View Full Version : Nasdaq-100 thread

Serendy Willick
Mar 20th, 2003, 06:36 PM
1- Serena Williams - bye
Francesca Schiavone vs. Barbara Rittner
Qualifier vs. Marissa Irvin
25- Tatiana Panova - bye

19- Elena Dementieva - bye
Emilie Loit vs. Nicole Pratt
Iroda Tulyaganova vs. Qualifier
16- Elena Bovina - bye

10- Monica Seles - bye
WC- Ally Baker vs. Qualifier
Qualifier vs. Qualifier
24- Alexandra Stevenson - bye

29- Iva Majoli - bye
Flavia Pennetta vs. Angelique Widjaja
Tina Pisnik vs. Cristina Torrens Valero
7- Lindsay Davenport - bye

3- Kim Clijsters - bye
WC- Jamea Jackson vs. Yoon Jeong Cho
Maja Matevzic vs. Cara Black
27- Paola Suarez - bye

22- Lisa Raymond - bye
Qualifier vs. WC- Peng Shuai
Fabiola Zuluaga vs. Angelika Roesch
15- Anna Pistolesi - bye

9- Jelena Dokic - bye
Virginia Ruano Pascual vs. Svetlana Kuznetsova
WC- Maria Sharapova vs. Els Callens
21- Nathalie Dechy - bye

28- Elena Likhovtseva - bye
Tathiana Garbin vs. Silvija Talaja
Barbara Schett vs. Alicia Molik
5- Daniela Hantuchova - bye

8- Amelie Mauresmo - bye
Klara Koukalova vs. Qualifier
Rita Grande vs. Tatiana Poutchek
26- Clarisa Fernandez - bye

20- Silvia Farina Elia - bye
Katarina Srebotnik vs. WC- Tatiana Golovin
Joannette Kruger vs. WC- Carly Gullickson
12- Chanda Rubin - bye

14- Eleni Daniilidou - bye
Jill Craybas vs. Qualifier
Martina Muller vs. Qualifier
18- Amanda Coetzer - bye

30- Tamarine Tanasugarn - bye
Denisa Chladkova vs. Verz Zvonareva
Patricia Wartusch vs. Qualifier
4- Justine Henin-Hardenne - bye

6- Jennifer Capriati - bye
Iveta Benesova vs. Qualifier
Daja Bedanova vs. Stephanie Foretz
31- Laura Granville - bye

17- Ai Sugiyama - bye
Dinara Safina vs. Anna Kounikova
Qualifier vs. Sarah Taylor
11- Anastasia Myskina - bye

13- Magdalena Maleeva - bye
Meilen Tu vs. WC- Bethanie Mattek
Alina Jidkova vs. Anca Barna
23- Meghann Shaughnessy - bye

32- Marie-Gaianeh Mikaelian - bye
Virginie Razzano vs. Emmanuelle Gagliardi
Shinobu Asagoe vs. Magui Serna
2- Venus Williams - bye

Well, Serena has Kim and Lindsay in her draw. If she is on and playing well neither should be no problem for her. But lets focus on the first match. Francesica Shivione(sp?) Good luck princess! Also she could face Bovina in a later match, who is very dangerous.

Serendy Willick
Mar 20th, 2003, 06:39 PM
Serena Rules, and the Rest Have a Crisis of Confidence

SERENA WILLIAMS doesn't live in a split-level house with an AstroTurf yard and a housekeeper named Alice, but she is the icon who wins every contest she enters, who is groovier than a record album and makes all the fashion statements for her peer group.

Serena Williams doesn't share a shag-carpet bedroom with her sisters or a joint bathroom with three brothers, but she is the famous sibling who has the most trophies, who leaves all the football players smitten and is universally adored by the camera.

She is not Marcia, Marcia, Marcia, but simply Serena, the No. 1 player on a women's tour filled with too many Jan Bradys. Admiring and envious all at once, there is a sense of hopelessness in their ability to compete with Serena and an inferiority complex that has defeated their ambitions.

We'll never be good enough. That's the message slipping from the lips of everyone from Jennifer Capriati to Lindsay Davenport, from Kim Clijsters to even Venus Williams when they assess the domination of Serena during her run of four major titles in a row.

Instead of boldly aiming at Serena's top perch, they've become the court queens of conciliation. Gathered last week at Indian Wells, Calif., — where no Williams may ever roam again after being mercilessly jeered when Venus forfeited a semifinal with her little sister three years ago — Serena's opponents sounded content with life as a bridesmaid.

"You know, I'd like to say if I'm playing my best that I'll be winning everything," Capriati said. "But, you know, I can't say that nowadays."

Why not? Over the past year, Serena has routinely disassembled Capriati's confidence in one big match after another. At times last season, the frustration sent Capriati plunging into the joyless dark funk of her teen years. But even the perkiest players on tour — take the carbonated Clijsters, for one — fall flat when it comes to dreaming of No. 1.

"I think for the players, especially for the top players, it doesn't really matter if they're No. 1, No. 2 or No. 3 — except for Serena," Clijsters said. "I think she loves to be No. 1. For the other players, I don't think they really worry about whether they're No. 5, 6, 7 or 8."

The art of lowering expectations. Few are better at it than Davenport, the tour's lovable lug. "The challenge of getting back to the top is going to be made very difficult because there's not only Serena, there's Venus, as well," Davenport said. "You know, there's not much you can do."

Such resignation. Even Venus exudes a level of concession when it comes to Serena's ownership of the tour. In each of the last four major finals, Venus has been as helpless as anyone against Serena.

The results have left Venus withdrawn, looking on the verge of a career change. If Serena's attention span for tennis doesn't snap soon, Venus could happily vanish into her interior design business in a couple of seasons.

This is the Mope Tour, and it's devastating for tennis. While Serena is an ideal No. 1 — a sexy swimsuit success for Sports Illustrated with talent in every curve (Note to Anna Kournikova: You've been replaced in magazine covers per minute) — there has to be someone out there brave enough to at least voice a plan to topple her.

Where is the feistiness, the riveting rancor? Well, Martina Hingis is brushing horse manes in Switzerland. Not long ago, she was the unabashed foil of the Williams sisters, even as she started to become another dunk-tank target against their power. Now, she is gone.

There is no doubting the seriousness of her ankle injuries — Hingis didn't let surgeons wield their scalpels for show — but there is a feeling that she would be discussing a comeback if she thought she had a chance. Hingis was an expert at playing the arrogant No. 1, but lost at how to handle the humbling onset of also-ran status.

If the tour hangdogs would just look up, they would see how Serena is offering them a primer on self-affirmation, helpful hints on how to beat her. On even her worst days, down a set or just a service break, she still believes in herself. It's not the serve or foot speed that separates Serena, it's an attitude.

Will Serena win every match this year? Probably not, but as Serena said on Friday, she always sets her goals "ridiculously high" to see how close she comes to achieving them.


It's the right philosophy. If only someone else would adopt it. Similar to Tiger Woods, Serena needs an opponent confident enough to challenge her greatness, to be more like Serena than Serena herself.

If there is to be a Serena interruptus, it will take a player ready to make the leap in self-esteem. Just as Serena did one year ago. This week, the top women will descend on Key Biscayne, Fla., where Serena separated herself from Venus with a victory over awkwardness.

"It's O.K. to do well against your sister," Serena said. "That was a big point I was able to accept. Finally, I was able to do what I knew I could."

Unabashed ambition, that's why Serena has it all right now. That's why she is the Marcia on a tour of Jan Bradys.

Serendy Willick
Mar 20th, 2003, 06:41 PM
Serena looks forward to clay season

Posted: Saturday March 15, 2003 2:13 AM
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- The beginning of the clay court play couldn't have come at a better time for the world's best female tennis player.

Serena Williams said Friday she is ready to get back to tennis after a short layoff with an injury and is looking forward to the Family Circle Cup in Charleston next month -- an early U.S. clay court tournament.

Williams, 21, has not played a tournament since withdrawing from the State Farm Women's Tennis Classic in Scottsdale, Ariz., last month because of tendinitis in her knee.

"Clay, I think, is better for your knees because the hard court actually wears your body out. So it'll be easy," she said. "I'll be, you know, running and just sliding and playing lazy tennis because on the clay I just tend to lay back.

Williams will play next week at the Nasdaq-100 Open in Miami, a hardcourt tournament where she is defending champion.

After that, she goes to Charleston for the Family Circle Cup, where she has not had much luck.

She lost in the quarterfinals last year, when a string of ranked players were upset and then-No. 58 Iva Majoli defeated Patty Schnyder to become the lowest ranked player to win a top-tier tournament.

Williams sat out the 2001 Family Circle in preparation for the French Open and was committed to play in 2000, but withdrew over South Carolina's continuing Confederate flag issue. In 1999, she withdrew with a right knee injury.

This year, however, Williams says she is ready and doesn't think her knee will be a problem this year.

"My left knee is doing great," Williams said. "I'm enjoying taking some time off."

Williams apparently loves playing on all surfaces. She has won four-straight Grand Slam titles, starting with the 2002 French Open on clay. She then won Wimbledon on grass and the two hardcourt slams -- the U.S. and Australian Open.

While she didn't complete the slam in a calendar year -- the Australian was in January -- Williams says owning all four titles at once is good enough for her.

"Well, I know what Tiger Woods said once. He said 'I have all four trophies in my living room, so it is a Grand Slam' and that's exactly how I feel," she said. "No one else has any other trophies.

"So I do own the Grand Slam right now, until the French Open comes around, so I'm kind of trying to savor it as long as I can."

And she can turn her attention to her latest goal -- going undefeated for 2003. So far, she hasn't lost a match.

I hope this translates into her being willing to be ready for the clay season!

