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March 12, 2004

Kim Clijsters


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Kim.

Q. Are you pleased with the effort, with the way the match went?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah. I think she's the kind of girl that doesn't really give you a lot of rhythm. You know, she can play some incredible tennis. She can really go for the shot. She plays aggressively. But she can make a few double faults and you really don't know what to expect with her. But, yeah, I think in the second set she played really good. She kept her unforced errors down for maybe two, three games, and she started to play a little bit better. I think she started really getting her rhythm on her serve, as well, making a few more serves. Definitely the second serves were a lot better.

Q. Why did you get off to such a fast lead the first set?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Well, I started well. I think I started serving really well at the beginning. I was playing really aggressive, not making her stay in the same corner all the time. I was trying to make sure that I was moving her around, not let her hit two shots -- two of the same shots in a row. I just wanted to make sure that I kept her moving and kept her out of balance. I mean, she's really good keep going cross-court. She showed that I think in the second set a few times, that she can really keep going, keep going, keep going. She can hit is as hard as anyone, I think.

Q. Were you eager to get out there and set the pace?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, no, I was really looking forward to get started. And, you know, it took -- I thought it was 6:30, then it was 7:00. It was a little bit later than I actually thought. I was really keen on getting out there. It was a good, yeah, night atmosphere.

Q. Trying to defend a title, is it important to get off to a good start?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, of course, that always matters, I think. And especially, you know, I haven't played outdoors for maybe a month now or so, so that's always something you have to get used to again. I was in Florida training there for a couple of days, four or five days, just trying to get used to the weather and getting outdoors, because it was snowing in Belgium. Couldn't even drive the car, couldn't even get anywhere. So that was good. I think that gave me a lot of just, yeah, I think more advantages than some other players that were coming from Europe.

Q. Do you think you'll have trouble adjusting to the heat?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Belgium was really cold. That's why we left, as well. It's definitely very hot. You know, Florida was not as hot, but it was a lot more humid than what I think it is here - especially yesterday. I don't think today was as hot as it was the other few days. But yesterday was really hot. So I've been hitting a couple of times at 1:00 just trying to get used to it. But it's hot.

Q. When she broke your serve, did you have trouble with the noise during that set? There was a time when you looked up to the boxes.

KIM CLIJSTERS: No, no. I asked them just to be quiet. But I don't think that changed anything about me losing that game or anything. That's got nothing to do with it, no.

Q. Did you feel threatened at all in the second set?

KIM CLIJSTERS: No. You know, I went up with that break really early. That sort of gives you a safety feeling. You can lose your serve then. It's still not like -- I still felt like if she was going to win that set, you know, I was going to have to make a lot of mistakes. Because I felt like if I was going to play my game, you know, keep my unforced errors out, I would have had a good shot on winning almost all of her serve games, as well. Just missed a few easy mistakes there in the second set, but nothing that worried me too much.

Q. Where do you think your game was tonight?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I'd say maybe 75%, I think. Yeah, 70%.

Q. Can you talk about the black ribbon and the decision to wear it?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Well, it's obviously for all the victims and the families, what happened a couple days ago now, yesterday in Madrid. You know, there's a lot of Spanish, male and female players on the tour. And a lot of them -- a few of them are from Madrid, as well. So I think, just after everything that happened here in America, you know, this is happening a lot closer to home, as well. You know, I've got a lot of friends in Madrid, as well, and know a lot of people that I used to play Juniors with and everything. So many bad things happening in the world. It's terrible.

Q. Are most of the girls wearing the ribbons?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, I think so. A lot of Spanish girls are. Almost every Spanish girl is, yeah.

Q. Do you follow the news when you're at a tournament like this? Do you watch TV, CNN?


Q. Now especially you're watching because of this event?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, well, you know, you sort of want to know how and who, you know, why, and all those things. I would like to, you know, just keep following it and wanting to know what's happening and what's the reason behind it all. So I don't think -- at the moment I think there's a few questions being asked about, you know, if it's ETA or Al Quaeda. So definitely I'm following it, especially through CNN and back home as well if I talk to family and friends, seeing if they know any more there.

Q. How does it feel to get the first win under your belt?

KIM CLIJSTERS: No, that's always nice. Like I said, it's not easy coming from -- I played two indoor tournaments. Then coming out here and playing a match again was a lot of fun - especially the night matches, I really enjoy playing those. Yeah, so it was good. Although maybe in the second set, you know, I had a couple of games where I maybe made a few too many unforced errors. But I felt like I started really well and ended well, and that's the most important thing. So, yes, was happy to get through that one.

End of FastScripts….

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