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January 18, 2007

Kim Clijsters


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Kim, how do you sum up a match like that?
KIM CLIJSTERS: You know, everything went pretty good. Just in the beginning of the match, I had to get used to -- get into it. I think I wasn't moving quite as well as I did in the first match. But I think overall just looking at the statistics and looking at my opponent, I think I did everything pretty well, and I did what I had to do.
I won in two pretty easy sets. So I'm not complaining.

Q. Wayne Arthurs is playing his last Australian Open, and he said that he's nice and relaxed because he doesn't have to worry about his future anymore, and that's why he's playing good tennis. Could the same be said for you?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Well, I wouldn't say it in those words. It's not that I -- I mean, I never really worried about the future. Just take it one day at a time and just try to enjoy it. I think what Wayne is doing, as well as -- he's definitely a little bit older than I am and has been on the Tour for a little bit longer.
But you appreciate it so much more, I think, and you think it's the last time, you just try to suck everything in, and it's a good feeling to have.
I do enjoy it. Yeah, like I said, I've always enjoyed coming here, but this year it's even more special than in the past.

Q. What are the principal reasons for you to retire?
KIM CLIJSTERS: There's a lot of things. I've said it so many times and I don't want to keep going on about it, keep going on about it. I don't want to talk about it every day.
I started thinking about it because of the injuries, when I hurt my wrist, and when I hurt it again when I was playing in Hasselt, and even last year when I fell on my wrist last year and I couldn't play the US Open. I was very close to retiring. But you try to get yourself back and try to get yourself through the frustrating periods because you know on the other side there can be some really beautiful days, as well.
That's what you do, you try to always look for a challenge.

Q. Martina Hingis has sort of joked that you and she were racing to a quarterfinal clash because you're playing at the same times, both won your matches pretty easily. Can you comment on that?
KIM CLIJSTERS: We were joking, I think it happened on our first matches. I think we almost won at around the same time. And then we came into the locker room and we started laughing, and she's like, Damn, you beat me, you were there first. And then today, as well, we were waiting at the office, at the practice desk to be escorted out, and she's like, I hope I'm going to get here before you get here. So we were just kind of joking and laughing. But it's fun. That's what's so good about it.
You know, we're friends off the court, and you can laugh and say those kind of things. And once you get on the court, if we get to play each other, it's all business. But from the moment that it's done, then those kind of things should be possible, I think.

Q. In previous years here the crowds really embraced you as one of their own, almost their adopted daughter. Do you feel that kind of embrace even today? Has it changed do you think?
KIM CLIJSTERS: No, it is. I always feel very well when I come back to Australia. It's different, too, because I know so many people that work at the events. And last week in Sydney, as well, I just know that personally from going to Davis Cup ties and stuff like that. I know a lot of people who work for the tournament, and that's fun. That doesn't happen at a lot of tournaments, and when you can see those faces again a year after, it's just nice to catch up. That makes it a little bit more personal than all the other tournaments.

Q. Where is your level compared to the US Open would you say right now, when you won in 2005?
KIM CLIJSTERS: I feel good. I think that's -- I'm happy and I think that's the most important thing. You know, I was feeling really good at the time, as well, and was playing a lot of matches. Then I played probably a lot more matches than I have now. But I felt like there I was just kind of seeing the ball really well, moving well and recovering well. I think everything just kind of fell into place there. And that's something that when you know that you can feel like that and play like that, you know, the off days are very frustrating, but they make you work twice as hard to get that good feeling back again.
I'm working towards that. I don't feel like I'm quite there yet, but I'm definitely moving upwards, and it's a lot better than -- I'm definitely feeling a lot better than I was over the last few months or last year or something. I don't think I've enjoyed being out there as much now than I was last year.

Q. Which would be the main reason not to make a comeback as Hingis has done?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Sir, I have no idea. Again, that's something that is so far ahead and in the future, you know, I'm -- I haven't retired yet, I'm still playing, and we're already talking about a comeback (laughter). That's -- for me, I don't think like that, so I'll have to say "no comment" to that question.

Q. You're such a flexible person. Are you a good friend of Stefan Everts?
KIM CLIJSTERS: I know him. Personally I know him. I admire him, I watch his results, and I think that's incredible to have such an athlete, I think, in Belgium. But I don't know him very well personally. That's -- I'm kind of shy like to meet, like -- to me I'm still Kim and they're famous to me. I'm not famous to me. I'm kind of weird in that way, like I don't want to -- I don't know, I don't feel that comfortable.
I admire all of the athletes that we have in Belgium, and over all the world. I think just sports people are -- every sport is so different, and it's very -- I like to like watch and see how other people prepare for their events, and I think it's very interesting. I think how sports people in their minds are very similar but have a completely different way of preparing and training, and to me that's very interesting. But it's -- at the moment we have a very, very good -- Belgium is really good in supports, and I think Stefan Everts, as well, he's definitely put Belgium on the map in a sport that is incredible. It's very exciting, I think.

Q. Would you like to have a go on a bike?
KIM CLIJSTERS: I don't know. I don't think that would be very healthy, not now. Maybe in the future when it doesn't matter if I would break a bone. I could, but I don't know. I'm not very good with those kind of things. I like to stay nice on the ground.

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