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March 11, 2011

Kim Clijsters


K. CLIJSTERS/A. Kudryavtseva
6-2, 6-0

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Were you satisfied with the match, the way you played?
KIM CLIJSTERS: I mean, everything could be better, of course. But for a first match, I'm at a stage now where I haven't played for a while, and when I was playing, my last few tournaments were indoors. So I kind of just have to get back into playing outdoors again and big arenas, and kind of, yeah, just get a feel for it all over again because it's been a while.
I was happy to be playing out on center court and to be playing kind of in the sun in the beginning of the match and then when the court was covered by the shade, so to get a feel for both a little bit.

Q. What are your thoughts about Serena being off the tour and struggling with such a serious setback?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, what are my thoughts? I mean, you know, obviously it's something that is life-threatening. It's not something that, you know, has nothing to do with being an athlete. This is, yeah, life. Of course it makes you think about yourself a little bit and focus on those kind of things.
Because, I mean, I've never heard or thought that, you know, athletes -- you know, you think you play well and you take care of yourself -- that athletes could get something like that. But obviously in situations like that when you're injured, you don't do as much as you probably should with her foot either. She was off, she wasn't able to do the running that she usually does, and it's tough.
You know, so it just shows you that the lifestyle that we live, it's not an easy lifestyle. You know, with the traveling and with -- whether it's jet lag, working out, working hard, and being tired at points, it puts a lot of strain on your body.
I think it's also a good lesson for the rest of us that, you know, when we all just stop playing at some point in our careers, you know, we have to be very careful. You know, we have to make sure that we stay active and that we don't go from being, you know, an active person to not doing anything at all, because I think that's where, you know, we're a high risk factor for those kind of injuries.

Q. And in terms of the WTA and women's tennis...
KIM CLIJSTERS: You know, Serena, to me, is the best player ever. So to not have her around, you know, and especially, you know, when we're playing in the States, and, you know, those big tournaments - even in Australia and those kind of tournaments - I mean, she should be a part of the draw.
You know, she's such a big personality and player. You know, I like having her around just for the fact that -- because she's the best player out there, and you want to -- I just look at it selfishly. For the amount of time that I'm still playing, I want to try, for that last year and a half or so, I want to try to have her around and try to play some good matches against her.

Q. You said she was the best ever, so you view her as better than Steffi or Martina?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, I think so. I think she -- you know, obviously we all learn from our previous generations, and I think obviously, you know, Steffi -- you know, I'm sure that Richard has used Steffi or things that she did, her footwork, to teach Venus and Serena.
So I think we all have our history or players that we looked up to. But I think Serena as an overall athlete, power, speed, is, yeah, I mean, a step ahead, I think, of everybody.

Q. We saw you watching Flipkens with your daughter, and we heard her say, Go Flipkens. Does she watch tennis or play tennis herself?
KIM CLIJSTERS: I don't think she really enjoys -- she knows Kirsten very well, and she plays with Jada a lot. So I think that's like why she's excited to see someone out there who she knows well, and that's why it was, yeah, it was fun for her to come out.
But it was getting a little hot, so we left after the first set.

Q. Where is she now at her cognition, her knowledge of you, of mommy as a tennis player?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, mommy plays tennis, and that's about as far as it goes. You know, I mean, I know when my dad was playing soccer, to me it was the most normal thing in the world. You know, I would go to school, I would go to practice, and then later that night our dad would come home from practice or from coaching.
So it was all very -- yeah, I mean, it's a part of your lifestyle. We don't make a big deal out of it, so why would she do that?

Q. You got off the tour, came back, and said you were quite surprised how well you played, your success. Do you think there is another level that you can go up? Because you've done a miraculous job coming back.
KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, I mean, that's what I at least try to work on every time I step out into the gym or out on the tennis court, because I still feel there is a lot of details that I can improve on.
Same as my physique. There are a lot of things I still feel I can improve when I work with my fitness trainer or my coach. Why not?
I think everybody can always improve, you know. Talk to Nadal; talk to Federer. They all can all improve, even they can. That's what kind of keeps me going now, as well. At this stage, it's the little details you try to improve, still. Yeah.

Q. So how much now being in a basketball family do you get into March Madness and Nova, and do you follow it? What's wrong with Nova, by the way?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Of course. I'm not an expert on that kind of -- but, I mean, my husband, you know, he's obviously a big fan and he follows it. I have been to one of the Nova games. Last year we went. We were supposed to go this year, but I stayed home in Belgium a little bit longer. My husband went.
I loved it. I loved being out there. I loved the whole atmosphere. When I came to the States, you know, before I kind of met Brian, you know, I used to follow the NCAA tournament, and I didn't quite get why everybody was making such a big deal out of it. I was like it's kids. They're going to school. You try to compare it to when I was in school.
But obviously seeing it through an American's eyes, I totally get the hype, and, you know, why everybody is so behind it. You know, obviously Jada has a Nova shirt and has the Lynch 21 on her back. So, yeah.

Q. Is it a little bit like football in Belgium at all?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, yeah, I think so. Obviously I think -- you know what I love to see is that they -- what I love so much about the kind of system is how much they support the sports here, you know, from a young age.
I think that's something that any country can learn from. I think Australia comes pretty close, as well. I think the sport, the way that they promote sports here I think is incredible. I think that's something that, you know, both myself and Brian, that we really look up to, and I think is important for our children, too.

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