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March 25, 2006

Kim Clijsters


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Kim, please.
Q. Obviously, disappointing. What do you think went wrong? I know it was tough conditions as well. What went wrong for you?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Well, the conditions are for both of us so, you know, that's not an excuse at all.
So I just think she, you know -- I wasn't consistent out there. I had a lot of troubles finishing off the points. She's a great mover. I knew that from before the match. I knew that's what her game is, is she moves well, she tries to retrieve a lot of balls back, like a counterpuncher sort of. When you're not playing your best tennis, it's very tough to get through there. I tried to come in a little will bit, tried to mix it up. But in those conditions, it's very hard to, you know, play around with the ball a little bit.
You know, didn't work today.
Q. Were you feeling okay, though?
Q. It was just that she was a tough matchup for you.
KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, and I didn't play well, so... both.
Q. How did you feel coming into this tournament? Did you feel like you were in really good form?
KIM CLIJSTERS: I felt like I was, you know -- since I played my last tournament, I felt like I was practicing better and I was looking forward to playing here. So, you know, that's disappointing.
But, you know, I'm definitely, you know -- I need my matches. I've always been a player who likes to play a lot of matches. So, you know, that's something that I'll have to build up again, you know. By being injured, you know, in the last few months, that's been a little bit of a disadvantage, not having the amount of matches or not being able to put in the amount of practice hours in that I would like to.
In Australia, too. That is a little bit of a change to what I used to do last year. There, I would be out on the practice court. We'd play a lot of matches in the tournaments that I was playing. You build up a routine and rhythm a little bit, and I think that's what I'm missing now.
But you have to start at some point, so, you know, you have to just try to stay positive and try to, you know, get to next tournament, win one more and try to, you know, get those matches under your built.
Q. What is your latest injury?
KIM CLIJSTERS: My twisted ankle in Australia.
Q. I was just wondered, you were ready to go? It wasn't that this was a mandatory tournament?
KIM CLIJSTERS: No, no, no.
Q. You were looking forward to playing here.
Q. The fact that you were a defending champion, is it particularly disappointing?
KIM CLIJSTERS: I've always enjoyed playing here so obviously I would have liked to have stayed a little bit longer, into the tournament.
But you don't really think about that too much, you know, defending champion or not. I mean, I try as hard as I can in every tournament that I play, whether I lost there the first round the year before or won it. I mean, I'll try every match that I can. A match like today, you just try to forget it as quick as possible, I guess.
Q. Does the ankle prevent you from doing your customary splits?
KIM CLIJSTERS: No, no, not anymore. Nope.
Q. What lessons have you learned from this?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Oh, a lot. Just, like I said, I need my matches. It's not something that you just get there, you know, from one-two-three by practicing well. It doesn't mean that you get that back straightaway. You need your matches. That's what I'm definitely lacking out there a little bit.
Also out there on the court, I feel like important points I'm taking risks but I'm missing them. And when I'm playing my best tennis, I go for my shots and I make them. That's the difference. That's what I mean by getting, you know -- playing more matches again.
Q. Since you've set this deadline which you've talked about often for retirement, does it make it a little more poignant when you go out of a major tournament like this, this early? You may only play here one more time.
KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, yeah. There's definitely a possibility. But, you know, like I said, I try my best every time I go out there. Today, too. You know, it's frustrating at times 'cause, you know, you feel like you can't really play your best tennis and I want to, you know. I would love to for the amount of time that I'm going to be still playing, you know, I wish I could play the best tennis that I've left.
That's the motivation, to try to get myself back to where I was when I was playing before the US Open, at the US Open. You know, you need those kind of feelings sometimes. If everything would be going like it did then, it would -- I mean, that wouldn't be fun after a while either. You need your goals and your motivations a little bit.
Maybe in a way this will set me back on track and work hard and I'll try to get back.
Q. According to your timetable, you think you will be back here one more year.
KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, yeah.
Q. Do you think after losing your first set you did a change in your game plan?
KIM CLIJSTERS: No. I mean, I tried to, obviously, with the wind. That's what I said before. It's very hard to change, because with the wind, it influences you a little bit. It's not very easy to go out there and say, "Now I'm going to try to go for my shots a little bit more, "because you have to have the footwork out there when there's wind, you always have to be on your toes and move around, always have to -- on one side you're playing with the wind. You have to hit with more spin. It's harder there to go for your shots.
On the other hand, on the other side, you're playing against the wind. There, you can almost hit as hard as you can and it's still like going into the service box.
So, you know, you try to mix it up. I try to come in a little bit. I said, I mean, I don't think there could have been a lot today that, for me, I just wasn't playing well. I don't think I had the capabilities today or I didn't have the game today to mix it around.
Q. You're still up 4-2, up a break in the third. Did you still feel like it was in your grasp and somehow you let it slip?
KIM CLIJSTERS: I mean, all the games were pretty close. I was up a break in the first and in the third as well. But I felt like, you know, a lot of the points were close. I felt like it wasn't really, you know -- she was making, you know, making me work for it. It was sort of in my hands. I was the one who was making the mistakes, I felt. She was really, like, running well. I was just trying to do a little bit too much at the end of those points.
But I don't think, you know -- it's not always an advantage, I think, with the wind to be serving either.
Q. Can you talk just a little bit more about Jill since people don't get to see her play as much. Is it just her movement? Is that the main thing that makes her difficult to play?
KIM CLIJSTERS: I mean, she's a great mover. She's a great athlete as well. She's, physically, a very strong girl. I have the feeling that the faster you play, like into her backhand, I think the faster the ball comes back. That's what I meant with a counterpuncher, she really likes to go for her shots. She reads the opponents very well, too. Even when I tried to go forehand inside-out, she could see it very fast. She has good eyes, I think, too.

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