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March 13, 2010

Kim Clijsters


K. CLIJSTERS/B. Zahlavova Strycova
6-2, 6-1

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. What do you think about your draw there looking ahead?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Um, well, to be honest, I really don't have much of a clue looking ahead in the draw.
Yeah, so I don't know. That's where my answer stops, I guess.

Q. You just like to look at them one at a time?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, yeah. Yep. I've always done that so...

Q. As far as where you're at in your comeback, do you feel you've gotten the point you don't have to worry about rust and moving ahead, or is there still that battle of rust and getting into tour mode?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Obviously I don't play that many tournaments, so after I've been off for a while, you have to find a balance with trying to have enough practice matches before you go do a tournament and try to balance it a little bit like that.
You can have some kind of initial matches before you go into a big tournament like this without having played for almost a month and a half, I guess, so that's always a little bit of a struggle.
But I felt good out there today. Obviously the conditions were pretty tough out there today. But overall, I felt good. Legs felt good, felt fresh. I think that's important in a match like this, to get through without wasting too much time out there and getting a good rhythm out there.
Hopefully, yes, I still want to just get that, you know, the game that I had when I was playing at the US Open, you know, where I was playing really well. I want to create that throughout, you know, the whole tournament.
Just try to make sure that it's there all the time; whereas, my last few tournaments that I played, you know, it was kind of an a little bit up and down.
So, you know, that's something I definitely have to focus on is just trying to keep it -- you know, raising the bar throughout the whole tournament.

Q. I remember that when you had losses in the past, you were able to get over them reasonably quickly. What was it like after the Australian Open? Was it one you just put to one side because it was just a shocking day or...
KIM CLIJSTERS: That was probably the easiest to get over. I think it's the ones where you lose, you know, in a really close match and you really felt like you played some of your best tennis and then you lose.
I think that's more frustrating than playing a match where -- yeah, like I did at the Australian Open against Petrova. I mean, luckily I haven't had that many matches like that, and I hope that I don't have those anymore.
But you never know. It's just trying to, yeah, just keep working hard. That's the feeling I had when I left Melbourne. It was like, Okay, I want to work hard, train hard. I just want to -- yeah, no, with the lifestyle that I have now, just trying to balance, you know, training hard and working really hard and just trying to, you know, train hard at home in my circumstances.

Q. When you were out of tennis for a while and then you're watching the players play, in your wildest dreams, did you think you'd reintegrate yourself this successfully this fast?
KIM CLIJSTERS: No, not at all. To be honest, for a long time I didn't watch tennis, so I was only -- um, probably, yeah, I watched the Olympics and obviously, you know, the big matches at Grand Slams a little bit. But it's not like I really followed it that much. I just didn't have time to watch TV at all.
Just, yeah, no, but I never expected, you know, then, at that time, that I would be back and playing big tournaments and playing Grand Slams again, especially not winning one. So that was definitely a big surprise for me as well when I did well at the US Open.
But, you know, just a matter now of trying to keep that going and trying to keep that level up, and every time just, you know, push your self mentally and physically to keep, you know, working hard after big tournaments.

Q. After the Petrova loss, you were saying you had no idea what happened, no clue whatsoever. When you went back home did you watch the tape and did you figure anything out at all?
KIM CLIJSTERS: I don't think there was a lot to figure out during that match. Like I said, you know, my opinion still hasn't changed. To me it was like an off day. You know, it's not like I've changed my routines dramatically or anything.
You know, I'm very superstitious when it comes down to that. So it's not that I changed anything in particular. You know, at the time that was the confusing part. It's not knowing, where all of a sudden does it come from?
I tried to switch a button afterwards quickly and tried to focus hard again when I went home and just tried to, yeah, get myself mentally prepared again for the next battle, which was, you know, Madison Square Garden and then here, as well.

Q. After you won in New York, there was that magical moment with your daughter and seeing herself on the big screen, mother and daughter and all that. Does she have any sensibility that...

