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June 29, 2012

Kim Clijsters


K. CLIJSTERS/ V. Zvonareva
6‑3, 4‑3 (ret.)

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  Not the way you want to win a match, but how happy were you with the way you were playing?
KIM CLIJSTERS:  I think it was tough to have a good feeling out there today.  The wind made it really tough.  Vera hits a flat, low ball over the net.  It was hard.
I felt like the wind was kind of always changing.  Sometimes we would start a rally without wind, then all of a sudden it would be really bad.  It was really hard to get a good rhythm out there and get a feel for how to adjust.
But I felt like overall I was consistent and I did what I had to do out there.  But to say I'm coming off court with a good feeling, I don't think so.  I have two days now to practice and get that back.

Q.  Can you say a few words about your next opponent now, Angelique?
KIM CLIJSTERS:  I've never played against her.  It will be a first.  Obviously a left‑hander is always tough.  It's always tough to play a lefty.  She's been playing some really good tennis.  She's a fighter and physically strong girl, so it will definitely be a very tough match for me.
But I look forward to playing against somebody like that who I never played against before, where you just have to really be on top of your game, try to play aggressive tennis, but at the same time kind of get to know how your opponent plays and get a feel for it, the type of shots she makes, the types of decisions she makes out there.

Q.  At this stage of the tournament, are you happy to have the two‑day break?
KIM CLIJSTERS:  I'm happy with the two‑day break.  With my stomach, every day rest that I can have, it's a bonus.

Q.  Did you have a chance to watch the Nadal match last night?

Q.  What were your thoughts as that was unfolding?
KIM CLIJSTERS:  I was like, No.  I don't know.  I don't know.  I just wanted Nadal to win and come back.  I think he did everything right to try to stay in the match, especially in the fifth set.  But the guy played incredible.
I'm curious to see how he's going to play tomorrow because a lot of times‑‑ I don't know.  Yeah, to me he looked a little bit arrogant out there, so I wonder how he'll react in his next match, if he can stay grounded, keep his feet on the ground, and try to keep that result going.
Nobody cares too much.  You can beat Nadal, but if you lose the next round, you know, then yeah.
I'm going a definitely watch him tomorrow and see how he will play.

Q.  How do you explain when a guy hits rockets like that?
KIM CLIJSTERS:  There's only one word, and I think it's 'adrenaline.'  Somebody said during the commentary that‑‑ was it his first time playing at Wimbledon?  It was unbelievable.
The decisions he was making, whenever he touched the ball, it was either a winner or an ace.  It was unbelievable.  You kind of think, Okay, at 5‑4 let's see if he maybe gets a little bit nervous.
To his credit, he played really, really well.  That's why I said I'm going to be curious to see how he does.

Q.  Where are you with your injury?
KIM CLIJSTERS:  It's stable.  It hasn't gotten worse since my second and third match, so that's obviously what I'm very happy about.

Q.  Back to Kerber, you said it's fun to play a new player.  It's also Wimbledon, she's been playing great, you haven't played her before, so there's a danger element to it.
KIM CLIJSTERS:  Yeah, of course.  But I think anybody in the draw now, there's a danger.  Maybe, like my previous round against Hlavackova, that was a girl I never played against.  You have to be so focused on trying to do well, what I have to do well, but at the same time just be extra focused on little things.
Details, like the ball toss, trying to read your opponent's game.  I think that's going to be something that's going to be important to do against Kerber, as well.

Q.  The Nadal match, they decided to close the roof a the end of the fourth set because the light was dimming.  Seemed to affect his momentum.  Should they have closed the roof?  Do you know what the policy is?
KIM CLIJSTERS:  I actually don't know what the policy is.  I mean, I don't know.  You never know.  It turned out not in Nadal's favor, obviously.  I don't know.  I don't really have a comment to say about it.  You can't change it.
At the end, in that fifth set, I don't think Rafa did a lot wrong.  The guy was just too good.  For one set he was too good.

Q.  Takes a long time for it to close.
KIM CLIJSTERS:  I know.  But, I mean, it's for both players.  Yeah, I mean, Nadal played that fourth set well, the best that I think he played so far in that match.  It depends.  Some days some players react to it differently.
But the guy came out firing.  Even if Nadal was at his best or playing like he did in the fourth set, I don't think he could do anything against a guy, the way he was playing.

