malisse, a captain here, Rochus brothers over there. Do you follow that at all?
KIM CLIJSTERS: No. I just think it's great. I'm definitely going to be there watching it. Brian being American, my boyfriend, that's going to be interesting. No, I'll be there to watch it.
Q. What do you think of this controversy involving the Davis Cup team?
KIM CLIJSTERS: That's not really up to me to comment. I think you'll see Olivier after his match. If you want to ask him, you can ask him about it.
End of FastScriptsâ€¦.