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March 21, 2012

Kim Clijsters


K. CLIJSTERS/J. Gajdosova
4‑6, 6‑1, 6‑0

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  Looked like it took you a little time to get going out there.  Last two sets didn't look like the first set.
KIM CLIJSTERS:  Yeah.  I think what I said out on court, it's been a while since I played a match.  The conditions, it's always, you know, tough to get‑‑ you know, you have to get that first match rhythm under your belt.
I have been practicing for a few days here now, you know, so those were my first kind of outdoor practices since a while.  So you just have to get used to the conditions a little bit.
But, um, when it comes down to my game I just felt like I wasn't just quite going through my shots as well as I should have.  I was, you know, trying to find that rhythm, but I think maybe on the other hand forgetting to still play aggressive tennis.
So, yeah, you know, as I started to feel more comfortable in the conditions and playing matches again, I felt like I was hitting through the ball better, and that showed in the second and third set.

Q.  What are the challenges of playing?  You haven't played a lot of tournaments at all the last 12 months almost.  What are the challenges of playing such a partial schedule and having to get yourself into the tournament?
KIM CLIJSTERS:  Well, my last tournament was in Melbourne, so that was a good month and a half or two months or even longer.  I was home rehabbing my ankle and had really good practice schedule, physical schedule, but it's just a matter of getting those matches.
Um, you know, one thing that I can count on is I have the experience.  It doesn't take me that long to get used to it again.  That's a good thing.
But, you know, it has become tougher, you know, even to go ‑‑ like today, if I don't improve my level in the second or in the third set, then, you know, I could lose this match.
So it was really important to try to stay focused on each shot and just try to improve every time out there.

Q.  Have you thought back to that match in Australia at all, especially in the wake of what Azarenka has been able to do ‑ hasn't lost a match since winning the Grand Slam?  Does it make you look back on that match?
KIM CLIJSTERS:  No, I felt like I gave everything I had in that match.  I felt like I was really close to winning that match, which doesn't mean that I would have won the whole thing.
But, you know, she's been playing really good tennis.  Obviously, you know, I think in a mental state of mind where she feels very confident and is on a roll.
So, you know, that's showing in her game and the way that she approaches matches.  You know, I know what it's like to be in that situation where you kind of feel like you're very focused, but at the same time you're playing so freely and without any worries.
So I guess, you know, that's what everybody tries to get to is where you can, you know, play kind of with that mindset.

Q.  Are you plan to go play in the Fed Cup in April?

Q.  May I ask you why?
KIM CLIJSTERS:  Because I'm old.  (Smiling.)
I have a daughter and a family.  We have a tough schedule this summer, so I have to plan my schedule wisely if I want to be able to last throughout the season.

Q.  You were saying you were playing freely during the match.  Do you miss those times?  Because as a mother, sometimes thoughts just come to your mind.  Does it come to your mind during the matches?
KIM CLIJSTERS:  No.  No, I think freely doesn't mean that I'm playing under pressure.  It's more of a sense that, um, you're thinking about, oh, your movement and you're thinking about compensating, adjusting, your coordination.  You know, that kind of rhythm you just have to‑‑ it has to become automatic again.
Now it's like I have to focus on it too much, and it's only by playing more matches that you, yeah, can play without really thinking about, you know, taking small steps to the ball and where to throw your ball toss, like those kind of things.
You have to try to get into that automatic kind of mode, but that takes time.

Q.  I notice you're wearing a black ribbon today.  Can you talk about what that was for?
KIM CLIJSTERS:  Yeah, today is the funeral of‑‑ there is one funeral today, one funeral tomorrow for the kids and the adults that passed away in the bus crash last week in Switzerland.  Yeah.

Q.  Judging by the way you ran down that nasty dropshot, is that saying your ankle is feeling better?
KIM CLIJSTERS:  Yeah, it's definitely a lot better.  Um, I have to put a lot of work into, um, just making it strong and feeling comfortable moving‑wise.
I'm still playing with the tape, but it feels I can move freely without anything to worry about.  So that's good.

