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September 6, 2003

Kim Clijsters


THE MODERATOR: Questions in English for Kim, please.

Q. Were you more nervous here tonight than at the French?

KIM CLIJSTERS: No, I think the same feeling. You know, I think the same as -- I think I was definitely a little bit more nervous. I think that's why I had a bit of a slow start at it today, definitely, yeah.

Q. Were you surprised at how she came out -- first of all, did you watch her match with Jennifer last night?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, I did. Yep.

Q. Were you surprised she was able to come out with such force after a match like that?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I don't know. You know, because she's a very fit player. She had enough time, I think, to recover. I mean, you know, her movement is the strongest part of her game. She definitely, I mean, she moved really well again tonight. So, you know, she also told me after the match, you know, that she was feeling she recovered really well after last night's match.

Q. That must have been annoying?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Well, no. I mean, it's, you know, great that she can, you know, recover that quickly. Yeah, but it's -- that just shows how good of an athlete she is, how much she's worked on her strength and endurance.

Q. Was there a question in your mind today, were you ever thinking, "We might not get a final here, she might not play"?


Q. Were you disappointed in your own performance tonight?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, yeah, I was. You know, I definitely felt like, you know, the first six matches that I played coming into the final, I definitely played a lot better and I definitely got a much higher level than I got today. On the other hand, I played an opponent who was, you know, the best one out there today. And it was definitely, you know, the best one out of the whole tournament.

Q. Is it going to get more difficult to win a Grand Slam title, the more finals you lose?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Sorry? You can speak up a bit. I can't hear you very well.

Q. Would it be more difficult to win a Grand Slam title, the more finals you lose?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I don't know. I would love to play some more Grand Slam finals. But, like I said, I always want to take the positive out of the tournaments. Although it's very disappointing now, you know, to have lost here, but, I felt like today, I think Justine just was too strong again, had an answer for a lot of my shots. She just dealt with it really well.

Q. Do you know what the positives are for you from this tournament?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Oh, yeah, for sure. I've, like I said before, played incredible tennis for my first six matches. And, you know, so far my whole season has been really good, you know. I'm definitely not complaining about the way I've been playing. That's why I don't want, by losing this match, I don't want to, you know, make these type of matches, you know, sort of overlook all the good things that I've done already this season. So I think I just have to keep working hard, get fitter, get stronger and make sure, you know, my shoulder and stuff, those things stay all right. And just, you know, finish off the season.

Q. What are the specific things you can do to do better against Justine?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I think especially with Justine, because she moves so well, you know, she makes you go for a lot of things. She makes you, you know, when you play, you have to -- you feel like you have to hit the balls close to the lines. If you're not at your best, you're a little bit off, then it's very hard against her because she makes you really, you know -- you have to play your best tennis to beat her. You have to play aggressive. You have to play, you know, very, like I said, close to the lines and very specific. And if, you know, you don't have that against her that day, it's very tough to beat her.

Q. Do you think she's a more difficult opponent now than she was, say, before the French, now that she's got confidence having won in Paris?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I don't know. I don't think so. I think definitely from, you know, the last time I played her in the beginning of the year was in Sydney and in Antwerp as well. That's definitely -- she definitely is physically a lot stronger. I think that's where she got a lot of confidence out of herself, for herself as well. Because she knows she's capable of competing, you know, with the strong girls, because she's, you know, feels like she's stronger and she can hit the ball really hard now as well. I think that's definitely something that gave her a lot of confidence, I think.

Q. Considering her size, she's 5'5, maybe weighs 125 pounds, do you know of any other players on the tour that are as driven to success as she is?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I mean, it's hard to say because I definitely think there's a lot of girls. You know, there's a lot of girls - I mentioned girls like Amanda Coetzer - who are definitely. She's definitely very competitive. She deserves all the results that she's had.

Q. Did you get back to the hotel to see the rest of her match? At what point in the match did you get back?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I don't really remember exactly what time. You know, I mean, it took us a while, you know. I think I left here after the second set so, yeah, I mean, it was almost over...

Q. But it was still on when you got back?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, yeah.

Q. What did you think?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Oh, it was great. Just great watching, as well. You know, like I said on the court, I think that was definitely one of the -- I'm sure it will be one of the best matches of this year - maybe of the US Open, the whole history, I think.

Q. As you watched that match, in your mind, were you thinking, "This has to be good for me"?

KIM CLIJSTERS: No, no. Because, you know, you know that, you know, I know that Justine is very fit. You know, maybe if I would have -- if it would have been a 1

o'clock or 2 o'clock final, then maybe, it could have been a little bit different, and she didn't have all the time to recover. But like having, you know, the finals at 8 o'clock, I think - which is great, you know, I'm definitely not putting anything on that - but, you know, definitely gave her a lot more time, I think, to recover. Yeah.

Q. Did you know that she was getting an IV?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yes. Yeah, yeah.

Q. You tuned back into the third set, was she at that point down 2-5?

KIM CLIJSTERS: No, I didn't see that, no. No.

Q. If you had tuned in, you saw it was 5-2 for Capriati in the third, would you have thought, "This is not over yet"?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Oh, yeah, for sure. Especially against Justine. When I started watching, there was a little bit of wind as well. That's where it's even tougher, I think, for the opponent, because you feel like you have to be very consistent and, you know, win. I thought Jennifer was struggling a little bit and with finishing off as well. Justine just kept hanging in there, kept making your opponents, you know, make -- produce the unforced error. She did that really well yesterday against Jennifer.

Q. Did you change your plan in any way based on that match?

KIM CLIJSTERS: No, no. I think every player just has to go out playing their own game and just, you know, have in mind what the strengths and weaknesses are a little bit from your opponent.

Q. What do you think of the atmosphere tonight?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Oh, it was great. Yeah. I mean, it's always, you know, getting to these Grand Slam finals, even the semifinals, to play those night matches, this was definitely a new experience - playing a finals of a Grand Slam at night. I mean, with the ceremony and everything before, like it was nice to be a part of, yep.

Q. Did you think the crowd were a little quiet tonight?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Well, I don't know. Maybe in a way it's normal, I think. Because I'm sure it would have been a completely different atmosphere out there today if there would have been two Americans or one American. That would even be, you know, be more one-sided, I think. But I think definitely the crowd today, you know, was very divided, I think.

Q. How good is Flipkens? How long is it going to take her to make an impact?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, she's in the finals again here. I definitely think she has the game and the attitude and, you know, she has the will, you know. I've been very lucky to have been a part of her career a little bit and to get to know her - like her family and, you know, her mom and my mom are best friends. So it's, yeah, I mean, great to see that she's in another final here.

Q. Three years?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Well, that's very hard to say. It all, you know -- I'm not a -- I hope the sooner, the better for her. It's tough, you know, going from, you know -- it's a completely different circuit, you know, going from the Juniors to the pro tour. That's -- but I'm sure she'll get there. I'm not really, you know, a card reader or anything. I don't really know how long it's gonna take her. But I'm sure she's -- I mean, any junior who plays that well on a lot of surfaces like her will -- I'm sure she'll get pretty far on the WTA Tour.

End of FastScripts….

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