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March 13, 2011

Kim Clijsters


6-3, 2-6, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. I guess you weren't overly pleased with how you played, based on your tweet?
KIM CLIJSTERS: No, not at all, but I won. At the end of the day, that is probably the positive thing I'm getting out of it. I played a tricky player who played a good match, and I was still able to win without being close to coming to my best level.
That's the positive thing. You know, I also know that for my next match everything will have to be a lot better. That's what my goal will be for that next match, is trying to achieve that.

Q. Just not feeling the ball?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, just in general kind of just felt, yeah, a little slower on the feet. And serving, you know, my shoulder has been bothering me already for a while, and today I kind of felt on this surface with these balls I think it's been -- against a player who plays with a lot of topspin, I kind of just feel it a little bit more.
And then you kind of just start, you know, not doubting but you kind of like, Oh, what now? What am I feeling now? You start kind of getting annoyed with that, and then those kind of little details are enough to get your focus away from what you're supposed to be focused on.
That's trying to play aggressive and try to not let her, you know, rip those forehands. So I think I just lost my focus a little bit on what I had to do out there. That was playing aggressive tennis, taking the balls on the rise, and making her move.
I just let her play her game, and/or let her play the game that she likes to play too much today.

Q. You spoke about being on your tippy toes. Did that come from you to the daughter, or...

Q. Tippy toes, did your daughter teach you that, or did you teach her that word?
KIM CLIJSTERS: I have known that word since I was little. I was brought up on using your tippy toes when you play tennis, and I remember our coaches punishing us. If we weren't on our tippy toes, we had to do push-ups and we had to do sit-ups.
So, no, that's been one of my words that I have been -- that's been pushed into my head.

Q. When did tippy toes come into the Flemish language?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Ah, I mean, just like a forehand and a backhand is the same word in Flemish. Yep, so tippy toes is what I was brought up on. Maybe not everybody in Belgium, but...

Q. You said your feet felt like bricks then. What was happening out there?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, just heavier. Some days you feel like, yeah, you just move very lightly over the court, and some days everything just feels a little bit heavier. I think today was one of those days.
You don't never have that like when you're writing, Oh, my arm is so heavy?

Q. You said your shoulder has been hurting you for a while. What is that from? What's going on there?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Well, even in Australia already I was taking some medication for it. Nothing seriously, just like an Advil here and there, a painkiller.
You know, I thought after this break it would -- I had treatment on it while, you know, while I was off, and never really -- yeah, it felt fine. Just when I'm not training it feels fine. But as I got into hitting a little bit more again, you know, it slowly just flared up a little bit.
Today I just felt with those higher shots against the opponent from today, I kind of just feel it more. I kind of feel it pinching a little bit more when I have to do that kick serve and when I have to just reach that right arm up higher with the forehand.

Q. How concerned are you about that?
KIM CLIJSTERS: I mean, on hard courts I know that I am able to control it. I'm concerned for what's coming up next, and that's the clay court season.

Q. Did you have to do x-rays or is it just muscle or you don't know?
KIM CLIJSTERS: I have had my osteopath who travels with me, he's been paying close attention to it. We have been keeping it at a level where it's not getting worse.
Obviously now he's not here, and I feel like in a match like with my opponent today, I feel like it does flare up a little bit. He's coming next week to Miami, so he's got some extra work to do.

Q. Some of the great players have told me they've learned the most when they had a loss, learned the most about themselves when they lost or when they played poorly. Do you find your thinking changes when you're not playing well and you learn a lot from that match?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, for sure. For sure. I mean, sometimes I even prefer to have a match like this than have a match where you win 1-1 and you're hitting the ball really well and you don't really have to do much for it.
That's why a match like this makes you think and makes you work harder on the practice court. It makes you put in those extra hours, whether it's in the gym, whether it's just be a little bit more focused when you go out there for the next time. You do learn from it.
I think in my career now, you know, my previous matches that I lost, whether it was important matches in a Grand Slam, those have definitely been the most important ones that have taught me a lot of things that I use in my career now at this stage.

Q. What's the mindset when you're not playing your best? Seems that lately you've been able to get through those matches rather than your previous career. Do you think that's the case?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, maybe -- I do feel that I'm able to -- although I get frustrated, I'm able to still stay calm, if that makes sense. I'm not letting it affect kind of -- in the past I kind of just was like, Oh, whatever, you know. I would just go on with it and I would rush. I think now I feel that I'm more in control of when one of those kind of situations comes up, and I'm like -- it's hard to push yourself, you know, in some matches, and it's sometimes not always that easy if you're playing -- I mean, it's not a problem for me to play a player, let's say, like Caroline Wozniacki or Kuznetsova, Serena, Venus, those are matches that it's very easy to get ready for.
But I've sometimes noticed lately when I'm playing girls who are maybe ranked a little bit lower or, you know, where the tournament is not always, you know, maybe not to me -- I'm not going to say not as important, but in the first few rounds it's sometimes a little hard to get your mind ready for it.
That's when you have to be very careful, because that's when a lot of opponents can be very dangerous.

Q. So would you consider Bartoli a dangerous player?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, yeah, of course. She's a very tricky player, as well. I think today's opponent was tricky, but the opposite of what's coming up next, I think. Bartoli is a player who hits the ball very fast, likes to play into the court, and also likes girls who play fast.
So I'm going to have to try and mix it up a little bit more. And obviously, you know, she's not a bad mover, but she's not the greatest mover out there. So I'm going to have to really try and go for those lines and make her move and not let her go into the court and dictate and let her use those down-the-lines too much.

Q. Before the start of the third set today, your opponent called for her coach. I'm wondering when you hear that if you might not say to yourself, I got her. She doesn't know how to proceed.
KIM CLIJSTERS: I do think that sometimes, to be honest. And I sometimes even wonder, like, Why do you need your coach right now? You're beating me. Just keep everything going the way it's going.
Yeah, I mean, that's why I'm also -- you know, I think the rule is -- it's fine, I mean, if players want to use. But I will never use it, just because I think you will learn more out of a match when you can deal with it yourself.
Even if you don't deal with it, you learn more from it. And in the future, I think it will help players. So that's why I'm not a big fan of the coaching system. I understand. I mean, when I'm watching a tennis match and I see a coach who goes out there, you know, I think it's fun to hear.
Even what happened in Australia with Jarmila Groth, whenever her husband/coach were arguing, I mean, that's when I love it. You know, that's the funnest part about it.
But, you know, yeah.

Q. Have you ever gotten a good piece of advice, even in Fed Cup, from a coach, or do you just kind of blank it out even if someone's talking to you?
KIM CLIJSTERS: No, it's nice to kind of get the advice, but it's not like you don't know it. You know what I mean?
A lot of times people who sit on the side of the court see something, but it's -- I'm more of a feeling kind of person. That's also the feedback that I'll always give, whether it's to Sabine or to my coach who travels with me, is how I felt out on court.
That's why I like to deal with it with myself, because I'm the only person who's feeling how I'm feeling out there at that moment.

Q. When you were practicing, warming up today, were you aware that it was going to be kind of an off day, or did that happen once the match started?
KIM CLIJSTERS: No, I actually had a good practice. Maybe that was the problem. I took it maybe a little bit too easily.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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