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March 13, 2005

Kim Clijsters


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Kim, please.

Q. When did this first flare up?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yesterday during my match, last night. We were 6-1, 1-All, I just started feeling it. It was, yeah, I don't know. It felt like it was getting worse when I was hitting backhands. And I felt like I couldn't, you know, balance or, you know, have a stable sort of backhand, like grip or anything. Then after the match, I, you know, had some -- put ice, had the physios who are here look at it. It felt a lot worse this morning again.

Q. Is it just from overplaying?

KIM CLIJSTERS: It was swollen and everything.

Q. You don't remember falling?

KIM CLIJSTERS: No, no. That's the weirdest thing, I don't know when. I know when I started feeling the pain, but I don't know what caused the pain. I think it's -- yeah, I don't know.

Q. Was it painful enough that it perhaps made you want to retire last night?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Maybe a little, yeah. Well, you know, when you're up, and when I started feeling it, as well, you're winning. And I think during the match you maybe don't think about it as much because it's warm. It's not irritated, maybe a little bit. But because the blood keeps flowing through it, I think it takes the pain a little bit away. Then last night after I had a shower, and then this morning, it was...

Q. Swollen?


Q. Talk about emotionally how disappointing it is?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, it's very frustrating, you know, because I felt like I was playing well. Especially in Paris and Antwerp, I was playing really well. Then having to go through this here, you know, this is for me, I think, one of the favorite tournaments throughout the whole year. It's definitely very, very disappointing, yeah.

Q. What is the most disappointing part about withdrawing from this tournament? The fact that you may be sidelined for longer than expected? You can't defend your title?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Well, the whole package that comes with it. I don't think there's one thing that, you know, is more frustrating than the other. You know, it all comes with the withdrawing factor. There's a lot of things that come with it. At the moment, I don't know. It could take up to six weeks for this to heal. They don't know. It could take up to two, three weeks. I don't know how long it's going to heal. That's a little bit frustrating, as well, is the not knowing, you know, what's going to happen in the next couple of weeks.

Q. You're one that has dodged the injury bug.

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, I don't know. Must be this bad spell following the tour at the moment. So far, you know, this year I've had a couple of little injuries. You know, my foot was one of them. Then last year, my ankle at the end of the year, as well, in Leipzig. But the rest, I've been pretty good. I haven't really had to, you know, withdraw from too many tournaments because of injuries. But I guess, you know, I'm not the youngest player out there anymore. I feel like, you know, maybe -- yeah, I mean, maybe it's starting to pay off a little bit -- lots of paying, lots of matches. Maybe that's got something to do with it, as well.

Q. What is the minimum amount of time they said it would take to heal?

KIM CLIJSTERS: They don't know. They don't know.

Q. They said it could be up to six weeks?


Q. But you might be able to play Miami?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Maybe, yeah.

Q. What about playing with a one-handed backhand?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Well, actually, yesterday during my match, I started slicing a little bit already, as well. That's probably the one positive thing for that, I can practice my slice a little bit more (smiling). But, yeah, I don't think my one-handed backhand is good enough to go out there tomorrow and try to beat Laura.

Q. Have you had to withdraw previously during a tournament?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I'm not sure. I think maybe once in New Haven. I think in the semifinal I had to play Lindsay. I pulled, I don't know, on of my adductors I think it was. Yeah, once, I think.

Q. Have you had problems in the past with that wrist?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Never. I had some problems with my right wrist, but nothing major. I mean, it's not like -- you can sort of expect it. If it comes on the right one, you can sort of say, "Maybe it's because of playing too much," because you use that hand all the time. So, yeah, it was definitely weird to hear the news this morning from the doctors.

Q. Could you ever imagine being in a situation like Serena, where you've been away from the tour for about nine months, then coming back with all the pressures like will be on her next week in Miami?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I hope not. I hope it doesn't have to go that far. You know, every player almost goes through things like this. I think you have to try to take the positive out of it. It's not like I'm going to be sitting here crying, and just don't do anything for the next few weeks. I mean, I'm going to still work hard and do lots of running. You know, my legs are fine, so that's good. I can still work out in the gym. But, you know, hopefully I don't have to be out too long. So far, you know -- hopefully I can keep progressing like that. I heal pretty quickly. You know, my foot started to heal pretty quickly. My shoulder, you know, when I had a little problem there, as well, healed pretty quickly. So hopefully, you know, this won't have to take six weeks as they think.

