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March 28, 2010

Kim Clijsters


6-0, 6-1

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Your first two matches, you're treating your opponents rather rudely. I don't think you've lost serve or even come close to it. You must be feeling in a nice groove as you move along here?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, you know, it's nice to have -- I have a feeling out there where you feel like you can -- where your brain and your arm is kind of connecting, you know.
I think in Indian Wells it was a completely different story. Gradually, throughout the two weeks that I've been, you know, preparing myself, after I lost to Kleybanova, I've been really trying to focus on getting my swing back and, you know, the feeling where you can, you know, like play freely, have a loose arm.
That's the feeling when I'm out there playing. It's a nice feeling to have. But, you know, I know from the past and I've learned from the past that it can change very quickly, as well.
I just want to try to maintain this feeling and keep focusing, practice on just moving well and taking small steps.

Q. I notice against Kleybanova, looks like she was trying to give you the match a few times. You didn't want it.
KIM CLIJSTERS: And I gave it back? (Laughing.)

Q. Were you there mentally that match? Were you somewhere else?
KIM CLIJSTERS: No, it was just -- yeah, I mean, I felt that I was trying to rush. You know, when I was up I was trying to rush through it a little bit too much instead of being a little more patient.
And I think a couple of times too, like I was just being -- you know with rushing, I mean, you know, not playing-wise -- in between the points and playing-wise I think I was just being a little bit too defensive and I was waiting for her to make the mistakes instead me just keeping playing my game and being aggressive.
I think that's the difference now. I really feel that I'm dominating a lot of the points, where I think in the match against Kleybanova I felt like I was being put under pressure a lot of the times.
Now it becomes more of an automatic reaction, where I'm stepping into the court, and where in Indian Wells I constantly had to remind myself, Be aggressive; dominate the points.
It wasn't automatic, like, yeah, I wasn't just playing my game. Now it's just a nice feeling to know, that whenever I get pushed back by my opponent, I automatically take like a few steps forward to just be on top of the baseline again.
I think that's a good feeling to have, knowing that it's coming back naturally again.

Q. Were you a little surprised today? Because she has had some game, obviously, through the years, but she didn't have much to give you today.
KIM CLIJSTERS: No, I think -- you know she's an opponent to me -- I've played her in the past. In Sydney I think I played her a few years ago.
She's a player who is not going to hit you off the court, but her strongest point is that she usually doesn't make a lot of errors. I think she takes the ball like early, like on the rise.
I think, you know, just because she doesn't have that real powerful game, I really didn't feel like I was threatened by her groundstrokes a lot.
So I really felt that I was, you know, just like dominating in a lot of the points and felt very comfortable just standing on top of my baseline and trying to make her move from side to side until I felt like I could take a couple steps in and go for the winner.

Q. How did you get that mental difference? Did you see a sports psychologist? Did you talk to your husband? Play with your kid more? How did you do it?
KIM CLIJSTERS: No, just practice. You just have to try to get through that in practice. I think there's -- you know, I try to hit with as many girls, different players. I hit with Na Li; I hit with a lot of different girls.
I think that's something that you automatically need to create that a little bit, that sensation a little bit in practice. It wasn't there from the beginning.
What I felt like gradually each practice I had here in Miami and before I played my first round, I felt like it was slowly getting better.
Yeah, just practice. I don't think there's anybody who can tell you you have to do this and all of a sudden it has to switch. It has to come from within yourself. It takes time.
And, you know, I think the most important thing is not to get frustrated. That's something that you have to tell yourself, too. It's okay; it will change. Even if things are not going well, just like don't get frustrated by it.

Q. How much time are you spending in New Jersey?
KIM CLIJSTERS: When we -- you know, trips like this when we -- you know, I played at Madison Square Garden, so we were there a couple weeks before. We'll probably go there a few days when I'm done here in Miami, and then we'll go back to Belgium to prepare for Fed Cup and the clay court season.
So whenever it fits in in going, obviously, to the States. After Wimbledon we'll go couple weeks earlier just to prepare on the hardcourts. But Belgium is still the base.

Q. Obviously your hometown is a small town. New Jersey is like practically New York. How does that...
KIM CLIJSTERS: Well, I don't totally agree. We don't live in like -- we live in a smaller town. It's near the water, which is very nice, but it has that small-town feeling to me.
You know, I could never live in a place like New York. I love going there and we do drive up there once in a while just for a night or a weekend or so.
But, yeah, I like to hear the birds, you know, in the morning. The taxis and stuff, it's not for me.

Q. So where in New Jersey is it?

Q. Wall?

Q. Do you look at your draw? To me, you're in the tougher side of the draw. You have Azarenka maybe next if she wins, Wozniacki somewhere, Henin somewhere. Do you look at it?
KIM CLIJSTERS: I just asked my coach. I said, Who do I play now? He told me Safarova or Azarenka. They're all tough. I mean, you know, obviously the closer you get towards the end of the tournament every match is gonna be tough.
And especially in my situation now too because, I feel like in practice I've been really focusing on just my game and just trying to get, you know, back into where I feel comfortable.
So I'm not really -- so that's what I'm focusing on, is really on myself and trying to just, you know, maintain this feeling that I've been having.
So you don't really want to get too influenced by your opponents, I think. Obviously there are some tactics that you take, you know, on court with you that you have in the back of your head.
But I think I will always start with, you know, with my strengths and try to -- and then if that doesn't work, if I feel that my opponent has an answer to everything that I'm doing, then you'll try to mix it up.
I will always start from going with my strong points.

Q. In terms of the matches you played this year, where would that one rate amongst your performances?

Q. Today's, yes.
KIM CLIJSTERS: I think these last two, what I'm probably most happy about is the way I mentally just stayed really focused.
I think in Brisbane and Australia I played good tennis and high-level tennis, but I think there was always a bit of a dip in those matches.
I think that's something that's really a lot better now, is that I can really, yeah, just mentally just -- and, yeah, even when things are not going as well or when I'm not feeling the ball as well, I just have a lot more of a positive attitude about it instead of maybe doubting yourself a little bit more or, yeah, start worrying a little bit.
I think it's something that I feel a lot more confident in that way. Then again, you know, I think it's also by the losses I've had. I think it also helps you by maintaining that attitude, I think.

Q. How is it now traveling with a child?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Um, a lot more luggage and you know, all that stuff. But it's fun. I mean, I like it. There's obviously a lot of surprises. I think as, you know, first-time mother, I think it's always -- a lot of surprises will happen anyway.
But then being on the road and obviously when they get sick once in a while, those are little things that you worry a little bit more. You obviously worry more than, you know, a few years ago.
But it's good. I mean, I enjoy taking care of her when I don't have to be here at the courts and go home. You know, I look forward to it every day. It's fun.
I mean, to me, it's -- the best part of my life is being a mother, so it's something that I really love.

Q. How many matches has Jada come to? Is she aware now what you do and who you are?
KIM CLIJSTERS: She knows I play tennis. Like when I leave hotel or when I leave home, she knows I'm off going to play tennis with Wim, she calls my coach. Like, Mommy and Wim are going to play tennis.
She doesn't know what it -- you know, everything else that's around us. I mean, she doesn't -- she's too young. She just turned two about a month ago.
No, she knows I play tennis, and, you know, that's all.

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