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January 16, 2012

Kim Clijsters


7‑5, 6‑1

THE MODERATOR:  Questions for Kim.

Q.  Did that feel like a nice way to start the tournament?
KIM CLIJSTERS:  It was.  It was good to start.  After warming up a few times waiting for that men's match to be done, it was nice to get out there.
It was hard kind of to read her serve a little bit and to get used to a player that you've never played against and you don't really know or have seen play before.  I really felt like I had to find my rhythm in there.  I felt that once I got it going that I was in charge most of the time.  That was good.

Q.  Did you have nerves going out on the court?
KIM CLIJSTERS:  No.  I mean, I shouldn't say no.  Good nerves.  I had like that excitement.  I wanted to go out there and I wanted to start playing.  Yeah, I've had that ever since we came to Australia.  I had a good off‑season where we worked obviously to try to be in good shape for Australia, then you want to put that to the test and, yeah, play those matches again.

Q.  Did you watch videotapes of your opponent or talk to someone who played her?
KIM CLIJSTERS:  Yeah, we've been practicing here this week.  After Brisbane we came here.  We were here every day when the qualifying matches were on.  Carl and Stefan both were scouting and watching all the matches in the cold.  So it's good in that way to get some pointers and have a little bit of an idea before you go out there.

Q.  How is your hip?
KIM CLIJSTERS:  Good, thank you.

Q.  What was the problem, looking back?  Was it a serious issue that made you pull out?
KIM CLIJSTERS:  It was a sprained muscle that you can probably find back from a few press conferences ago.  I've repeated that a few times.
I'm happy that it's over with.  So, yeah, it's behind me.  But it's obviously something that we keep a close eye on, that we have treated every day still, that we make sure that all the muscles around it are strong, the ones that need to be loosened up are loosened up, try to keep that balance.

Q.  You've had injuries before.  How do you go out there saying you're going to play a hundred percent, not worry about an injury?
KIM CLIJSTERS:  That's the thing.  Once my injury is fully recovered, I'm a player that in practice I already do that.  I have never played a tournament without going a hundred percent in practice beforehand, so I kind of have to get over that fear in the beginning.  Especially with my stomach muscle, that was probably one of the worst ones.  I felt scared hitting the smash and the serve.  But gradually you get over that.
Yeah, it does happen.  But, I mean, after the injury in Brisbane, I didn't feel anything or I didn't feel like it was kind of in my head where I felt restricted moving‑wise, although I probably should avoid that split a little bit (smiling).

Q.  When you went on court, are you thinking about third set of the final last year, raising the trophy?  What came back into your mind?

Q.  Today.
KIM CLIJSTERS:  I already hit on Rod Laver Arena.  That's probably when you get that.  I remember walking through the corridor before the final, the atmosphere of that final day of a Grand Slam, there's a different vibe.  Not a lot of players were here yet.  It was nice to experience a lot of those emotions, really take my time to take it all in.  So that was nice.
But today I didn't have anything like that.

Q.  Do you have any particular ways of coping when there's a long match before your own?
KIM CLIJSTERS:  No.  I mean, you obviously try to keep your routine as similar as possible as if you would be playing on a set time.  Obviously it's not that easy.  Like I said, I think today I warmed up three times.  You just have to try to stay active.  I tried to go outside a little bit, get a feel of how hot it is outside so it doesn't really overwhelm you from being indoors all day.
So, yeah, just try to make sure you eat something on time, have a little snack in your bag in case your match goes a little bit longer.  Those things you always have to prepare yourself for.  Through the experience from years on the road, you kind of know after a while how your body reacts and how you deal in certain situations like today where it takes a little bit longer.

Q.  Is your serve to the point where you're happy with it?  You were talking last year about not being too pleased.  And are you comfortable hitting all your shots yet or are you thinking match by match you'll be comfortable with everything?
KIM CLIJSTERS:  Yeah, I think today also it was really hard to get a good rhythm out there.  The left‑hander's serve is always a little bit tricky.  The effects on her shots, it's always a little bit harder.
I felt like I was seeing the ball not always as good as I would like to.  It was tough with the conditions on the court with the shadow and the sun out.
I feel like I'm moving well.  I feel like I'm positioning myself well.  I think that's something that in the past has always improved when I went on in a Grand Slam.  I remember last year I played a good match against Safina, but I had some matches where I wasn't playing some of my best tennis, but always good enough to get through.
I don't think anybody plays a Grand Slam playing seven perfect matches.  So you have to fight your way through it sometimes and find that little extra on the most important points.
Regarding my serve, today I felt like I served well.  I hit a couple double‑faults.  But that's probably going to be there all the time.  I like to hit, you know, my serve a little faster.
I served well on the important points today.  I hit a few aces.  I felt like I had a good rhythm out there on my serve.  I'm pleased with that.  But everything can always improve.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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