Kim Clijsters is confident the experience of winning back-to-back US Open titles will serve her well as she attempts to defend her Australian Open crown this week.
In an era when women's tennis is as open as it has ever been, as evidenced by the four grand slam events being claimed by different women in 2011, Clijsters bucked the trend in 2010 when she backed up her previous triumph at Flushing Meadows with a straight-sets victory over Vera Zvonareva in the final.
"Obviously you have that good feeling when you step out on a court where you've done well, where you've achieved a dream or something that came true," Clijsters said.
"So you automatically kind of get that positive vibe again.
"But that obviously doesn't mean that it will go easy and smooth, you know, the next year.
"Something that I did at the US Open as well, just take one match at a time, just make sure that I keep having my same routines and just try to be in the best shape that I can be every day, then we'll see how it goes."
The world number 12 admitted the closeness of the women's field at the moment would make it difficult for her to repeat last year's triumph when she downed Li Na in a memorable final.
"It's definitely a completely different situation than we had, let's say eight years ago, or so, when it was kind of easy to almost pencil in quarter-finalists or semi-finalists in the draw," she said.
"I think you have to be ready from the first match onwards because you can have really tough matches already.
"There's going to be a lot of lower-ranked players who are still going to have big opportunities to beat some top players and get chances in grand slams."
Clijsters, who will face a qualifier in the first round in Melbourne, again allayed any fears over her fitness - saying she had fully recovered from a hip injury picked up at the Brisbane International this month.
AAPTags: tennis, sport, melbourne-3000, vic, australia First posted January 15, 2012 08:27:04