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June 27, 2005

Kim Clijsters


THE MODERATOR: Kim Clijsters. Questions, please.

Q. In the first match point, Lindsay hit the ball, it was just long. Did you think the match was over then?


Q. Did you feel her shot was good, going to be good?

KIM CLIJSTERS: (Shaking head negatively.)

Q. I know it wasn't good, but...

KIM CLIJSTERS: No. You know, it's never over till it's over. And you just fight for every point. You know, you don't really think about it's match point. You just try to make -- you know, if she wants to win it, let her go for it. Don't make a mistake. Let her like win the point. And she missed.

Q. So you were relieved, is that correct?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Not relieved. I think you just focus because I think it was deuce at the time. You just focus on what you have to do next. You try to focus on your next point. Because I think if you're relieved, you're going to take things too easily. You know, the game wasn't over. The match wasn't over. So you just really focus. And I was really focused out there today. Mentally I felt very good. You know, it's been good to, you know, have that feeling on the court. It's been a while since I felt like that. So it's a good feeling to have.

Q. May I ask what happened in the last game with the double-faults?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah. I just felt like -- because she was returning so well in my service games before, I really had to put a little bit more -- you know, a little bit more into my serves, and especially on the second serves. But that was probably wrong. It was. She puts you under so much pressure. From the moment you hit a second serve, you have to start running. I think I tried to do a little bit too much, especially when I went out wide, which was probably not a smart decision. But, you know, it's happened and you learn from it. Next time I won't do it.

Q. When you said it's the strongest you felt mentally for a long time, are you talking about previous to your injuries?

KIM CLIJSTERS: No, no. Probably since. You know, probably since Miami, I'd say. Yeah, no, especially at the French Open and the clay courts, it was tough because I wasn't -- because I didn't feel good out on the clay. Just, you know, I was struggling a little bit, finding motivation and everything. But I feel like as soon as I lost to Lindsay in Paris, I sort of -- something snapped, and I really wanted to start training hard again, start working hard. Went to Eastbourne a week early. Trained really hard there with just my coach and my cousin, who is my physio. You know, it was a good group. Got really focused. And I think it's paid off. Like I feel like I'm improving every match that I've played here. You know, I'm just going to try to keep doing the same, try to get positive things out of this. You know, next we have Fed Cup, so that's going to be my next goal.

Q. When you say questioning your own motivation, how serious was that, given you'd just come back from tennis? Seems like motivation would be the least of your problems.

KIM CLIJSTERS: I don't know if you know what happened in Berlin with my knee injury that I had. That was obviously disappointing because when I was in Berlin, I felt like I was -- especially the first -- my first couple matches in Berlin, I started to feel like I was finding my game on clay. I was getting more and more comfortable. Then all of a sudden, you know, that knee thing happens, and it just hits you. It's like it was bad timing. It was very frustrating. Like you said, I was hungry and I wanted to play. When things like that happen, you know, they're frustrating. When I went to Paris, the first matches as well, I wasn't feeling the ball at all. Very tough, you know, to keep fighting through it, because I physically wasn't feeling great either. You know, just little details that make a difference. But now, you know, I think it makes a difference too. I think it's the first time this year that I don't wear tape any more on my wrist, that I don't wear a tape on my knee. That's another probably advantage as well because for your mind, it's more free then. You don't have to worry about things.

Q. What did you think of the level of the match? What was basically the difference in the match?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I'm very happy with the level. A lot of people that I've seen after the match, everybody is saying this should have been the final, which it's a very nice compliment. So, yeah, just have to keep working hard. Hopefully I get my seeding up so that I don't have to get those kind of matches in the fourth round. If you want to win it, you just have to beat them all anyway.

Q. What was the difference finally?

KIM CLIJSTERS: No, I think at the end of the day she served and returned a lot better than I did, a lot more aggressive and a lot more precise. Her strokes, especially on grass, it's so tough against her because she hits the ball so deep, very precise, close to the lines. She puts you under pressure straightaway. I think she did that really well.

