An interview with:
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Kim.
Q. Was that a continuation of your Brisbane form?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Uhm, yeah. I think I felt very comfortable when I went
out there in the beginning, and I think sometimes that can be a little
bit different at the start of the year.
Obviously my matches in Brisbane have definitely helped me to try to
keep everything going. But obviously I was very pleased that I was on a
court where they could closed the roof.
Although the match before me took a little bit longer, so that ‑‑ but,
yeah, I'm one of the lucky ones who gets to finish the match today. So
that's probably one of the other things that I'm very happy with.
Q. What is your form like compared to the US Open? Are you in a better
frame of mind, hitting the ball better?
KIM CLIJSTERS: I mean, I don't really like to compare. Obviously each
Grand Slam is different. You obviously, you know, even in a tournament,
every day is different. There's days where you wake up and you're like,
Why do I feel a little bit more tired than usual? So you just try to
push yourself or try to aim to having that consistency all the time.
So I think that's what I'm still trying to do. I think in Brisbane I was
a little bit inconsistent once in a while during my matches. Obviously
that's something that I'm really trying to focus on, is trying to make
sure I stay consistent. Or even when I feel like my level is dropping a
little bit, that I jump on it straightaway or that I notice it. That's
what I'm working on.
Obviously, there were a lot of different things that I was working on,
you know, when I was playing in the States at my first two tournaments
leading up to the US Open, and in the US Open as well.
So everything, it always changes. You always have different things that
you're focusing on and you're working on. That's why I think it's really
hard to compare the way that you're feeling I think, too, yeah.
But I feel good.
Q. What do you think of how Valerie played in the second set?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, you know, she definitely played ‑‑ I think she was
a little bit intimidated by the court and the atmosphere a little bit,
which is normal. I mean, if you haven't been in a situation like that ‑
and I remember my first few times when I stepped out on center court ‑
it's a little bit overwhelming. You kind of just want to block it out,
but it's very hard to.
So she definitely played some tricky tennis. I would like to say she's
an opponent that's very hard to read. She has a technique that's really
hard to read. She served well. She served a lot better in that second
set and she looked a little bit more comfortable.
You know, she obviously qualified here, so she had a little bit of
confidence going. And I think, you know, yeah, I'm going to be watching
her throughout this year. I think it's always fun for me, as well, to
play against a new opponent and see how they'll do throughout the year
now that she's qualified and she'll get her ranking up a little bit.
Q. What is your target as far as the level you can get back to? Would
you be happy if you got back to the same level as what you had before
you stopped playing, or do you think you can actually get better?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, I think that maybe sometimes ‑‑ I'm not saying I'm
consistent all the time, but, you know, I maybe feel a little bit better
sometimes. I think physically definitely I've improved a lot because the
way that I play, it's a very physical type of tennis, especially, you
know, once ‑‑ obviously maybe not today, but I think when the matches
get tougher, I think, you know, the type of tennis that I play and the
way that I move, it's more physical.
And so that was obviously my biggest concern, is 'cause I had those few
injuries at the end of my career. You know, that was obviously, yeah, a
And I think physically‑wise I feel stronger, and obviously in my mind
that's already a big advantage. So in that way, uhm, maybe, yeah, I feel
maybe a little bit more secure I think out there.
Q. Are there still some butterflies at a Grand Slam?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah. You know, I can take the best of both worlds. I
have the experience from the past, but I haven't been here for so long.
So I think that's why it all feels new again. It doesn't feel the same
way as it did when I was 15 or 16 because, you know, I've been here
But I'm really excited to get out there and to play well and to play big
matches obviously. That's what you do it for. You lose some; you win
some. But the ones that you lose will make you work even harder and
So, uhm, yeah, the butterflies are there, but they're not the same
butterflies as, you know, the ones when I was 15 or, you know, where I
couldn't sleep the night before a match or something.
But, yeah, it's a good feeling to have.
Q. This is the sixth tournament in your comeback. When do you think the
questions will stop about the comeback?
KIM CLIJSTERS: I don't know. Maybe ask your colleagues that (laughter).
No, uhm, I mean, I assume if I'm going to start going to each ‑‑ each
tournament I play, there's different media. And to me it doesn't feel
like a comeback anymore. You know, definitely Cincinnati, Indian Wells,
first Grand Slam, it definitely felt like that.
And that's why I played those three tournaments at the end of last year,
because I wanted to get the feelings within myself, I wanted to get used
to all that again, get used to the whole comeback situation.
So but to me that doesn't feel like that anymore. But I understand that
when I go to ‑‑ you know, whether I'm playing in Indian Wells or if I go
to Stuttgart, you know, I understand that those questions will pop up
once in a while.
Q. So there's not parts of the game that are still rusty six or seven
months in? You feel like everything is up to that level?
KIM CLIJSTERS: No. You know, there's definitely a lot of things that I'm
still working on every day. But that wasn't any different, you know, a
few years ago.
Like I said, you know, tennis will be very easy if every day we could
just, you know, choose a program and say, Okay, today I would like to
play like this. You know, it doesn't work like that.
So every time, every day, every tournament you just kind of have to
reset your buttons and just, you know, go and try to take in what
happened in the past, try to keep the good feelings good, but also learn
from situations where you weren't playing well or, Why wasn't I feeling
good that match, you know.
And I think that's something now that I'm a little bit older, I'm a lot
‑‑ I think I'm better able to acknowledge those situations a little bit
better and learn from it, maybe where in the past I would maybe rush
through them a little bit too quickly.
I think now, you know, it happens. It's normal. We're human beings.
Things happen where, like I said, you can have a bad day at the office.
But you just have to try to learn from it and not ignore it.
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