Mar 22nd, 2003, 03:05 AM
Serena wins! 7-5 6-1

Hopefully she's feeling better

Mar 22nd, 2003, 03:07 AM
she next faces Tatiana Panova
1999-05-03 Rome Clay R32 Serena Williams (USA) 6-2 6-1

Mar 22nd, 2003, 07:27 AM
S. WILLIAMS/F. Schiavone
7-5, 6-1

An interview with:


THE MODERATOR: First question, please.

Q. Very tough one. Did you just gut it out and get through it?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, that was the main goal, just to get through the day.

Q. Did you think at any point, at the end of the first set you might not be able to play?

SERENA WILLIAMS: At one point, I didn't think I'd be able to go on. I thought, "Gosh, I should have never came out here." You know, you got to keep fighting. I said, "Just give it a try." I was able to win that first set. I still was very fatigued.

Q. You really showed your concentration and mental tenacity tonight in a completely different way. You didn't look like you had the energy to move, yet you willed yourself?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I don't know where I get it from. I think it's energy that I stored up years and years and years and years ago. I'm just -- I'm really happy I'm able to get through today because I know I have the day off tomorrow. I know my body can recover more and by the time Sunday comes, I'll definitely be ready.

Q. Stomach flu?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, just amazing. It was horrible. I wasn't even -- I couldn't even walk yesterday.

Q. Think you might not -- obviously, you thought you might not be able to play?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I didn't think I'd be able to play. I just hit balls for the first time at six. I said, "Oh, let me try to hit a few balls." I hit a few, I said, "Oh, just let me give it a try." I mean, it amazes me sometimes. It's not me, it's -- I guess it's strength from God. He's given me some strength to go on.

Q. Had you ever had a match where you felt this bad?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, actually at Wimbledon.

Q. This past year?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I think it was 2001 when I played Jennifer Capriati. Then actually before that, I played Maggie Maleeva, those two matches.

Q. Could it be some food?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know, I went to the doctor and they said -- they've said a fancy way of saying food poisoning. I ate the same thing Venus ate and she didn't get sick at all. It was like me and my trainer, Venus. We all ate the same thing. I'm the only one that got sick. I didn't think it was really food poisoning. I didn't know what it was.

Q. A lot of people here are complaining about some kind of thing that goes with the weather, headaches, chills?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm used to the weather, I live here. I'm fine with the weather. It's definitely humid and I'm losing a lot of water but I just got to keep hydrating. I'm okay with the weather.

Q. You have cramps?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, knock on wood, no.

Q. Monica said in her press conference yesterday she thought security on the tour was not as good as it could be. Do you feel good about the way security's handled?

SERENA WILLIAMS: For me, yeah. I know I've had a couple issues myself and I can understand how it may be improved. I haven't really been paying attention. I'm young and I'm just trying to live my life and I don't necessarily want people following me the whole time I'm going somewhere.

Q. You were on the court in Paris when those two guys walked out or something?


Q. Bizarre moment for you?

SERENA WILLIAMS: That was definitely bizarre. I was like, "Whoa" I got a little nervous after a while. I was like, "What are they doing?"

Q. They didn't hit her?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I think they had balls and racquets in their hand. It was definitely bizarre what they were doing. Who knows. It was definitely very strange. I think there could have been a little better security there.

Q. But overall, you wouldn't consider what happened in New York...

SERENA WILLIAMS: Overall, New York is great. I have a totally different respect for them now.

Q. How they handled it?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, how they were able to handle my situation.

Q. How about in everyday life? You go to the mall, people know who you are?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't go to the mall anymore. If I do, I can't get out. So many people, I either go -- I wear clothes that aren't going to attract any attention, big, baggy sweatshirt, some pants, I don't wear attractive clothing when I'm going out because it attracts too much attention.

Q. I think for you, because you're somebody who really likes to do things, that must be a real down side to this?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Actually, I love to stay at home nowadays and draw a lot of things and I'm working on a lot of different stuff. I don't really have time to go out that much. I'm really okay with it.

Q. A match like this, I mean, you obviously have done so much over the past year, do you take anything out of it, "I've proved myself, I can get through it," at this point, you didn't need to be sick, didn't have to be sick. Did you think it would have been better to not go through it?

SERENA WILLIAMS: It would have been. I wish I didn't get sick. Next time, if this happens again, I can say, "Serena, think back to 2003 at the Ericsson," the NASDAQ, sorry, the name changes every year, I can't keep up with it. "Just think, you were able to get through that match." I think that will be able to help me.

Q. Did it come to your mind at all, Pete Sampras' match at the US Open where he was having trouble with his stomach?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I didn't want to do that. I don't know how he went through that.

Q. You weren't in danger of that, were we?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I wasn't gonna do that.

Q. Was it fun being in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, it was fun. It's always been a goal of mine, to be in the swimsuit. So I just keep my goals coming. One day, I'll make it, who knows.

Q. I thought it was fabulous, A, that you did it; B, that you looked as good as you did and; C, that the new beauty model is no longer somebody who weighs about a pound and a half. I think it's good for American girls.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, it is. I'm really excited. I'm having a lot of fun.

Rae Q.
Mar 22nd, 2003, 01:31 PM
I'm worried but not too worried. I think if she doesn't win Nasdaq it's gonna because someone will have to play out of their mind to beat her. :) Thanks Luci and TennisILove.

Serendy Willick
Mar 22nd, 2003, 08:27 PM
She has a day off, in which hopefully this f&*%$g virus will go away. It has to because I just found out that Serena could face Davenport in the quarters.

Mar 22nd, 2003, 09:45 PM
She has a day off, in which hopefully this f&*%$g virus will go away. It has to because I just found out that Serena could face Davenport in the quarters.

I'm not concerned about Davenport. Serena owns her. I'm more worried about Clijsters in the semis

Mar 23rd, 2003, 03:30 AM
hope you don't mind Rae ;)



Mar 23rd, 2003, 04:00 AM

Serendy Willick
Mar 23rd, 2003, 08:29 PM
Serena will face Tatiana Panova in her next match tonight at 7pm

Venus Forever
Mar 24th, 2003, 01:10 AM
Serena def. Panova 6-2 6-1

:bounce: :bounce: :bounce:

Mar 24th, 2003, 06:52 AM
6-2, 6-1

An interview with:


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Serena, please.

Q. Can you just give us a health update?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I'm pretty good. You know, pretty happy. I'm getting better each day, each day the tournament goes on, I'm getting better and feeling better. I'm not 100 percent yet, but maybe tomorrow I'll be, hopefully.

Q. How much more comfortable was that performance tonight than your win yesterday?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, it was definitely more comfortable because Tatiana is a really good player. She's been playing well. I was really satisfied to have a solid win like that over her. She was really playing well.

Q. You had an unusual expression on your face tonight, almost like serenity?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm at peace, I guess. I'm at peace with myself.

Q. Your stomach is okay now?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, it's almost there. It will be all right.

Q. Can you give more detail about the partnership between Doublemint, Tom Joyner's Foundation and yourself?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, we just -- we're doing a small thing with the -- Tom Joyner does a lot for black history month and black history. We're just doing a slight campaign. I don't know, Doublemint is one of our sponsors. We always try to get together, we don't want to just get paid, we want to actually go out there and give back to communities. That's what we're all about when we try to get different deals.

Q. Would you consider your Wimbledon title the most prestigious of the Grand Slams that you own?

SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, I was debating. Before I won Wimbledon and Venus had one won, I won the US Open, I was trying to debate which one was better. I mean, the US Open pays more. Wimbledon has more history. But, you know, so does the US Open, definitely has a lot of history as well.

I would say prestigious, it would have to be.

Q. Why would that be, not counting the money, obviously?

SERENA WILLIAMS: It's just Wimbledon. Now that I've won -- before I won Wimbledon, you know, it was the US Open that was better. But now that I've won Wimbledon, you know, it's more prestigious. But I still love

New York.

Q. So would Wimbledon still be your next major goal after Paris? I mean, given the shape of the year, would Wimbledon be really, really important?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, actually, believe it or not, I would consider -- I'd like to take it one at a time. Right now, Paris is really what I would like to focus on. I'd really like to win Wimbledon and the US Open again, but, you know, we'll see.

Q. That's one of your goals now, back-to-back?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Hey, I'm just fighting one day at a time. I mean, obviously, I'm sure it's a lot of people's goal this year. I'm just going to go for it.

Q. Your win tonight means there's seven American girls in the last 16 in this tournament. What does that say to you about the strength of American women's tennis at the moment?

SERENA WILLIAMS: We're doing pretty good. We're definitely doing really well. The strength of our games, we're the top two in the world. I don't know how many are in the top five. I lost count after No. 1 and 2, I couldn't tell you...

Q. Do you watch the results in the locker room coming through and see how well the other girls are doing?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I haven't even been here. I've been ill, so I haven't been around. I got around today a little bit, I came in like around 5ish. If I'm passing by, I watch the results.

Q. Were you resting for most of the day, trying to fully recover?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I practice in the morning and I was resting. That's my usual schedule for a night match.

Q. I think there are people who are maybe sort of -- maybe some of your competitors were hoping that they saw you doing some of your acting gigs and other things in the off-season and thought, "Oh, good, she's not practicing, training, maybe she's gotten a little complacent." You clearly have not. Can you talk about that? Did you feel like you had to, you know -- you didn't want to rest on your laurels, so to speak?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I didn't have a solid -- I only had a few smaller gigs here and there, I didn't have a big piece. Who knows, if I get a big part, maybe I will slack off a little bit.

No, I'm just kidding, tennis is my main bread maker. I love tennis. I take tennis as number one - not in my life, but just in my career. It's my career. It's my job. I really enjoy it. If I become a successful actress, then we'll see. But right now, tennis is my major success.

