Kim & Serena's Interview -
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old Jan 23rd, 2003, 06:46 AM Thread Starter
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Kim & Serena's Interview

S. WILLIAMS/K. Clijsters
4-6, 6-3, 7-5

Q. Two double-faults there at a tough spot. Was that the shakes? What is going on?
KIM CLIJSTERS: No, I was feeling pretty good, even that game. That's probably the only thing I regret a little bit is those two double-faults, because I don't know if I would do, you know, anything different in those games where I was up. I think she just, you know, started playing so much more aggressive and she hardly made any unforced errors anymore compared to in the beginning of that third set.

Q. Was it difficult for you to step up your game at the time she raised her level?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Well, you know, if she plays her best tennis, it's very hard to, you know, beat her. That's what she did towards the end. She just, you know, tried to go for everything. She hit everything a little bit harder and closer to the line.
But I kept fighting. I can't blame myself for anything, you know. I just kept trying and tried to hang in there. At the end, you know, it just wasn't good enough at the end.

Q. The extended injury time, did that break your concentration?
KIM CLIJSTERS: No, because I think I won the next few games. So, you know, it's always -- I mean, it's always nicer, I think, if you know the match can keep going, also for the spectators I think it's nicer.
But, you know, I mean -- I think she had some blisters and stuff. Those can be very painful I think. You have to be, you know, you have to have them treated I think if you want to -- like if you have them, yeah.

Q. It's an obvious question. You must be bitterly disappointed with that loss. Can you tell us what emotions or feelings were going through your mind at the time.
KIM CLIJSTERS: I don't know. Of course I'm disappointed because I was close to beating her. But on the other hand, you know, like I just said before, I just, you know, gave everything I had. And, you know, I was close, you know, really close to winning that. Like even on matchpoint she just came up with too good of shots.
It's disappointing, but, you know, I just try to keep my chin up and, you know, there's a next tournament, my next tournament is Antwerp. I'm really looking forward to go home and play that. I play in front of a Belgian crowd.

Q. Do you feel like you've been overrun in the end?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Well, she was playing really well. She, yeah, she just played, you know, so much more aggressive. The only thing is that I could have made some more first serves, I think, just try to get into a little bit of an advantage from the beginning of the point.
But, you know, she hit some really good returns and everything. That's why, you know, she's No. 1 and she can step it up.

Q. Did she say anything to you afterwards?
KIM CLIJSTERS: We've always, you know, been really nice to each other. You know, I have a lot of, you know, respect for every player. No, I mean, she just -- I mean, I can't even remember what she said. But I, you know, congratulated her. I said that she deserved to win.

Q. Everybody thinks you've moved up a level, I mean, very close to the Williams sisters. How did you achieve this rise?
KIM CLIJSTERS: I don't know. It's just, I think, a lot of things together I think. You know, experience and just hard work, I think. I think this is my fourth or fifth year on the tour. Out of every match you win or lose, you learn something. I got more consistent, and I think that's probably been my main, you know, step forward, is my consistency I think so far, yep.

Q. You've played Venus and Serena. Who is the hardest to beat?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Well, they're both tough. They have, you know, they have different things, I think. Serena has a better serve and a better second serve than Venus, I think. So against Venus you can sometimes take a little bit more of an advantage from that second serve.
But, you know, on the other hand, Venus, she's very, very tough, you know, very tough competitor as well. Keeps hanging in there. Runs well. So they're both tough. I mean, it's very hard to say who's the toughest or, you know, who's the best.

Q. Thinking back on that match, it seemed from outside you either lost it instead of her win it. Was it nerves?
KIM CLIJSTERS: No, I wasn't nervous at all actually. No, not at all. No, I don't know. No, I think, like I said, I think she just started hitting the winners and much more than what she was in the beginning of the third set, where I went 5-1 up.

Q. Both Serena and Venus are getting a bit tired of the questions about the gap between the players.
KIM CLIJSTERS: So am I actually.

Q. Does today suggest the gap's not that big?
KIM CLIJSTERS: No, I think they probably know that as well. You know, it's just a matter of having to -- for you guys, you ask it once, but, you know, we have to answer it from each one of you, you know.
So it's -- because we were actually joking about it yesterday in the locker room after our matches, you know. She goes, "Oh, I'm so sick of all these questions." I said, "Well, so am I. Why don't we just boycott it all?" (Laughter).
No, but it's -- yeah, I mean, I think this match shows, and I think in other matches it's showed before that, you know, more players are getting close to them - not just me.

