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January 16, 2007

Kim Clijsters


THE MODERATOR: First question for Kim.

Q. Better way to start the tournament than that?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Pretty good. First of all, I felt lucky I was able to play on that court with the roof closed, and get to play as well, otherwise it can be a very long day here. Yeah, I felt very lucky to be out here and play. I was just happy to get it over with.
But, you know, felt very into the zone today. I was seeing the ball well. Only the serve, the first serve percentage, has to be a little higher if I start playing girls who return better, who don't miss as much as my opponent today. Overall, it was pretty good.

Q. Must be nice to be back in the zone after everything from last year?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Yes, it is. Like I said, it's a very good feeling. After the frustrating moments that I spent on the court the last couple of years, you just enjoy it so much more when you're actually able to finish off matches without having any problems. If I play well, it's even a bonus, as well.
I think it's a combination of both. If you feel good, you play better.

Q. Do you feel a hundred percent all the way back or do you still feel like you don't quite have the matches yet?
KIM CLIJSTERS: I always like to have a lot of matches. With me, I remember like when I won the US Open, I played a lot of matches before. I really felt like that was when I felt my best. Having won all my matches last week in Sydney, in Hong Kong, playing singles, having doubles there also has definitely helped. I think you just get that extra match every time, tough matches last week in Sydney, are always helpful. Of course, I would still like to play, you know, some more matches, yeah.

Q. What do you feel like when you hear you're the tournament favorite a month or two back into your comeback?
KIM CLIJSTERS: It's nice. I mean, you know, people say it because they think I'm playing good tennis. You know, I think that's a good thing. But it's so close. Jankovic, they could name Jankovic the favorite, as well. She could have won last week. She could have beaten me there. It was so close.
To me that doesn't change anything. I know how hard it is to go out there and to win big tournaments. The name doesn't change anything for any of us, I think.

Q. Do you go into tournaments this year with a different mindset, motivation, given it's the last time you're doing all these things?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Not really. I don't go into them differently, I don't think, but I leave them differently. You know, that's definitely something I do take more pictures at tournaments. I never really took a lot of pictures. That's something that I did a little bit more over the last couple of weeks.
But, no, my mindset doesn't change at all. I'm maybe more focused, more disciplined than ever.

Q. Would this be a special one to win?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Oh, yeah, of course it would be. You know, we're still so far away from that. I just won my first round. It's a bit too early to even talk about anything like that or talk about second weeks or anything. Still only the first round passed.

Q. Do you feel more relaxed this year than the previous years?
KIM CLIJSTERS: It's very easy to feel relaxed here at this Grand Slam. It's a very easy-going tournament. It's very relaxing I think overall. Doesn't matter where you are, in the locker room, in the players' restaurant, transportation. I think there's no stress at all. I like that.
Yeah, I've always felt like this was the most relaxing Grand Slam for me, but not more than any other years.

Q. Given you have big plans for the middle of the summer - very big - is this your best chance to win the second Grand Slam?
KIM CLIJSTERS: I have no idea. I worked very hard. I feel as fit as possible. But there's a lot of other girls out there who do the same thing. I feel like I'm fit at the moment and I've done everything possible to get my body as ready as possible to be able to last seven matches if I have to. That's something that is I think the main goal first. Your biggest concern is making sure you're capable of lasting, and you don't have to worry about that.
Yeah, that's what my biggest goal was when I started the off-season, was to get myself physically as ready as possible. Playing those matches in Sydney last week definitely showed me that it helped.

Q. Should you have won in 2004? Do you feel like you let go of an opportunity there, the final?
KIM CLIJSTERS: I mean, I lost. It's not up to me to say, yeah, I should have won. You know, I was close. I had chances. I didn't take them. You know, it happens I think. You learn from those losses more than any other losses I think. That definitely helped me. Losing those matches definitely helped me to be more focused and prepared when I won the US Open.
You know, losing one makes you better, stronger for other tournaments. I don't sit here saying I should have won this one, I should have won that, I should have done this or that. At the moment, when you're out there, it's hard. You try to do the best, your best possible. You try to feel no nerves. You just try to stay cool. That's part of sports, the emotions that you don't know what's going to happen. That's a fun part about it, too. Just a shame that sometimes you lose them.

Q. Is there any circumstance that would get you to bring in a coach this year or is that completely done?

Q. It's working?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah. Feel good.

Q. So when something's not going right with your game...
KIM CLIJSTERS: I have my hitting partner. He helps me very well. He's a guy that I grew up with. He teaches a lot. You know, he more than any coach I've had sees when something's not right. And I know that, too. I feel like when I'm not hitting the ball well, I know what I'm doing wrong. It's just a matter of having someone there, seeing it every time when you see something, or helping you afterwards.
That's what the guy I have here, Wim, what he does with me. When I feel like my serve, that's the first thing we talk about, if my serve is not going that well, I just have to throw the ball up a little bit higher, jump up a little bit more, just things like that.
You know, sometimes a coach, they can sometimes say too much where you get confused as well. It's just nice to have your own mindset and think clear of what you want to do.

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