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January 16, 2011

Kim Clijsters


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Kim, please.

Q. Big first-up match for you. Two former world No. 1's. Guess you weren't expecting that in the first round.
KIM CLIJSTERS: No, but it's a challenge. There's a lot of tough other first rounds as well. I think, you know, it's never easy anyway to start the first round. You always have to get back into the tournament. But I've played some good matches against her since I started again. I've lost to her also once I think in Cincinnati when I played my first tournament back.
So, yeah, I mean, it's going to be an interesting match. Looking forward to playing her again. But, yeah, I mean, it's a tough one.

Q. How have you found your preparation coming into this year's tournament? Final in Sydney. You're feeling well?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, I feel good. No major injuries. You know, I've been able to just work through my pre-season without any big problem, so that's always I think a very important part of your preparation, especially when you come here in Melbourne.
Obviously, the weather hasn't been so great or testing us too much yet. But everything has been going well. I played some really good matches in Sydney. I was very pleased with that. Now I'm excited to be here.

Q. Do you feel like the door's a little bit open this year with Serena not here and Justine returning from injury as well?
KIM CLIJSTERS: I mean, to be honest, I don't think players think like that. I think we just really focus, you know, on one match at a time. There can be so many surprises anyway in a Grand Slam. Tough players, new players that you don't expect to be doing well can be on a great run. So many things can happen.
You really just try to focus on yourself, the way that you're playing. That's what I'm going to do: just try and find my best game out there. Yeah, that's all you can do.
I really don't want to waste too much energy on what's happening on other parts of the draw or what's being said around us. I think I'll try to, yeah, just put all that energy into what I'm here for, and that's to try to play good tennis.

Q. In terms of your fitness and preparation, how do you rate the start of this year compared to other years in terms of how you're feeling?
KIM CLIJSTERS: I feel good. I think I've been able to still work and improve some of my fitness levels. Some of the tests I've done with my trainer, Sam. So, yeah, I mean, I feel physically everything has improved a little bit, and I think we'll always keep working towards that.
Yeah, I'm happy with the way that I was able to prepare before we came over. First we started in Thailand. Yeah, excited to also start playing again. That's always important.

Q. Important afternoon for a lot of the Australian players. Lleyton and Sam have both said they're looking forward to it. What does it mean to you as an international player to give some of your time and raise money for those affected in Queensland?
KIM CLIJSTERS: I think we've all been very shocked and surprised by a lot of the images. I already was very keen on doing something last week in Sydney. We saw everything and were playing at the same time. You kind of not feel guilty, but you feel like you're having fun, and not far away there's so many people struggling in the same country where you're at.
So, yeah, then we got told to wait, we're going to plan a big day here. So hopefully we can raise a lot of money. As an international player, we're all people, you don't want to see people go through such disasters. Especially when you talk about, okay, there's a lot of material damage, but there's a lot of emotional damage. A lot of people's lives are lost. It's very sad to hear and to see.
If we can help in any small way, I think it's our obligation to be out on that court, you know, support and influence people to donate more money and help the others who aren't as lucky as the people who are here who were not affected by the situation.

Q. The Aussie crowd tends to get behind you here. How much does that help you in this tournament?
KIM CLIJSTERS: It helps. It's obviously always nice to feel welcomed and supported. Especially when things aren't really going the way that you want it to go, I think the support of the crowd has definitely an impact on the way that you feel. Some days you might be a little bit more tired or feel a little slower. Though last year didn't work for me.
But, yeah, I mean, not just here in Melbourne, last week in Sydney as well, in Brisbane last year, it's a nice feeling to have. But obviously once I'm out playing, you kind of go into that bubble and you don't focus on it too much.

End of FastScripts

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