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January 20, 2004

Kim Clijsters


THE MODERATOR: Questions in English, please. Kim, do you want to tell us about today's match.

KIM CLIJSTERS: No (smiling). Sure, no, first of all, I was very, very happy to be out there. Didn't really have any problems with the ankle, and I think today that was the most important thing, just try to test it out and see how it was doing. I felt like I was, you know, very -- I was hitting the ball very well out there. Of course a few moments where, you know, my footwork wasn't at its best. But, you know, that's -- you can't expect more for your first match after a while off again. So, no, very pleased with the way I went out there today and, yeah, so...

Q. Was there any pain in your ankle at all?

KIM CLIJSTERS: No, not when I was playing, no.

Q. How close over the previous week or so had you come to actually not being able to play here, do you think?

KIM CLIJSTERS: No, I think I was -- you know, when I hurt it again in Sydney when I started at my second practice, it -- that was on Tuesday, the day before I had to play, you know, I hurt it again just by running forward. I was wearing the tape then as well. That wasn't a very good sign at all. I went to some physios in Sydney and had a couple of treatments a day and stuff and just tried to get as fit or like make it heal as much as possible. So a couple of days, I was, you know, didn't even think I was gonna be, you know, be coming here as a player. So, yeah, no, that was really -- yeah, I really enjoyed it out there as well, being able to play. You sort of come with a different attitude, I think, at the tournament when you start as well.

Q. Didn't seem to slide as much tonight, though. You having to adjust your game just for the moment?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, well, I don't think -- I really didn't -- I mean, it wasn't necessary. I think I did a small slide at one stage. But the slide is something that's not gonna bother it because I slide on my right foot. That's not gonna bother my left ankle at all. No, but I didn't, you know, didn't really feel the need to slide out there today. I also wanted to sort of make sure that I was moving towards the ball and not -- I think the slide is only at the end when it's a little bit of a desperate shot. I didn't feel like I needed to use that today.

Q. Having gone through this first match, can you now put the ankle aside and think, "Now I'm just a player in the draw, there's no excuses in terms of injuries, whatever happens"?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I don't know. My injury, it's not like it's healed, you know. That's something that's not gonna go away. The problem is still there. So, you know, the swelling has gone down and that's, you know -- but the only thing that I'm worried about now is to see how it flares up tomorrow, after having played this match tonight. So that's the main goal, is trying to ice it as much and keep the swelling down so it doesn't flare up again for tomorrow. Hopefully, it will be okay for my next round.

Q. Can you talk a little bit what you did over the off-season training-wise. Was there anything you did specifically?

KIM CLIJSTERS: No, I did a lot of -- in the beginning, before I really started focusing on technique and tactic-wise, I did a lot of physical workouts and did a lot of different kinds of sports, not just running and being in a gym, but just a lot of playing racquetball, squash, going mountain biking, running up sand hills, just little things to keep it fun. Boxing. Couple of things... don't laugh (smiling). Yeah, no, it was very fun. Made me want to -- you know, there was a good change every day which made me want to work harder, so that was...

Q. More fitness work than time on court?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Especially in the beginning. But I don't think I really had -- you know, even when I had my time off, I was still going to the gym, doing my shoulder exercises, just time off the tennis court. But I was still going to the gym and running and even swimming and stuff like that. But then towards maybe three, four weeks before the Hopman Cup started, maybe three weeks, I started practicing again and maybe putting in one practice session a day in there and still doing more fitness work. Then two weeks before the tournament, it was probably more tennis training than, you know, fitness-wise.

Q. Tell us more about the boxing.

KIM CLIJSTERS: The boxing? Not against Lleyton. It was against a big bag, so that's okay (smiling). Yeah, just hitting, making sure I'm wearing the gloves so I don't hurt my wrists or anything. It's fun. You should try it (smiling).

Q. He wasn't there tonight, was he, to watch you?

KIM CLIJSTERS: No, no, no.

Q. Were you expecting him to be?

KIM CLIJSTERS: No, no, no (smiling). Were you? Obviously, you were (laughing).

End of FastScripts….

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