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August 17, 2005

Kim Clijsters



Q. It looked like you started kind of slowly tonight. Did it take a while to get into the groove?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, it just took me a while to get used to the new stadium. I didn't hit a ball the last two days until my warm-up today. You know, I just wanted to have a couple days off without touching the racquet. Didn't want to have anything to do with tennis. I think you just have to get used to it a little bit again. You know, I was just looking for my position on the court a little bit, trying to get used to the rhythm again. But, you know, like six games into the match, I felt like, you know, I still wasn't as good as I would like it to be. But it was, you know, like every game I felt like I was getting better. My serve was good today, so it was important.

Q. How do you feel about already having a tag as an early favorite for the US Open?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, I mean, it's a compliment. I look at it as a compliment. Other players might not like it sometimes and think, you know, there's more pressure. But I take it as a compliment. It means that I've been playing well and the people, they like my tennis.

Q. Do you actually feel that you're playing the best tennis that you have since you were ranked No. 1?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Well, I definitely feel like I've played some really good tennis since I've come back from my injury. But, you know, 2003, where I obviously had probably my best year ever, you know, it's hard to compare because I feel like I've had two different careers now: after the injury and the before one. You know, it's different now. I feel like there I was just focusing on my tennis, but now there's so many other things I have to focus on, just looking after my body. I feel like I'm a lot more disciplined and a lot more focused on the things besides tennis, you know, just looking after my body. But I feel like all that helps me to keep focused on the court. I think I've matured on the court, yes.

Q. Can you talk about the process that got you here. I know you said on your website you weren't particularly keen on playing Toronto, would have rather had a week off before the US Open.

KIM CLIJSTERS: Well, I have the week off. I'm not playing New Haven. That wasn't on my schedule. I remember it from two years ago, coming, playing Stanford, San Diego, LA, I came here tired. I think I beat Schiavone in the first round and lost to Krasnoroutskaya. I was really exhausted after that match, or during that match I was so I was tired. So when I signed my commitment form at the start of this year, obviously I wasn't -- I played the first three. Also with my wrist, I spoke to doctors, they were saying it's better that you're not -- you don't play four tournaments in a row. So I didn't. I left it open. But then I got hard-designated, I have no problem with it. I'm here. I'm happy to be here. It's a great event. It's the first time that I saw the new facilities. They look great. Looks like a Grand Slam almost. Everything is perfect here. I think they did a great job.

Q. If you'd known you were going to be hard-designated here, would you have maybe skipped one of the earlier events?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I don't know. You know, I love going to those. Those are definitely -- this is my favorite trips of the year. You know, sometimes I get homesick. This trip I don't get homesick. I don't know why. I enjoy playing all those tournaments, Stanford, San Diego, LA. I have a lot of friends there, a lot of Belgians who live there, as well. They're very relaxing weeks for me. Although there's a lot -- I play a lot of matches, but they're actually very relaxing for me. Yeah, that's why now, as well, just have to get used to my rhythm a little bit. But mentally and physically I think I feel pretty good, a lot better than I did two years ago when I came here.

Q. Is there anything in particular when you had your layoff with your injury that you maybe learned or benefited from that you've brought to this year?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Oh, there's so many things. I think not just tennis-wise, but also personally-wise. I think I got to -- people are saying, "You've matured." I don't think it's matured. I think I just got to know myself a lot better. That's a time where, you know, when I got injured, I was home, I was home for longer than I've ever been home. I was never home for more than two weeks before that. Now all of a sudden I was home three, four months in a row. You know, a lot of time I was very frustrated as well because. Then I just started to find little things, little hobbies. I started to do things. Little interests. And you learn. And now I have the perfect balance between life on the road and life off the road. I think that's something that I was looking for for a long time, to have the balance.

End of FastScripts….

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