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January 9, 2007

Kim Clijsters


Q. Perfect kind of start, Kim, or would you have liked to go on a bit longer?
KIM CLIJSTERS: No, it was nice. I've played Nicole a few times in the past, but I also played a three-setter against her. I don't know, when you play against her you have to be patient and just wait for the right shot to go for a winner, and in the past, you know, I feel like I didn't always do that. I think when you keep trying to hit the ball hard and go for winners on a lot of her shots, I think she even plays better. She's very good on the run, she's very good -- she can play kind of out wide and on the corner. She hits some good shots, and that's just something where I tried to build up my points very well and be patient, and even in the cross court rally just try to keep the unforced errors down. That's always nice to have these kind of matches I think at the start of a tournament.

Q. Do you feel an added pressure given that your retirement is coming up and now this is your last chance to win?
KIM CLIJSTERS: No, not at all. I mean, I've always enjoyed coming here, but I even enjoy it more. It's like the little details that you pick up even more when you're playing, and you don't -- there's things that you don't pay that much attention to, that I never really paid attention to in the past, but now you do, and it's nice. I mean, I enjoy it and I've always appreciated what a beautiful lifestyle that we have. It can be hard sometimes travel-wise, as well, but you learn to appreciate the beautiful things again, I think, and that's what makes it a lot of fun to be out on the court, too.

Q. Is it a case in your last year, you know it's your last year, you're looking around more, looking at things as you play and experiencing it more?
KIM CLIJSTERS: No. I mean, I'm still here to play tennis and that's still my first goal, so my attitude towards my tennis hasn't changed at all. I feel motivated, I feel lucky that I'm able to be fit and that I'm here to play with a fit body, and to me that's the most important thing. I'm not playing this next year to go and see these beautiful countries and visit a lot of things, not at all; then I might as well retire already and just go on holidays. I still have plenty of years to do that maybe after my career, so that's something I'll be doing when I'm done.

Q. Could you tell us about your next opponent?
KIM CLIJSTERS: I don't think I've ever played against Peer, so it's going to be tough. She's a girl who likes to take a lot of risks, hits the ball very hard, is a good athlete. I've seen her play a lot of matches and she's pretty fit.
So again, I'll have to try to mix up my game a little bit. I don't mind playing girls who hit the ball fast and who like to take risks, but I'll have to be patient, as well. I have to play a little bit more aggressive, I think, than today because this girl is definitely going to hit a lot more winners than Nicole did today.
But again, I'll have to serve well. I think that's going to be very important, I think, my serve. It's been getting better. In Auckland I started off pretty slow with my serve, but it got better every match; and here, as well, it got better, but there's still a lot more room for improvement, I think.

Q. In your last Australian season is there any fear at all? Are the injuries the only thing?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, of course. That's been a big fear for me for the last few months really. I kind of felt like when I got better from one injury something else came along, and that's been very frustrating, and so hopefully -- now, as well, because I never really felt -- the injuries that I had I never felt coming; they all sort of just came out of the blue. I never felt like something was aggravating me or it got worse and then all of a sudden I took it too far. They all just came out of nowhere. My wrist injury was like that, my ankle injury last year at the Australian Open was like that.
They were all very frustrating injuries, but again, you don't have that under control, so I can just try to work as hard as possible, be as fit as possible, and those kind of things hopefully don't happen anymore.

Q. Did your dad in his sporting career, did he play right through or did he cut it short?
KIM CLIJSTERS: He had a lot of injuries, as well. I mean, his legs are full of scars. I think he had like six or eight knee surgeries on both knees, shoulder surgery, which is weird, I think, in soccer. But it's from falling on it, I guess. And a few things. And his Achilles tendon was ripped. So there's a few surgeries. I'm very happy that mine stayed to one surgery.

Q. Did he play until he was 30 or --
A. Yeah, I think his career started when he was a little older, I think, but he played until 36, 37. That's too old for me (laughter).

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