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January 31, 2004

Kim Clijsters


THE MODERATOR: Questions in English for Kim, please.

Q. How tough to lose it like that when you had got back into the match so well?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Well, you know, I think it doesn't matter, you know, how the score was. I mean, it's always tough to lose them. But, you know, I definitely felt like today I played a lot better than I did in the previous finals that I played against her. You know, I fought it really well to get back in that second set. Even in the beginning of the third set, I mean, she hardly missed any balls. She makes you go for so many shots which are not natural, I think, for a lot of players. She keeps bringing them back. You try to go closer to the lines and then you miss a few. But that's, I think, where she probably made the biggest difference today. She brought so many balls back that made me go a little bit out of my comfort zone.

Q. How crucial was that overrule?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Well, I mean, it's always, you know -- I'm not the type of player that's gonna start complaining after matches. That's something at the moment very disappointing, I think. And, you know, a few people have told me that it was in. So that's even more disappointing then. But, you know, I'm not going to blame the umpire or anything because everyone makes mistakes. But, yeah, of course it's disappointing.

Q. When you served at 3-4, did you get nervous or tight?

KIM CLIJSTERS: No, no, no.

Q. Two double-faults on game points.

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, well, I've made, you know, a few double-faults this tournament - probably more than I usually do. You know, I think, you know, I haven't had the practices that I would like to have on my serve. That's probably the biggest thing that goes off the quickest, is probably my serve, if I haven't practiced for a while. So I think, you know, that's something I know for the next tournament. Just go home, work hard on the serve. If my foot stays all right, then hopefully make sure that I improve those things. But today as well, there were some good movements. I served well. And there were some bad moments. Just wasn't consistent enough.

Q. A few finals now that haven't gone your way in Grand Slams. Is there anything psychological that's holding you back on days like this?

KIM CLIJSTERS: No, I don't think so. No. I felt like today I was playing well. I don't think it's got anything to do with, you know, psychological at all. Justine, like I said before, she makes you go for shots that you're not comfortable with, especially when you hit a good serve and she hits them back halfway low in the court. You have the intensity of a short ball, you want to attack them. It gets very hard on those shots. That's probably where I made a couple of errors on those shots where against some other players, they'll float up and you have a winner. But against her, you know, it's very tough. And she passes so well. A few times when I came into net, she was always passing me.

Q. Now that it's all over, can you let us into a little bit more about the ankle, how close was it? Were there points during the tournament when you thought you'd have to quit?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Not until the Myskina match. That was probably the first time. Of course after a couple of matches, you know, it got a bit stiff and everything, but nothing that worried me of not being able to compete here. So, no, so probably the Myskina was, for myself, the biggest scare.

Q. Was your mobility 100 percent? What percentage would you give your mobility?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I don't know. Well, I mean, my foot, it's not 100 percent. I wouldn't say that. Especially with the tape and everything, it's always going to restrict you a little bit whether you want it or not. Again, I don't want to blame other things, you know, blame my foot for today's loss. I'm not like that.

Q. At 4-love, did you step it up? What were your thoughts when you're down 4-love in the third?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, I think she, in the beginning of the third set, she started playing a lot more aggressively, and I sort of took it a little bit - sort of was always on my back foot. 4-love as well, I was making a few errors. But I was still going for my shots - maybe a little bit too much. I just told myself, "Make her play." She made a few mistakes. Yeah, she made, you know, a couple of easy mistakes coming into the net and stuff like this. So you just have to keep fighting and keep hanging in there. You know, it was good to get back that double break. But tough, you know, tough to keep it up.

Q. Does each loss make you more determined for the next time?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Anything. Wins and losses. Of course, wins make you reflect on things that are still not, you know, that you have to keep working on. I think it's always, you know, losses -- you probably learn more from losses than win matches because you're probably more keen to forget the win matches than the losses, I think. Yeah, no, I'll go home and, like I said before, work on my serve and try, you know -- first of all, I want to have my foot right and see if I can practice more and work harder.

