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September 2, 2009

Kim Clijsters


5-7, 6-1, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. After you dropped the first set, was a small part of you thinking, I can't go home this early?
KIM CLIJSTERS: No, not really. But I did have a feeling that, you know, if I would have just, you know, give myself that chance, because she was playing really well. I felt she was really dominating all the points just because she was stepping in and taking the risks early on. It was working. She was serving well.
I think a few things that were really going well for her. My forehand wasn't really going the way I wanted to. I had the net tape a few times.
But then I think it was a smart move to just really mix it up a little bit in the beginning of that second set, throw some high balls in there. Just to mix it up a little bit for her, because she loves stepping in and dictating the points.
That's what she loves to do. So I was kind of just trying to figure out a way where I could, yeah, just mix my game up a little bit so that I would break her rhythm, and it worked. She started making some double-faults, you know, some weaker second serves where I could really step in and just be aggressive from the first -- from my first shot onwards.
I think that's a key against girls like, that. You have to just really go for the lines early on.

Q. Is this another notch in your belt to come back from one set down against a seeded opponent?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, it helps. I like this more than my first round, where you win 1-1 and you don't really know, Okay, how did I play today? There were a few things that I took away from that match that were going well.
But out of this match, it's that mental I think satisfaction that you have after a match like this. You know, Okay, I stayed focused, I stayed aggressive, and really worked out a game plan that beat her today.
I think that's something that's even more rewarding when you win a match like this.

Q. Do you feel like an unseeded player, or do you feel like someone that can contend for the title?
KIM CLIJSTERS: To be honest, I don't really think like that. Even when I was seeded, I remember in the past, the favorites, there was a lot of talk like that. But, you know, I think every girl who's out there, whether it's Serena or Safina or myself or whoever, we know we have to win those matches if you want to get there.
I think, you know, you don't really focus -- especially at the start of the tournament, you don't focus on eventually winning the tournament. But I'm just going to go out there. My next match is against Kirsten Flipkens, which is going to be tough. That's all I'm going to focus on right now. I don't want to think too far ahead.

Q. You have enough confidence in the way you're playing right now that you can play against the best players in the world?
KIM CLIJSTERS: It was a nice feeling to have in Cincinnati, Toronto, knowing that I was capable of beating some of those top 10 players again. That was a good feeling to have, because that was something that I didn't know what it was going to be like out there playing those girls again.
So after the evaluation, after those two tournaments, it was like, Okay, I can beat those girls if I play well, and that was a really good feeling to have.
But I haven't played the big ones yet, Venus, Serena, Sharapova, Dementieva. I haven't played those girls yet. Like I said, hopefully I'll give myself a shot at doing that here.
But first, the third round.

Q. Anticipation about the fourth round and Venus, what do you think of her knee situation?
KIM CLIJSTERS: You know, she's winning her matches, you know, and that's what they do. They're really good at, you know, when it's necessary, really getting their game up there. I think obviously she's struggling. She's taped heavily, but she's still winning her matches.
I don't know who she plays in her third round. It's going to be tougher. I think what we don't know now is how here knee is going to react after a couple of matches and everything.
I'm sure when she plays bigger matches she's going to be ready for it. She doesn't need to take that many steps with those long legs. I think she can take the pressure off a little bit there.

Q. Having been at the top of the women's game before, what are your thoughts about some of the pressures that Dinara is going through now as No. 1?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Look, I really hope that she's not letting it get to her. I was in that situation a few years ago where I was No. 1 and not having won a Grand Slam. It will happen for her, without a doubt. I think she's good enough; she's a great athlete. You know, she's improved a lot.
I think having played her in Cincinnati, just the way that she played there against me I think was some of the best tennis I've ever had standing in front of me. It's just a matter of just being consistent.
You know, obviously she's lost against a few girls who are not ranked as high where people expect her to win. But it doesn't work like that anymore in tennis these days.
But, like I said, I really hope she doesn't let it influence her and just keeps working the way she has been for the last year or so. It's obviously working. She's No. 1. She's consistent. She's won some big tournaments.
You don't get to No. 1 like that, you know. It doesn't get given to you, so she deserves it, I think. She works hard. But then again, there's a lot of other good players who are trying to get up there, so...
We'll see what happens after this.

Q. Have you noticed any differences on tour since you've come back?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Yes. A lot of Russian is being spoken in the locker room, which is fine, but that's something I've really noticed. There's a lot of young girls, Russian girls. It's great to see that girls -- you know, when I was playing, the Russians that were coming up, Petrova, Dementieva, Kuznetsova, have kind of helped develop tennis in Russia. I think that's what we're seeing right now, is that it's a really popular sport there right now. I guess they helped create those tennis players that are on tour right now.

Q. Do you feel the tour is as deep as it was when you were playing a few years ago?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Uhm, yes and no. I think it's still a bit early for me to say after three weeks how the depth is in women's tennis. On the other hand, having seen a lot of the results lately, I do think that a lot of girls can beat a lot of top players. But I think the consistency is what's lacking.
I think the consistency is what makes you a top 10 player these days. You know, we can all play tennis. We can all hit the ball hard. There's a lot better athletes out there these days in the lower-ranked category.
But it's just a matter of consistency. It's the biggest key. That's what sets you apart from being a top 10 player or a top 50 or a top 100 player. Like I said, you know, we've seen -- in the last few weeks, we've seen Serena lose in Cincinnati early, you know, Venus. That's something you kind of didn't really see a few years ago, but it can happen.
That doesn't mean that Venus and Serena are playing worse than they used to. I think the girls they get in front of them are extra motivated. The wind blows harder when you're on top. That's definitely the key, I think, when you're up there. Young girls, they want to beat you badly. That's how I used to be when I was, you know, coming up a few years ago.

Q. Do you feel any different physically during a match? Is it all coming back to you, your match fitness?
KIM CLIJSTERS: No, my fitness feels really good. I think it's just a matter of getting that match consistency under your belt, and mentally as well, just staying focused. Staying match focused is something that you have to, yeah, really create.
Because I'm older now, I can read that better. I can really pick up when I feel that my concentration is lacking a little bit. I can really just, yeah, pick up on that and kind of get back into that groove. That's a good feeling to have.
But, like I said, it's still some work to do, but so far I'm glad with the way I've been progressing throughout these three tournaments.

Q. The on-court announcer said something about having seen a diaper in your tennis bag. Was he making a joke?
KIM CLIJSTERS: I think so. I hope so. Unless she put it in there. There's no diapers in my tennis bag.

Q. Keep the bags separated?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Definitely (smiling).

Q. She's not out at the matches because of the sun?
KIM CLIJSTERS: No, she wasn't out there. She stays in the creche here. They set it up really nicely here. There's a lot of toys and other kids for her to play with. She stays there.

Q. She can't watch on TV?
KIM CLIJSTERS: I don't know if there's a TV in there. Maybe. She's still too young to just sit there and kind of realize everything that's happening. I'm just glad that she's playing with whatever she was playing with. A little kitchen or something, I don't know.
But, no, like I said, she's still too young to take it all in and realize it, know what's going on.

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