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March 24, 2005

Kim Clijsters


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Could we say that you are back to the first-round routine?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Today it was. You know, it's nice, I think, to have these kind of matches and these circumstances. I think, you know, it was not easy out there. The conditions were a lot different than what it was last week, and just you have to get used to that a little bit. So I could see the guys before, just the match before, battling. I could see on TV that there was a little bit of wind and they were hitting a few frame shots. But I'm happy. It's good to have a short match like this to get used to it again.

Q. I want to ask you, you played so brilliant in Indian Wells, winning the final pretty easy against Davenport.

KIM CLIJSTERS: It wasn't easy (smiling).

Q. Looked easy.

KIM CLIJSTERS: Oh, no. Not at all.

Q. You didn't have match practice for such a long time. What did you do all this time to focus so you could come back so strong?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, I just, you know, I tried to stay very positive, even while I was injured. I tried to stay positive and made sure that I was, you know, still -- even when I was in a cast, made sure that I was still, like, keeping my body fit, so I didn't have to lose too much time once the doctors told me I could start hitting backhands again. That's what I tried to do. But then I played a few good matches in Antwerp, really felt like I was hitting the ball well. Luckily, in Indian Wells, I kept it up. I was hitting the ball well and sort of gradually, yeah, towards each match it got better. In the final I think everything sort of -- the puzzle was complete, I think.

Q. When we see you playing today or like you played in the final, for instance, last week, it seems that you never stopped so long. Is it the feeling that you have now?

KIM CLIJSTERS: No, no, not at all. I still feel like there's, you know, a lot of work to do. Of course you always -- it doesn't matter if you've been out for a year, if you haven't. There's always work to do, there's always things you can improve. But, you know, even like when I lost to Venus in Antwerp, that's what I said, I want to play the matches. It doesn't matter if I play them well or if I win them or lose them, I just want to play some matches so I can get back into that rhythm.

Q. When are we going to see you in the Top 10 again?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I don't know, you tell me (smiling).

Q. What is your schedule for the clay court season after this tournament? You are playing a lot of tournaments?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I play -- I'm scheduled to play Warsaw, and then Berlin and Rome probably. And then I have a week off and then the French. But we'll see how it goes. It all depends. I haven't had the time, haven't been in a situation like this where I had to prepare for the clay court season with my wrist. So, you know, I think I'll need some time. I'm going home after this tournament so I can gradually build up my schedule, so that I don't have to start hitting those heavy rallies and those heavy spin shots straight away with my backhand. That's where I need to sort of progressively build my schedule up a little bit, take my time and don't do anything too fast.

Q. Have you made any adjustments to your backhand? Because of the wrist injury, did you give any thought to possibly going to a one-handed?

KIM CLIJSTERS: No, no. I was hitting, you know, slices most of the time while I couldn't play. But, no, I think backhand, one-handed backhand was definitely not an option. And I have changed, I had to adjust my backhand a little bit. I don't know, it's probably not very visible out on the court. It's just a matter of a few millimeters. I don't think I take the big swing as much as I used to. But, yeah, it's -- I started hitting my first backhands on the fourth of January. That's when I sort of had to gradually just bring the racquet back straight away, then instead of making that loop. But it's getting better. I feel like I'm more and more -- like my movement may be back from before, so...

Q. Physically, after a tournament like Indian Wells, how do you feel?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Pretty good. You know, a few pains and aches, I guess. But I feel good. Even after the final, I was feeling pretty good. So it's just, you know, everything together. It's a pretty tough schedule to fly here. We didn't have the best connection out there, so we had a pretty tough trip and pretty busy here Monday and Tuesday. But overall, yeah, no, it's nice to be back here again playing. Last year I was here wearing a brace for the first time. So it's good to be back playing here.

Q. Do you have a different perception of what life on the tour is like now that you've spent a concentrated period of time at home, a maybe more normal life?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I think the situation that I'm in now, I think it's good to have both. I've probably never -- I know I've never had a situation where I was home for four months, five months in a row. It's good to have both again, I think. It's good to have that -- while I was injured, I made a lot of friends, did a lot of things that I didn't get the chance to do while I was playing or while I was in Australia. I've met a lot of new people, which is fun. I definitely feel like home there, and it's good to have made a lot of friends. So like I said, it's good to have both of those lives back again.

Q. How would you rate the level of your game now?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I don't know. That's what they asked me in Indian Wells after every match, give us points.

Q. Sorry.

KIM CLIJSTERS: That's okay (smiling). Here it's different. You have to adjust a little bit, get used to a few things. Just the view is different. I was so used to playing those matches on center court there with a different view, different colors. You just have to get used to all those things a little bit again. Today, the score was easy, but it was, you know -- I still think there's work to do.

Q. Do you think the players have to get used to you again?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I definitely think life still goes on on the tour if I'm not here, so I don't know if -- yeah. But it's good. It was really nice to see all the players back here. Even in Indian Wells there were a lot of girls I hadn't seen for almost a year. It was good to see a lot of the girls back. I definitely missed a lot of them as well because, you know, you become friends when you travel all the time together.

End of FastScripts….

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