This is still about Elke, but dates from Montréal. It's an entertaining interview!
Interview with Elke Clijsters, Montreal, August 26, 2002
Q:What made you decide to come to Montreal this year?
Elke: These are my last two junior tournaments probably. I wanted to play the US Open, a Grand Slam, and I came here to prepare.
Q: Have you been to Montreal before?
Q: How do you like it?
Elke: It's nice. I like the weather.
Q: Being from Belgium, do you speak French?
Elke: No, just a little. I'm Flemish, I speak a little French.
Q: Do you speak any other languages?
Elke: English, Flemish and French. German I understand but I don't speak it.
Q: It's an interesting question. We find that a lot of players from Europe speak several different languages.
Elke: You only speak English?
Q: I'm not a language person. I have enough trouble with English. Are you playing mostly professional now?
Elke: I will. After this one I am going to Tokyo and Germany. These are two women's tournaments. I've got a wild card for both tournaments. Maybe next year I'll play grand slams only in juniors but I don't know yet. I'll see what my coach says.
Q: Are you going to miss juniors?
Elke: Oh yes, I love the juniors. It's always fun with the boys and girls together. I love that.
Q: You seem to have a very outgoing personality, and you seem to get along with all the other players.
Elke: (giggle). I don't know why. I just talk to everybody.
Q: How long have you been playing juniors?
Elke: started about 3 years ago. I played a few tournaments. I had a wild card. Before Australia I was around 400 in the rankings. I had to play qualies there and I made it to the quarterfinals. It helped my ranking which is about 30 something now.
Q: Are you a natural at tennis or do you have to work at it?
Elke: Every one says I have natural talent but I'm not talented at all. I have to work hard at it.
Q: Where do you see yourself ten years from now?
Elke: With a family, with a little baby.....
Q: OK 5 years from now?
Elke: Everybody seems to ask me that question. I really don't know, I wish I knew but.....I just don't know. I can see for next year. If I am injured or don't like tennis anymore I will stop, go to school, go out with my friends.
Q: You don't feel that you have to play?
Elke: No. I am playing for myself. I want to be good, and I hope in five years I will be a top player and play grand slams.
Q: Do you play in the shadow of your sister? Is that a problem for you?
Elke: Well, I'm just playing. I started playing when she was playing. But I'm just playing now because I like it. It's more difficult because she is my sister and everybody compares me with her. They say things like 'when are you coming to TV' and 'when are you going to play the big tournaments'.
Q: It must be a lot of pressure for you.
Elke: I had a lot of pressure, in the beginning when Kim was starting to be good. When I was around 15 I felt the pressure and played terrible, but now I have my own life and it doesn't bother me anymore, not at all.
Q: There seems to be a lot of camaraderie among the players. Do you build up friendships that last?
Elke: It's fun playing in the juniors. When you get older you play the 10,000, 15,000 and they are all women, that's why I like the juniors ... it's a mixture. You have fun with the guys.
Q: You didn't go to the US Open last year?
Q: Well, It's a great way to finish off your junior career. We noticed a lot of players are staying away this year. Do you think it was because of 9/11?
Elke: No. I think lots of players are having problems with their visa's. I think that is why they are not coming, not because they are scared or anything.
Q: Any other tennis players at home apart from you and Kim?
Elke: Just us two in my family. We have a lot of good players from Belgium. Steve Darcis, he's very good and Kirsten Flipkens, she has a good ranking and she is so talented.
Q: How does everybody treat you at home. Are you a celebrity?
Elke: In Belgium, in the city where I live, they all know me because my dad and my sister and they know me a little bit. When I go to the city shopping you can see people looking, but it is nothing big.
Q: Is tennis one of the big sports in Belgium?
Elke: Yes, tennis and soccer also.
Q: Have you developed a lot of close friendships from players in other countries?
Elke: Yes, I have friends from all over. We email a lot. I get along with a lot of players now because we see each other at tournaments but I don't know if we will still have contact a few years from now.
Q: Will you still show an interest for the players your developed friendships with in the juniors?
Elke: Yes, like if I see them on TV and they have a good win. I will probably e-mail them and let them know I watched or tell them congratulations. Yes...I will.