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June 21, 2010

Kim Clijsters


6-0, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Kim.

Q. You've talked about being a mother, back on the tour. I was curious how it works, say, the last couple days and today, how you juggle the two, being a mother and taking care of your child.
KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, I mean, the routine is pretty much very well under control now. Obviously in the beginning, we kind of had to get a feeling for also traveling with the nanny seeing, yeah, just how I feel, what I want to do before I play big matches, when I start my tournaments.
No, my routine, I get up in the morning, probably about an hour before Jada wakes up, get breakfast ready, you know, everything like that, make sure all my stuff is ready by the time she wakes up. Yeah, I have time with her and I can be with her a little bit.
But a lot of it also depends on the schedule obviously. Today was easy because I knew when I had to play because I was starting at 12. But, yeah, I mean, like I said, scheduling, when I'm not playing, it's a little bit easier because I can kind of adjust my own schedule a little bit easier.
But, no, it's been -- obviously the US Open last year, there were a few occasions where we had to wait a few days because there was bad weather and everything. So that's when it becomes a little bit harder, when you kind of just, yeah, wasting time, kind of waiting at the courts, not knowing if you're going to be canceled. Those are times where you definitely feel like, Oh, I could have gone home earlier and spent more time with her.
It's the weeks I go to tournaments that I know tennis is important, and that's when I really focus on tennis.

Q. How difficult was it? You come back, you finally get your first significant injury, you're off again, which might have reminded you of the old days when you had to be put off, then just to come back on tour and not really knowing where your level is again.
KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, I mean, it was frustrating just because, you know, I felt that I was, you know, playing well, I was finally in a routine where I started to play more tournaments. After Miami, as well, I was looking forward to play Fed Cup and then to play the clay court season.
So it was frustrating that kind of your mindset, you know, or the way that you approach your season or your schedule kind of just gets changed, you know, within a second. That was really frustrating also because I didn't know. I didn't even know if I was going to make it to Wimbledon. So I'm relieved I was able to play in Eastbourne.
There were definitely times where I was like, Oh, man, here we go again with these injuries. It was frustrating. I was like, Was this all worth it?
But, uhm, that's, you know, probably the first 20 minutes after the injury. As soon as you get my coach and my fitness coach and Bryan and everybody, we got together, that's when, you know, we discussed a plan. You know, your mind just clears up a little bit better.

Q. As someone who has copied with severe injuries, what is your sense of what Maria Sharapova has done with her shoulder injury to come back as strongly as she has?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, I mean, you know, all the credit to that. I know how much work it takes to come back, especially since she had surgery. And the shoulder is a very delicate part of our body that has to be really, really at its best and strong to compete. You know, the type of tennis she plays, as well, it's so powerful. She definitely uses that right arm a lot.
So it takes time. But she's hung in there. You know, she's been patient. She hasn't been shown big signs of frustration, you know, not on court. I'm sure there's been times of frustration off court and when she's practicing, trying to get ready.
But it's definitely -- you know, she's patient on court and she's stuck through it. You know, it was great to see her doing well at the French Open playing, you know, good tennis against Justine. I definitely think she's a tough contender here this week.

Q. What are your thoughts when you face her? What is most impressive about her game?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Just, you know, the groundstrokes. I mean, she hits the ball really flat, low over the net and really deep. I think that's something that she really probably -- probably flatter than any player out there.
Serena hits the ball really hard and can be very explosive. But I think Maria, it's at a constant, constant rhythm. And I think, you know, when she serves well, especially when she returns well, I think she is definitely very tough to beat.