Q. What will you learn from this match then?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Like my serve was off. That's something that I'll, you know, will have to keep working on. I have to work on my serve and I have to make it improve even more. And, you know, just little things. You know, aggressive. You know, just make sure that I stay aggressive. Even if my opponent -- even against Myskina, I had that a little bit. Even when they start attacking a little bit more, I still have to attack, make sure that I don't sort of take it all, and I have to make sure that I take it back at them. Just little things. Not always on the court; there's also a few little things you learn off the court, but you become more mature. Don't always have to do stuff with tennis, but just in general.

Q. How well do you think Justine played by her standards?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I think she played really well. I think she started really well. A few things, little things, she was serving really well in the beginning. She didn't give me a lot of easy mistakes, and she was returning well at the moments where she had to, when she was down, and even at 5-4 in the second set she really made me work for it and she didn't give me anything for free. I think that's where she's improved a lot over this last year. She's definitely become a more developed player.

Q. The public out there has obviously adopted you as one of our own. Would you like to adopt them one day and play under the Aussie flag?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I don't know. I don't think I'll, you know, be playing, you know -- I don't know. I'll never say "never," but I don't think I'll be playing under the Australian flag. I don't really plan to have a very long career because one day I wouldn't mind having a family as well. I don't know what the exact rules are for playing under the Australian. But, yeah, so probably not while I'm playing, no.

Q. How many years do you give yourself?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I don't know. It's hard to put a number on it. Also depends how I'm feeling, the way my body's coping, you know, with the tough schedule. Just little things. See how, you know, if I still enjoy it. As long as I enjoy it, I'll keep going, yeah.

Q. Has life changed now that you've gotten engaged, found love?

KIM CLIJSTERS: No, expect for a lot of people asking me to see my ring, I don't think a lot of things have changed for me personally. I think, no, no, not really. I think, no.

Q. How did Greg Norman come to be in your party today?

KIM CLIJSTERS: He's really good friends with Lleyton and he rang us a couple of days ago asking if I would get to the final, he was going to come to Melbourne I think for the Heineken Classic. He was coming to Australia. And, yeah, so it was no problem (smiling).

Q. It's been three times now losing to Justine. Does it get more painful each time or is it just a learning experience?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Well, you know, each one is, you know, is very disappointing, of course. You know, I wouldn't say one more than the other. They're all disappointing. Yeah, so, but I think like I said in my speech as well, with this one I'm very, in a way, very lucky to have been out there as well. You know, it could have been -- you know, could have been home for two weeks already in Belgium and not -- you know, watching matches on TV. At least I gave myself a shot at it. I'm definitely not complaining with the way things have been going here this year.

Q. The overrule, did it annoy you because Justine pointed the ball was out or you didn't realize? I think she may have influenced the umpire.

KIM CLIJSTERS: Well, you know, like I said to the gentleman over there, I'm not going to go into things like that, you know. I don't want to, you know, start any trouble or anything. You know, things happen. And, yeah, so I don't really want to go into it as much.

Q. Did you see the ball good yourself?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, well, you know, you feel things when they come off the racquet. You feel if it's -- you know, you get the experience. I've been playing for 12 years. Now, you know, as soon as I hit the ball, I probably know if it's going in or out. I definitely had the feeling it was good, but nothing I can do about it now.

Q. We've got the technology these days to be able to look at those particular points. Would you be an advocate of having a second umpire to adjudicate on the really close ones?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Well, maybe. You know, that's what they do in the cricket. But, yeah, it's not, you know -- maybe. I mean, it can definitely influence a lot of matches. You've seen in the past - I think here as well - it influences a lot of, you know, like can turn matches around definitely. I'm not going to say that because it happened to me today that all of a sudden I want to have it changed. It could have been the other way around today as well. Yeah, but maybe, yeah, in the future. I don't know how they would do it, though. It's going to be tough with linesmen and everything overruling and not, and when will you know if, you know -- when are you going to ask for it? So it's a tough call, a tough decision.

Q. Do you have a rest now for a little while? Will you play Antwerp?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Well, so far I still am going to play Antwerp. Like I've been doing here, I have to take it day by day and I'll go and see a few more doctors when I go back to Belgium and have a few more MRIs, I think. Yeah, that's it. I'll definitely have a few days off.

Q. Will you go to Adelaide for the Davis Cup?

KIM CLIJSTERS: No, I'm entered in Paris as well. I've been here for three months now. It's time to go home and see my sister, my dogs and everyone (smiling).

End of FastScripts….

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