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July 15, 2006

Kim Clijsters


Q. Kim, congratulations. You started off pretty well with the early service break, but Jamea Jackson came back into the match and won that first set. Talk us through that first set.
KIM CLIJSTERS: I think I still had some nerves inside of me from the previous night. Kirsten played very well. It was a very exciting match to watch. But I don't think I played -- I wasn't really feeling the ball out there in the beginning. You know, it's my first match indoors as well since coming from the whole outdoor season. I think there was a little bit of an adjustment I had to go through.
But, you know, the only thing when you're not hitting the ball like you want it to go, you just have to try to keep -- like battle through it and keep hanging in there for every point, and that's what I tried to do.

Q. What was your captain telling you? I think he pretty well knows your game almost better than anybody.
KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, he does. You know, it's nice to have him next to me, you know, during Fed Cup matches. It's a special bond I think we have from growing up with him when I was really young.
But, yeah, we were talking. She was playing some incredible tennis. That's what he was saying, too. Like that's what he was saying, she's playing her best tennis, so don't worry. If she plays like this for two sets, then too good. But fight for every point and try to turn it around. That's what I did. I fought, maybe not with my best tennis, but good enough to win the second and third set pretty easily.

Q. Jamea is not a household name. She is a tough competitor. She's pretty athletic, as well.
KIM CLIJSTERS: Very, very. I think she has every ingredient to become a very good tennis player - she already is - but to become a top tennis player. You know, the girl, she hangs in there, she moves really well, she's not afraid to come into the net. I think that's where, you know, she has the attitude, and I think that's really important as well these days.

Q. What about this atmosphere? I'm sure this is what you play tennis for.
KIM CLIJSTERS: This is what you do it for. This is what gives you goosebumps. You know, you don't ever have an atmosphere like this when you play on the tour. I mean, when you play normal tournaments, you know, it's always divided. But here, you know, playing in Belgium, playing against America, it's a big thing. People don't get to see us play in Belgium that often. So, you know, whenever we're here, they always try to support us. That's what's so great about it.
But I enjoyed every second I was out there.

Q. What about yourself? Physically, how are you feeling? I think there was a question mark about your back coming into this tie.
KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, I mean, I'm not going to sort of deny that I feel a hundred percent. But I feel good enough. You know, I want to be here. To me that's more important. That's probably what makes the pain go away as well. I try to battle through everything. I have a week off next week. So just one more day tomorrow and then I have a couple days off, a few days off. That's how I've been playing for this whole season so far.
But the injuries, it's been frustrating at times as well because I felt restricted to play my best tennis. But, you know, I feel like I'm getting back, I'm putting a lot of hard work into it. But, yeah, it's just a matter of hoping that it keeps up.

Q. One more match to go for yourself with the reverse singles. Looking ahead to that match against Jill Craybas?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, I do. I lost against her -- I lost to her in Miami a few months ago, so this is a match that I really -- that I do look forward to it. Always when you lose to a player, you always want to try to get that back. You know, I think I'm playing better than I was in Miami.
But, you know, she's a player that likes to play against opponents like myself. She likes to play against fast players. I'll definitely have to mix it up a little bit tomorrow. I think that's what Kirsten did really well today, as well, she really mixed it up and she went for it. She was patient, but made the right decisions at the right time. That's something I'll have to do tomorrow as well.

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