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January 24, 2007

Kim Clijsters


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Two-hour match, fluctuating fortunes. How did you eventually win it?
KIM CLIJSTERS: I still am asking myself that question. I think the only two things that I did well today was I fought and I tried. I think those are the things that, you know -- the two things that made me play a little bit better when I had to, when it was most important.
That's the only thing you can do when you're not hitting the ball well and you feel like whatever you're trying is not really going your way. That's the only thing you can do. Hopefully it turns it around. Luckily for me, it did.

Q. Can you explain 62 unforced errors?
KIM CLIJSTERS: I wish I could. It would make things a lot easier for myself as well (smiling). I'm just going to try to laugh it off, I guess, try to have less than 62 tomorrow.

Q. How tough is she to play against?
KIM CLIJSTERS: She's tough to play because she definitely -- she's a player who really feels it. She knows when the opponent's not playing well. I'm sure it wasn't that hard to see that today. She figures it out pretty fast. She plays on your weaknesses. I think she did that really well today.
I think I was, you know, just lucky a little bit at the end, too. Hit a few passing shots, a few lobs that worked, that went my way. Also with the challenges, you know, I got lucky there a couple of times.
Yeah, so you need a little bit of both. I think besides my hitting all those unforced errors, she had a few net cords in the beginning. I was lucky at the end. Yeah, so. Again, I didn't play well. I beat a good player, so I'm not complaining.

Q. Is it fair to say the errors in the match might have been as much a result of aggressive risk-taking?
KIM CLIJSTERS: That's something -- I'm not going -- I was definitely still trying to play my own game and play aggressive tennis. I think if I change my game against Martina, try to play like she does, just try to keep the ball in, you know, still try to make her move, but don't hit aggressive enough, then you're playing into her cards kind of. That's what she loves to do. She loves to dictate the points.
So it was still up to me to try to keep playing aggressive tennis. Uhm, yeah, like I said, you just have to keep trying. Hopefully, you know, your game just comes back in the match. And I did, you know, I felt like a couple of times out there I was striking the ball well, moving a little bit better than in the beginning.
That's important, too. From the beginning of the points, really be aggressive and don't start doubting yourself. You just have to keep fighting out there.

Q. Do you consider a semifinal a satisfactory outcome so far?
KIM CLIJSTERS: No, no. You know, I feel very happy that I won this match, you know, because I could have been sitting here as a loser today as well. But, no, you know, I'm still in the tournament. I know that I have to play a lot better than I what did today. I'm going to go out there and fight like I did today.
So I'm not satisfied at all. You always want to improve. I definitely want to improve after this match today.

Q. Could that exhibition you played against Maria help? Played against her once; you have a feel.
KIM CLIJSTERS: That's our recent match that we played each other. I played against her a few times in the past. We always had good matches, good battles, close sets. Yeah, she's a great athlete and a good player. She hits the ball so hard and flat. I think that she's moving better, as well, here. What I've seen in the last few matches, she seems to be moving well.
Again, I just have to be there from the beginning. I can definitely not afford all the unforced errors against Maria because she just steps on top of you. She just walks all over you if you do that. I have to make sure that I do my thing. I'll play aggressive tennis as well, but keep the unforced errors low.

Q. Is there any real concern about the struggle today, or is it put it behind you and tomorrow is another day?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, put that behind you. Lucky enough, there's another day (smiling).

Q. Against Maria, just with the shrieking, the grunting, do you find it hard to hear the ball coming off the racquet?
KIM CLIJSTERS: No. That doesn't influence me at all. I don't think it influences any player out there.

Q. No distraction to you?

Q. Speaking of shrieking and grunting, you had the four big fans in the support. Does the crowd support help you here?
KIM CLIJSTERS: It does help. Yeah, they were very loud.

Q. You must know them.
KIM CLIJSTERS: I don't know them at all. I don't, which is pretty funny as well. But, yeah. Maybe when I'm done I'll just go and say thank you to them after I'm finished playing.
But, no, I don't know them - yet.