Q. The kind of game that translates well to any surface. I wonder if you feel like you haven't given yourself enough credit on grass. You can move in, you move well, you defend. What are your thoughts on that?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, no, I definitely feel better when I started even last week in Eastbourne. The transition was a lot easier. Maybe also probably the biggest reason is because I didn't have to play on clay. That was for me the hardest, uhm, step to get over was when I, you know, finally felt that I was getting comfortable on clay, the French Open was finished, and then we had to move into a different surface.
Now, you know, I was hitting a few balls before I went to Eastbourne indoors on carpet in Brie. The rhythm changes. I feel I'm a little bit more on top of my baseline, you know, yeah, reacting a little bit better, maybe faster than what I was in the past.
I feel more comfortable on grass. I do feel the difference compared to a few years ago.

Q. Can you give us an idea of how the World Cup is affecting people?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, Portugal is on right now in the locker room. It was 4-0. Yeah, no, I mean, I grew up in a soccer family. Obviously I love watching it. I can't wait for the big matches to start.

Q. You were really supporting England at one point, weren't you?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, of course.

Q. Four years away from Wimbledon you received a warm welcome on Court 2. That must have meant a lot. Can you describe what that did mean to you and also your return to this tournament.
KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, to be honest, I was actually pretty nervous, you know, leaving the locker room and going out on court again. You know, even being here last year for the event when they opened the new Centre Court with the roof, I was nervous for that.
But I think to be a part of the tournament, it was very tempting last year when they asked me if I wanted to take the wild card.
But, no, I was, you know, nervous but also excited to be out here, to be on the new Court No. 2, I had to find my way to get there a little bit. Luckily the security guard knew where we were going, because I actually had no idea.
But, no, it was nice. Yeah, like I said, excited to be out there again.

Q. How do you assess your form today?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Uhm, obviously I can play better. But I think overall I think I played a good match. I just have to make sure that I don't -- like I said before, what's really important on grass is that you stay on top of your baseline. That's something I'm going to have to do. If I can do that, that's when I know I'm playing some of my best tennis. If I can really be on top of the baseline, when my opponent is playing aggressive, still stay there and take over.

Q. Would you have liked a harder test?
KIM CLIJSTERS: No, I think my next match is definitely going to be a tough one against Sprem. You know, it's good. This way you can really focus on that next match.
I had a couple of matches last week where I was really happy with the way I played. This really helped me also to find that game that I was looking for on grass. I know what it is. It's just a matter of, you know, doing it every rally and every shot.

Q. Any lingering effects from the foot injury?
KIM CLIJSTERS: No, nothing that bothers me. Obviously, I still have to play with the tape. That's something that I'm gonna have to do for a few months, I guess. You know, probably need some more checkups with scans or MRIs when I'm done in between tournaments just to make sure that it doesn't flare up.
But the tape is something that's going to have to be there for a while. But, no, it's all good. Nothing to worry about.

Q. When you said you felt nervous coming back to Wimbledon, could you explain why? Is it like meeting an old friend you haven't seen for a while? What sort of nerves is it?
KIM CLIJSTERS: I don't know. It's hard to describe. At the same time it's excitement and you want to go out there and you want to, you know, yeah, play at Wimbledon again, play the tournament.
But then, yeah, you just want to do it. It's just nerves. I guess you can probably compare it going, you know, to your first day of school after a school holiday. It's like excitement, curious, and a lot of emotions I think. It's the mixture of emotions I got to think that make you a little bit more nervous than normal.

Q. Do you think you could play yourself into contention here?
KIM CLIJSTERS: I'll definitely try. I know that if I play my best tennis I can definitely, you know, compete with the top players.
But I have to do it, you know, every match. My next match is going to be a very tricky one. That's where I'll probably get tested the most, I think, so far. So it's going to be a tricky one. Yeah, I'll have to be ready for this one.

Q. Months after the US Open, how do you look at that period of your life?
KIM CLIJSTERS: I mean, I don't look back at it that much. Obviously, I kind of live in the moment. But it's a beautiful memory, obviously. You know, I was very happy that I was able to share it with my family.
But it was at the time also confusing, just because of the changes, you know, throughout that whole year that had happened. But it's a beautiful memory. Yeah, we cherish it very deeply.
THE MODERATOR: Can we change language now?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Chinese (laughter)?

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