Q. How sore are you after doing all those splits?
KIM CLIJSTERS: I'm not sore, no (smiling).

Q. What does it feel like to be embraced like you are by the Australian public?
KIM CLIJSTERS: It's a great feeling. Like even though I lost, I enjoyed every moment that I had on the court today and just playing in front of the crowd. Just made me, you know, even enjoy it a lot more than other matches. Big match, center court, like a Grand Slam. Yeah, it was a great feeling, even though I lost. I still had a great time out there.

Q. There's suggestion about an Agassi-Graf team, what about Clijsters-Hewitt?
KIM CLIJSTERS: We've played before. I think we made the quarters of the French and the finals of Wimbledon once. But it's just, you know, I think if Steffi would have been playing singles still, I don't think she would have been playing both either.
I don't know. You know, who knows. Once, when our careers are maybe slowing down a little bit, we might just put some mixed doubles in it as well. I really enjoy playing mixed doubles. It's a lot of fun, very relaxing. Yeah, I have a good partner (laughter).

Q. You had two matchpoints. Would you have played those any differently in retrospect?
KIM CLIJSTERS: No, no. I mean, she took the risk, literally. She came to the net, you know, and just went for it. So, you know, all the credit to her I think on those points to take such a big risk to really go for her shots, yeah.

Q. Was there any point where you started to feel like you were losing control?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Not really. Like, you know, I could feel that she was really trying to step it up and that she was, you know, hitting the balls a lot more aggressive and had almost none unforced errors at the end. That's when you just have to say, "Too good." You know, that's why she's the No. 1. That's why, you know, she's won, I think, one of the last, you know -- the three Grand Slams in a row now, yeah.

Q. Last winter you were having to rehab your shoulder a couple hours a day. Have you gotten over the hump?
KIM CLIJSTERS: I'm still doing all that stuff. It's maybe not as disciplined as what it was a year ago, but I still, you know, spend a lot of -- you know, maybe I'll do my exercises one day and then have one day off. But I still do it, like about four times, five times a week.
That's something that I really, really have to keep doing as long as I play tennis. It's not a matter of once I feel better I have to stop it, because then it's a problem that can come back very easily. So I just have to keep it up. You know, it can be a bit boring sometimes. I have to just keep in mind it's for me to play tennis. Otherwise, I wouldn't be able to do it.

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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old Jan 23rd, 2003, 06:46 AM Thread Starter
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4-6, 6-3, 7-5

Q. Were you in your A game for the last six games?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think pretty much I picked up my game a lot for the last six games. I just -- I don't know if it was my A game. I can't recall. Maybe I have to look at some film and see.

Q. What was the injury? What was the matter with your foot?
SERENA WILLIAMS: A couple, three different blisters in different areas, so... Pretty nasty down there.

Q. At what point did you believe you could win?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, it's not that I never thought I was going to lose, but I never went out there saying, "Oh ...
I don't know. I kept fighting. I thought, "I don't want to lose 6-1." Then I said, "I don't want to lose 6-2." So I just kept fighting. Next thing I know, I came back.
It was just an unbelievable battle out there.

Q. For one and a half sets, it looked like you were very uncomfortable. What was going on at that time?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I didn't really have a great ^ practice that I wanted to. I was out there making too many errors on my backhand. I wasn't moving my feet enough. I just wasn't doing the things that I needed to do. Not only that, she was really playing an unbelievable game. She was doing all the right things at all the right times. She was just playing great tennis.
I don't know, I just was a little uncomfortable.

Q. What we saw in the third set, apprehension, was the injury part of the reason?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, it wasn't even -- it wasn't the injury, I just needed to be retaped because I had it taped and it kind of slipped, so it was starting to burn, so I needed my foot just to be retaped again. That took some time.

Q. You said you never thought you were going to lose in the first round. How about today?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't go out there thinking, "Gosh, I'm going to lose." I don't care if I'm down 6-Love, 5 -Love, Love-40. I always think positively out there always say, "Let me try a little harder, try a little harder. Just go for one point, just this point." So I never believe in losing like that. I just always trying to think about positive.