Q.  You have had unfortunately a lot of ankle injuries before.  Where did this one rank in the ones you have had in the past?
KIM CLIJSTERS:  Um, well, let's just say if it wasn't the Australian Open, I wouldn't have gone through all the things that I did there to try and get through it.
Yeah, I mean, I was on a lot of medication and doing a lot of rehab and resting in between.  You know, at days I wasn't even practicing, you know, just to try and rest it, elevating my leg, and trying to keep the swelling down and that stuff.
So, yeah.  But, you know, it's hard to compare injuries, because there is a time and a place, you know.  So this one was‑‑ you know, it was tough to deal with, but at the same time I dealt with it because it was my last Australian Open and I wanted to try to make the best out of it.

Q.  You had a lot of time to think about your tennis in your break from Australia.  Have you decided any more about your schedule.
KIM CLIJSTERS:  I actually really don't have time to think about tennis when I'm home; I'm actually more busy when I'm at home than when I'm on the road.
So, no, I do plan on trying to play a full schedule this year.  If my ranking goes high again I have a chance of making it into the top eight, you know, it might be nice to end at the Championships.  We'll see.
I mean, the Olympics is what I'm focused on now, and, you know, where I kinda said, Okay, this is the long‑term goal that I set when I started playing again.
But that doesn't mean that, you know, I'm not going to play the US Open or anything.  The US Open is a special place for me, you know, so I would definitely like to play there, as well.

Q.  Your body changed a little bit in the past year.  Are you doing any different type of fitness?  Seems like maybe you change your diet a little bit.
KIM CLIJSTERS:  Food‑wise, I mean, I've always tried to eat healthy.  It's only a matter of finding what's good for you, I think.  I have been able to in these last, yeah, few years I have been really focusing on trying to focus on that with how we eat and, um, being a good example to, you know, to my husband and to our daughter, as well.
Um, you know, it's important, I think.  In our lifestyle, you know, with tough traveling and time changes and everything, it's so important to take really good care of yourself.  Food is definitely one of the most important things besides practice, physical, workouts, stretching, massage.
Food is such a big‑‑ it play such a big and important role that, you know, it's been ‑‑ healthy cooking and eating has been a passion of mine for, whew, over 10 years now.  Now that I've been home more I try and enjoy it.

Q.  Do you try new recipes?
KIM CLIJSTERS:  All the time.  I need to have time.

Q.  The Olympics is the only big goal now for you?  You didn't play 2008, and I understand why you didn't play.  But you also didn't play 2004 Olympic Games, right?  Why you didn't play?
KIM CLIJSTERS:  Um, I had surgery on my wrist.  2004 I was in a cast when the Olympics were on.  2008 I just had our daughter.  Yeah, so this is my last chance.  So I'm really looking forward to it.
Of course, you know, we have the French Open, Wimbledon, that I'm focused on, as well.  But when it comes down to I think scheduling why‑‑ you know, where I set my deadline when I started after the pregnancy were the Olympics, to try and make it to the Olympics and to be ready and in good shape and not just go there to be a part of the whole experience, you know.
I want to try and do really well, and that's why we have a tough summer ahead.  With the French Open and Wimbledon and, you know, changing surfaces there a couple of times in such a short amount of time, it puts a lot of pressure, you know, on our bodies.
So it's very important to take some time off here and there to physically already prepare for what's ahead.

Q.  Tell us how well your ankle feels and where would you put it.
KIM CLIJSTERS:  My ankle feels‑‑ I mean, it feels totally fine.  I don't worry about it anymore.  I'm not able to play without the tape yet.  I still need that support.
But I think that's something that's gonna take a couple months, you know, for the full stretches that I make, the full movements, for that to be completely pain‑free.
But overall, I mean, tennis‑wise I have absolutely no problem.

Q.  Would you say 80%, 90% or so on a scale?
KIM CLIJSTERS:  I have no‑‑ I don't know.  95?  I mean, on court it's absolutely fine.  I don't worry about it at all.

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