Kim's interview after Sydney final
January 12, 2007
Q. Talk about how you felt after the second set.
KIM CLIJSTERS: You know, when you're down like that, I think the only thing you can do is just fight really hard. It doesn't matter what the score is. I had the feeling that we were both playing really good tennis and it could go either way. It was just a few points here or there that could change things over. Those are all little details that make a difference. Even with match point against you, you try not to focus, you try not to think about that, you just try to remain calm and just do what I was doing well throughout the whole match and that was playing aggressive. So yeah.
Q. Do you learn a lot from a match like that? You've played lots of pressure games in Grand Slam finals. Do you learn a lot from a match like that?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Yes, you do. I think also by having a lot of experience, that also helps, as well. Playing big matches, playing finals here before, that always helps. You get to know yourself better or your emotions a lot better when you play Grand Slams or finals where you're losing and trying to come back, and that's something that you can always use when you play matches like this.
It was fun. It was a good atmosphere to be out there today.
Q. With so much noise throughout the match the way it was, how did you manage to stay composed?
KIM CLIJSTERS: You just try to -- when there's so much going on I think it's easier. You just focus on what you have to do on the court and you try to block everything else out and just try to really focus on the people that are supporting you and the people that were sitting in my box or the people just around the stands that were supporting me, and you just try to feed off their energy I think a little bit, and that definitely helps.
It felt like a soccer match out there, but it was fun. You know, I think it's great, I think, for tennis to see someone like her who's I think one of the only players who -- there's only a couple -- I think Ivanovic is from Serbia, too, but just to see so much support here. That's great for her, as well.
Q. It must have been unusual to have the crowd actually at one point boo you. Have you ever had that experience before? What did it feel like?
KIM CLIJSTERS: You do when you play like Fed Cup matches and stuff. I mean, you have these situations. But again, you just try to block that all out and you just try to feed off the positive atmosphere out there. Booing, too, I know that it was the people who were supporting her, and that's what -- it was like a real soccer game, that's what it felt like. I've never had that before, that experience, so it was definitely a match that I'll remember for a very long time.
Q. Jelena missed a volley which would have given her two match points when she was serving for the match. Did you see that as the turning point? Did you feel that was when she was starting to tighten up a little bit?
KIM CLIJSTERS: I don't know. I mean, that just gives me a little bit more of like -- yeah, she might get nervous when it's close or when it's getting important, so it wasn't really up to me to -- I had to make sure that I was playing aggressive tennis and not let her -- not wait for the mistake to happen. I had to make sure that I kept playing aggressive and went for my shots, and if she played too good, then it's too good and she wins. I was definitely going to try to run every ball down, and then luckily enough she misses a few volleys. That's the only thing you can try is just keep running, and eventually they get a little nervous, as well, just like everybody else out there. Just the timing, yeah -- a little bit of luck, too, you need, just a little bit of everything.
Q. You've been on the other side trying to close out matches. Did you see she was tightening up late in that second set?
KIM CLIJSTERS: I didn't really have that feeling. Normally when you play an opponent who's tightening up a little bit you can really feel it from the ground strokes, and she was still hitting very deep, hitting to the lines, and she was definitely still putting a lot of pressure into her strokes. Normally when you tighten up you try to defend a little bit more and there's not as much power and aggression in your shots. I didn't really feel that out there. Maybe a little bit in the beginning of the third set where maybe just the whole atmosphere I think got her a little bit down, and I just felt like I could really take advantage of that the first few games of the third set.
Q. She said when she was in here earlier that she felt she lost the game, that she should have -- lost the match, that she had it there for the taking.
KIM CLIJSTERS: But that's tennis. It's never over, and it doesn't matter if you miss a volley. It was still 30-All I think at that time, so anything can still happen. I was down match point, so it's easy to think it's over. You should never think like that. You should always try to find a way to make the next point better. Even if you make a mistake with the volley, don't think about it anymore, just refocus and forget about it and just start all over.
Q. Does this perfect farewell to Sydney give you a deeper understanding of what your final year is going to be like?
KIM CLIJSTERS: It is. It's very special. Like I said in the beginning of the week, I mean, I never expected to win here and to play in a match like this and to have that last match here in these kind of circumstances. I mean, I wouldn't wish for a better goodbye than this one, and it was just nice at the ceremony, and all the people that I've met throughout the years here in Sydney and the volunteers in the locker room and the women here, and it's nice to say goodbye to all those people and thank them for their work. It was very special. Like I said before, it's a day I will remember for a very long time.
Q. Will it be tougher than you thought, all the farewells?
KIM CLIJSTERS: I think after that match I was just so relieved that I won, and just all of a sudden you just, ahh, it's off your shoulders and you just relax, and you just try to rest. It's very hard to describe that feeling, but when you walk off the court, you think, this is the last time. It was nice to have that support and just I really appreciate it a lot more.
Q. Is the best platform to go into Melbourne, putting some good testing matches, good atmosphere, heat, pressure, all of it?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, it is good, but at the moment I just want to try to recover. That's I think the main goal at the moment. I mean, my legs feel pretty dead. I'm flying early tomorrow morning, so it'll be a short night, and the next couple of days -- hopefully I can have a Tuesday start, and the next couple days just try to rest a lot, probably not going to hit too many tennis balls, just do a lot of jogging and stretching and just some lighter stuff just to recover. That's I think the most important thing now is not really think too far ahead, just focusing on things I have to do first to make me feel 100 percent again so that I don't get any -- because this is very draining, I think, on the body.
It puts a lot of pressure, especially on my hips and everything. I felt like it was very -- I was walking down and up the stairs and I was very tired, so I have to make sure before I start playing very intense again, I have to make sure that everything is at its best again.
Q. No snakes and koala bears?
KIM CLIJSTERS: No.
The most wasted of all days is one without laughter....
Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there
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