Q. What was the difference when you won the US Open? I think you talked last year about how you got kind of comfortable with that and it was hard for you to get back to that level, or even raise the level of your game. What was the difference this off-season after the success you had?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I pretty much did the same thing I do every off-season. Actually, I played a tournament earlier. I played in Perth. But, you know, I can't really say I went out and worked much harder.

Q. Having the ability to win the successive Slams, was that a motivating thing for you?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think more than anything, it was motivating that I was going in the Australian Open trying to win four in a row, seven matches away from making four in a row. I think, for me, that was really motivating, as to want to win another Slam and win a Grand Slam. I mean, it hadn't been done since Steffi Graf. I had a chance to make history.

I think if I would have took it lightly on the off-season, just slacking around, then that would have been my own loss, so to say.

So I think, if anything, that motivated me. Maybe if I hadn't have won the US Open, I would have slacked around a little more. But I think seeing that I had a goal to reach, a chance to make history forever, I wanted to have an opportunity to do it.

Q. Can you give dates on the OWL Foundation event?

SERENA WILLIAMS: It is April 5th in Naples.

Q. Do you have a line-up of players yet?

SERENA WILLIAMS: We're hoping Monica Seles is going to be playing me, so it's going to be a really, really good match. It's for a good cause as well, my mom's charity for education.

Q. A private lesson with Andre and Steffi recently went for $55,000.


Q. What do you think your private lesson is -- the value is?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I don't give private lessons.

Q. The one for the Tom Joyner Foundation.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, well that one, I don't know. Has it went on auction yet?

Q. Monday.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Monday. I mean, if someone puts a low bid in, I'm gonna bid on it myself. Really, I'm going to put $56,000 so I can, you know, get over Steffi and Andre (smiling).

Q. The girl you're playing tomorrow, Iroda Tulyaganova, have you played her before?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I played her a couple of times. I played her here, was it last year or two years ago? It was three sets. She has a big, big serve. She actually moves pretty well, to be strong. She's a really good player. And really nice, I like her a lot.

Q. A lot of players tolerate press conferences. You seem to enjoy them. Can you talk about that?

SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, I'm... Well... I don't know. I don't like to say the same things. I try to be lively, not to be boring. I enjoy it. I don't really -- I can't say -- I'd be lying if I said I enjoyed it; she could tell you I don't really enjoy it. You know, if you're gonna do it, why not smile and have fun and enjoy it for the moment. I'm not going to be doing this for 50 years, this is only short term.

Q. Wonderful acting skills.


Q. Are you wearing your doubles dress?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yes. I usually wear this outfit in doubles but I wanted to -- I've been wearing skirts. I haven't been wearing the one-piece since Australia. I'll wear it in the French again. I'm taking a break.

Mar 24th, 2003, 06:54 AM
4th RD
vs. Iroda Tulyaganova

2001-03-19 Miami Hardcourt R32 Serena Williams (USA) 3-6 6-3 6-2

Mar 24th, 2003, 02:25 PM
Go REE! :D

make it two positive sets :wavey:

Serendy Willick
Mar 24th, 2003, 03:29 PM
Serena also beat Tulyganova 6-3, 6-2 in the Hopman Cup. Iroda seems to be playing well and she always steps it up against the best. Good Luck Serena tomarrow. BTW, Serena hit 12 aces in her match today!!!

Mar 24th, 2003, 03:37 PM
Doesn't Serena play today?
Order of Play - Monday 24th March 2003
Stadium - 11.00am
1. Mauresmo vs Rubin
2. n/b 1pm Capriati vs Taylor
3. Nieminen vs Agassi
4. S.Williams vs Tulyaganova
5. 7.00pm Chela vs Federer
6. Shaughnessy vs V. Williams

Rae Q.
Mar 24th, 2003, 03:42 PM
Congrats Rena :bounce: :bounce:

No Pics *Rae * :wavey:

I think she's wearing those shorts I saw Myskina in earlier- the Ann K..lookalikes ;) But i haven't seen a full view

Hi Sweety! :wavey: I've checked my usual sites but no pics (I totally don't like the Nasqad official site. Just kinda gives me a headache. Layout is too busy if you know what I mean). :o Joy I'm gonna post something just for you on your Carribbean thread. :)

Thanks sunset! :wavey: Our fav looks awesome and confident as usual. :D

Mr. Man
Mar 24th, 2003, 07:15 PM
Defend Serena!http://www.smilies.org/basesmilies3/hotbounce.gif :lick:

Mar 24th, 2003, 08:45 PM
Nice win for Ree, 6-0 6-4

Serena vs. Bartoli, first match... thoughts?

I'm thinking cake walk but I won't be sure until the match starts. :D

Serendy Willick
Mar 24th, 2003, 09:05 PM
Great win for our girl today! This is the quarterfinals and I dont care if she is playing the luckiest loser alive, she had better keep on unleashing that power. Hopefully she is getting better and better.

Mar 24th, 2003, 09:47 PM
my thoughts on Serena's QF?

May as well be a cakewalk. With Davenport injured, Serena won't even be tested

Mar 25th, 2003, 01:34 AM
S. WILLIAMS/I. Tulyaganova
6-0, 6-4

An interview with:


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. So what do you know about Marion Bartoli?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I've seen her play a lot actually. I like to watch the young girls play. She kind of has the two hands on one side, young, tenacious, enthusiastic. That's the way I used to be (smiling).

Q. She's having quite an incredible run here. She beat a wildcard, a lucky loser, a qualifier, now Lindsay walked off. What do you think her chances are?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, this is a great tournament. She's been -- she works really hard. I see her working really hard. You know, she does everything pretty solid and very well. She's young. She has nothing to lose here.

Q. She said she's actually pretty familiar with you, because your dads are friendly. Are you aware of that?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, yeah. They're really friendly all the time. We were in Paris together. My dad was always talking to, you know, her dad. My dad's really nice. He's really outgoing. So, yeah, it should be a good match. I mean, it would be nice to see newcomers coming up.

Q. You think they're talking tennis or other stuff?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, a little of both I'm sure.

Q. Congratulations on your award. Did you know it was coming?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, pretty much figured I should win that after I won the US Open.

Q. Did you know it was coming when it came today?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, yeah. Well, they prepare you. Told me, you know, "There's a chance you might win the award today." Different nominees.

Q. You breezed through the first set. But in the second set, she kind of was -- she kind of settled down, or you let down a little bit?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, she settled down. I think I lost a little bit of focus. My mind was here and there. Sometimes it happens when you're winning a little -- like I won in the first set. Seeing that she's a tough player, I knew she should play a little better. So she definitely played the way she normally plays in the second set.

Q. To what degree have you taken the level you're playing at now for granted?

SERENA WILLIAMS: What degree am I...?

Q. What degree have you come to take the level you're playing at for granted? It's one thing to have a great tournament here, win a Grand Slam there. But when you play at this level for this long, at some point it must become second nature?

SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, all my life I've been wanting to play at this level or higher, hopefully higher in the future, and for this length of time, it's just always been my goal. I don't think I'm taking it for granted.

Q. Now that you've collected enough trophies for a couple of cases, is there a room planned or something?

SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, we didn't plan a room, so we're like getting overfilled with the trophies. Everywhere I look there's another US Open trophy, it's like, "Ugh, geez," everywhere I turn, it's like, "This is another one. Leave me alone!"

So it's getting crazy, but we keep them coming. Hopefully they'll keep coming.

Q. Good problem to have, huh?

SERENA WILLIAMS: It's definitely a good problem to have. I mean...

Q. How long do your shoes last?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I wear mine too long. I wear mine for like -- I'll wear them for seven matches, but my trainer insists that I (trade/train?) them. They're pretty good shoes.

Q. You wear them in practice and matches?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I usually warm up in them for practice if they're brand new, but then I just leave them only for the matches. I usually wear two different pair, one for the practice and one for the match.

Q. You know your sister obviously wants to be No. 1. Right now, you're the only reason she isn't. How do you feel with the fact that you know you've become her main tormentor on the court?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, you know, that's what we've always wanted. We always wanted to see each other as a rival and just fight for that spot. You know, this year, I'm going to have a lot of points coming off. So just really trying to wrack them up while I can.

Q. Would you like to be challenged a little more?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I mean, I think I definitely am. Venus really challenged me at the Australian, and Kim Clijsters as well. Even Emilie Loit. There's definitely a lot of challenges out there. Would I like to be challenged more? No, no, definitely not. Who wouldn't want to have a 30-minute match and go home. I personally would.

Q. What's, for you, the most challenging time of year?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Probably... Hmm... Probably the fall. By then, I don't want to play anymore. You know, by then, I'm tired and it's just like, I've been doing this all year. It's like it gets old after a while. So definitely the fall.

Q. How about in terms of your game and your style?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't have a challenging time of the year.

Q. I'm doing a celebration on the life of Monica Seles. When you were growing up in Florida, Monica was in her prime. Did you ever look up to her, in a manner of speaking?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I mean, I totally wanted to be like Monica. I think I started grunting because of Monica. I thought she was really cool. I really liked everything -- Venus and I, we both loved Monica. She was our favorite player growing up.

Q. Did she ever help you in any way before you were established?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Actually, I've met her at a charity event way back when, maybe in California. I remember I was really excited to meet her, maybe it helped me realize I wanted to be a pro, definitely want to go ahead and make it. I don't know, I can't say for sure.

Q. Is that before you lived in Florida?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think so. I believe so.

Q. So you mean that you initially, at least, started grunting on purpose as opposed to natural?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think, initially, I did. Now I just can't let it go. Like a bad habit.

Q. Venus says that in terms of her design business, you are the most difficult client she has, the most demanding. Do you think that's true? Can you tell us a little bit about how she is designing?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm the most difficult client (laughter)? I just want my couch. I don't have a couch in LA.

