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October 31, 2010

Kim Clijsters


K. CLIJSTERS/C. Wozniacki
6-3, 5-7, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How satisfying is this one compared to the first one a few years ago now?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Um, I mean, they're both special. Obviously the first one I think I beat Serena in that one. And the Championships, you know, I've always enjoyed playing them. The first one was obviously indoors; this one is outdoors. They're both special.
I think the intensity of the game today was a lot more -- it was a lot harder than when I played against Serena. So in that way I'm really relieved to have won the matches in the way that we played tonight.

Q. This year, five finals. What's the key for you?
KIM CLIJSTERS: I don't know. No secret. I just try to, yeah, just play my best every time I go out there. Whether it's the first round or a final, I mean, I just try to try and be the better player at the end of the match.
Today as well. I just tried to -- even when we started the third set, I said, Okay, this is going to be the last set of the year. Give yourself 200%, and we'll see how it end s.
But it was a very tough match.

Q. Given that you haven't played since the US Open, is there any sense in which you surprised yourself winning here, or did you always think you could get over that obstacle?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, I mean, after being on the tour for so many years, you kind of know how to deal with those kind of situations. For me, obviously this year I've been in situations like that before where I hadn't played a match for a while.
In Cincinnati, for instance, I didn't play a match since Wimbledon, and that gave me -- or since World TeamTennis I played. But it kind of just gives you -- you get -- yeah, you get to feel, you know, how you react to those kind of situations.
I think a few years ago when I was in my first career, I wouldn't have been able to do that, I think. Now I just feel that I got to know myself a little bit better. I also played plenty of practice sets and matches against Wim, a Belgian guy, just to mix it up and already have that match rhythm a little bit at home.
Then you just try to adjust as fast as possible when I got here.

Q. Can you put a couple of words on Caroline's performance today and compare the match a bit to the match you had a year ago in New York?
KIM CLIJSTERS: A year ago, that's a long time. But, no, I mean, obviously today it was very challenging. It was physically a tough match. I think we both played really good tennis. You know, also I think with the conditions here, I think it just -- it becomes a lot more than just a tennis match.
You know, you just try to be fitter, try to recover in between the points, in between -- there's something beeping -- in between games. You just try to take your time, recover, and then try to, yeah, just spend all your energy out there.
Caroline played some really good tennis. She's definitely improved a lot. I felt that at the US Open when I played against her she was, you know, moving as well as she did today, but I think maybe not as aggressively on the groundstrokes. Her serve is also much better now. I definitely felt a difference in that sense.

Q. Correct me if I'm wrong, this is your first appearance in Doha and the big title. Is it a good sign for you to come back again?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, who knows? Obviously it's been -- like you said, it's been a good week for me. I've enjoyed it. It's been a very learnful experience as well. I've never been in the Middle East, so it was nice in a way to get to know the culture a little bit better. We got to taste different types of food and everything.
It's something that I've liked. Now that I'm a little bit older, I appreciate it as well. In the past, when I was younger, I would go to countries that I'd never been to, but I was kind of just always focused on tennis or the hotel, and that was it.
Now -- we didn't have that much time this week to do a lot of things, probably not as much as we would have liked, but I still feel it's been a nice week. Yeah, learned a lot as well.

Q. Back to the game again. It is relatively easy, your first set, and then the second set you were leading, what happened in that game?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, I think I just went behind the baseline a little bit too far. I think I let her dominate the rallies, and that was something I was doing well leading up to that point. I felt that I was cutting the corners, being very aggressive, you know, making her move from side to side.
And then I felt after a couple rallies, yeah, felt my legs just a little bit tired. Then you automatically become a little bit too defensive. I think that's something that I realized, luckily, in time.
I was able to turn it around and just really focus on getting my game back that made me lead in that match until halfway through that second set.

Q. Regarding your opponent, Wozniacki, is it lack of experience that sets it for her today?
KIM CLIJSTERS: I don't know. I mean, it was so close. I think it's tough to say. Obviously, you know, she's obviously been playing with a lot of confidence. She won a lot of tournaments this year.
So I think she's at a stage where she knows what it's like to win big matches. I think we played really good tennis. I don't think there's a reason why I won or...
It could have gone either way. Like I said, I just felt like I was playing a little bit more aggressively in the end. I think that's where it just made a little bit of a difference, is at the end.

