The full interview after the cut.
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Is it hurting you more the fact that you lost the game or the fact that you lost the game 6?0, 6?1?
KIM CLIJSTERS: No, not the score. Just, yeah, with the way that I played today. I was completely off. Just, you know, I think tennis?wise, I didn’t feel the ball at all.
You know, on the other hand, you know, she was good. But, you know, I let her ?? you know, I made all the mistakes and she didn’t really have to do much. She served really well and was aggressive in the rallies, but that’s because I let her play into the courts. Just because I wasn’t feeling the ball well. It sucks.
It’s something you don’t want to happen too often. You just want to keep working hard. But, yeah, like I said, it sucks that it has to happen at this stage of this tournament at least. If it happens in another tournament, then you can say, Okay, you know, it’s not a big deal, just keep working hard.
You know, matches like this, maybe it happens once a year where you feel like this. But, yeah, like I said, you don’t want it to happen more than this because then, you know, it’s not a coincidence.
I think I haven’t changed anything in my whole preparations before every match. Everything was the same, same routine, then something like this happens. That’s probably the most frustrating thing about it, is not knowing. That’s sports. You know, it can happen.
Q. You weren’t yourself out there at all today. You said you didn’t change any preparation. Is there any difference between the last match and this match?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Uhm, well, my opponent was a lot better, obviously. I still didn’t feel like I was hitting the ball as well as I wanted to in my previous matches. I think that definitely, you know, it was worse even today. So, like I said, I haven’t changed anything in my preparation or anything.
You know, my opponent was a lot better. I think that’s where, you know, I got punished. You know, against my other opponents, even if I had a shorter ball, I was ready for it moving?wise. But today she was just finishing the points off well.
Yeah, you know, I just mentally felt like, Okay, keep fighting, keep fighting. That’s what I kept telling myself. It’s not like I gave up or anything. Tennis?wise, I couldn’t bring what my head wanted me to do.
Q. Are you wracking your brain about why?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Of course. It’s something that you know as an athlete that can happen once in a while. Like I said, once in a while, once a year, hopefully not more than that. But, uhm, yeah, the question is of course, Why? My coach, my fitness coach, are like, How can something like this happen?
We haven’t changed anything really. That’s the thing. That’s probably the most frustrating thing about this. But then again, what is more frustrating: playing like this or getting beaten when you play your best? I lost because it was my fault.
My opponent, okay, she was better, but I didn’t give her, you know, the best Kim out there today. And I think ?? ’cause that’s even more frustrating, knowing you get beaten at your best. That’s probably even more frustrating.
I wish I could have brought that today because then I know I would have had a better shot at this.
Q. Have you felt like this before?
KIM CLIJSTERS: I’m sure it’s happened before, you know, that I felt like I really couldn’t hit the ball, like I wasn’t hitting the ball well, that I wasn’t feeling well out there. But obviously not in the last few years, I don’t think so.
Q. With this game, do you burn the tape, forget it happened?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, this is something probably you want to forget as soon as possible and go home and, you know, just let it sit, get settled at home for a few days and then start working hard again and try to forget about it. Just stick to the routines. Everything I’ve been doing so far with my coach, my fitness coach, everything has been going really well. I’m going to try to not let a match like this get me down or start doubting myself or anything.
I’ve played some good tennis here, especially last week in Brisbane. I think that’s what I want to try to take away from this trip. It’s too bad it didn’t happen here in Melbourne.
Q. Did you feel it came in the warmup?
KIM CLIJSTERS: That’s what I said to my coach. In the warmup, I kind of had an okay feeling out there. It was weird. I don’t know. It was just really like my arms, and I ?? like I said, I wasn’t hitting the ball. Like, yeah, everything was too soft.
Yeah, I’m sorry, I really have nothing else. I don’t know what more it could be. I mean…
Q. A lot of us have been thinking about potential quarterfinals against Justine. You talk about talking about one player at a time.
KIM CLIJSTERS: That shows. Just because you talk about a quarterfinal match, things can happen. That’s what I say all the time. It’s easier, you know, to fill in the draw and to think, Okay, we’re going to have this kind of match. For us, the players, you still have to be up there and try to, you know, always play your good tennis.
It happens. I mean, you know, you don’t have that quarterfinal (smiling).
Q. You spoke about the mental side of things. Was there anything playing on your mind off court?
KIM CLIJSTERS: No.
Q. Was your mind there all the way?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah. Nothing. The only thing where I felt like I was ?? yeah, where I felt like, Keep pushing yourself. I kept moving around. I kept jumping. I felt like my footwork wasn’t there.
Between the points, I was jumping up, trying to take my time. In my head, I felt like I was trying to, yeah, just change things around a little bit.
But, yeah, it wasn’t gonna happen today.
Q. It was so unusual, though. No off?court distraction?
KIM CLIJSTERS: No, no.
Q. Obviously your levels of expectations raised after you won the Open. Did you expect to have days like this when you came back?
KIM CLIJSTERS: I’ve had a lot of days, trust me, but they didn’t happen during my matches. That’s why, yeah, it’s ?? of course, you don’t want this to happen during a match, especially at a Grand Slam. Especially after doing well at the US Open and coming here, I was feeling good. I felt like I had a really good preparation. So, yeah, that’s the thing. Like everything had been going pretty good up until today.
You know, I’m very superstitious with my routines and everything, so I really stick to that every day. That’s why I’m a little bit confused in a way as well, why something like this happen. I ate the same, slept the same, everything. You know, yeah, that’s why it’s even more confusing in a way, as well.
Q. You’ve played a lot of matches in your career. Is this about as (indiscernible) as you’ve been at one of your own performances?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, I was just questioning myself, just questioning myself out there a lot. You know, just really trying to at the same time turn it around, but at the same time, yeah, you don’t really know, Why is this all of a sudden happening?
You just try to stay calm ’cause there were points where I really like wanted to break my racquet into pieces, but you just really ?? you know, that’s not gonna help either. So you really just try to stay positive. At some points I was just happy I was hitting a ball in. That’s how bad it was.
So, yeah, I don’t know. You know, it’s frustrating.
Q. Now that you can’t win the title here, would you like to see Justine win it?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, any Belgian. Even Yanina. I think it’s going to be an interesting match that we have now. I have a lot of friends on tour. There’s a lot of girls, if I don’t get to win it, I would like to see win it. Of course, if it would be a Belgian, that would be nice.
(Source: Australian Open)