Q. What's the theme? What kind of style is that?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I was gonna go for classic. But, you know, I think I want to go more contemporary now because my house now is classic and kind of French classic. So now I want to do something more modern, but comfortable. I don't like modern where it's white and silver because I think that gives me a cold feeling. I like warmth when I'm doing design. So I'm going to go for something warm but a little more contemporary.

Q. What kind of colors would that be?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I'd have to stick with the neutrals just in case I want to change-up, it will be easy. I can't have a pink wall, a blue... I can't do it.

Q. Any furniture in the house yet?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I got a lot of furniture. But I want to change it, just go for something a little different. I did the little French classic instead of a contemporary look.

Q. Did Venus design it for you, pick it out?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I picked it out. I'm really good at that, too. It's just not my love. I don't really like it.

Q. Have you given up the school stuff, with all that design?

SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, no, I definitely didn't give up school. You mean, "design," as in fashion?

Q. Going to the fashion institute.

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, it's really hard, you know, with the media demanding that we play more and the tour demanding that we don't take off the fall, you know, it's kind of difficult to go to school.

But I took some on-line classes. On-line classes are actually harder than going to school for me. I think I've learned as much as I can in fashion, whereas school point, I think it's all -- fashion is really hands-on.

So I was actually doing an intern in LA. Been doing a lot of stuff, actually.

Q. You're doing an internship there?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Now that I think about it. I was going to, I went a couple of times to work with this one guy. It's really hands-on.

Q. A fashion designer?


Q. When you're taking an on-line course, how can you get the feedback from your designs?

SERENA WILLIAMS: When you take on-line course, you take more the basic, like math and science. You can't really take fashion. That's just to get your degree.

Q. Are you completely over the illness now?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Today's the first day that I've actually felt decent, so I'm really happy about that. So, yeah, I think even tomorrow I'll feel even better - hopefully.

Q. When you said that you wanted to go through this whole year undefeated, were you half kidding or did you mean that?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I just like to set my goals for the sky and land on the moon. Like I always say, you guys, I guess you don't pay attention, but what I said is last year, after I didn't play Australia, I said, my goal, "Okay, I'm gonna win the French, I'm gonna win Wimbledon, I'm gonna win the US Open." I just set my goals for the sky. I figured if I could win one or two, hey, I'd be really happy.

I didn't expect to win all three. I don't expect to go undefeated all year, but that's just my goal. If it happens, hey, great. If it doesn't, I think that's a pretty impossible goal to reach. I think you've got to set your goals high.

Mar 25th, 2003, 07:35 PM
Good win for you Ree! You held it down for the fam.

I like Kimmy and all but if she makes it to the semi's, Serena please beat her down in two sets. Defend your damn title, guh! :kiss: :hearts: :kiss:

Mar 25th, 2003, 09:44 PM
Serena won her QF 61 62

She was broke 3 times :eek: She didn't play badly though.


I too hope she KILLS Kim in the semis. Like 60 60 or something

Mar 26th, 2003, 06:59 AM
It's Serena vs. Clijsters in the Semis!

Serena leads H2H 6-1 [actually 7-1; Hopman Cup doesn't count on official H2H]
1999-08-30 U.S. Open Hardcourt R32 Serena Williams (USA) 4-6 6-2 7-5
2000-03-06 Indian Wells Hardcourt R16 Serena Williams (USA) 6-4 6-4
2001-03-05 Indian Wells Hardcourt F Serena Williams (USA) 4-6 6-4 6-2
2001-03-19 Miami Hardcourt R16 Serena Williams (USA) 6-0 6-2
2002-09-16 Tokyo Hardcourt F Serena Williams (USA) 2-6 6-3 6-3
2002-11-04 WTA Championships Indoor Hardcourt F Kim Clijsters (BEL) 7-5 6-3
2002 Hopman Cup: Serena 75 63
2003-01-13 Australian Open Hardcourt SF Serena Williams (USA) 4-6 6-3 7-5

Serendy Willick
Mar 28th, 2003, 06:29 PM
Well we all know the deal folks. Serena smoked Kim in the semis 6-4, 6-2 and will now play Jennifer Capriati in the final. I hope she defends her title and hands Jennifer a happy birthday beatdown. Serena wasnt all that bad, but I just get so mad when she blows breakpts and opprotunites. If Jennifer comes with the game that she had today vs Rubin she will have a very good chance to win this game. If Serena comes with the game that she did with Kim MINUS the ufes + a few more aces, than Serena has a great chance of repeating. I just hope that she saw the match and has been practicing on her serve and returns. Good luck Rena!

Mar 28th, 2003, 09:18 PM
Luci, I wouldn't worry about Jen. Serena has her #. Last year Jen had SO many chances to close out Serena and she never did.

Scottsdale F-Serena def. 62 46 64--Once Jen leveled the 3rd at 4-4, she fell apart

Miami F-Serena def. 75 76; Jen served for the first and had 8 set points

Italian Open SF--Serena def. 62 36 75; Jen lead 4-1 in the 3rd

Roland Garros SF--Serena def 36 76 62; Jen lead 63 65

Sanex Champs SF--Serena def 26 64 64; Jen lead 3-1 in the 3rd, points for 2 breaks 4-1 in the third.

My prediction: Serena in 2 75 62

Mar 29th, 2003, 02:07 AM
Ok sweetie, you did make it to the finals. Beat her down Miss Williams. Birthday or not, it's a title, points and 393k at stake. Take what's yours and knock her down... in two sets. Don't make 'em close sets either. :D

6-4 6-2 is purty, Venus Williams II, ok I'm j/p with ya Ree. :D

Mar 29th, 2003, 12:11 PM

Serena hasn't forgotten the climb

By Karen Crouse, Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Friday, March 28, 2003

KEY BISCAYNE -- Serena Williams strolled through the players' tunnel Thursday, toward a white Cadillac Escalade and a wide-open afternoon. There was one last bottleneck to negotiate before the Palm Beach Gardens resident, who had dispatched Kim Clijsters 6-4, 6-2 in a Nasdaq-100 Open semifinal two hours earlier, was home free. Some two dozen strangers were standing off to the side, yelling to get her attention. Williams had no way of knowing that one of the fans wildly gesturing from behind the barricade to her left was a woman from Georgia who had flown to Miami for the sole purpose of seeing her. Hazel Wooten was screaming on no sleep. She had caught a flight out of Atlanta a few hours earlier and had been standing patiently for 90 minutes -- the last five of it in a hesitant rain (it would lose all its inhibitions later in the day, washing away play) -- for the chance to meet her idol. Wooten assumed she had made the trip in vain, Williams being a star and all.

The African-American woman's face lit up when Williams came over and cheerfully signed everything put in front of her, including Wooten's oversized tennis ball. Williams had no idea these strangers had come to the Tennis Center at Crandon Park from Georgia and New York and Massachusetts to see her. She isn't sure why they wanted her autograph. She gave it freely, anyway. Because the fan thing, Williams totally gets. This month, Serena and her sister, Venus, received the President's Award at the NAACP Image Awards in L.A. It was a huge deal; past honorees include Condoleeza Rice and Bill Clinton. There the Williamses were, mingling with actors Denzel Washington and Halle Berry and Danny Glover and director Spike Lee. "It was fascinating," said Serena, who in their company felt like, well, Hazel Wooten. Venus alternately laughed and cried while accepting the award for the sisters. Serena's eyes remained dry, but only out of defiance.

She had told her mother there was no way she was going to crumble in front of Hollywood's granite pillars. The people who think Williams completing the "Serena Slam" is the highlight of her year so far? They don't have a clue about the sisters. Serena was conducting her post-match news conference on autopilot until the NAACP gala was brought up. At the mention of the event, Williams grew animated. "I might move my Wimbledon trophy aside and put that one where it is because it means a lot to me," she said. "It means a lot for my people. It's just this whole inner feeling of joy and happiness that I got receiving (that) award. I don't know, for me, it's the top honor of the year." Serena Williams is the No. 1 player in the world by an ocean league. She proved that anew against Clijsters, hitting 15 winners to Clijsters' 2 in the first set, which was close only because of Williams' 22 unforced errors. Clijsters was broken in the ninth game, to go down 4-5, and never recovered.

Williams put so much pressure on Clijsters after that, the third-ranked Belgian decided she needed four or five weeks off to decompress. The next time Serena runs into Denzel -- they're on a first-name basis now -- he'll undoubtedly remember she was wearing her orange outfit and matching Puma sneakers when she advanced to her third final here in the past five years. Washington, it turns out, is another big fan of Serena. He introduced himself at the NAACP gala. As if she didn't know who he was! Why, when he started talking to her, you could have knocked Serena down with her feather tiara. "Denzel Washington came up to me and said, 'This is what I've been waiting for the whole night. The only reason I'm here (is) I want to meet you guys. I watch you every match. I can tell you what outfit you wore in every match.' " Serena allowed herself a smile as broad as her shoulders. "I was really, really shocked," she said. "You know, I look up to him. I mean, I can't imagine him liking me."

The Williamses have been so busy reaching for the stars, they're the last ones to realize they've become stars. It's refreshing, that. It's part of their charm, for sure. Williams is playing a game with which nobody (not even Venus) is familiar. She has taken tennis to incredible heights. Yet she hasn't forgotten the climb. She remembers how it feels to occasionally lose your footing. Somebody asked Williams, who is 16-0 this year, if she could imagine being her opponents and knowing that even if they play their best they're likely to lose. "Actually, I can," Williams said. "I've had some hitting partners, no matter how well I play, they always beat me. But I keep fighting and I keep working hard and I keep getting better. Each time, it gets closer and closer." That's why people take to Serena so. It's because of her attitude and not just her altitude.


Copyright © 2003, The Palm Beach Post. All rights reserved.