Q. She's way to young for that?
KIM CLIJSTERS: She just turned two a couple weeks ago, so no.

Q. Speaking of the Garden, how can you compare Madison Square Garden, and of course this is the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Can you compare the two?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Obviously the main difference is it's an indoor facility. I think to be in an indoor facility that's that big is very impressive. And to be, you know, in a major city like that, and I think we're all used to going to New York, you know, later in the year for the US Open and have the warm weather and the fog from the underground and the taxis driving around and everything.
I think now this year was -- now that I'm older, because I was there I think 10 years ago when I played my first championships there, but I don't really remember much of it. I think I was just overwhelmed a little bit too much when I was 17 I think at the time.
It was very overwhelming. I think now that I was -- you know, now that I'm a little bit older I was able to appreciate it all that much more and take it all in. It was very special to play there.
But then again, this is kind of the opposite here. You're outside, you have so much space around you, and have the mountains around you. It's two completely opposite venues.
You know, if I have to choose between which one I like, oh, it's hard. I would prefer to live here than to live in New York I think in the city. I like to go to New York for a few weeks, but then after a while I'm like, Okay, I need the peace and quiet a little bit. That's I think something you can find here a little bit more.

Q. But I understand that New Yorkers took you in at a whole new level during the XO a few weeks ago. Is that because of your time in New Jersey and your husband living in New Jersey, or just because you won the Open?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, maybe. I think obviously with the attention that I got when I obviously won the big check I think a few years ago, I think that's also something that stays in a lot of people's minds.
I think now obviously being a mother and winning again last year, there's always something that always stays. Especially New Yorkers are very proud. They all go and watch the US Open, and they follow it really well.
So maybe that hangs around a little bit. But also the fact that I think, you know, obviously we don't live that far from there. It's like an hour drive, and I think that's something that, yeah, maybe the connection is there a little bit, as well.

Q. Before you retire, there were times when you were at your best and you were playing a lot of matches. And now with the lifestyle, with the baby, you can't do that anymore. Were you tempted at all after Australia to say, Maybe I should go play a tournament in February, or were you just pretty much set it up saying, I'm going to play my schedule, and if I don't play that well, I'll still take the month off because I have to be with the baby?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, you know, that's the thing. To me it's really important to also have the time at home, because otherwise I'm going to go to tournaments and I'm not going to want to be there. I think it's really important for me knowing that I can have time at home where I can be housewife and take care of my husband and of Jada, and I think that's really important to me, as well.
I think it's a life that I've lived for, you know, two-and-a-half years almost, and to me it's really important to have that. You know, I don't have to -- you know, I didn't come back to, you know, prove to anybody that, you know, that I'm a good tennis player. I'm doing this for myself. I think it's my choice, and which is a luxury to have.
Obviously I want to do well at the tournaments where I'm at, and I also want to make sure that when I go to the tournaments that I'm hungry and that I'm eager to get out there. I think with this schedule, that's definitely something that I have. To me, I think that's something that I've learned from the past.
Maybe a few years ago, towards the end of my career, I didn't even feel like I wanted to go out there; I didn't feel like I wanted to put the work in. To me that has always been a very important part of my game, is wanting to be out there and just having that hunger and trying to fight through tough matches, but also the easier matches.
That's something that I have, that I have back, and, you know, I want to keep that. I want to keep that going. I don't want to be playing 20, 22 tournaments a year and being away, you know, even with Jada. I don't want to take her to another continent for a week and fly back and forth.
I mean, this is not why I chose to come back to tennis. Not for my rankings or anything.

Q. Your favorite part of being a housewife?
KIM CLIJSTERS: In general, taking care of my husband and of Jada. I think that's something that I just -- I like to do.

Q. And the follow-up to the previous, does it make it better for you now that this is more fun than it is a job? It's like your other job, and you can have fun with it in a different way than before?
KIM CLIJSTERS: The thing is now, you know, the biggest difference is obviously that when I go back home now it's not that -- or when I go back to the hotel, it's not like, Okay, let's put my feet up on the bed, watch a movie, relax, where that would have been the case in the past. You just want to relax.
Now, you know, I come home and I start making dinner or start, you know, whatever it is. I think that's something -- I enjoy that, and that's something that -- yeah, I feel very comfortable in that situation.
You know, Jada goes to bed at 7:00 or at 8:00, and I don't even know what time it is. I probably should keep my answers shorter. (laughter.) So I get to see her.
But that's something that I really look forward to, and that's a part of my lifestyle now as a tennis player. But it's something that I enjoy, and that's something that is very important to me.
Obviously when I go out to the courts and I practice and I do my physical training or treatments or whatever I do, you know, we have the nanny that travels with us, and I know she's in really good hands. With everything else and whenever I can, I'll be the first one to try and rush home or to the hotel and try and take care of her and just spend quality time with her.

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