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January 22, 2007

Kim Clijsters


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. The difference in the two sets, the first one absolutely magnificent, but what happened in the second?
KIM CLIJSTERS: I think I played one looser game. That made her really step it up herself. I let her back into the match.
I think what I did really well in the beginning of the match was, you know, doing what I came -- where I started the match, definitely dominating the points. As soon as I got a shorter ball or as soon as I felt like the court was opening up for me, try to go to that open corner.
Even if it's the first or second ball, just do that, be aggressive in the beginning of the points, because that's where you can win a lot of points against her. I felt like in the second set she started doing that a little bit as well.
She had to take some more risks. She was coming in, playing a couple serve and volleys. She started being more aggressive. It worked.
She's a good player. The way she played in the second set is how I usually play matches against her.

Q. We saw you feeling better and better each match. Can you possibly say where you are in relation to your best tennis? 80, 85%?
KIM CLIJSTERS: That's a question that you guys ask a lot, but it's hard to compare that. A lot of things have an influence on how you feel. It's very hard to compare to -- you know, probably some of the best tennis I played was the few weeks leading into the US Open and then the US Open. But it's so hard to compare that because that's like over a year and a half ago almost. It's very hard to compare that.
But, you know, I do feel like I'm trying to get back up there and I feel like I'm seeing the ball well and moving well. To me, first of all, that's really important. If I physically feel fine, then I'm capable of running a lot of balls down, defending well. That's when my game really falls into place, where I can defend well but also be aggressive on a lot of points.

Q. What about the prospect of taking on Martina again?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, it's fun. It's a good thing. I think last year I was really excited to play against her, as well, because it was a while before I got to play her.
Yeah, it is fun. I think she's doing well. It's good to see that she's doing good. I look forward to playing against her. We always have a lot of fun points when you play against Martina. She always comes up with some unbelievable shots that you don't expect.
Sometimes when you play a player you kind of get used to their routine, you know kind of when they're going to play down the line, cross-court. With her, you always have to be ready to go the other way, I think. That's what makes it so fun. It's very challenging.

Q. Does it give you extra confidence knowing you beat her at the same stage last year?
KIM CLIJSTERS: No, it's always nice if you beat a player. But I've lost to her in the past before. Tomorrow's a totally different match. It is the quarterfinal. It's at the Australian Open again. But to me that doesn't promise anything. You have to go out there and fight for every point.

Q. You haven't lost to her since she came back. Do you think this year she'll be a much harder proposition than last year? Maybe she was a little green.
KIM CLIJSTERS: You always have to take -- every opponent you play, it doesn't matter if they're playing bad in a tournament or if they're playing really good, lower ranked, my attitude never changes the way I feel.
I think if you start with that kind of mindset, you always have to be ready for your opponent to play their best tennis. I think that's when you come up with some of your best stuff, as well.

Q. Both of you have so much affection in Australia. Who do you think will get the majority of support?
KIM CLIJSTERS: There's about six guys in the stands who I think who will be supporting me, the ones that were singing out there today. I have no idea who they are. At least I'll have six guys in my box, my family and friends that are there.
I don't know, it doesn't matter. What's so good with the people here in Australia is that they know the sport so well. I think they appreciate good tennis. Hopefully that's what we'll be able to show them tomorrow.

Q. How comfortable do you feel here compared with other venues around the world?
KIM CLIJSTERS: This is really comfortable. I think I love playing on the Rod Laver Arena, as well. It's very cozy. I just enjoy it. People are not shy here to yell out things, to laugh. I think that's what makes it a lot more fun for us, as well.
No matter what, like when I'm watching -- say if I'm in my hotel room watching tennis on TV, it makes it so much more fun to watch it than just sitting there. You hear the crowd getting into it. It's fun. It's just good to be out there.

Q. (Question regarding the pressure of being a favorite to contend for the title.)
KIM CLIJSTERS: No, not at all. There's less and less girls in the draw. Everybody is a favorite now. You know, there's nothing -- I don't see anybody more or less favorite than me or Maria or...
That doesn't change anything for me. You know, I know how hard it is. I saw that today, as well. Anything can happen. Things can turn out very quickly in tennis.

Q. Martina took three years off for injury, has come back. Could you ever see yourself doing the same thing, or is this definitely...
KIM CLIJSTERS: They asked me that question the other day. I was like, gee, they're already thinking about making a comeback and I'm still playing. Haven't retired yet.
I don't know. We'll see. I doubt it very seriously.

Q. What about visiting Australia beyond this Australian Open?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, I would love to do that. That's something I've never really been able to do. Yeah, we go to really beautiful cities. I played Hopman Cup a few times, in Perth, going to Sydney, Melbourne. When you're here now, and Sydney as well, you're always focusing on playing.
You have a couple of hours off in the afternoon. You just walk into the city. You just want to see everything outside of the city, as well. That's something that I would really love to do, is maybe come back for like a month or so and just travel around. But that's not for now. That's for the future, in a few years.

Q. You said earlier you and Martina have a good off-court relationship. Will you talk to each other before this game?
KIM CLIJSTERS: We always kind of joke around in the locker room, kind of tease each other. In the beginning of the week, we were like teasing each other about who was going to be able to finish their match quicker. So, yeah.
It's fun. It's like a very healthy relationship, I think. We all try to win when we're out there. Of course, that's normal. We know that's what we're here for. If I lose, yeah, then too good for her.
If I win, we get into the locker room, we still talk about maybe the match a little bit or things that happened. That's how it's always been with us. The other day we were laying on the massage table inside talking, laughing. That's good. I think it's nice to have those kind of girls on the tour.

Q. Any wedding plans?

Q. You still have to focus on winning the tournament, good memories. Is there any room for sadness, knowing at the end of the week Australia will be finished?
KIM CLIJSTERS: I'm sure that will be when I leave. For now the sadness is definitely not there yet. I was sad when I left in Sydney last week, saying good-bye to everybody, the people that you get to know. I'm sure it will be the same thing here.
I always look forward to coming to the courts, to seeing the people that I haven't seen for so long. A few of my friends flew over. That's so nice to see that. Yeah, it makes it even more special.
But as long I'm still playing, as I keep going well in the tournament, then, no. You just have the tennis to focus on. But afterwards I'll take my time to say good-bye to everybody, yeah.

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