Q. Does she have a difference presence on grass, a different level of confidence?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah. But it's just harder as well. I think if you compare it to on a hard court, it's a lot tougher to move on the grass, obviously. Because I feel like if I can move around on hard court, it's a lot easier for me because her strokes are not as dominant on hard court. And especially her serve, you're onto it a lot quicker on hard court. And that's just a difference in surface. I felt today -- yeah, I felt like I played well and did everything that I could, and it just wasn't good enough at the end.

Q. Did you intend to vary it a bit more than you got the chance to vary it against her?

KIM CLIJSTERS: It's tough. It's very tough. I mean, you always try to put a lot of different shots in there. But, like I said before, because she hits the ball so deep and so hard and low over the net, it's very tough to mix it up because you have to be really low and you don't really get a lot of time to slow things down. You just have to try to block them. So it's not easy. But I was definitely trying to sometimes put a dropshot in there. Like I said, it's tough. It was very tough.

Q. A year ago Lindsay was indicating this could be the last go around for her. Now she's come back strong. Is she a stronger player now than she was?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I think so. Yeah, I think she is. But I think also she's fitter than she's ever been. I've seen her work, especially here. I've seen her work in the gym lifting weights, stuff that I've never seen her do - which I think is so great to see, someone who is still so motivated to do these kind of things. Who knows? Maybe she's so motivated because she knows it's her last year and she wants to put everything she has into it. You never know. But she seems very motivated. You know, I've been practicing to her next to her quite a lot of days here at Aorangi, and she seems very hungry to play - more than I've ever seen her play.

Q. Obviously, you didn't play Mary, but your thoughts on her run at the French, and here?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Mary is definitely a player that has a lot of experience. At the French, as well, you know, having the support there for her obviously was like a big advantage for her, too. She played some really good tennis there. I mean, she -- if she's on, she can hit the ball so well. Again, Mary looks -- to me, she looks really fit, too. She's lost weight. She looks strong. She looks like she's moving a lot better. They're both big girls. They both have big serves. You never know. I think if Lindsay plays -- but Lindsay is not playing Mary.

Q. Mary and Venus are playing.

KIM CLIJSTERS: But Mary, she's a tough player. Again, she's the one, maybe not as good as Lindsay, but she plays a similar type of game. She likes to go for the lines straightaway and play aggressively.

Q. People will speak about a certain kind of under-performance in Grand Slams on your part. Not a pleasant subject. But is it an issue in your own mind?

KIM CLIJSTERS: No, not at all. I know for myself that I am -- when I play tournaments, it doesn't matter if I'm playing a Tier III, a Tier IV, I take every match that I play seriously, and I don't regret anything. I know that here I lost today, but I know I gave everything I had. At the end of the day, that's the most important thing. If you feel like you've done everything you can, not just on the day, but the weeks leading into it, if you've done everything you can, that's sport. And you have to accept that there's another person standing in front of you who is trying to win as well. At the end of the day, you have to accept that you cannot always win, that you have to try too take some positive things out of it, learn from it, and hopefully keep working hard and try to move forward and get better. So hopefully when you get into that position again, you can maybe change things.

Q. You never feel, "When is it my turn"?

KIM CLIJSTERS: No. People talk like that. But I just turned 22, you know, so...

Q. In terms of what you've achieved, how important was it to look back on the couple of weeks to win the second set?

KIM CLIJSTERS: That was obviously good. Like I said, mentally I felt like I played one of my best matches so far. That was obviously, again, another step forward into the right direction for me. I'll take a lot of positive things out of that second set. That's all there is to it. I can talk about the double-faults at the end of that match. But that's happened. Yeah, just going to try to work hard, even harder as I was doing. Because I feel really motivated again to improve my game and to just stay consistent like I was in 2003. I just have to keep doing like I'm doing and hopefully I get a little lucky and maybe turn things around.

End of FastScripts….

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