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June 22, 2005

Kim Clijsters


THE MODERATOR: Ladies and Gentlemen, Kim Clijsters. Questions, please.

Q. On a scale of 1 to 10, how will you mark your play today?

KIM CLIJSTERS: No, I think overall today I think everything, you know, went pretty well. This is the best I felt for a long time. You know, I'm very, very -- you know, very happy with this win. Especially with the way I played and sort of the way I was focusing out there. So I think on a scale of 10, I would give myself an 8 (smiling).

Q. Coming into The Championships, did you foresee the ladies, all of them are here in this tournament, is there any one that you see as a potential threat to you?

KIM CLIJSTERS: They all are. They all are. It does not -- it's very hard to just pick one because there are so many girls out there who are playing good tennis, who are very hungry to win again. You know, especially the girls who haven't played for a while. You know, Venus, Serena, it's very good to see them again and know to see that, you know, they're very hungry again. I watched a little bit of Serena play last night. She was very feisty out there. It's great to see, to see that she's back and she's hungry to play. You know, obviously Maria is playing well. You know, it's a different situation for her here this year. But she's -- she looks very focused. And Lindsay's playing good. So there's a lot of girls and it's very hard to just pick one.

Q. Two days ago you expressed a desire to hit your groundstrokes a little bit better. Can we revisit that question today. What would you say about your groundstrokes after this match?

KIM CLIJSTERS: No, I think overall I think I was moving a lot better. I was, you know, moving a lot lower. I was bending down a lot more through my legs, and I felt like I was just seeing the ball well. And this has been a long time. Like I said, it's been a long time since I felt like this, that I was seeing the ball really well. It's a very good feeling to have because, I mean, this is what you -- you know, since Paris, I haven't really felt -- I mean, not at all -- felt close to the way I felt the ball today. So that's a good feeling to have. You know, just try to not get all happy about it. You know, just try to work hard and, you know, try to maintain that feeling that I had today.

Q. You were averaging about 95 miles an hour on your second serve. You must be feeling pretty confident with that ball.

KIM CLIJSTERS: No, I am. I think my serve has been probably the most consistent shot over the last two, three weeks. My serve has sort of been, you know, that's the shot that's been winning me matches. Also in Eastbourne, you know, like I said before, my groundstrokes there, I wasn't really feeling them. My serve was the one who was -- was the shot that kept me up and gave me a lot of easy mistakes from the opponent and a lot of easy shots to go for winners. So my serve has definitely been the shot that's, you know, been the most consistent.

Q. Every player will say that every opponent is dangerous, of course. You hear that all the time. By degree, you may get through the first week without playing a Top 50 opponent, then who knows, run into Lindsay next week. Will that be enough of a test for you to get ready for a Davenport match if you have to go through three players who are not Top 50?

KIM CLIJSTERS: That's why I think it was very good for me to play in Eastbourne last week. I played Kuznetsova there; I played Jankovic in the first round. Those are definitely matches that have helped me. So, you know, you have to grow in a tournament. You know, a lot of the other girls, they also have some easier rounds at the start of the tournament. You just have to work your way into the tournament. You know, if I ever get to play Lindsay or if we both get there then, you know, I'm going to do everything that I can to be as good as possible on that day.

Q. Do you have any feeling as to why it is, not suddenly, but you feel you're playing at your best now? Has it been a combination of factors?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I think it just pays off I think. I've been working really hard. I've been really focused on everything that I've had to do. Maybe in the past with exercises, I would sometimes just say, "Let's not do them today." Now I feel like I've been very focused because I know that I have to do them if I want to be able to play tennis, or at the level that I want to be. And I think overall I think it's just been -- it's just made me more focused on what I have to do. And for a few weeks, you know, it was frustrating because I felt like I was off court doing everything right for my game, but it was still not coming together on the court. I felt like today was the first time that the puzzle sort of fitted. And, yeah, like I said, that was nice. But now I just have to try to maintain that feeling and keep building forward on this.

Q. Were you as stunned as the rest of us to see the other Belgian lose yesterday?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, I mean, it's always not -- you know, it's not fun for anybody, especially not for the top players to lose that early. But, you know, there's been players like this before. You know, Martina has lost here in a couple of first rounds, as well. So that's tennis. That's why, you know, I think, you know, people always talk about favorites. But, you know, that shows how, you know, hard it is, as well, for us, week in, week out to just compete, to just be there all the time. That shows that it's not as easy as the media or the outside world thinks it is.

Q. Do you feel any pressure to win this championship?


Q. You're relaxed?

KIM CLIJSTERS: No, I focus on what I have to do, and then we'll see. I focus on what I have to do on the court, and that is try to play my best tennis. My mind is not set on thinking who I'm going to play next week. What I focus on now is my next round, and that's what I focus on. If I have mixed doubles before that, then I'll focus on the mixed doubles. I don't think ahead. I just take each day at a time, each match at a time, and then we'll see.

Q. Any experience playing Roberta Vinci before?

KIM CLIJSTERS: No. I grew up playing with her in Juniors a little bit and Under-14s. I cannot really remember playing her that often. But I'm sure in Juniors I practiced with her a couple of times. Obviously, I saw her play last week in Eastbourne, where she played really well. She's definitely a girl who plays a really good grass court game. She comes in, she mixes her game up a lot, and she hits a good slice, great volleys. So I think I'll be running a lot to the net because she uses a dropshot quite a lot. It's going to be a completely different game than what I played today. It's a challenge to play against those kind of girls who just mix it up so much.

End of FastScripts….

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