Q.  With Nadal out, there's the focus on Andy Murray.  You've been coming here for quite a while and seen the attention to Andy Murray.  What are your thoughts about how it might be now with Nadal out?
KIM CLIJSTERS:  I think I'm old enough I've seen Tim deal with it all, and now Andy.  You know, I hope for Andy that he wins it ‑ and probably for the country, as well.  That he has a good result, that he can get to the final and win it here, it would be incredible, I think.  He's made a few finals.
So, yeah, I think having Ivan Lendl on his team is something that might help him in situations like that, when he can get that extra step.  He still has to win a few matches before he gets there.  Don't look past the next object.

Q.  What are your observations as to how he's dealt with this all these years?
KIM CLIJSTERS:  I think Andy is definitely a little bit more mature.  I think he looks more focused.  Yeah, and again, as you get older ‑ I'm the same way ‑ you learn more about yourself; you learn how to deal with certain situations.
I don't think anybody deals with‑‑ I don't know, maybe Sam Stosur a little bit in Australia.  I don't think it's anywhere as hectic as it is for Andy or an English player to play in England.  So that's something that you can't be prepared for.  You can't be prepared for something like that, where the whole country watches every move that you make, every shot that you play.
There definitely has to be a lot of pressure, but as you get older I think you learn to deal with it.  I think maybe he might be able to use all that energy into positive energy.
Hopefully.  I really, really hope that he can go all the way.

Q.  How do you feel about your chances heading into the second week?
KIM CLIJSTERS:  I'm excited that I made it into the second week.  A week ago I don't think I was expecting that, so I'm very happy with the way things have been going.
To be in the tournament, to be a part of that second week at Wimbledon, is always very special.
I have a couple days off now.  Yeah, I look forward to it.  I mean, there's such a special vibe whenever you get to the second week of a Grand Slam.  I think here at Wimbledon, even more so.  It just feels, yeah, very unique.

Q.  Coming in here, how would you rate your preparation and confidence level?
KIM CLIJSTERS:  I think my preparation was really good.  I think I was able to build on‑‑ I had a few really long practice and preparation weeks in the last year or so where I was able to physically work hard on just getting my conditioning right, and at the same time rehabbing whatever injury I had at the time.
I think I gradually was able to build on from there physically.  I think that's been a good thing.
Obviously, you know, the match rhythm was something that I was missing.  But I thought last week in Rosmalen, every day I felt like I was just settling into the tennis player that I want to be.
Yeah, my first round was tough.  I played a tough opponent.  I wasn't hitting the ball well and clean.  Then gradually I played Bondarenko, Schiavone.  I think I played two solid matches there.
Every day I was starting to feel more and more comfortable.  And here as well I had to be focused from the beginning of the tournament to play some tough players.
So, yeah, I've been improving.  I think the confidence is there, so, yeah.

Q.  Kim, have you got any words of encouragement for the young Heather Watson?
KIM CLIJSTERS:  Yeah, I saw the score through my changeovers.  I don't know her that well, but she's definitely a girl that I've seen making some big improvements.  She's gotten a lot fitter.  She's a good fighter.  I think it's a matter of getting that consistency.
I do think she can use a little bit more power in her shots if she wants to get a little bit further.  But, you know, she's still young and she's surrounded with good people.  I think during tournaments it's not the right time to start changing things.
But if she wants to make the second step, I think it's important to ‑ especially in the women's game these days ‑ keep unforced errors down, which is something she does very well.  She's very consistent.  But I think she lacks a little bit of strength and that one killer shot.  But that's something you can definitely train on, so...

Q.  If everything holds up, what will be your last tournament?

Q.  Are you counting down the days or just sort of trying to enjoy day to day and not thinking about the finish line?
KIM CLIJSTERS:  Last year I actually was.  Last year I was like, A year and a half to go.  I was like, Oh, that long?
But now as it's getting closer, no, I'm just really focused on what I have to do.  Until after the Olympics I don't think I'm going to be thinking about quitting or ending my career.
The US Open will be a special occasion for me to be playing there and to end my career there.  But it's something that I don't think about because it's not there yet and I don't try to think about it too much.  I'm sure it will be emotional.

Q.  Are you attempting to soak up things every day because it will be your last time here?
KIM CLIJSTERS:  There's definitely been moments where I think like, Oh, I'm going to take a good look around; I'm going to take these emotions in.
When you're younger and you come here you're so in awe about everything.  Everything kind of attacks you and you don't know what feels.  But now that I'm a little bit older, I'm able to kind of recognize the emotions or recognize what influences little details have, and I'm able to, yeah, just I guess save those memories a little bit better from when I was younger and talk about it with my husband or our daughter even, teach her little things, show her little things.
It's fun.  It's nice to be looking at sports in this kind of way.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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