Rae Q.
Mar 29th, 2003, 01:22 PM
Well we all know the deal folks. Serena smoked Kim in the semis 6-4, 6-2 and will now play Jennifer Capriati in the final. I hope she defends her title and hands Jennifer a happy birthday beatdown. Serena wasnt all that bad, but I just get so mad when she blows breakpts and opprotunites. If Jennifer comes with the game that she had today vs Rubin she will have a very good chance to win this game. If Serena comes with the game that she did with Kim MINUS the ufes + a few more aces, than Serena has a great chance of repeating. I just hope that she saw the match and has been practicing on her serve and returns. Good luck Rena!

Jennifer definetly looked against Chanda so Serena better be ready. I'm a little worried but knowing that Serena hates to lose gives me some confidence. :)

Serendy Willick
Mar 29th, 2003, 07:47 PM
Serena defeated Jennifer Capriati 4-6, 6-4, 6-1. YEA!!!! I turned on the match in the second set when Rena had the 2-0 lead, I was soo mad when she lost the first 4-6, but Serena picked up her game and got out to 4-0 before letting Jennifer come back. (boooooooo) Rena hung in there and broke Jennifer for the set. I thought Serena played wayy to passive in the match and of course blew some breakpt leads. Serena then proceded to whup Jennys behind in the third set. What a champion! Serena certainly didnt play her best but she pulled through despite shitty play and a redicoulusly rude azz crowd. Now go rena and practice somemore for that Fed Cup and Family circle cup. Luv ya!!

Mar 30th, 2003, 01:23 AM
Congratulations Serena on your 22nd title !

Now on a 17 match winning streak.

Mar 30th, 2003, 08:27 AM

Posted on Sun, Mar. 30, 2003

Smile for Ricky

Miami Dolphins running back Ricky Williams attended his first professional tennis match Saturday, and he watched much of it from behind his digital camera. Williams stood in the media photo pit, capturing Serena Williams' three-set victory over Jennifer Capriati. ''I took about 200 shots,'' he said. ``They're all for myself.'' Williams said he has been a Serena fan for a long time: ``She's good at what she does. You see a lot of athletes physically gifted, but she's mentally gifted too.'' He called himself ``a big live sports fan.'' ''I don't like to watch sports on TV,'' he said. ``You miss too much. [Saturday] I got to feel the momentum shift and see how mentally tough it is to stay in a match. In tennis, you don't have 10 other people helping you like you do in football.''


© 2003 The Miami Herald and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved.


Mar 30th, 2003, 08:35 AM

Posted on Sun, Mar. 30, 2003

Serena's top spin has tour dizzied

She is Tiger Woods. Serena Williams is that kind of champion now, the kind who can overcome sickness, fatigue, pain, boredom, sloppiness, weather and whoever has the misfortune of being on the other side of the net, though the last element is less relevant than it ever has been. The only thing that can slow her now is that she becomes weary of holding trophies over her head, bored with excellence. She has turned the tour into a story that always has the same ending, the championship reduced to redundancy. Jennifer Capriati, Kim Clijsters and even Williams' sister, Venus, are doing nothing more than playing for second place. And here's what happens as Williams stacks all these successes atop one another, winning every meaningful match this sport has had on the female side for more than a year: Her aura grows so huge that it gets to the court before she does and becomes as big a weapon as her serve.

She knows she is going to win, and her opponent does, too, and there is no underestimating the value of that when things get uncomfortable late, belief undefeated against doubt. Earlier in this tournament, Capriati created a stir by warming up to Outkast's majestic Bombs Over Baghdad, the opening lyric of which is ''Thunder pounds when I stomp the ground like a million elephants with silverback orangutans.'' You got the impression Saturday, as Williams thundered back on Capriati, that Capriati was looking over her shoulder throughout that third set, not only waiting but expecting to be trampled by those elephants and orangutans. What was Williams thinking after she lost that first set? That it would take her three sets to take that trophy away from Capriati instead of two? Compare that with Capriati's state of mind, which she described thusly: ``When you are playing the point, there's high anxiety.'' You can't hit a tennis ball where you want if your hand or mind is trembling.

Williams' strength, it isn't just something you'll find in her legs. The match was over before the scoreboard confirmed it. Capriati, out of shape, withered in the heat (South Florida's and Williams'). Part of the reason for Capriati's fatigue, aside from a lifestyle that had the tabloids reporting her dancing on bars topless while waving cigarettes and hanging out with her ''Friend'' Matthew Perry? She was haunted by Williams the night before, Serena creeping into Capriati's sleep. ''Racy mind,'' Capriati said. She meant ''racing,'' but Williams can leave your mind scrambled that way. Williams is lured to this like sharks to chum. ''She was getting a little tired in the third,'' she said of Capriati. Then, through a laugh: ``And I was just starting.'' It's hard to criticize Capriati too much for not being in the kind of shape that won her the Australian Open when her career resurrection is rivaled only by John Travolta's. (Can we get him to go away, by the way?)

She celebrated her 27th birthday Saturday, meaning she has been famous for half her life, and we can use the word ''celebrated'' even in defeat because there was a time there when she was on the kind of self-destructive path that made you wonder if she'd ever get near 27. Still, she didn't give herself or the fans the third set they deserved because she is softer than she should be, and it is hard enough to beat Williams even if your body and mind are in perfect condition. It doesn't make for good punctuation, Capriati dissolving as soon as Williams won the second set. Capriati was defeated already even though the match was tied. Not that Williams has been singularly focused lately. She described through giggles a workout regimen that had too much Snickers and not enough weight work. She admitted, to her trainer's dismay, she hadn't been to the gym for a month. And doesn't that have to be the most discouraging thing for anyone trying to climb toward her throne?

Williams was sick earlier in this tournament and still won. She played about as poorly as she can Saturday, against one of the world's best, and still won. She went a month without working out or even practicing much and still won. If nobody can beat her at her worst, what are they going to do with her best? Williams sounded a little bit embarrassed about that afterward, saying, ``I can't keep doing it like that because there are people out there working harder.'' So she'll return to the practice courts this week and add to her aura, which is all she needs on some days. But now she has this victory, which is something to put in her arsenal as well as her trophy case. Because the next time she is in a real third set, a tight one, she'll know that she can win, no matter how sick she is or how poorly she is playing or how little preparation she has done.

Her mind is stronger today than it was before this victory, which means her game is, too, and that should make the minds of opponents all over this tour start racing the way Capriati's was when Serena crept into her sleep.

© 2003 The Miami Herald and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved.


Mar 30th, 2003, 08:47 AM

Posted on Sun, Mar. 30, 2003

They waited nearly three hours in the stifling heat Saturday afternoon...


They waited nearly three hours in the stifling heat Saturday afternoon, hanging over parking-lot barriers, waving pens and Serena Williams Barbie dolls, posters and magazine covers. Sixty people. Fifty-seven of them black. Not your typical tennis crowd. Andre Agassi was playing on Stadium Court, beating Albert Costa 6-2, 6-4 for a berth in today's 11 a.m. men's final against Carlos Moya. But those fans in the Crandon Park parking lot didn't care. They were waiting for one of the most powerful, recognizable female athletes in the world to emerge from the stadium tunnel after collecting her second straight NASDAQ-100 Open title, another crystal bowl and a $393,000 check -- rewards for spoiling Jennifer Capriati's 27th birthday with a 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 victory. It was Williams' 17th straight win this season and her seventh straight over Capriati. She is 61-4 -- including titles at the French Open, Wimbledon, U.S. Open and Australian Open -- since winning this title a year ago.

Her career earnings closed in on $11 million, and that's not counting the millions she gets from endorsements. A white Cadillac Escalade pulled up. A beefy bodyguard brought out Williams' bags and placed them in the car. A young woman climbed into the passenger seat. And then, Williams strolled out, decked in jeans, rhinestone-studded flip-flops and a black tank top that said ''Bonita'' across the front. Her fans -- most of them women -- shrieked. Williams made her way over and signed about 30 autographs. Then she climbed into the driver's seat, shut the door and sped off onto Crandon Boulevard on Key Biscayne. Those few minutes offered a glimpse of Williams' impact. It was also obvious during the two-hour slugfest with Capriati, which was witnessed by a more racially diverse crowd than one usually sees at major tennis events. Her fans groaned with every one of her errors, and there were a lot of them. Forty-two, to be exact. Twenty-one of them in the second set alone.

They roared after many of her 33 winning shots. They jeered when Capriati questioned a few line calls. And as it became obvious that Capriati had wilted in the third set, the Williams fans in the evenly divided crowd could hardly contain their giddiness. Williams is beginning to understand what she and her sister, Venus, mean to the black community. They recently received the NAACP Image Award, which Serena said was an eye-opener. ''I might move my Wimbledon trophy aside and put that one where it is because it means so much to me,'' the 21-year-old Palm Beach Gardens resident said this week. ``I've gotten a lot of things in the past year, but I think that one's definitely the apex. We're so young. We've had a major impact. I don't even realize all the stuff we do. 'A lot of little girls are playing tennis, a lot of people are watching tennis, a lot of people are inspired, not only on the tennis court, but just inspired never to give up.

When Denzel Washington came up to me and said, `This is what I've been waiting for the whole night, that's the only reason I'm here. I watch you every match. I can tell you what outfit you wore every match,' I was really, really shocked.'' One person who is not a member of the Williams fan club is Capriati. She has finished runner-up to a Williams at Key Biscayne three years in a row -- once to Venus, twice to Serena. Capriati, one of the few women on tour with the power to keep up with the Williams sisters, was pumped for Saturday's final. It was her birthday. She had played well all week. She was unusually relaxed. And for one set, Capriati dominated. She had only three unforced errors, served well, returned well and appeared to be on her way to an upset. But the 85-degree heat, Williams' groundstrokes and seeds of doubt began to unravel Capriati. ''I came out playing great,'' Capriati said. ``For some reason, instead of keeping up that kind of level, I just back away.