Q. Greater sense of comfort in yourself and other players stopping points in the middle to challenge a call as opposed to waiting till a point ends on a call?
KIM CLIJSTERS: I think that was the first time today when I made that one call. Was it 3-All? Yeah, I think the 3-All game. Is that what you mean?

Q. I just mean in general.
KIM CLIJSTERS: In general.

Q. Does that reflect a comfort with the electronic line calling that you're willing to stop a point in the middle?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, I'm not scared to do that. I'm not going to just call any challenge out there. I want to almost be a hundred percent sure that it's out. There was a couple of times where I maybe thought I could have done it, but I just don't -- I just keep focusing on what you have to do, try to get your game back into place.
The challenge, I think when I'm sure, when I feel a hundred percent like sure about it, then I'll do it. You know, that doesn't mean I'm always right. But I feel the way the ball went off my racquet or something, it felt good.

Q. If it's in the middle of a point and you stop because you think it's out, you're going to lose the point if you're wrong, as opposed to playing the point and winning it.
KIM CLIJSTERS: I think it's better to just play if you're not a hundred percent sure. Just keep playing. Like with Martina today, as well. If it's that close... I wouldn't risk it. I'd rather play the point and try to just -- just try to win the point.
Sometimes that can also be like you hope that it's out, too. Sometimes players are, I really hope that it's out because I really want this point. I think it's just better to play every point. If you're a hundred percent sure, go for it.

Q. The winner of your semifinal tomorrow is likely to be the favorite in the final. Does that follow? Do you buy that?
KIM CLIJSTERS: No, not at all. I think Serena has been showing some really good stuff as well, some really good fighting spirit. Nicole is a good player, as well.
In tennis, anything is possible. Everybody can come out here and not play their best tennis, or the opponent might play their best tennis. Anything is possible.
Like I said, in tennis you never know what happens.

Q. Where do you think the line is regarding coaching from the sidelines? Should a player be able to look to their coach to see whether they should challenge or be able to communicate during a match? What do you think?
KIM CLIJSTERS: I don't know. I don't look at them. I decide for myself. I know better because I feel the ball. I'm the one who hit the ball. When I feel it -- when I felt like that it was close, I'll challenge it. If not, you know... I don't know. It doesn't matter to me at all, yeah.

Q. Justine announced she's going to come back to play in Paris. Is that something you and the other players will be pleased to see her?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Of course. Of course. I'll be going to Paris, as well. It will be nice to catch up with her there.

Q. Given the fact that you always prefer to win than to lose, once you retire, do you think it will be more difficult for you to think of your past as a tennis player as a winner or a loser? If you come out as a winner of the last year or as a loser?
KIM CLIJSTERS: I want to look at my tennis career as a beautiful experience. I know for myself that whatever match I played I fought until the end. I think that's what I want to kind of feel for myself. You know, we all go out there and we all try to play our best tennis.
I think what you appreciate more I think about the whole -- about my whole career is the discipline, the motivation I've had throughout all those years. I think that's to me more -- that means a lot more to me than seeing trophies at my house.
That's something I've always enjoyed, playing tennis. I love traveling. I love just being out there. That's something that I had a really good time. I still like it. That's to me a lot more important.

Q. Not enough?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Well, now I do. I still do it. There's days, like for instance weeks like in Montréal last year where I could have just said, No, thank you, this is getting a little too much for me. Again, you fight through that. That's something that I like about it.
But there's only a matter of time before you can get through that again. I can't do that 15 times in a row or anything.

Q. What was your reaction at the end? I'm so glad I won this match, not wanting to lose this match not having played very well in your own mind? You didn't want to go out of this tournament having played a bad match and lost.
KIM CLIJSTERS: That, too. But I think I was more kind of patting myself on the back for the way that I fought, for the way I tried to turn things around. I think, again, that's something by getting older, having more experience, you're able to stay calm in those kind of situations and deal with it, deal with the way that you're playing. That's something that I did really well today.
I think in the past if I had a match like this, you know, I probably would have lost 6-3, 6-3. But today I didn't. I think that's what is more pleasing than anything.

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