Q. Have you thought about what separates you from the Serena Slam?
SERENA WILLIAMS: One match and Venus (smiling).

Q. Facing Venus on Saturday, will you change your preparation and practicing with Venus? Is this a time when your mom maybe steps out from the coach's box and goes back to being mom?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, she technically just -- if I'm having a bad practice, she'll say, "Okay, Serena, bend your knees, move up, do this, do that." She doesn't necessarily quit all together and say, "I don't care." She still gives us our techniques and what we both need to do. When we go out there, whoever performs the best, whoever does the best, is able to go on.

Q. Would you describe that as your greatest ever fight back, Serena?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I know this might sound crazy, but no. I was down worse one time. I was down 2-6 -- no, I think I lost the first set 6-1 to Lindsay Davenport, and I was down 2-5, 15-40. I was able to come back and win that match.
I've had some tough fights and comebacks. I think in anyone's career, they're always going to have to have one comeback in their lifetime.

Q. Where was that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: That was actually in Sydney. I've had a lot of matches like this where I'm fighting and coming back.

Q. This is the first Australian Open title for either Williams. Does that make it extra special?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yes, it is, because people say - we just are always battling our critics out there - we never really get out to a strong start in the beginning of the year. And this is great for me because I have no points to defend. This is a good time for me to gain points since I have so many points later on to try to defend. I think this is a great opportunity.

Q. You and Venus both have this wonderful tenacity. Do you have any idea where it comes from?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I've always been a fighter. I don't know. I just keep fighting. I don't know where it comes from. I've always been a fighter. I think I give Venus a little bit of a fight. She said she didn't have as much fight before I came out. So who knows. It's innate.

Q. How do you now go out and play doubles?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, got to start over. I want to go ahead and try to win this title. We'll see. I'm going to go out there and try to make my returns, probably play a little better than I did in my singles match. You know, just have fun. Whatever happens happens.

Q. Do you think Venus is going to come at you in a different way than the last three Grand Slams?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Venus is actually playing a little better than me at this tournament, so I have to make sure. I don't know, I just got to pull something out of my back pocket to be able to go onto the next level tomorrow, because she's playing really well here.
But, obviously, I would like to win one more match. Granted, she wants to win this one, as well, wants to get her year started. Who knows, she's probably trying to win all four, as well. I'm just trying to win one, too.

Q. Can you imagine how Kim feels now?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, Kim, she's not only a good tennis player, but she's a great person and I think she'll make a great champion because she is always positive. Even if inside she's dying, she always looks positive, she always smiles. We were actually chatting in the locker room. You can appreciate that, because after I lose, I used -- when I was younger, I would be angry. But now it's just a game, and I just wish the other person good luck in the future.
You can appreciate how she does that.

Q. So you were just chatting with her after the match?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah. We were having trouble with our cell phones working in the locker room.

Q. Do you view yourself as the underdog on the basis of the semifinals?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. I never -- I don't know. I'm just going to go out there and try to win two sets by any means necessary.

Q. Do you think Venus can push you further than Kim did today?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I hope not. I mean, I don't know. Kim played just really, really well. I was really lucky I think to be able to get through this match.

Q. You've had such an amazing high emotionally just a few minutes ago. I would think you possibly are feeling a little down now. How are you going to crank yourself up to play doubles?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, just -- you know, actually I won the US Open and had to go out and - my first US Open - and had to go out and play doubles half hour later, I was able to win. I'm just going to do it again. That was a bit more of a high for me back then.

Q. With Venus the next day and a half, will you talk about the final at all or you won't deal with it in any kind of overt way? Is it a big white elephant sitting in the room? How do you deal with that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: We just will probably talk about our semifinal matches. Like I always say, we never really talk about tennis outside of the tennis court because, you know, I don't want to bring my work -- I don't like to bring my work home. I try to separate the two. We don't really talk about our jobs in our house.

Q. You won't joke about it, say, "I'm going to get you, big sis," anything like that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: We don't have corny jokes like that (laughter).

Q. I saw you had a super dress on with a glitter strap. Did you design that yourself?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I did. I put the little glitter on it, the whole nine yards. I try to have fun with my outfits. If they're not really snazzy the way I like it, I try to make them a little better.

