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September 7, 2010

Kim Clijsters


6-4, 5-7, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. It was obviously difficult to serve out there, was it?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, it's been difficult for me to serve for the last few weeks already, so obviously the weather conditions don't help. But I'm just gonna try and just remember the last serve I hit today and just try and focus on that one.

Q. How did you pull that match out?
KIM CLIJSTERS: I think by mentally just staying focused out there. You know, I felt that I was really reading her serve well in the return games. I really felt that I was just -- even, you know, those heavy kick serves I felt I was getting into her backhand well, and, yeah, just made her go for some errors.
Obviously she, you know, wasn't serving great, either. I just really felt that, you know, if I could just get that return deep, I felt that I was, you know, kind of in charge of a lot of rallies.

Q. You both were struggling in the third set. How did you sort of steady yourself and walk in there at the end to close it out?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Um, just I think by taking it one point at a time and not thinking about what's happened before, in the games before, and obviously tried to remember just the good things. And, you know, even when I, you know, when I was up, when I held serve for the first time, I was just really trying to focus on, you know, what I was doing well to break her every time.
So I just tried to just keep doing that, so I gave myself a little bit of, you know, extra space to serve it out at the end.

Q. What were you thinking as you kept getting broken and she kept getting broken?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, I mean, what do you think? I mean, at the time, you know, you think about the next thing, which is trying to obviously try and play good return games and return points. That's what you try to think about.
Obviously, um, you know, it was, you know, frustrating at times, because I felt that, you know, I wasn't playing well because it was still so close. So if I could just raise my level a little bit, you know, I think in important points.
I think every time when I had a chance to step forward with my forward I was making a lot of mistakes when I was trying to go for winners, which is -- a lot of times when it was just rallying, retrieving a lot of balls back, you know, she was making the errors. So kind of in between both, you know, sometimes.

Q. Usually we don't see this from you. You looked visibly discouraged part of the third set. Did you get down on yourself a little bit?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Um, I think I was probably frustrated, you know, especially at the end of the second set, with that bad service game that I had there. You know, it's something I've been saying in a few press conferences already: my serve hasn't been going the way that I want it to go.
Throughout this whole, say, ten days now I feel that tennis-wise, I feel that my groundstrokes have gotten better. Obviously today was a tough, tough opponent, difficult conditions, as well. But I felt that -- you know, every day I felt that I was starting to hit the ball better, and you kind of wanted to keep going like that.
When you kind of just don't have that rhythm, you know, which is due to her -- I mean, she doesn't give you a lot of rhythm and she doesn't give you the usual kind of shots that you kind of expect.
Yeah, you just have to deal with the things that you get given, you know, that day, and try to make the best out of it.

Q. Was there any time you were thinking, Oh, my God, not another bad match at a Grand Slam?
KIM CLIJSTERS: No, I mean, I still didn't play a good match, but I was obviously able to win it. That's obviously, at the end of the day, what we try to do out here, is try to win the matches whether you play good or bad.
Like I said, even after the match, I was like, How did I win this? I didn't feel like I was playing well. Sam is a good player, you know, so I was just kind of -- yeah, talking to my coach and fitness coach and just, Wow, what just happened? How did I win?
So, again, next match everything will have to be a lot better.

Q. Can you talk about your serve a little bit?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Again? Repeat it again?

Q. At times you're not even going for big first serves.
KIM CLIJSTERS: No, because I don't have the rhythm. I don't have the rhythm.

Q. But then there are games when, you know, towards the end where you're serving very well and you ended with an ace.
KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, that's probably all the frustration that comes out at the end. I'm like, I don't like to hit one more rally. I just want to finish it with a good shot. Um, I don't know. It's the rhythm. It's been frustrating.
I've said that already a few times already at previous Grand Slams, I think at Wimbledon as well where my serve kind of goes off. I think it's because I have -- when I played players who play aggressively, I tend to not finish off my service motion properly.
Where in my serve -- in my movement, as soon as I land on my left foot, which normally you're supposed to land forward, I'm already pushing off to try to get to the next shot. That's obviously -- I know that that's not what you're supposed to do. But, yeah, I mean, 20 years of tennis.

