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September 3, 2010

Kim Clijsters


6-3, 6-0

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Were you a little bit worried when you went down 3-0? Far from ideal at the start?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Not worried, but obviously I was, yeah, just focused every point. Even before that my attitude never really changed, whether I was up or down. I think that's something when you're not playing your best tennis it's something you really just have to try and focus on. If you start to focus on how you're hitting or feeling the ball you might start worrying. I was just trying to give it my best each point.
Even though I was 3-Love down, I felt that I had some opportunities, you know, even to break her. I went down to deuce, went to deuce, and should have won my first service game. But, you know, I mean, that's tennis. And, you know, until the set is over, you can still always come back and win.
I think that's just what I tried to do, tried to be a little more aggressive and just go for the angles a little bit more. She's a good player. Once she's behind the ball, she has one of the toughest groundstrokes out there.
I think as long as I was able to, you know, kind of counterpunch against her tough shots and going to the open court and make her take those extra steps, I felt like I was getting her out of her comfort zone a little bit. That's what I was trying to focus on.

Q. Your serve, you were talking about it briefly on court afterwards. You weren't entirely happy. It's something you have been struggling with.
KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, yeah. I've spoken about it a few times, and during my previous tournaments, as well. It's something that obviously, you know, towards the second part of that first set and the second set it was much better.
Obviously the rhythm is -- you know, because of the wind your ball toss will always change a little bit. And so you kind of, yeah, just have to find a good rhythm where you can throw your ball where it's not gonna -- where you still feel like you're gonna have a clean hit on it.
I think that's something that obviously when you don't have that full confidence on your serve and you have the wind interfering with what your ball does, it's never that easy. You just kind of have to go back to the basics and just take it one serve at a time, really focus on, yeah, just even maybe not going for it as much all the time. Just, you know, making sure that a lot of times that first serve is in and trying to just build that first service percentage up a little bit.

Q. Have you noticed the flying camera on stadium court? What do you think about it? Is that a potential distraction to you, or...
KIM CLIJSTERS: I mean, I don't think it's there when we're playing, right?

Q. Well, it's not moving around.

Q. But it can be stationary over the court.
KIM CLIJSTERS: I haven't noticed. Obviously when I am sitting down I see it moving when I'm changing sides. But when you're playing it's not a distraction at all.

Q. Did you feel at all that you didn't get full credit for your win here last year because of the way Serena lost?

Q. How much do you regret her not being here that you don't have a chance to beat her again?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Look, I mean, my tournaments are not based on what Serena does. Obviously I try to focus on what I have to do best, and that's trying to, you know, play good tennis and trying to see how far I can go.
Whether she's here or not, my attitude is always the same. Obviously to have an American missing at an American Grand Slam and one of their best players, you know, to ever have, I mean, it's obviously disappointing, I think, for the tournament and for the fans.
But my attitude is the same, you know, now as if she would have been here.

Q. And you don't feel like your win got short-changed at all because of the way she lost?

Q. How much time do you spend in New Jersey?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Ooh, um, after I played that event in Brussels, I flew over to New Jersey for a few days afterwards. So I was there until, yeah, we left to Cincinnati. And then kind of in between Montreal and the US Open I was there for a couple of days. And before Indian Wells. You know, like whenever it fits with my schedule, obviously now.
When I wasn't playing I spent more time here, obviously, in the summer. I was at our house more. But now time is kind of divided between going to tournaments and being there.

Q. Can you compare sort of the traditional lifestyle in Belgium with Jersey life?
KIM CLIJSTERS: I mean, it's home. They're both home. I think you create that home atmosphere. You know, I even try to create it in our hotel room.
No, I mean, it's obviously nice to go to a place that you're familiar and you can cook yourself and do everything kind of yourself.
But obviously, you know, my childhood memories are in Belgium. You know, I still live in the same street as my parents used to live, where I grew up; my grandparents live next door. I mean, that's what I love, and that's obviously what I go back to, you know, when I go back after the US Open.
That's what I look forward to the most is going back and just being there.

Q. Finally, there has been a fair amount of talk about impact of marriage on court performance and play. You've been married now for a while. How would you assess married life and its impact on your game?
KIM CLIJSTERS: I mean, I guess it depends on each personality. I mean, you know, I have a lot of friends who it's really made their life a lot better; I also have friends who have gotten divorced pretty quickly. It all depends on, you know, the personality, if you finally get the right guy and -- or woman.
But, no, I mean, I'm not a marriage counselor (Smiling.) I mean, to me it's nothing -- it's been nothing but good. So, you know, I would sit here and recommend it to everybody. I'm sure there are a lot of people who don't recommend it to everybody.