I don't know if it's a matter of me not believing that I can do it consistently for whatever it takes.'' Capriati also admitted she wasn't in tip-top shape. She took several weeks off for eye surgery in November and said she is just now getting close to peak form. ''It was pretty hot out there,'' Capriati said. ``It's tough chasing down her balls. Tennis-wise, I definitely can hang with her and match her shot for shot, but it's a matter of still getting in a little better shape and peaking.'' Williams said she noticed Capriati getting fatigued. ''I saw she was getting tired [in the third set], and I was just starting,'' Williams said. About the only thing Williams did wrong Saturday was commit what could be construed as a faux pas at the post-match news conference. Williams, who loves Paris and speaks French, was asked her views of the anti-French sentiment in the United States. She broke into a French accent. ''We don't want to play in the war, we want to make clothes,'' she said, smiling.

``But I don't want a war, either. I don't know many people who do want to be involved in war.'' A few journalists were offended by her joking tone. But Williams isn't afraid to tackle anything in her path, on or off the court.

© 2003 The Miami Herald and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved.


Mar 30th, 2003, 07:04 PM
http://www.sun-sentinel.com/sports/sfl-serena30mar30,0,1227924.story?coll=sfla%2Dsports%2 Dfront

Serena rallies after dropping set to Capriati

By Charles Bricker
Staff Writer

March 30, 2003

KEY BISCAYNE -- As the unforced errors mounted up with astonishing frequency for Serena Williams in Saturday's reprise of the 2002 Nasdaq-100 Open final, a sense of deja vu must have come over anyone who watched last year's match. "Oh my God," Williams exclaimed when she was informed she had slopped 42 balls beyond the lines or into the net in this 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 triumph over Jennifer Capriati. In fact, 42 didn't sound nearly as bad as the 59 she committed a year earlier, when she beat Capriati in straight sets. This time, however, she nearly did not get away it because Capriati played as well as she ever has against Williams -- serving consistently, particularly with her deliveries up the T in the ad court, and striking the ball cleanly and deep enough to make an ever greater shambles of Williams' sloppy footwork. Williams blundered around the court at a pace that would have cost anyone else the title.

But this was the No. 1 player in the world, and her game is still a cut above everyone else -- even on a day when she personally handed over 50 percent of Capriati's points. That Williams won the 22nd title of her seven-year career and her second in a row at Key Biscayne was cause for celebration, and she wasn't bashful about rejoicing on court. But there were more sober moments later as she contemplated the warning shot Capriati had fired over her bow. "I wasn't on my game today," she admitted. "I'm going home, and I'm not going to take time off. I'm going to practice because I don't think I've been doing enough practicing. That's why my form is off. I'm hitting the ball a little off. "Going into South Carolina [Charleston on clay, April 7-13], I really want to do well there. So I'm actually going to practice for once -- actually practice."

It is a tribute to the magnificence of Williams' athletic ability and talent that she could waltz through this draw with the loss of only one set and win her third title of the year. But the closeness of this victory seems to have shaken her of any over-confidence. "I can't keep doing it like this. There are people out there working hard and coming closer. It's not like I didn't want to work. It's just that I think there are some things I can do to work harder that might make my day a little easier." No one could expect Capriati to play any better than she did in the opening set, considering the quality of her opponent. "I was moving the ball around, not making many errors, going for my shots," Capriati said. "That was a great first set for me. And for some reason, I guess instead of keeping up that level, I just back away instead of moving up. I don't know if it's a matter of me not believing I can do it consistently for whatever it takes, two sets in a row.

Then she got into a good rhythm and started playing better." Williams had only two serious threats at this tournament, Kim Clijsters in the semis and Capriati. Only sporadically did she flash her great ground stroking against Clijsters. Against Capriati, her super-aggressive game was so out of control that she finally, and wisely, changed tactics in the second and third set. As she sprang off to a 2-0 lead in the second, she reined in her go-for-broke service returns and began playing safer shots back to get into the rallies. By the third set, she had taken pace off most of her balls during the rallies and was content to grind with Capriati, picking her spots to muscle up and fire. Even so, she seemed vulnerable. She saw a 4-1 lead become 5-4 with Capriati serving to draw even. At 15-all, however, she watched Capriati commit three errors in a row to lose the set. Williams had 14 unforced errors in the first set, 21 in the second and, after playing a lot safer, only seven in the third.

"Mentally, I was there today," she said. "That really does have a lot to do with the match. I think physically and playing-wise, I don't think I played that well. There were a lot of things I should have done. Forty-two errors ... how good is that. You tell me." She said she hasn't been to the gym in four weeks and has been snacking on Snickers bars. But that hardly seemed the problem Saturday. Her feet were slow. She wasn't getting a full shoulder turn on her backhand ground strokes. She seemed to lack confidence to come to the net. In that final game of the second set, Williams got a short ball -- a perfect approach shot. She hit it back and retreated, backpedaling toward the baseline. But at the end of the day she was 17-0 and six titles behind big sister Venus, who went out here in the round of 16.

If she wants to make that 18, 19 or even 45 in a row, matching Steffi Graf's undefeated start in 1987, she needs to get some rhythm back into her game, or there's going to be a lot more "Oh my Gods" before the next Grand Slam.

Copyright © 2003, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Mar 30th, 2003, 07:16 PM
http://www.sun-sentinel.com/sports/sfl-hyde30mar30,0,3526186.column?coll=sfla%2Dsports%2D front

HYDE: Serena's dominance breaks all the rules

Dave Hyde

March 30, 2003

KEY BISCAYNE -- You know what it takes to be a tennis champion, don't you? It takes the singular focus of a Trappist monk. "I've been hanging out, relaxing, not working," Serena Williams said. It takes more gym time than a dumbbell. "I haven't been in the gym in about four weeks -- I think my trainer's upset about that," she said. It takes mapping out your lifestyle down to each bite of food. "I've been eating some -- well, I had a Snickers the other day," she said. "I don't know how I stay fit." It takes ripping into each opponent like a Christmas gift. "I was just being lazy and not working hard enough," she said after Saturday's match. It takes playing perfectly against the best opponents. "How many unforced errors did I have?" she asked after beating Jennifer Capriati 4-6, 6-4, 6-1. Forty-two, she was told. "Oh, my god," she said. So who's anyone kidding? Williams broke every golden rule at the Nasdaq-100 Open en route to breaking down every opponent. She hasn't lost in 17 matches now.

She owns every major title. She has won 35 of 36 matches and won nine of her past 11 tournaments. But this latest title may best show how dominant the Age of Serena appears. Never has she looked more beatable than at the end of this tournament. After a straight-set, semifinal win against Kim Clijsters, Williams said, "My serve wasn't there and my returns were miserable." In Saturday's final, Williams looked even worse at the start against Capriati, a top opponent playing at the top of her game. Capriati had just three unforced errors in taking the first set. Three! You can get that many just walking on the court. So what was Williams thinking after losing the first set? "Three sets," she said. Meaning, of course, that's how long it would take for her to win. And as much as her ground-crunching first serve this might be the difference between Williams and everyone else. She has won so much she expects to every time out. Opponents know it, too.

Capriati talked of feeling "anxious" and having "high anxiety" over every point in Saturday's final. Williams, asked if she had the same feeling, put a bemused look on her face before answering, "Hmm. I mean, I don't know if I felt anxious. Well, maybe a little bit. She was getting a lot of balls back." "If you're off a by a little bit, it's who takes control of the point first -- I mean, she played tough," Capriati said. Williams always plays tough. She always plays smart. But the most amazing part of this title is she won by being so nonchalant in her preparation. Not practicing. Not training. Not eating properly. "I slacked off this week," she said. She still won decisively. This is why tennis people are asking whether she can go undefeated over a season. In answering whether it was possible, Williams put these sentences back-to-back-to-back-to-back: "It's going to be really hard. It's impossible to win them all. If you could, I would love to.

That's going to be what I'm going to try to do, but I don't know if it's possible." Well, there you have it. If she does it, maybe the Nasdaq becomes a turning point. You see, Williams sounded motivated by how poorly she played in winning. She's going home, but she's not taking time off. "I'm going to actually practice for once -- actually practice," she said. Watch out. She might hit the gym, too.

Dave Hyde can be reached at dhyde@sun-sentinel.com

Copyright © 2003, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Mar 30th, 2003, 07:32 PM

17-0: Serena the perfect sister

By Karen Crouse, Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Sunday, March 30, 2003

KEY BISCAYNE -- It's a commercial waiting to be shot. Imagine hearing this voice, off camera: "Serena Williams, you've just run your match record for the year to 17-0 and won your second consecutive Nasdaq-100 Open title. What are you going to do next?" Williams, flashing the smile that launches a thousand camera motor drives, replies: "I'm going to the gym!" It's not a pretty promotion for the WTA, but it perfectly sums up the power imbalance in the women's game. Williams, who has, by her own admission, slacked off her conditioning regimen the past few weeks, nonetheless was able to muscle past Jennifer Capriati 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 in the championship Saturday at the Tennis Center at Crandon Park. It was the seventh straight defeat Capriati, a former No. 1, has suffered against Williams and arguably the most discouraging inasmuch as Capriati was playing at a pristine level while the current No. 1 player was a few wind sprints and a few hundred crunches short of top form.

Williams committed 42 unforced errors, much too many to ascribe to her aggressive, attacking style. "Oh, my God," Williams, 21, exclaimed when the number was recited to her. Capriati, allowed Williams, "was getting a lot of balls back." In the first set, especially, Capriati played as if she were 14 again and had nothing to lose. Capriati, the No. 6 seed, committed three unforced errors and broke Williams twice to take the first set. "I came out playing great, just moving the ball around, not making many errors, going for my shots," Capriati said. "And I returned well, served well. That was a great first set for me. For some reason, instead of keeping up that kind of level or that kind of game, I just backed away. "Then she got back into a good rhythm and she started playing a lot better. It was a tough match." Williams, a Palm Beach Gardens resident, produced 33 winners to counter her 42 mistakes. Still. A minus-9 rating would get her a cold seat on a long bench if she were a hockey player.