Q. What is the longest period you've been away from the game for any length of time?

KIM CLIJSTERS: That probably has to be with my shoulder. So I think that was, yeah, maybe five weeks, six weeks, seven weeks, maybe. 2001, I think, from Australia through to here. But then I lost here first round, so I had another week and a half off.

Q. How hard was it to kind of get back to the kind of level you would have liked to have, that you left, perhaps before the injury?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I think I made the semis of Miami. I had lost here first match against Nathalie Dechy that year. It's hard missing the match rhythm. It's always hard. In matches you always go for a little bit more. You always want to hit the ball a little bit more precise and a little harder I think than at practice. I think the shoulder is very -- you know, definitely is a part of the body that has to cope with a lot of difficulties, I think, throughout somebody's career. But it's definitely tough to come back. I think that's also one of the reasons why it's tougher for girls like Venus at the moment, as well. You can't expect someone in the first two weeks they played to win them all. You need match rhythm. I think that's what they've shown in the past, even when they were not injured. They always, when they had maybe a couple, three weeks off, maybe they didn't play their best tennis in the beginning of the week, but they played really well towards the quarterfinals, semifinals, when they had a lot of matches. I think that's what they have to go through now again.

Q. Did you consider waiting to withdraw till tomorrow to see how the wrist might react after spending another night?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, well, I know what it feels like. I don't think -- one day, I don't think that's going to make a difference at all. I also want to be fair towards the WTA and stuff. Say if they put me another night match tomorrow, I don't want to come here tomorrow and sort of screw up the whole schedule. I have to be sort of professional enough to make the decision and tell them, because otherwise they might have more problems with it tomorrow.

Q. Now that you're out, can you name three players, other than Justine, who you think might be able to win the title?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Lindsay, I think Kuznetsova, if she plays well, I think - she's the one who beat Henin a couple of weeks ago - she definitely has a good shot if she plays well. You know, I think there's a couple of young girls, like Sharapova. You never know. If she plays her best tennis, on her best day, she can beat anyone, I think. It's just a matter for her still to be consistent enough throughout a long tournament like this. Yeah, there's a few outsiders here and there.

Q. What about your friend Myskina?

KIM CLIJSTERS: She -- yeah, she definitely. I think also in the heat here and everything, you know, she's a tough girl to beat, definitely.

Q. If somebody told you tomorrow that actually Venus and Serena will never be a factor again in tennis, whether because of injury or indifference, would you be shocked?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, sure, I'll be shocked, yeah. Will you?

Q. No, frankly.


Q. Has it occurred to you how ironic this is that you had that very uncomfortable afternoon here against Serena, when Serena was being booed because Venus had pulled out of a match against Serena the previous night, about 10 minutes before the match was scheduled to begin, and now you pull out. Has that crossed your mind?

KIM CLIJSTERS: No, not at all. That's why I also want to be fair to the WTA. I know what my body feels like now. I know even if I play tomorrow night, you know, I know my body's not going to recover and it's not going to be a hundred percent to go out there tomorrow. You know, you have -- any player, if you don't feel let's say 90 or 100%, you shouldn't go out there because you can make things worse. No, I haven't really -- I'm not even wanting to think of comparing it to Venus or Serena's problem then, two years ago.

Q. Is this the first time in your career you've had two decent-sized injury in a three-month period?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, yeah. I'm getting old (smiling).

Q. Are you planning on seeing a specialist when you get back to Belgium?


Q. Yes.

KIM CLIJSTERS: I've seen a couple specialists here this morning. You know, the MRIs, they've shown -- you can go see as many doctors as you like. That's what I did with my foot, as well. I think I saw four different kinds of doctors. I was hoping one of them would tell me some good news. They all came down to the same point. I don't want to go see too many people because otherwise it might be getting a little too mixed up a little bit. I want to listen to one guy, do what he thinks is right, maybe one or two, just see what works the best.

Q. Are you going to take any medication for it, any antiinflammatories?


Q. To help take the swelling down?


Q. Ice?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah. I don't like those kind of things. I've never been into those stuff.

End of FastScripts….

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