Q. How do you see her in general for the coming years?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, she has a great future ahead of her. Like I said earlier, she's -- the difference of player that she is now compared to a year ago is great to see from a girl who's that young who's already trying to improve her weaknesses, and she's done that.
If she plays -- you know, obviously it's not going to happen all the time, but the way she played tonight, I think she's going to be on top for many, many years.
Again, you know, the type of tennis that she plays is also physically demanding. It's going to take time to -- yeah, you have to work hard physically. I think she plays a lot of tournaments, so I think in the future she will maybe cut down a little bit on the tournaments and to really focus on the big tournaments.

Q. Obviously the women's tour fought a long time to have this two-month break at the end of the year. When you have a week like this at the end, are you kind of...

Q. You're happy with a couple months off?

Q. When do you think you will start to perhaps concentrate or have a look again at your tennis? Maybe three weeks?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Tennis, probably not so soon. Physically-wise, I'll probably -- I won't do much for about ten days or so, and then I'll start -- I don't feel comfortable if I don't do anything throughout the day, even if it's just running. You know, Brian and I take the dogs for a run. Just little things like that just to stay in shape a little bit.
So in a way, yeah, I'll always work out a little bit because I like it. It's not because I'm focusing on my tennis, it's just because I want to do it. But seriously, where I'm okay, putting my mind to it and focusing on the Australian summer and everything, probably around the 20th of November or so that I'll start again. Yeah.

Q. Have you had a chance to talk to your family back home? Were they able to watch the match on TV today?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, they were. Yep. I didn't speak to them in person yet. I had some voice messages from Jada and from Brian, so it was -- yeah, I got a little bit emotional when I heard them.

Q. Do you think Caroline could feel extra pressure because she has something to prove because she's No. 1?
KIM CLIJSTERS: No, I mean, I don't think -- I think that's maybe a little bit of a misunderstanding. I think she's -- she is in the No. 1 ranking because she's been the most consistent player throughout this whole year. And I think that's her strength, because she's been able to do that.
Also the tennis that she plays, she's very consistent. So, you know, she is worth being up there for sure. But does it put more pressure? She made it to the finals. Today was a good match. It's not like she lost 1-1. It was a very close, intense match.
Like I said, it could have gone either way. I really hope she doesn't feel pressure of trying to prove to anybody else that she's worth being No. 1. She just has to focus on herself and not worry about what's being said or written or, you know...

Q. My question is as mother and as a champion in the same time, and for me as a new parent, how do you manage to be successful in the two jobs? It's a hard job to be a mother and to play in tennis.
KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, but I think that the toughest part -- the first year I was home, so I didn't play -- I was home with Jada for a year without even thinking about tennis. You know, you kind of are past that tough stage where you kind of have to -- you lose a lot of sleep and all that stuff.
Once I was past that, I felt a lot more comfortable and started working out again. On the road, I mean, it's a team effort. I couldn't do it if I didn't have our nanny that travels with us, Nicole, and obviously my husband helps out a lot as well.
We couldn't do it if -- it's a family thing, a team thing. We have a lot of help.

Q. Next season Caroline will start the season at No. 1, and all the public eyes will be on her because she's not won a Grand Slam. What's your advice to her? She is still young and has something to learn, I guess, the.
KIM CLIJSTERS: The advice is not to listen to it. That's the only thing. Because she will win a Grand Slam. She is too good of a player not to. She's young; she's No. 1. I mean, you know, she's too good of a player.
I really hope that she doesn't worry about. She has good parents. They have good heads on their shoulders. She just has to keep working the way that she has been working. She's been doing really good things, and the good things will keep coming then.

Q. When you became No. 1 before winning a Grand Slam, did you feel extra pressure about that?
KIM CLIJSTERS: No. No. Because achieving a No. 1 spot is a great effort on its own. You know, not even connecting to the Grand Slams, so...
So, no. I was obviously very excited that -- I think I beat Davenport in L.A. when I became No. 1 for the first time. It's an amazing feeling. At the end of the day, you have the celebration on court and flowers and cake I had, but then an hour afterwards it's like, Okay, back to the tournament, and you start your next event.
You don't think about it. At least I didn't. You try to win each match, and obviously the players -- your opponents are tougher; they always want to beat you, the No. 1 player in the world. In that sense it's going to be maybe a little bit harder.
But, I mean, no, I didn't think about it too much, no.

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