But because she is far and away the best tennis player in the women's game, the effort snagged Williams her 22nd career singles title, including her third in three events this year. In stringing together the 16 straight victories she put on the line against Capriati, Williams had defeated the Nos. 2, 3, and 7 players (sister Venus, Kim Clijsters twice and Amelie Mauresmo, respectively). Williams, who didn't drop a set in her first five matches here, has been winning so handily, a little bit of complacency crept into her game. When Capriati came out hitting clean, crisp ground strokes and running down balls all over the court, Williams was caught a little flat-footed. "I think I was just being lazy and expecting the win to come without moving my feet," Williams said. "I was just being lazy and not working hard enough." The crowd was rowdy -- and at times, ill-mannered. One or a few fans screamed "hit it" at Williams as she was taking her racket back.

Others whistled every time Williams hit a ground stroke that landed on the baseline, as if to say "It's out!" No doubt Williams is turning new fans onto tennis. On Saturday, they turned the Stadium court into the 16th hole at the Phoenix Open. In the fifth game of the third set, Williams hit a laser-like backhand for a winner to go up 30-15 and somebody in the stands screamed, "Get mad, Jennifer!" Capriati would later say she thought it was funny. Williams used the comment as fuel. "If anything, (stuff like that) motivates me," Williams said. Apparently. Williams won 10 of the next 14 points to close out the match. Then she vowed no more hanging out, as she put it. No more relaxing. "I don't think I've been doing enough practicing," Williams said. "I haven't been in the gym in about four weeks. Like I said, I've been slacking off a little this week, but I'll be back. I can't keep doing it like that. There's people out there who are working hard and coming closer."

Capriati, who turned 27 Saturday, considers herself one of them. "I think I'm definitely on the way up," she said. "Hopefully I'll just get better and better." Capriati and Co. will have to, especially if Williams keeps her promise to hit the gym.


Copyright © 2003, The Palm Beach Post. All rights reserved.

Mar 30th, 2003, 07:43 PM

Williams' load too much to bear

By Karen Crouse, Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Sunday, March 30, 2003

KEY BISCAYNE -- Serena Williams hoisted the crystal bowl above her shoulders and struck a pose for the cameras in front of the fountain at the entrance to the Tennis Center at Crandon Park. Like the policeman working traffic detail a few feet away on Crandon Boulevard, Williams can stop traffic. Fans converging on the main exit Saturday afternoon stopped in their tracks upon seeing the regal woman dressed simply in a nondescript black tank top and faded blue jeans and sequined flip-flops. People retrieved disposable cameras from their pockets and backpacks and joined the horde of professional photographers snapping Williams' picture, jockeying for position and joining in the chorus of "Over here, Serena." After five minutes of smiles all around, Williams put the crystal bowl down. "I can't hold it anymore," she said apologetically. Hey, it's tough asking a 21-year-old to hold the tennis world up on her shoulders like some Ms. Atlas.

Ninety minutes earlier, Williams had dispatched Jennifer Capriati 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 under a scorching sun to win her third tournament of the year and her second straight Nasdaq-100 Open. In the process, Williams made a statement as bold as her orange hot pants outfit. She underscored the fact she can beat the best players in the world even when her form is off. Williams' backhand wasn't the poison dart it usually is and her serve was vulnerable. Capriati played near-flawless tennis to take the first set. After that it became a mind game. Advantage, Williams. Asked what she was thinking after the first set, Williams replied, "Three sets." On the other side of the net, Capriati was wondering if she could produce another sublime set. Her self-doubt showed. Williams would commit a ghastly 42 unforced errors in the match but only seven in the third set. In two hours and three minutes, it was all over but the second-guessing. "Tennis-wise, I definitely can hang with her and match her shot for shot," Capriati said.

"It's hard to explain. When you're playing the points, there's just high anxiety and... you know, she played tough. I can look back now and say what I would have done differently. But when you're actually in the match, it's a tough scenario to try and plan out." For Williams, the toughest times are between matches. Charting a course to No. 1 is one thing. The challenge, as Williams is finding, is there's no compass to help you plot your path once you achieve success and acquire the celebrity that goes with it. "It's like I don't really have time off because I'm doing different photo shoots, I'm doing different commercials," Williams said. "I'm doing just so much. It's just -- it's definitely a lot to handle." Williams acknowledged her training has suffered. She said she hasn't been in a gym in nearly four weeks. She wasn't at her sharpest Saturday physically or mentally. The Palm Beach Gardens resident's ugliest unforced error of the day came not on the court but during her post-match interview.

I asked Williams, an unabashed Francophile, if it disturbed her to see anti-French sentiment in the U.S. thickening like cheese fondue. Williams, affecting a French accent, replied, "Well, we don't want to play in the war. We want to make clothes." Williams' playful response landed with the same awful thud as Lakers center Shaquille O'Neal's Chinese gibberish did. A WTA representative hustled Williams off the podium. It was too late. A French reporter complained to a WTA spokesman, saying he was incensed and insulted by Williams' remark. It was a slip. Nothing more should be read into it. Still. Her breach of propriety speaks to someone being spread thinner than her U.S. Open catsuit. An hour before the start of the women's final, the WTA introduced Larry Scott as the tour's new chairman and CEO. Good timing, that. Scott's first move should be to absolve Williams of the responsibility of carrying the tour pretty much by herself. The load, as she showed Saturday, is getting to be too much.


Copyright © 2003, The Palm Beach Post. All rights reserved.

Mar 30th, 2003, 07:55 PM

Serena Williams Beats Capriati for Nasdaq-100 Title

Sat March 29, 2003 04:11 PM ET

By Richard Luscombe

MIAMI (Reuters) -- Top seed Serena Williams came back from a set down to beat Jennifer Capriati 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 and win her second consecutive Nasdaq-100 Open title on Saturday. It was the world number one's seventh straight win over Capriati, who was attempting to celebrate her 27th birthday by finally winning a tournament in which she was runner-up to Serena last year and her sister Venus in 2001. Williams had to fight for her victory in a final lasting just over two hours in temperatures near 100 degrees Fahrenheit and in which the Heat Index Rule, allowing the players a 10-minute break at the end of the second set, was invoked. Although Williams was not moving around the court as fluidly as usual, and made an uncharacteristic 42 unforced errors, the holder of all four grand slams always seemed to have enough in reserve to deal with any threat from her fellow American.

Williams took a 2-0 lead in the first set before Capriati broke back a game later and then extended her advantage in the fifth game when her opponent struck a forehand into the net. Capriati needed only one of her two set points when Williams put a backhand service return long. The second set turned on the lengthy second game, in which Capriati was infuriated by a line call that gave Williams a fifth break point. Capriati saved that but was clearly unsettled and Williams went on to take the game and secure a 4-0 lead in the set. Williams foot-faulted in the next game and Capriati broke back, but missed another break point at 2-4 and the world number one never looked back as she took the set. Errors began to creep into Capriati's game in the third set and Williams took advantage of some sloppy returning as she marched on to complete her 17th straight victory of 2003.

Copyright Reuters 2002. All rights reserved.

Mar 30th, 2003, 08:31 PM

Serena Williams repeats Miami title From the Sports Desk

Published 3/29/2003 11:45 PM

MIAMI, March 29 (UPI) -- Serena Williams spoiled Jennifer Capriati's 27th birthday Saturday by defending her Nasdaq-100 Open title. Williams, the top seed, rallied past the sixth-seeded Capriati, 4-6, 6-4, 6-1, in just over two hours at the $6.21 million hardcourt tournament. She captured her 22nd career title and collected $393,000. "I haven't been on my game today," said Williams, who has won the last four Grand Slams. "But I'm going to go home and I'm not going to take some time off. I'm actually going to practice because I don't think I've been doing enough practicing. "That's why my form is off. I've been hanging out, relaxing, not working. I can't keep doing it like that. There's people out there who's working hard and coming closer." The contest was a rematch of last year's final, which Williams won in straight sets. The only other time in the tournament's 19-year history that a repeat final occurred was in 1987-88, when Steffi Graf twice beat Chris Evert.

Williams improved to 17-0 this season and 8-4 lifetime against Capriati. Eight of those matches have gone three sets and Williams has won the last seven encounters. "I don't think so," Williams said when asked if she could go undefeated this year. "It's gonna be really hard. It's impossible to win them all. If you could, I would love to. That's going to be what I'm going to try to do, but I don't know if it's possible."

Copyright © 2001-2003 United Press International

Mar 31st, 2003, 06:49 PM

S. WILLIAMS/J. Capriati 4-6, 6-4, 6-1

An interview with SERENA WILLIAMS

SERENA WILLIAMS: Questions (laughter)?

Q. Congratulations. Were you feeling sluggish in the first two sets?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think I was just being lazy and expecting the win to come without moving my feet. I was just being lazy and not working hard enough. So, yeah, that's definitely sluggish.

Q. I know you tune the crowd out when they're cheering and stuff. But there was a point in the match that irritated me when someone yelled out, "Get mad, Jennifer." Did that bother you?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, if anything, it motivates me to want to win. See, a lot of people -- I can understand, it's her third time in the final. Honestly, if she was playing anyone else, I would have liked to see her win. But just playing me, obviously, I want to go out there and win as well. But it just motivates me to be stronger.

Q. What does it say when, obviously, today you are in that top form, and against Kim Clijsters maybe you weren't quite at your top game, yet you're beating them quite easily. Today wasn't easy, but you weren't on your game like you've been in the past; yet you always come through?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I haven't been on my game today. But, I don't know, I'm going to go home and I'm not going to take some time off, I'm actually going to practice because I don't think I've been doing enough practicing. That's why my form is off, I'm hitting the ball a little off. Going into South Carolina, I really want to do well there. So I'm going to actually practice for once - actually practice.

