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March 30, 2005

Kim Clijsters


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Kim.

Q. When you factor in all the aspects of your game, (inaudible) how close are you to the final finish at the Australian Open in 2004?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Well, I feel like, you know, like you said, the things you mentioned, especially in the night matches, I feel really comfortable. I see the ball really well. I don't know, for some reason, I don't know, because it's dark and you see the ball like easier and there's not as much wind, it's not as humid, so those things don't really -- I think I like playing in those kind of situations. It gave me a lot of time to rest as well. It gave me the longest -- it was a few more hours to rest today and to just take it easy and try to be as fit as I can be for tonight's match.

Q. Does it feel at all close to 2004 Australian Open?

KIM CLIJSTERS: 2004 Australian Open...

Q. You made the final there.

KIM CLIJSTERS: I know. But, you know, like a lot of people, they always try to think -- I don't really remember how I felt then, you know. Just it's very hard to compare those, you know, because it's like a year ago and so many things have happened so far. But, you know, I feel like I'm hitting the ball well. I think that's the most important thing to take out of this week, is that I'm hitting the ball well.

Q. Do you feel you're all the way back?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, I feel like I'm hitting, you know, as good as I can at the moment. I feel like I'm doing off site -- like I try to do everything for my tennis to make sure that I just have to focus on those things. That's making me, you know, feel comfortable out there on the court. I'm enjoying playing very much and I think that's why, as well. You know, it's a great feeling to be back out there.

Q. Did it motivate you at all that you came into this tournament unseeded? I know you've knocked off seeds.

KIM CLIJSTERS: The seedings didn't really bother me. Even like in Indian Wells, they started asking about the special seeding, why didn't -- or for the special ranking, why I didn't wait for the special ranking. But, you know, it's not something that has bothered me overall. I think if you want to get through the tournament, you have to beat them anyway. So, you know, some players might look at it differently, but I took it more as motivation and as a challenge, I think, to, you know, play good against those top players straightaway. You sort of had to then as well. I think maybe that helped in a way, too.

Q. Speaking of focus, when you play Elena, you really do have to bring a great deal of focus to the court because she's going to smoke every ball.

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, yeah. You have to be really, like I said, sharp out there. You have to be seeing the ball really well, and that's what I did today. You know, I think I was moving really well, you know, brought back those extra few shots, which made her sort of think a little bit. She went, you know, she made a few mistakes at some key situations, and it felt pretty good.

Q. But now with Mauresmo, you get a much different player.

KIM CLIJSTERS: Definitely.

Q. More finesse, she'll change speeds on you. How does that change your thought process in preparing for that match?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Well, Amelie and myself have had some really good matches so far. I think the one that we both, I think, you know, remember probably the most is the one in Filderstadt. That was just I think maybe one of the best matches that I've played. It was incredible. You know, it's fun playing against, because it's different and it's, you know, you have to sort of - how do you say? - different expectations, you know. You have to look at it differently. There's this sort of different tactics, but it's fun. Each player is different, and that's why it's a challenge to be able to play against each girl and sort of try to work your way through those matches.

Q. It was kind of like power against power out there. Did it feel good to know you came back and took a step beyond that?

KIM CLIJSTERS: It's always good to know because she's a very steady player. She doesn't make a lot of mistakes. She likes the pace and she likes to keep going crosscourt, crosscourt. It's good to know that you can win those rallies against her, because that's probably her strength. Being able to break through that is a good feeling to have when you're out on that court, yeah.

Q. Only four splits today.

KIM CLIJSTERS: Really? I don't count them (smiling).

Q. But every time you got back, you hit an exceptional ball.

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, thank you (smiling).

End of FastScripts….

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