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January 26, 2012

Kim Clijsters


V. AZARENKA/K. Clijsters
6‑4, 1‑6, 6‑3

THE MODERATOR:  Questions for Kim.

Q.  What's the overriding emotion after all that for you?
KIM CLIJSTERS:  You know, I mean, disappointed.  But then again, I felt like I have given it my all these last two weeks, and it's unfortunate.  The match was very close.  There were a few deciding moments where I think I maybe had a little bit of an advantage, in the third set, especially that first game where I had breakpoint.
But, you know, she definitely played really well.  She was playing very aggressive tennis, moving really well.  So she deserved to win at the end.

Q.  What about walking off, leaving it behind?
KIM CLIJSTERS:  Yeah, I mean, you don't think about it.  The loss is too fresh I think to think about something else.  So I'm sure that will sink in in the next couple of days.

Q.  Were you losing focus?  What was going on in the third?
KIM CLIJSTERS:  Yeah, well, especially on the far side, the opposite side of where you walk out, I felt it was just a lot harder, playing uphill a little bit on that side.  Overall it felt harder, even in the rallies, to just be a little bit more aggressive than your opponent.  That obviously starts with the serve.
I felt like I had to serve well today because she was returning really well.  That's definitely something that always comes up, is making sure that I finish off my complete service motion before I start thinking about the next shot that's being fired at me.
She returned really well today, very deep, close to the baseline.  She likes to play a lot down the middle.  That's obviously one of her strengths, is to return as fast as she can back to the server.
It's tough to put yourself in that position and to get out of that.  But she played really well, has improved her movement a lot over the last year I think, because she was returning a lot of balls, I thought.

Q.  Given what happened to your ankle, are you more encouraged how far you got despite that?
KIM CLIJSTERS:  For sure.  That's definitely something that I'm proud of, that I was able to fight through tough matches.  But then again, for one moment when you win that match, you're happy, but then you focus onto the next one.
This one, I think we both played some really, really good tennis.  But it's unfortunate when you get so close.  I know I'm capable of beating all these girls, but it's whoever's better on the day wins and gets to go through.
That's something that is disappointing.  But, yeah, I could have been home already two days ago.  I feel that I really gave it 200%, so in that way I really don't feel like I could have done anything differently these last two weeks.

Q.  The ankle today, how much of an issue was it for you?
KIM CLIJSTERS:  Not at all.  Not at all.

Q.  If it hadn't been this tournament, this occasion, would you have stayed in the tournament?
KIM CLIJSTERS:  I don't know.  If let's say the Australian Open would have been the week after, I wouldn't have played.  But, you know, like I said, I'm happy that I was able to stick with it and fight through it and win that match against Li Na.  I was very, very close and lucky in a way, too.
Like I said, you know, I was happy to have played a good match against Caroline.  Today, as well, I feel like I played a good match.  Obviously, a few little things here and there that you can always think back and say, Maybe I should have done this or that at that certain times in the match.
Overall, like I said, I gave everything that I had out there today.  You can't blame yourself.

Q.  Has it always been important to you to keep competing like you are at the top level?
KIM CLIJSTERS:  I don't know.  It's not a feeling where you have to end at the top level.  It's a feeling of having that satisfaction, Okay, I gave it my all.  That's the feeling that I want to have, you know, like this week, this tournament.  I mean, I know that things weren't always the way that I would have liked them to go, but I tried.  In whatever situation I was in, I was able to just stick with it, fight through it.  Played some tough matches, played some good tennis.
At the end that's what it's all about.  I'll go home and I'll know that I gave it my all.  I'll go home and work even harder with Carl, Stefan and try to become better.

Q.  (Indiscernible.)
KIM CLIJSTERS:  I mean, my life, when I go home, when I'll be home in Belgium, that's what my life will be like when I'm retired.  I enjoy being at home.  But I still enjoy playing tennis very much.  I enjoy the challenge.
You know, it's good for me to have the balance and to have both.  I'm lucky enough that I'm capable of being in this position where Jada and my husband, they're capable of traveling with me, because otherwise it would be too hard to do that.
But I'm sure there's going to be a couple little things that we're not going to be too sad about that we won't miss with the family.  But tennis will always be a great part of my life.  It's given me so many great memories and emotional rollercoasters.  I don't think you can experience that again in any other thing in life, maybe except giving birth.  No (smiling).

Q.  What will you do now?  Give your ankle a rest for a couple of weeks?
KIM CLIJSTERS:  I don't know.  I have to talk to my group and see when we decide to go home.  I have to make a decision on Fed Cup, as well.  That's going to be the next‑‑ that will be decided in these next couple days.

Q.  You mentioned Azarenka's movement being much improved.  What else in her game have you seen has really come along in the past year?
KIM CLIJSTERS:  I think her best tennis is not that much different than it was a few years ago.  It's just more consistent.  You know, experience.  I think she used to be a little bit up and down emotionally as well.  She used to be able to get really down on herself.  I think she's learned.  I think that's part of growing up, being more confident.  She's obviously playing with a lot of confidence, as well.  That shows.
She's played some incredible tennis these past three weeks already, in Sydney as well.  She's been able to do that before in the past, but never really throughout, you know, that same amount of time.  She was capable of beating the Williams sisters, but not always in a row.  I think she's been able to use that experience.  She's done that really well.

Q.  What was going through your mind at the late stages of the match?  Is it better not to have anything there or are all kinds of thoughts crowding in?
KIM CLIJSTERS:  Well, no, I mean, as long as the match is still going, you're still trying to think a little bit about the tactics.  Thinking about the tactics is obviously what is on my mind as long as the match is still going, yeah.  That's the only thing, I think.

Q.  This time next year do you imagine you'll be sitting watching on television or will tennis be very much in the past for you?
KIM CLIJSTERS:  I have no idea.  I have no idea.

Q.  How much of a goal is it for you to do well at the French Open this year?  Is that your next big target?
KIM CLIJSTERS:  Yeah, it is.  You know, that's definitely been one of the frustrations that I think I've had over these last couple of years, or even since I've come back, is that I haven't really been able to give it a good shot at the French Open.
It is a challenge.  It's one of the goals that I have this season, is to give myself a really good preparation on the clay courts and try to be close to my best level when I get to the French Open.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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