Q. What have you been doing instead of practicing?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Hanging out, relaxing, not working.

Q. What does it tell you when you can be doing that and still win it?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I can't keep doing it like that. There's people out there who's working hard and coming closer. It's not like I didn't want to, it's just that I think there are some things I can do to work harder that might make my day a little easier.

Q. Did you ever, at any point, feel discomfort out there, that she had you behind the eight ball, so to speak?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, not really. I'm just always thinking positive. I think, going into anything, you have to think positive and you start feeling just uncomfortable and feeling like, "Gosh, you know, maybe I won't get it," then I think that's when you start to lose.

Q. What were you thinking after the first set?

SERENA WILLIAMS: "Three sets." (Laughter).

Q. She talked about having high anxiety of each point playing you, that's how she feels. Is it the same for you on the other side of the net today? She was talking about, like, she felt anxious with every stroke, seeing who was going to take control of each point.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Uh-hmm. I mean, I don't know if I felt anxious. She was actually -- I could say I did, a little bit. She was getting a lot of balls back. I made I don't know how many errors.

Q. 42.


Q. She mentioned also that she was restless last night. How did you sleep?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I slept well. Woke up, I watched this movie "Nash" or something like that. But I slept really well, right through the night.

Q. Were you thinking this morning when you were getting ready? This is where your wonderful winning streak started last year.

SERENA WILLIAMS: It actually started in Scottsdale, so I was actually a little weary when I wasn't able to play Scottsdale. It was here, too, it was a big win for me last year, actually one of the biggest I've had in a long time. So it shows that I was able to be serious and keep going. I want to keep it up.

Q. What are you saying to yourself before the start of the third set?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I just said to myself, "I've got to get off to a quick start. Got to stay tough."

Q. Do you really think you can end this year ending every match you played without a single lost?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, no, I don't think so. It's gonna be really hard. It's impossible to win them all. If you could, I would love to. That's going to be what I'm going to try to do, but I don't know if it's possible.

Q. It's been said that you said that. It wasn't true, or...?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I mean, I'm tired of explaining it. I mean, just read the transcripts on it; I think a couple interviews ago.

Q. You said the other day that when you play well, nobody can beat you. How far were you today from that standard?

SERENA WILLIAMS: It was -- mentally, I was up there. That really does have a lot to do with the match. I think, physically, and actually, playing-wise, I don't think I played that well. There was a lot of things I should have done, 41 errors, how well is that? You tell me. It's just -- I don't think it's well.

Q. Serena, her level of play dropped off after the first set. How much of that do you think was what you were then doing?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't think it dropped off after the first set. I think she played well in the first and second set. I just think I had to pick my level of game up.

Q. She said she was fatiguing, I mean, from running around. Did you see that happening?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I saw that she was getting a little tired in the third. I was just starting.

Q. You think those two breakpoints she had on your serve in that first game, then when she didn't get them, kind of let her off?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, maybe, she was up 40-15. I hit some nice shots, but I don't -- I don't know if it did. I would have kept fighting. But it's hard, you know, running. I don't know. It's very hot out there. So...

Q. What are you going to go home and practice?


Q. What are you going to work on? You said you would have done things differently out there.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, yeah, I'm just going to work on some things here and there and just focus.

Q. Without giving away any of your trade secrets or anything, how do you stay so fit? I mean, in the third set, it really was a big difference between you and she. What do you do? Can you just take us through a day of your regimen?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well... haven't been to the gym in about four weeks (laughing). I think my trainer's upset about that. Been eating some -- I had a Snickers the other day. I don't know how I stay so fit (laughing). I just -- I said to myself - because one time I was playing and I lost a match because I was tired - I said, "I never want to lose another match because I'm tired." Like I said, I slacked off a little this week, but I'll be back. I'll be back in South Carolina. I'm going to actually go to the gym.

Q. Does it mean more to win a match when you're not at top form and you have to sort of mentally gut it out, or would you -- does it mean more to be just -- play that perfect, in-the-groove match?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I prefer to play the perfect in-the-groove match because then I won't have to struggle so much and fight so much and have to worry about making so many errors and it's just -- it just would be a lot easier if I could play in that groove a little more often.

Q. But do you maybe learn more about yourself when you can gut one out?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, it's always nice. I can't say it's fun. I mean, if I win, it's fun to gut it out. It shows a lot of character that I'm able to stick in there and pull it out, yeah, fighter.

Q. Do you plan on limiting the amount of matches you play?


Q. Do you plan on limiting the amount of events that you play this year?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, the same. My goal is not to play too many, win all of them that I play, and I don't have to play that many.

Q. Seven in a row against Jennifer. How much of a psychological advantage do you think you have over her?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I always say when you go into a match, you can't have a -- I think when she beat me, like, six in a row, I just , every time I went in there thinking, "This is a new match. The six matches before didn't count. This is a new day." That's how I think we, as players, go into a match.

Q. You've made it clear you love Paris and you love being at the French Open.


Q. Is it sort of disturbing for you to see the anti-French sentiment that's been on display at various events here in the US?

SERENA WILLIAMS: The anti-French...?

Q. Sentiment.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Because they didn't want to participate in the war?

Q. Exactly.

SERENA WILLIAMS: "Well, we don't want to play in the war, we want to make clothes. We don't want the war," (said in an accent.) I don't want a war either. I don't know many people who do want to be involved in the war. "They want to make clothes," (said in an accent).

FastScripts by ASAP Sports...

Copyright © 2002 - 2003 NASDAQ-100 Open. All rights reserved.

Mar 31st, 2003, 07:18 PM

Champion Again: Serena Stops Capriati To Win Second Straight Nasdaq Title

By Dan C. Weil

Serena Williams admitted she wasn't at her best, but she was still good enough to score her seventh straight win over Jennifer Capriati. In a ragged, up-and-down encounter, Williams captured her second straight Nasdaq-100 Open championship with a 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 victory in Key Biscayne, Florida today. The undefeated Williams raised her record to 17-0 and while she acknowledged it was a sub-par performance even when Williams doesn't play her best tennis the gap between her and the rest of the WTA Tour continues to widen. "I think I was just being lazy and expecting the win to come without moving my feet," said Williams, who has won eight of her 12 matches with her fellow Floridian. "I was not working hard enough." In Williams' world, photo shoots can sometimes take priority over forehands.

The multi-talented Williams has devoted some of her spare time to her expanding acting, modeling and endorsement career as well as relaxing in enjoying her role as the world's best player and while the rewards from those endeavors have been substantial, she admits her game has paid the price. "That's why my form is off," Williams said. "I've been hanging out, relaxing, not working." The Australian Open champion's physical prowess and superior skills are the foundation of her game, but it was her mental strength that carried her to the tournament title today. "Mentally, I was up there," Williams said. "That really does have a lot to do with the match. I think, physically and playing-wise I didn't play that well." Informed she committed 42 unforced errors, Williams replied sarcastically: "How good is that?" Though Capriati won the first set to put pressure on the defending champion, the real drama took place in the second set.

After Williams opened up a 4-0 lead, Capriati broke back twice to pull back on serve at 4-5. But she was unable to hold her serve and Williams won the set to even the match. Capriati celebrated her 27th birthday today, but before she could blow out the candles on a cake, she got blown away on the court in the decisive set as her serve detoriorated and her hopes of victory dissolved. "I had my chances," Capriati said. &quotoYou know I can look back now and say, 'Oh, what would I have done differently?' But when you're actually in the match, it's a tough scenario to try and plan out." Despite the one-set deficit, Williams said she was never really worried. &quotI'm just always thinking positive," said the world's No. 1 player. "If you start feeling like, 'Gosh, you know, maybe I won't get it,' then I think that's when you start to lose." Throughout the tournament, Capriati's groundstrokes powered the Jennerator past opponents.

But opponents, fans and even casual observers know by now, Capriati's sometime sporadic serve tends to tighten under pressure from aggressive returners. Prone to double faults when going for big second serves, Capriati wisely played with a bit more spin on her serve in her quarterfinal conquest of Meghann Shaughnessy and her semifinal victory over Chanda Rubin. Capriati would be well-served to take a page from Andre Agassi's playbook and develop a kick serve. Agassi, one of the top returners in tennis history, is annually among the ATP Tour leaders in holding serve by driving deep kick serves in the box and backing them up with his sound strokes. Like Agassi, Capriati is always a threat to break serve with her penetrating return game and should she develop her serve into a consistent weapon rather than the hit or miss shot it is now, she regain a spot in the top 3. "I'll just keep working on the mental part, and just so when I get up there, I'm just strong as a nail," Capriati said.

"So there's no room to get broken." The final set was such an anti-climax, the highlight of the third set was the crowd's excoriation of a fan who screamed out during one of the points. As security guards approached the offending spectator, the crowd screamed in unison "Out, out out..." over and over again. The fans weren't citing Shakespeare's famous line: "Out, out damn spot"; rather, they were urging that the fan pay for his transgression with a quick exit. But the quick exit came from Capriati, who lost her steam fast in the third set. The slight bulging belly Capriati is sporting is a sign she needs to tighten up her training. Her physical strength and court coverage remain exceptional, but she admitted she must improve her stamina. "I need to work on my endurance," the Jennerator acknowledged after the match. "Tennis-wise, I can hang with her, but she made me run down a lot of balls."

Indeed Capriati was on the move through most of the match, with Serena in control of most points and dictating play from the center of the baseline. "Maybe if I would move closer to the baseline, I wouldn't get on the run so much," Capriati said.

copyright Tennis Week, 2003 A Sports Media Network Web Site