Q. You alluded a moment ago to maybe not playing your best tennis right now and what you have to do to fight through that. How far from your best game do you think you are right now, and how far are you from the level of playing you need to go deep into the tournament?
KIM CLIJSTERS: I mean, I feel like I'm close. You know, it's only a matter of a few little details I think in my game that I just want to improve. That kind of makes that overall feeling where you kind of felt like, Okay, today I felt like everything that I was doing, where I wanted the ball to go, just anticipating at the right time.
Just those little things is what makes you feel like, Okay, I today I played like almost a perfect match. That's what we all try to achieve, but that very rarely happens all the time. That's obviously what I would like to achieve.
But a match like this today probably gives me more satisfaction, because, you know, I beat a good player without even playing my best tennis. There were moments in there that I was very satisfied with the way I was playing, and just overall the way I was moving, the way that I was serving.
But then, yeah, it becomes kind of -- you become greedy in a way because you want it there, you want that to happen in every rally that you play in.
So if it doesn't happen or if you're kind of misjudging a ball a little bit, you're like, Why didn't I do that right? You just kind of start thinking like that. That's why I said before you just really -- even if it's not going well one rally, just forget about it and refocus on the things you want to look for and what's ahead and what goals that you have and what you want to improve on.
I think that's what I'll try to do in every rally, every match that I play in. I felt myself progressing throughout the match, so that's a good feeling.

Q. Even in the best Grand Slam campaigns you've had in your career, are you finding in those early round matches there is kind of a working out of the kinks?
KIM CLIJSTERS: No, yeah. I remember making it to the French Open finals and not knowing how I got there because I didn't feel like I was hitting the ball well. But I was there.
On the other hand, it's a good feeling, you know, if you look at the kind of the negatives a little bit. There is also some positives in the negative. I wasn't playing well, but I'm in the final of the French Open, which is my least favorite Grand Slam.
I've had a few of those Grand Slams where you kind of have to battle through, and mentally those are probably more satisfying that the matches that you win in those early few rounds where you win 1-1, 1-Love like in the past I did sometimes.
Mentally you just always have to hang in there whether you're playing good or bad. I mean, you just mentally have to try and be very consistent and focus on the little details and just always try to know what's ahead and what you're trying to aim for.

Q. Ana Ivanovic. We don't know yet, but she might be your next opponent. If that were to be the case, talk about that potential matchup.
KIM CLIJSTERS: She and I are good friends, and I'm happy to see her doing well again. I followed her very closely obviously when I wasn't playing, and saw her win the French Open and kind of from there just lost it a little bit. You know, had some injuries as well when I played her in Cincinnati in the semifinals. I mean, the first three games we played I think were pretty good tennis so far, so, you know, I hope she wins and that we can kind of have a rematch there.

Q. It seems that in women's tennis that the 14-, 15-, 16-, 17-year-old girl winning a Slam is now something that people consider really shocking. Used to happen fairly regular. Do you have any idea why...
KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, I do think just because of -- and I've mentioned that a couple of times. You know, I grew up kind of, you know, with a Venus, with a Serena, where, you know, we have to become mentally -- physically we had to become stronger.
You know, I've always naturally been a stronger girl, but I think -- I don't think we'll ever see women's tennis become more powerful and more physical than it has been over these last, you know, this last decade maybe.
I think that has definitely something to do with it. I mean, a lot of girls are -- you know, I think just outside the sport just regular girls are developing a lot faster.
But in a way, I think sport-wise, I think physically you need to adapt I think for a while before you can really see where you need to work on and to get the level of what -- who you're playing against and kind of grow from there.
I think that's one of the reasons why you won't see -- you know, someone like Martina Hingis in the past, who obviously wasn't the most physical player, but she had that touch. Now, these days, you don't get there anymore. You need to have a combination of all those things. You need the touch, you need the variation, but you also physically -- tennis has become a lot more demanding.
I think, you know, that's -- I mean, every Grand Slam that I've played in, you know, the gyms have gotten bigger, there's more equipment just because everybody's working out more and because it's necessary.
Some of it is because they want to improve, but a lot of it is also prevention. I think physically, you know, it's been -- we've seen some really good tennis over the last few years.

Q. On the flip side, do you think it's also because a player like you might have just retired, took a break and came back, Justine comes back, and all of a sudden you have players playing longer?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, maybe. I don't know. I never thought about it that way. But obviously, you know, we do get a little bit older, as well.
You know, so there will be a time of coming and going, I guess. You know, obviously, Venus and Serena, I don't know when, but they're going to be gone. Myself, Justine, I mean, that's life. Then it's time for the new generation. I think the girls, Wozniacki, the Radwanskas, they will definitely be going for a little longer.
That's the nature of the sport. That's what makes it interesting, for me now as well, to see a lot of these younger girls and some of the American girls that are doing well here.
That's something that for me, now that I'm 27 - I'm not old, but I'm kind of a part of the older generation now.

Q. What happens if you play against Virginie Razzano?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, Virginie is also a steady player. She likes to hit the ball flat, quick on the rise, and so I think on this surface she has actually a pretty good chance, I think, against Ivanovic. You know, it all depends. She has a very good backhand. She likes to go for it. She moves pretty good, as well.
I'm gonna be watching that match. I'm going to be very interested in this one just to see. I think everybody kind of thinks that Ana is the favorite, but, yeah, you never know with Virginie. I've seen her play some really good tennis and do some really good stuff.
So, I mean, if she can bring her best stuff, she definitely has a good chance.

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