Q. Out of the four Grand Slam finals you played, how do you rate this one? Is this the nicest one because it was the hardest to get?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I've had a tough time at the French Open, as well. I had an unbelievable semifinal against Jennifer Capriati. Plus that one was just amazing because it was on clay. Like I said, we've been battling our critics. People say, "The Williams sisters can't play on clay." That was also something really special to me.
Each one has a special meaning. Getting to the finals of Wimbledon is just something I'm not going to forget, and the one at my home, the US Open, it's always great to be a part of, that night match. Here, I'm also aware because it's real special for me to be for the first time in Australia. Just to be in the final right now is just really, really special.
Each one has a special meaning.

Q. You said on the court you thought you were going to lose. Was that just for the public? Now you've gone back to being positive.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I just never think I'm going to lose. I just don't want people to think I'm too cocky. It's always something with us Williams sisters, you know. "They're too cocky." Whatever (laughter).

Q. You don't like to talk about opponents, but do you think Kim could be the main challenger to you and your sister this year?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think Kim is definitely a main challenger to us this year. Has definitely picked up her game. Since day one, I've always had a tough match against Kim. The first time I played her I believe was at the US Open in 1999. So she's always been a tough competitor.
Yeah, she's a main challenge to the Williams sisters.

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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old Jan 23rd, 2003, 06:55 AM
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They were both very mature and nice interview. I'd just like to comment that what Serena said about Kim being nice to her when she (Serena) wouldn't have been at the same age was not only a nice thing to say but shows a great deal of self-insight. Serena really has grown up a lot.

It's clear they are great friends too.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old Jan 23rd, 2003, 06:56 AM
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Nice ladies.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old Jan 23rd, 2003, 07:00 AM
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2 things I enjoyed:

Q. Both Serena and Venus are getting a bit tired of the questions about the gap between the players.
KIM CLIJSTERS: So am I actually.

Q. You won't joke about it, say, "I'm going to get you, big sis," anything like that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: We don't have corny jokes like that (laughter).
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old Jan 23rd, 2003, 07:07 AM
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I like the fact that Kim said she was getting tired of the SAME damn questions, I'm tired of it too. Now I see why Capriati broke down crying in her interview, same questions all the time, it gets old.

Also, you can tell Serena is really listening to the Media b/c she is starting to comment on the little things they say. I know people jokingly say the critics motivate the sisters, I think there may be some truth to that, everytime they say what the Sisters CANT do, they go out a do it.

Back to Kim....She is just such a great person, hopefully she can snag a slam in the near future.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old Jan 23rd, 2003, 07:10 AM
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WOW! Great interviews from both ladies. They both are so composed after that grueling match. I don't think I'd be able to talk, let alone think of intelligent things to say.

They are BOTH classy. Really wonderful to see that they respect each other. Kim's got a great positive attitude. She is so down-to-earth and just honest. Let's it all out there and is very real. She's got a great career ahead of her.

Serena is very smart. And she likes flirting and toying with the media. Sassy Serena!

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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old Jan 23rd, 2003, 07:14 AM
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Serena and Kim are classy women. It's the media who makes stupid stuff up. This is going to be a great rivalry in the future.

Kim is still young, she'll get her grandslams.

Only after the last tree has been cut down
Only after the last river has been poisoned
Only after the last fish has been caught
Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten. "Cree Native American Prophecy"
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old Jan 23rd, 2003, 07:14 AM
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Both are sweet .

It's the media that are f***ed up. I heard on the radio that the reporters in their bunker were all cheering on Kim and whenever Serena won a point they were disappointed.

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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old Jan 23rd, 2003, 07:21 AM
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and do you haters now see the gamesmanship? there is none! not even kim said there is, so how do you all figure that serena was wrong? kim even said she needs to get those "blisters" meaning both of them treated!

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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old Jan 23rd, 2003, 07:27 AM
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I like the interviews.
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old Jan 23rd, 2003, 07:40 AM
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great interviews by both girls...

Of even more significance, there's this little gap in Graf's resume the size of the hole in the ozone layer: It's called Monica Seles. Was Graf the best female player of all time? She wasn't even the best in the heart of her career.
- Frank Deford, Sports Illustrated 27/8/01
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