Q. Are you a little surprised even that Venus is still playing considering she hasn't played since Wimbledon, her knee injury, and she's 30?
KIM CLIJSTERS: No, no, because I think obviously the way that she's been playing and the way that she has mentally looked, I think it's maybe been even been good for her to have been away for that long, because she looks more hungry than ever.

Q. What do you see that makes you think that? Just the way she's playing?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, the way that she's playing. She plays more aggressively. She's steady; she's focused. Yeah, this is probably some of the best of Venus that I've seen for a while.

Q. You've gotten her pretty good the last couple times. Can you talk about how you were able to turn that around?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Um, I think in some of the previous matches that I've played, you know, it obviously -- we had some strange matches, as well, I think, last year.
But in the third sets, I think a couple of the third sets, it just came down to, yeah, I felt that I was just maybe physically even a little bit stronger than some of those matches, especially here last year.
I think, yeah, if I -- you know, she's capable of doing amazing things, and you just have to hang in there and just, you know, push her, and at the same time be aggressive, and, you know, go for shots and try to make her make the errors, as well, by being aggressive.
But at the same time, also I'll have to be ready. I'll have to be able to move well. I'll have to retrieve a lot of balls, but at the same time, like I said, be aggressive.

Q. What's your take on the late nights for fans and for players?
KIM CLIJSTERS: I mean, I like it. It's different. It's fun. Um, obviously, you know, we only have night matches here and at the Australian Open, so I hope they don't take that away from us. It makes it so special, and, yeah, different, like I said, just more unique. I mean, I enjoy it, there's a different atmosphere out there during the night matches than when you play during the day.
I enjoy playing later so much more than when the other day I played Ana at 11:00.

Q. Going on at 11:00, you're fine with that?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, I mean, you kind of know. Obviously with the scheduling you never know that it's certain. But, I mean, you nap in the afternoon and you just adjust accordingly.

Q. Are you going to ask Fila to get you seven different dresses like Venus?
KIM CLIJSTERS: No. I'm too superstitious probably to do that.

Q. Doesn't seem that there are many young 18 year old girls playing at the top of the game these days. What would you attribute that to? Do you think that's also to do with the fact that...
KIM CLIJSTERS: Can you look at the script from my previous press conference, because I answered that already last...

Q. Can you just talk briefly about it?
KIM CLIJSTERS: I think it's just physically, because it's become physically -- you know, the game has become a lot stronger over the last eight years or so.
For 16, 17, 18 years olds, it's just not that common unless you have, you know, an extremely good athlete, a girl who's really tall. I think physically obviously it's one of the biggest reasons. And then experience, too, I think.
You know, I remember when I was 16, 17. I was doing well, but I think experience is something that I was lacking in a lot of big matches. That's what, you know, makes a difference, too.

Q. A lot of players have some difficulties to make the others understand the emotion they can have when they win a great game. Do you think it's very hard to explain the emotion, or how would you explain the emotion that you can have when you, I don't know, when you win here, for example, last year?
KIM CLIJSTERS: What do you want me to do, explain how it feels when you win a Grand Slam?

Q. Can you explain the emotion that you can get in a great victory, or do you think everybody can understand or not?
KIM CLIJSTERS: No. Yeah, but the thing is why it's hard is because it's different for everybody.

Q. How is it for you?
KIM CLIJSTERS: I mean, last year my emotions were very confusing because they were, you know, happiness, but then also sad at the same time, you know.
But it's different for everybody. I mean, it's something that you have to -- yeah, you have to experience, obviously. I guess it's maybe like having a baby. You can't explain it to somebody who has never had a baby what it's like to give birth, because it's a feeling that you, yeah, can't describe unless it's happened to you.

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