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March 15, 2011

Kim Clijsters


M. BARTOLI/K. Clijsters
3-6, 3-1 (ret.)

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You mentioned your shoulder in the last post match. Can you just kind of take us through the last 48 hours, your treatments and how you've been feeling?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, I mean, that was obviously a match where, um, you know, I was playing an opponent who was hitting a lot more higher shots. And I already felt that in the last few tournaments. I think at the end of the Australian Open I was already having some acupuncture from my trainer because I was having some pains in that shoulder.
And especially I kept telling him even with the drive volleys that I was hitting, everything that was kind of a little bit higher up, I felt I was struggling with it a little bit.
It kind of, after Paris, you know, I thought, Okay, I have a little bit of a break now. Just, yeah, rested well and felt that, you know, I just wanted to see how it would go here. It didn't really -- it's not that, you know, that I'm really, really worried about it, but it is something that I have to pay attention to and that I don't want to risk, you know.
Obviously we have Miami, but then after Miami we have Fed Cup, which, you know, I'm taking very seriously. And also obviously the clay court season, which is, you know, a very tough part of the season for the shoulders. And so, you know, I'm gonna have to make sure that I'm, you know, fully healed until I start playing on that surface.

Q. Will this affect you entering Key Biscayne?
KIM CLIJSTERS: I don't know. I hope not. My intentions are -- you know, I'm going to go there and I'm going to do my rehab there, and plan on, you know, playing my first round.
That's what I'm planning on. I'm gonna just see every day how it goes. And I will see. Obviously I'm going to need a few days of rest. You know, I'm gonna probably go and have some tests done there and see.
You know, the only thing my trainer is still in Belgium. The WTA physios are here. Some are only coming later this week. So I'm gonna see, you know, the people that WTA knows, who they know there. I know a lot of them are in Florida, so I think I can go and see some people there.
But my intensions are still -- you know, I'm flying to Miami, so... I will do whatever is necessary there. Then I'll see the closer I get to my match.

Q. Were you doing rehab at home after Paris and in between here, or were you just resting it?
KIM CLIJSTERS: No, I had treatment with my trainer, but I wasn't playing. I had my usual mobilizations, some acupuncture, a lot of loosening up, you know, my shoulder, obviously my neck.
Because in Paris I had a really bad neck injury, which was I think in a way probably already a little bit related with the shoulder. I don't know which first, obviously.
But, so, yeah, I mean, obviously something is not the way it should be at the moment in this area, so I'm gonna have to figure out, gonna have some tests done, and then try to get to it and solve it.

Q. Was it a situation today where it just progressively got worse and worse, or was there a certain point where...
KIM CLIJSTERS: I felt it in the beginning. I have been feeling it in my practices when I'm just hitting with my coach. Mostly it's with the serve, but then, yeah, with the higher forehands. Couple times a day when she wrong-footed me and I went out for my backhand where I tried to do this, I could just feel it in the back.
You know, I mean, is it something where I'm like, Yeah, can I take some painkillers for it and not feel it during a match? Yes, I think so. But then I don't want to risk tearing it. So, you know, that's sometimes you have to try and just see how far you want to go with that, and, you know, is it worth that?
So obviously, you know, in my stage right now, I don't want to be in that position where I'm taking medication to cover the pain and not knowing if it's getting worse during my match.

Q. This is one of those welcome back to the pro tennis circuit moments again, eh?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, I guess so. Probably also makes me realize that I'm not the youngest one out there anymore and that I'm also probably not recovering as fast as in the past. You know, in the past if I had a problem like this, give me four, five days off and I'll be fine. Obviously I had that after Paris and I wasn't really -- and I still felt it when I came here.
So it's going to also be a matter of making sure that I do a lot of exercises, that I make sure the back of my shoulder blades are very strong, and that the muscles can take over some of the problem areas that are there now.

Q. Is it basically the back of the shoulder?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, it's the supra-spinatus, or I don't know. (Pointing to outside right shoulder.)

Q. After the first set, were you thinking, If I can get up to 3-1, 3-Love, something like that, maybe I can just keep the ball in play?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Well, it's confusing, because, you know, I know that even if I, you know, still feel that I had a chance to win even though, you know, I wasn't playing a 100% and I didn't feel 100%. I wasn't serving with the same speed. I wasn't able to accelerate with my right arm, with my forehand.
But at some point you're like, Okay, what do I do, knowing if I get through this match maybe it's gonna get worse and I'm not gonna play that next match, and there is no match in that next round? Or do I, yeah, go for it?
It's confusing, but I said, Look, just do what you think is best for yourself and don't worry about anybody else. That's obviously what I did, and tried to think, Okay, in the long run, what is the most important thing for me right now?

