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January 22, 2012

Kim Clijsters


4‑6, 7‑6, 6‑4

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  Keep the leg elevated for now?

Q.  How close were you to pulling out with the ankle?
KIM CLIJSTERS:  It definitely crossed my mind at some point, but I knew if I could just try to kind of let the medication sink in or, you know, if I could get through the first 20 minutes, half hour, you know, I think the pain would go away a little bit and then maybe with the adrenaline I could just fly through it.
Yeah, I did, and I'm happy that I didn't give up.

Q.  You mentioned on court that it played on your mind that this is your last Australian Open.  How important was that in your decision to stay out there?
KIM CLIJSTERS:  I mean, it's not that I was constantly thinking about it.  But at one point you think, Okay, I'm just gonna go for it.  Once I made that decision, I didn't think.
You know, I just tried to find a solution for, you know, how I was feeling, you know, to find a new tactic, tactical game.  Or even in my mind to just, okay, know that the wide shots, I'm not gonna be able to push off like I want to with the wide shot with my serve, but I'm gonna try to fight in any other way.
I did.  I was trying to keep the points a little bit shorter, you know, just try to be a little more aggressive whenever I had the chance.
Then she started making some mistakes, as well, so...

Q.  What was going through your mind in the tiebreak when Li had all those match points?
KIM CLIJSTERS:  Um, you know, of course, I mean, there's still one point to be played and to be won by her.
I didn't want to give her anything for free.  You know, if she was going to come up with an ace or with a winner, you know, too good, but I didn't want to make the mistake.
You know, I'm not saying that that forehand dropshot was a good choice, but, you know, you make decisions.  Luckily, that one turned out okay.
You know, I think she was a little bit, you know, lost or maybe a little bit confused at that time, and she made two pretty easy mistakes when we changed sides.
That made me, you know, believe in it even more in the beginning of that second set to just stick through it from the beginning and try to get, you know, as many breaks as I could in the beginning.

Q.  And when you were 5‑2, what was going through your mind then?
KIM CLIJSTERS:  Well, I knew that side that I was serving on for the first time was the tough side because you're serving in the sun.  So I knew that that was going to be hard.
But, um, yeah, I mean, like I said, that's why I was happy that I gave myself a little bit of a lead so that I could‑‑ you know, had a couple of opportunities to try and finish it off there.  You know, luckily I finished it off at 5‑4.

Q.  Were you exhausted after the last point really, or could you play another game?  How did you play?
KIM CLIJSTERS:  Well, I would prefer not to in this situation.  (Smiling).
I was more relieved, I think, that I was able to turn around and to win.

Q.  You mentioned this is your last Australian Open.  Would you like to devote this particular Australian Open to anybody?  To your kids or your husband or your whole family?
KIM CLIJSTERS:  Well, you know, it's not like I have been doing too many family things.  You know, we're here to play tennis.  You know, I'm sure we'll have plenty more opportunities to come to Australia as a family, as tourists.
So, you know, you make decisions.  You know, this is not the time when I want to be the tourist.  You know, we love being in Melbourne.  Our daughter, she's been doing a lot of fun things, you know, so that makes me happy when I can go out to the courts and do my thing and focus on what I have to knowing she's going to the zoo or do fun things.
So, yeah, that makes it easy.

Q.  In tough moments of the game, do you draw inspiration from your family, close your eyes, or something like that?
KIM CLIJSTERS:  Yeah, of course.  I mean, it's not just the family, but to have the support on the sideline, you know, from everybody in your box.
You know, I have a big group here with me, but they're all people that I'm very close to.  I think that's what sports is all about, is to, although we're out on court by ourselves, to have, you know, my husband and Carl, my coach, and everybody.
I have a personal relationship with all the people in my box, and that's what makes it so special and intimate.  Although I'm not right next to them, you do feel their encouragement and the vibe is there.  I think that's very important.
That's why moments like this, to be able to celebrate it with your team or wins, you know, there's nothing better than to be able to, as soon as, you know, a big tournament finishes and you do well, to share those moments with your team.

Q.  What do you think about Li Na's performance today?
KIM CLIJSTERS:  We started the match at a very, very high intensity, I think.  The level was high.  I think with me twisting my ankle, I think it's never easy, you know, to play against a player who, you know, has to adjust their situation as well.
So that's hard on the other side, as well.  I mean, I think she handled it well.  She won that first set, but then, you know, I just tried to stick with it, tried not to give up.
You know, she started making a few easier mistakes, I think, especially in the beginning of that third set where, you know, after having those match points I think maybe it got to her a little bit.
I was able to get a quick lead that I really needed I think in that third set.

Q.  Do you have any advice to give to Li Na?
KIM CLIJSTERS:  Maybe you do.  (Smiling).
No.  No.

Q.  Did you sense Li Na's frustration after the match?  Have you got a chance to talk to her in the locker room?
KIM CLIJSTERS:  No, I haven't.  I haven't.

Q.  Sometimes an ankle can get worse in the hours and days afterwards, so do you have any doubt that you're going to be able to compete in the next rounds?  What's the treatment from here on out?  What's the prognosis?
KIM CLIJSTERS:  Well, it's only the first hour since I'm done.  I'm taped already, and I was fully covered in the ice bath for, you know, the ankle and everything.
Just I have the best people around me to take care of me and to make sure that this is hopefully not going to get any worse than it is now.
That's why I'm sitting here with my leg up, to try and keep the swelling down as much as possible.  We will see.

Q.  After the initial pain, it seemed that it went away.  You were doing some splits and things like that towards the end of the match.  Did you lose consciousness of it as the match went on, or were you aware of it?
KIM CLIJSTERS:  I'm pretty sure the split is on the right ankle, so that one was okay.  You know, I felt it throughout the whole match.  I mean, it's not something that goes away.
But I did feel a difference once the medication kicked through.  So, yeah, definitely the throbbing went away.  So that was, you know, a relief.
And I think also mentally I think the first few games you're also scared and you have to get a feel for it and you have to kind of, yeah, get over that yourself.  I was able to, yeah.
You know, I think it stayed in the back of my mind throughout the whole match, but I was able to, like I said, to just focus on trying to change my tactics or my game a little bit differently and just try to finish off, you know, be a little bit more aggressive and hit the ball a little more flatter than I would do normally, I think.

Q.  Nine years ago you were in a similar situation against Serena.  I'm sorry to bring the memory back, but...
KIM CLIJSTERS:  I think it was against Mauresmo, no?  Ah, no.  I thought you meant with twisting the ankle.

Q.  No.  Actually what you did to get the frustration out of you and came back strong.

Q.  Sorry.  Nine years ago you were in a similar situation against Serena.  You had a few match points but your loss.  So after the match, what did you do to get the frustration out of you?
KIM CLIJSTERS:  I don't think I had match points.

Q.  You had match points.
KIM CLIJSTERS:  I did?  Damn.  I did?  (Laughter.)
I thought‑‑ first of all, I thought you were talking about me twist my ankle against Mauresmo.  That happened here also ‑‑ nine years ago.  No, I'm only joking.
What can I say?  I don't even remember.  It's too long ago.  Sorry.

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