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August 18, 2009

Kim Clijsters


K. CLIJSTERS/E. Baltacha
6-3, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. A little bit different playing somebody you expected to beat than the players you played last week?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah. I mean, you know, last week I really felt like I had a good week. I felt like the level -- I kind of was surprised by the level that I got.
But I kind of knew after the tournament, like okay, this is not something that's going to be happening every week, you know. This is why it's all new. It's going to be up and down. I think today especially it was -- yeah, just, you know, felt tough out there.
I mean, as much as I was looking forward to playing here again and playing a night match, it just felt -- I felt heavy out there. You know, the good thing was that my serve was going well. That's something that in Cincinnati wasn't going too well.
That's the good thing, but then again, I just have to try and keep that consistency going. But I'm happy I won.

Q. How much of Cincinnati was based on just maybe adrenaline and the fact that you were just coming back? Were you kind of like riding a little bit of a high?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah. I mean, I still felt like they're coming -- finishing a tournament and looking back on all my matches, I still felt like there was a lot of things that I wanted to keep working on.
I was really -- you know, the 10th of August was a big date for me. It's something that my first match was planned there, and so I knew for the last, you know, few months that's when I was going to play my first match.
So you obviously have -- you build it up a little bit more. You train towards that, but then -- yeah, I was very happy with the level that I got. It's not that I was on a high or anything. I was just really focused on what I had to do out there.
That's something that I'm going to try to keep doing here as well and at the US Open, but it's going to be up and down, and that's something that I have to realize, although that's not what I want, you know. I want it to go well and I want everything to go smooth, but that's obviously something that's not realistic to think about, you know, right now.

Q. The up-and-down, that's the kind of the rigors of the tour. Is that something that you kind of also missed from your time away is just kind of the jet-setting lifestyle, as well?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Um, no, actually, that's not the part that I missed.
Yeah, to me, it was more the personal, you know, the trying to get back into shape and, you know, really trying to improve my tennis to see if I could still, you know, compete with the girls up there.
It had nothing to do with missing the lifestyle or anything. Just more personal, I think.

Q. Late in the second set you kind of did the splits again. That used to be your signature move.
KIM CLIJSTERS: I did? Really?

Q. You did. It was close. Is that going to take a while to come back, a little bit harder than it used to be?
KIM CLIJSTERS: No, it's not that it's hard. I just want to try to avoid it just to prevent injuries. It's something at the past, at the end of my career, I think I was -- you know, I felt like even though, you know, I really felt like it could help me at some points, and it could really just, yeah, confuse my opponents sometimes and they would miss an easier shot or something, but I really felt like the points afterwards I really struggled just because I felt like my hip injuries were something that were coming from the sliding and just the pressure out there with that shot.
So I'm going to try to not use it, but I know, if I'm in a tough match and the atmosphere is there and everything, of course it's going to come out. It's not that I can't do it, but I'm just going to try to hopefully be fast enough to get there without the slide.

Q. You said that this is a second career and not a comeback, so that being said, what is your timeline for specific goals, be it a top 10 ranking, top 5 or a Grand Slam?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Um, well, I think I got asked that question quite a lot last week, as well. I'm still at a stage where I'm setting more -- not as many, but I'm not setting any like ranking or long-term goals. I think everything at the moment is very personal still.
It's very, you know, trying to get that serve, trying to get the consistency like those kind of things. I think when I feel that those are in order and those -- when those are going well, I think that's when I can start focusing on just expanding the goals a little bit and just focusing on, okay, I would like to get back in the top 20.
But I think I still have a lot of other things to work on before I can really start saying, Okay, this is what I want to, you know, work on. I think that's long term, but I think at the moment there's still a lot of things, if I want to get to those kind of goals, if I want to start setting those goals, I still have a lot of things to work on before I can just do that.
So, I just want to kind of be a little bit more complete again as a tennis player.

Q. When you stopped, I think there were a lot of things feeling bad in your body. How long did it take for them to all sort of go away?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Pretty quickly, actually, yeah.

Q. Do you feel like not doing anything all the time has sort of really gotten everything back, and now you can sort of build it up in a different way?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Well, having a baby and being pregnant definitely wasn't something that made my body rest. It was a lot harder, and just starting at the start of this year it just was -- it was, yeah, extremely hard, you know.
I remember my first practices and tennis, you know, my tennis, practices and stuff was -- yeah, I mean, I felt really bad afterwards. Just mentally I was like, oh, yeah, why -- because in my mind I knew, okay, this is how I want to feel, this is how I want to play tennis.
I knew when I saw the ball coming in shorter, I knew I had to step up, but my body just wasn't doing it, wasn't reacting the way I wanted it to and the way I was used to. So that took a long time to -- yeah, mentally I had to prepare myself for the long road that I had ahead to get to the part where I wanted to be.

Q. Did you ever think about -- some people thought because you won the exhibition against Krajicek at Rosmalen and played the thing at Wimbledon. Some people thought maybe you -- I know you don't like grass as much, but you might have come back a bit sooner?
KIM CLIJSTERS: No, I mean, listen, I would have loved to -- they offered me the wildcard, and you know, if I listened to my heart I would have said, Okay, let me play. I mean, I wanted to, but I knew that physically and everything, I wasn't ready to do that yet just because I set -- I had a really good schedule physical-wise and tennis-wise that I really felt like I had to complete, and I did a lot of tests just to get myself into shape.
You know, although it was very tempting when they offered me the wildcard, I got kind of had to use my brains a little bit and just, yeah, not follow the heart.

Q. Who are the players you kept in touch with while you were on the tour? What have they been saying to you now that you're back?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Well, there were a few -- too many to mention, I think. There were a lot of girls I kept in touch with, a couple on the phone, couple of e-mails here and there.
You know, obviously with Lindsay it was different. She wasn't -- we just sent back and forth a lot of pictures of babies and stuff like that, but nothing -- you know, a few girls that I just kept in touch with over SMS or e-mail.

Q. Was it a good welcome back from the girls in the locker room?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, they're all excited to see the baby. Yeah, it's been two years, so I'm, you know, quite excited to see them all again, too.

Q. Further to that, now that you've been back for all of a tournament and a match, have you noticed anything different with two years away, or does it feel like and look like and everything feel like exactly the way it was then, or have you noticed anything different?
KIM CLIJSTERS: I have to say it's not that -- I haven't been around the courts that much, because now I just try to do my thing and do what I have to do here and just go to the hotel and spend time with the family.
That's something that probably has changed a lot is in the past I didn't mind hanging around and watching other matches. You know, now I just have so much else to look forward to, you know, when I go back to the hotel room.
I mean, I really feel like that's a good thing for me, because you know, it's something that you really want. I can't wait to, you know, be done with this press conference and just leave. (laughter.) She's asleep, so I shouldn't lie.

Q. When you come back to a place like this and you played and won, do the memories come flooding back or does it feel like a long time ago?
KIM CLIJSTERS: No, they do. There's a lot of good memories, just seeing the drivers and a lot of the people that you just recognize. It's a lot of fun to just, yeah, be in places and be in the city and going to a restaurant that we went to a few years ago and just seeing the owners and stuff like that. There's a lot of fun memories.

End of FastScripts

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