Wednesday January 19, 2011
Kim Clijsters's interview after her win over Dinara Safina at the Australian Open 2011
MELBOURNE, Australia--(LadyDragon.com)19/01/11--Kim Clijsters's interview after her win over Dinara Safina at the Australian Open 2011
Q. You won six times 6 Love, 6 Love at Grand Slam tournaments in the past. What does it take to go through consistently from the first point to the last point of the match?
KIM CLIJSTERS: I mean, you know, obviously I can only speak for myself. But when you feel that your opponent is not playing their best tennis, you really just try not to focus on that too much. You try not to lose focus. You try not to become a little bit more easygoing and just thinking, Oh, this is going to be easy. You try to keep that same mentality as when you started 0 0.
Obviously, when I found out my draw last week, my mind has been on this match already for a while. I know that if she plays her best, I have to almost play my best tennis to beat her. That's what I came out here to do.
I expect my opponent to come out and play their best tennis. She obviously didn't do that today. But my attitude still was there to try and finish it off and not let her get back in the match, build some confidence, build some rhythm.
Yeah, I think she played her best game at 5 Love in the second set where she started playing her usual game that I'm used to playing against her where she goes down the line with the backhand, where she's serving bigger first serves.
But, you know, a little late.
Q. Do you feel it's a little bit sad she's struggling so much?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, it is. You know, because she was a person who made the biggest impression on me when I started again, not just because of her fitness, because she looks a lot fitter, but, yeah, I don't know, she just doesn't have that same power anymore as what she used to have. She used to have I think one of the best backhand down the lines in the game, unpredictable. Now, yeah, she just doesn't use it as much anymore.
You know, I think it's obviously a big matter of confidence, as well. So that game is still in her. She didn't get to No. 1 just by luck. So that game is still there. But, yeah, she just has to win a few matches, win a few tough matches, too, then build some more confidence.
Q. Was it last year that Petrova did a similar thing to you? Do you have empathy for her?
KIM CLIJSTERS: No, I mean, there's probably not much you can say to make her feel any better or that's going to help, obviously. But, you know, I know her well. We were talking in the locker room. So, you know, she's a good girl like that. It's not like she's not going to talk to me for the next two months when I see her on the road.
But, I mean, that's the sport we play. We step out there with two players. Sometimes things like that can happen. But just hope it's not going to make her confidence go even lower.
Q. How did you recover from it 12 months ago?
KIM CLIJSTERS: I just tried to leave it behind me. You know, I was probably in a different stage, as well. I didn't really feel like I was she's been struggling with her game for a while, so it can have a little bigger impact on her than it had on me last year.
I just tried to block it out or just forget about it as soon as possible.
Q. Regardless of the opponent, is that as close to being in the zone as you've been for a little while?
KIM CLIJSTERS: I mean, I played some really good matches in Sydney where I probably played even better. Movement wise, I think today the ball was in my court. I was able to move her around and still really like I didn't feel like I was put under pressure too much by her. Balls were sitting up nice and high, in a nice position, where I was just really able to focus and dictate the points. So that's probably also why it looked easy from my side.
Q. In that situation, 6 Love, 5 Love up, do you think maybe you should give her a game?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Give her a game? No, I mean, I do feel bad. I even caught myself like at 5 Love, she hit those couple backhands down the line, Yeah, that's it. No, seriously (laughter). Okay, when she doesn't play against me, I'm rooting for her because I want her to get back into it and build confidence. You feel when your opponent, when we're in a rally and it's going well, it's like, Yeah, this is getting better. This is where she should be. Again, that backhand down the line was the shot I remember the most about her. She didn't use it until that last game.
But I wouldn't give her a game (smiling).
Q. Do you have the same feeling in the first set in the Sydney finals against Na Li when you led 5 0?
KIM CLIJSTERS: I led 5 2 or 5 0? I don't know.
I don't think back about that. Obviously, this is a new tournament, a new start. I really don't think back about that tournament. Obviously I take the good things away for me. That was my first few matches. The feeling that I got was really good. My feeling in the final were not as good and not the way I would like to end.
But obviously I had a good week there, I played some good tennis, and started off fresh here. So that's the most important thing.
Q. Given the success you had in New York, are you a little surprised you haven't been able to win here?
KIM CLIJSTERS: No. I mean, I've always lost to good players and always felt that, you know, yeah, maybe didn't really play my best tennis when it was most needed in the semifinals and the final.
I do feel that this is definitely a surface and the court and the color is something that I like. I don't think like that. I see each Grand Slam or tournament as an opportunity to try to do better, as an opportunity to improve. That's how I look at it here. I'm just going to try and be better as my opponent in each match and see where it ends for me.
Q. Do you feel you're a better player than the one who lost to Justine in 2004 now?
KIM CLIJSTERS: I don't know 'better player'. I think a more mature person. I think that's also something that has an impact on the way that you feel on court. So I think my best tennis, you know, I could do it then, too, but maybe not throughout a whole match or maybe not consistently throughout a whole tournament. If you want to win a Grand Slam, you have to do that.
So I think maturity is something that I think anybody, you know, I'm not the youngest one out there anymore, so that's something I'm going to have to use to my advantage (laughter).