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March 26, 2007

Kim Clijsters


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You've had such great results here in the U.S. When you retire, what will be some of your fondest memories, and how hard is it going to be to say goodbye to the fans here?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Well, obviously my fiancé is American, so we'll be spending a lot of time in America, as well. But tennis-wise, I think looking at one of my best memories, I've always loved playing at the -- on the west coast, playing in California. I've had some really good results there for some reason, I don't know why.
You know, playing in Stanford, San Diego, then in LA. I've always done really well there at those tournaments and felt good, as well. Felt like I was always playing with a lot of energy, and that's probably one of the places where I've never felt better.
It's always a fun place to go, because if you feel good automatically then you play well.

Q. How much time do you plan on spending here since your fiancé is American?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Well, it's still -- we talk about it a little bit, but it's still too soon. I think Brian wants to play basketball for a few more years, as well. We don't even know where we're going to be in a few months, if he doesn't stay in Belgium or if he does.
We could be in Italy or I don't know where we're going to go. I think that's something that we're not going to think about too much yet. It's not really something that we're in control of, not just yet, until that's finished.

Q. How hard do you think it's going to be to say goodbye when you retire?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, I mean, it is. The people here in America, they're so, like, they show their emotion a lot, and that's something that I really like. Even off the court, as well.
But when you're playing, I think it's one of the most fun places to play in is a place like here or at the US Open where people are yelling and screaming and they're getting into matches, and that's something that I like a lot.
You know, we play in places sometimes where it's dead quiet. It's very hard for the players to get into the matches then, as well. So when the atmosphere is good, that makes it a lot more fun for us. So it will be different not coming to these places, of course, but it's -- you know, I guess every player has to go through that stage where what happens with the fans.

Q. Do you think you're going to cry? Will it be a tear-jerking moment?
KIM CLIJSTERS: I have cried. A few weeks ago in Antwerp there were a few tears. By now maybe all the tears are gone and they're just trying to fill up again.

Q. Does she have Top 10 potential, do you think?
KIM CLIJSTERS: I've always had really tough matches against her. Last one before this one I think was at the Adidas International in Sydney. It was a really tough match and I played some of my best tennis.
That's something that I have to do: Play some of my best tennis and make sure any Grand Slams are very powerful and very precise and that I move well. I didn't so that today, but she is definitely -- when you feel like you have to do that, that's the attitude that you get yourself ready towards like when you play tough players.
I definitely think that she's capable of doing that, it's just a matter of seeing -- in the past she missed -- the last two times I've played her, or three times I played her, she missed a couple of those important points. I think that's where maybe she still gets a little bit nervous. But it's just a matter for her to get through one of those big ones, and then I think the confidence will automatically rise and she'll be up there.

Q. But you aren't saying yes or no, you're on the fence?
KIM CLIJSTERS: No, I do believe that she's definitely a Top 10 player, yeah.

Q. You've always been a player that's thrived on a lot of matches. With the kind of scheduling that I've read about, can you play your best tennis when you're not playing a lot of matches?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Well, today I definitely didn't. Yesterday I felt like I played a really, really good match. At this stage I'm not capable of playing a lot of matches, a lot of tournaments in a row anyway.
I just have to kind of focus, make sure that I have my practice time at home and then try to peak at those tournaments. It's not easy because I'm physically just not capable of playing a lot of matches anymore in a row, a lot of weeks in a row definitely.

Q. What in particular are you referring to?
KIM CLIJSTERS: To your question. I'm answering your question.

Q. What part of your body is not capable of playing --
KIM CLIJSTERS: A lot. Just out there today, I don't know why, but just with the slides, my back just gets completely locked up. It's very frustrating knowing that two, three years ago, three years ago, I was totally fine when I did one of those, and now it's not anymore.
It's very frustrating. But, again, this is something that I've had to deal with over the last few years, so it's not that it's something new. You just kind of get used to it, I guess.

Q. If you feel like you're not getting enough matches will you consider playing a few more tournaments?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Well, I would. If I knew I was capable of doing that, of course I would. I work with a really, really good guy, a physical trainer, to get my body back into shape in December, and halfway through last year, as well.
So it's important. I think it's really important to get my body back into where I want it to be, but it's just not -- my tennis and the way that I move on the court is not -- was really good from when I was 16 to when I was 20, 22, but not just the last two, three years.
I'm just not capable of doing that a few days in a row, and that's -- when you first deal with that situation you're like, Damn, I don't want to get older. I'm still young. But like in tennis, as I've gone through a lot and with the injuries, as well, it kind of sets you back all the time, and it's just harder to get out of that. It's just a matter of trying to peak, I guess.

Q. What would you say your physical level is now in terms of feeling healthy, 90 percent or 100 percent?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Well, before the match I would have said I was pretty good, but after my first set it just kind of got worse and worse out there.

Q. What's your schedule for the next few weeks?
KIM CLIJSTERS: I'm going home and then I'll work a lot on just physical-wise, do a lot of running, a lot of core and like strength exercises and do everything for my wrist and for my knees and stuff.
I'm not going to hit too many tennis balls. I'm definitely not going to hit too many balls on the clay, and then I don't know what we're going to do. You know, it depends on Brian, as well, too, if they make playoffs, as well.
We might go to America for a couple weeks to see his side of the family. I don't know.

Q. You're not scheduled for any events?
KIM CLIJSTERS: I've scheduled to go to Warsaw because otherwise the break is too long of not having any matches, so I'd rather play one in the beginning of the clay court season.

Q. So Warsaw and then France?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, sounds good, huh?

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