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June 20, 2005

Kim Clijsters


THE MODERATOR: Kim Clijsters. Questions, please.

Q. This was not the biggest test you're going to have in your career, but still a first-round match at Wimbledon. After last week, are you playing as high or a higher standard of tennis now as you did when you reached the final here?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Well, I haven't reached a final here.

Q. Semifinal.

KIM CLIJSTERS: Like you said, I still feel like since the French Open, I still feel like there's a lot of improvement to do. There's still a lot of things I have to work on. Today was definitely not a test because, you know, she was a girl that doesn't really give you a lot of rhythm out there. So that was, you know, not easy. Also coming from a tournament win last week, it's not always easy to sort of switch your mind back to another week and to sort of, you know, start from zero again. But, you know, this is a Grand Slam, so you just focus on what you have to do here. But I still feel like there's still a lot of improvement to do if I want to get back to my level, you know, that I was playing when I was in Indian Wells and Miami.

Q. Do you think it's possible that you might have played too much this grass court season? Would you have liked to have had more days off before you came here?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Too much? No. I don't think I played too much. I played five matches.

Q. But consecutively.

KIM CLIJSTERS: No, no, no. You know, we're sports people. We have to be used to doing this. I've had worst schedules.

Q. Is the knee back to normal? Close to normal?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, it's almost back to normal. I just came from the gym. I did my exercises. That's something that I'll have to do for the rest of my career, I guess, just to make sure that it's stable. Sort of all the muscles around it are very strong and they protect the knee, the medial ligaments. So that's something I'll probably have to do, you know, with the wrist. But it feels good to be playing - without the tape, as well.

Q. There's a tear in there?

KIM CLIJSTERS: No, there's no tear. It was a sprain, like it was stretched. So you just have to make sure that - you know, especially when you're on the grass, if you slip sometimes - you have to be a little bit more careful. That's why I have to make sure that all the muscles around it protect it in case I slip. You know, they sort of take up all the pressure.

Q. Is there anything you to want to do significantly better that you haven't done in the last six matches you played?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Well, you know, I do feel like in Indian Wells -- in Eastbourne, I was serving really well. That's something, I was serving well. But I still feel like my groundstrokes are not like I would like them to be. So there's always like work to improve everything. I still feel like there's always things to work on. I also feel like my return can get better, and the groundstrokes in general I think. There's some very good patches in there, in my matches, as well, but also I have to be a little bit more consistent I think.

Q. Is your wrist a factor at all?

KIM CLIJSTERS: No, no. That feels fine. There's days where it feels a little bit tight, tighter than normal. Especially when it gets colder, I feel like it's a little -- my rotation's not as good as in my right hand. But for the rest, I don't have any problems with it.

Q. Did you know anything about your opponent today? What were your impressions of her?

KIM CLIJSTERS: To be very honest, I did not even know who she was till I saw her on the court. You know, that's another situation, why it makes it a little bit tougher, I think. In the first few games, you just have to sort of adjust to your opponent, just see how she plays, what she's like. Like I said, you know, it doesn't really give you a lot of rhythm or a lot of things to focus on before a game. So you just try to focus on yourself. And that's what I did today. I definitely didn't play my best tennis, but good enough to win in two sets.

Q. What were your impressions of her as a player?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I think she had some good patches in there. But she wasn't consistent enough, I think. She had some patches where she, you know, she was hitting the ball nice and clean. I think she moves pretty well. I think she didn't give up. I had the feeling that she wasn't really that nervous. That's good to see I think for a girl who probably hasn't played too many matches at Wimbledon. I think it's good to see someone like that, you know, who is not impressed by all the surroundings.

Q. This is the first time in two years that Clijsters, Henin-Hardenne, Williams, Davenport and Sharapova have all been in the same Grand Slam together. Are you right now too involved with what you have to do here to look at that bigger women's tennis picture and have some thoughts that we have the five best players on the tour together?

KIM CLIJSTERS: You know, that's a nice compliment to hear that because I feel very lucky to be a part of Wimbledon 2005 this year. I think it's, like you said, having Venus, Serena, Justine, myself back on the tour, also for the public I think it's more -- it's fun again, not just for myself, but I'm really looking forward to watch a lot of other matches as well. And, yeah, it's great just for me as well. I really enjoy playing those kind of big matches and I hope I get myself in the position where I can play those big matches against Venus or Serena or against Justine. It's a big part of playing the Grand Slams.

Q. I think I'm right in saying you and Lleyton were still together last time you were here. How different is it not having that sort of spotlight on you this time?

KIM CLIJSTERS: You know, I don't think that's anything to talk about now. I'm here to talk about today's match. If you have any other questions, you can go and ask those to somebody else.

Q. Do you think women's tennis at the moment, it needs one big rivalry for the fans and for TV?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Personally I think, you know, the way women's tennis is going at the moment, I think this is the most interesting year. For me this Wimbledon now, it's the most interesting one. Like you said, everybody's back. The players, except for Jennifer I think, everybody is here. Everybody is hungry again. I think that's great to see. So many different type of players, so many different type of personalities. I think for the public, that makes it even more interesting.

Q. We have a situation in this country where we don't have any women tennis players coming through. Belgium have you and Justine. Anything that we can learn from the way your country has done it so we can start having some women players?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Here we go again. Back in England. Every year (laughter). No, I'm not really sure what the system is like here. I haven't been really involved here. I know Carl Maes pretty good. So I hear a few things from him. I think he's definitely trying to help women's tennis here as well. I think if he's in charge, I think it will be in good hands. But I think also I can just talk about Justine and myself, especially about myself, how I grew up. It's also a matter personally, very personal as well. You have to work really hard. You have to a little bit of talent. But you also have to have the motivation and the support from your family. I think you have to have very health-minded people around you. Once you start doing well, it's very easy to go back down if you don't have the right people around you. It's just a matter of having a good group around you, as well.

End of FastScripts….

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