Q. How hard is it being so competitive? You go out there and you knew you weren't feeling 100%. To say, I have to shut it down now, is there a voice in your head saying, Well, you know, maybe...
KIM CLIJSTERS: Of course. Of course. I mean, there's always -- you know, like today, I mean, you're like, Okay, try one more game. Maybe it loosens up. Maybe if you get into the match maybe it gets loose or you get used to the pain, you know, sometimes.
I mean, I've had matches where I've had an injury here and there, but then the adrenaline kind of kicks in and you forget or don't focus about it too much.
But here, yeah, I just felt every serve or every forehand came a little bit higher where I felt like I kind of had to whip that arm across. I felt, yeah, that there was something not right, something that's not supposed to be there.
Like I said, not -- in my head I'm thinking, Okay, I don't want to make this any worse than it is, because I have felt it get worse over those last few days.

Q. With age comes wisdom. Years ago would you have tried to play through this, you think?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Probably, yeah.

Q. What does it actually feel like? Is it actual pain, or does it feel as if it's locked?
KIM CLIJSTERS: No, it's pain. It's pain. It's pain, you know, when they push on the muscle. It's pain when I do, you know, all the testing when they make me go into the different positions. But that's not something new, because I already had those when, Sam, my trainer was testing me before.
He's not too worried about the seriousness or about -- you know, and even here, the physios are not really worried about it, but it is something that I have to pay attention to. It is something that can get worse if you, let's say start hitting six hours a day and start -- you know, those are the kind of things that I have to just kind of watch it a little bit and go by feeling as well, and try and recover as fast as possible.

Q. In that time after Paris when you said you were resting it, did you hit at all during that time or not at all?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Not in the first, let's say, ten days, but then afterwards I started hitting. Obviously here I picked it up. I already started doing -- obviously I had my treatments, started doing my exercises, and I did a lot of physical workout.
You know, again, I know that back part of, you know, I think any tennis player is to make sure that the back side is very strong and that your shoulder blades are in the right position.
But, you know, the amount of exercises that you have to do to compensate the amount of shots you hit where you go forward sometimes doesn't always fit right. You know, if you hit, let's say, I don't know, 500 forehands, it's not realistic to think, Okay, now I'm going to have to do 500 exercises.
But in a way, that's how you have to think to make sure that that shoulder blade stays back in. I think that's where a lot of tennis players, you know, do have problems. And I think especially me also with my forehand is that, you know, I use that arm a lot, and I get a lot of power out of my arm.
So maybe I need to start using my hips a little bit more. (Smiling.)

Q. Tennis is sometimes dismissed as a country club sport, not really a contact sport. But talk about what, especially women on the tour have to go through in terms of the power, the torque, the new equipment, all that.
KIM CLIJSTERS: Everything. But that's the fun part about it. There are so many details that play such a big role, such a big part in trying to be the best player out there.
Physically, tennis has become a lot more -- a lot tougher. We've all had to work a lot harder in the gym, and, you know, we hit harder, we move better, we're faster. I mean, at least I felt like those have been the areas that I've had to work on if I wanted to try and be a better player and try and beat more players.
And then especially, you know, the traveling. There's a lot of things that have an impact on your body. Even if you wouldn't be playing sports, those are all little details that kind of don't make you feel 100% whenever you go out there.
You have to learn about your body and learn about, kind of, yeah, about how you feel, and also sometimes make smart decisions. There are a lot of players who would like to practice six hours or think they have to practice six hours a day or five hours a day and think that by more they do, you know, the bigger chance they have of winning the next match.
But, you know, a lot of times I think it's also important to rest and to listen to your body, even though you're not always -- you know, even though it sometimes goes against, you know, what other people might say or people around you might say.

Q. Have you withdrawn from a match before, do you recall?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Huh. I actually have no idea.

Q. Although Serena's absence helps you, do you miss her at all?
KIM CLIJSTERS: I do think that, you know, in the situation -- you know, we all know that we can have injuries, but what has happened to her now is something that is -- yeah, has nothing to do with sports.
I think just on a human kind of level it's very, was very scary. So obviously in that way, I'm very -- you know, you feel bad. You live with it and you kind of learn, and you want to be more interested about it.
Obviously if she would be injured, okay, then it's like, too bad, but this is sports. But this is life threatening, and I think it just puts everything in perspective a lot more.
So I think Serena is the best player out there, and I think just as a tennis player and a tennis fan, I do miss her. Yeah.

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