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Pureracket
May 30th, 2003, 04:28 PM
Q. It was a tough match for you today.
SERENA WILLIAMS: It wasn't as easy as it looked. I think I was really focused for every point, not just one here and there.

Q. How do you think it is so many other people are really struggling? Your sister needed almost two hours last night, and you seem to be breezing through. How do you explain that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I'm just really focused here. I want to do well at this tournament. This is a Grand Slam. I think actually it was good for Venus to go three sets yesterday.

Q. Can you play much better than the second set? How good did you play?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I have to look at the statistics. I have not seen them yet. You know, I'm going to say, I could serve better for sure.

Q. You beat a player who beat Venus here a couple years ago. When someone beats Venus, do you have an extra incentive beyond what you have already to try to beat them?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, her being my sister, maybe deep down, maybe there's something there. But playing Barbara today, I knew she was a pretty good player because she's been in the Top 10 before. I knew that I had to be really serious. I couldn't joke around at all.

Q. You say you kept your focus throughout the game. When you're dominating like that, a player who has only one winner in each set, how do you keep focused?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, it's easy. I mean, especially it being so hot out there, if you stay focused, you don't have to stay out as long. It's a lot of stuff that goes through my mind.
So today actually I think I did really well with the mental aspect.

Q. Is there any time where you think you might lose concentration, you have to tell yourself to keep focusing?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Not today, no.

Q. For a top player, you need to compete in many match. You have many competitions to play, like the tour, the Grand Slam, Fed Cup. You also have the Olympics to play. What do you think of the Grand Slam, Olympics? Which one do you think is more important?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Actually, someone asked me that the other day, which is more important, the Grand Slam or the Olympics. Would you rather win a gold medal or a Grand Slam? Growing up, I always dreamed of being in Grand Slams, winning the US Open, having a chance to play at Wimbledon and curtsey, although they took it away. I've always dreamed of that.
When I won the gold medal in the Olympics, for me it was something really, really special, and something that not everyone can achieve.
I don't know. I would give anything to play the Olympics and have the opportunity to win a gold medal in singles. I don't know which one is more important. Both of them are extremely special. But I hold the Olympics really, really special, dear to me.

Q. The courts have been baking now for the last four days. The weather probably feels somewhat like south Florida in January or February. Do you find you're hitting through the court now a lot easier than you did in your first round match because of the hardness of the courts?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Honestly, I don't notice these things. I don't notice the heaviness of the ball. I don't notice if the court is slower. Maybe I should.
I don't think I'm hitting through any different at all, no. I can't say that I am.

Q. How upset are you that there's no more curtseying at Wimbledon?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I was a little disappointed actually, because when I was younger, I always looked forward to having a chance to curtsey. It was just a dream. When I first did it, I was just so excited. So I guess there's some people that never will have that opportunity. I'm glad I had my chance, though.

Q. How do you feel about being the last Wimbledon Champion to curtsey?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, I never thought of it that way. I feel, you know, going down in history as the last woman champion to curtsy.

Q. Do the young players in the locker room practice? Do the old players tutor them?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know if everyone took it as serious as I did. There's little things that made me really happy. Just the curtsy made me happy. I don't know how the other players took it.
Venus taught me and told me how to do it. I don't know if I've seen anyone in the locker room walking around and showing the younger players how to do it or not.

Q. Wimbledon is full of its rebellions. Any chance you'll do it to defy the committee?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, not a chance. I want to keep my membership.

Q. What are your thoughts on the next match against Sugiyama?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Ai is playing really well. She did well in Italy. I know she did well this whole year actually, Scottsdale and everything.
I'm definitely going to have to be ready and play very close to what I did today, if not better.

Q. The US women are doing really well. The US men are down to Andre. Can you figure out why the women have figured out how to play on red clay and the men are having trouble?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I can't really say. I don't know. It's just the US women are doing a little better right now in general. We have a couple young guys coming up.
I don't know. Maybe we have a little more experience, because all the other guys are maybe a little younger.

Q. Last time you played Sugiyama, can you remember much about that game?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No.

Q. Sorry?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I don't remember it at all actually. I play her a lot in doubles, so I know her game, but I don't quite remember anything.

Q. Yesterday, according to a press release, ITF, WTA, ATP, has reached an agreement that the ranking points will be awarded to Olympics tennis event. What do you think of this?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think I knew they were going to do that anyway, so...

Q. What do you do different here on the clay from other tournaments? Is there anything with your footwork which is different? How do you adjust?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think it's important to keep moving your feet out here. I watch a lot of the men players. They never stop moving their feet. So I think it's important to keep your feet moving, keep yourself having good footwork and keep your feet moving. And also kind of just to play a little inside I think is important.

Q. When Monica was playing Fed Cup, Billie Jean encouraged her to come in and volley more. It never really happened. My understanding is pretty much the same thing happened with you in Massachusetts in the practice sessions. Do you think her encouragement will have a long-term effect, we'll see you coming in more and more?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think definitely her encouragement had a much long-term effect for me. I often try to do more approach shots and come in. I think it's having a very positive outlook on my game.

Q. Overall, what was it like working with Billie Jean?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Honestly, I really, really enjoy working with her. I had a great time. I was able to learn so much and just grow in such a short period of time. So I really enjoy working with Billie. It's a great experience.

Q. Mostly just a sharp mind, feel for the game?
SERENA WILLIAMS: She just has a feel for the game. She just knows everything about tennis. It's like my dad, just getting a different point of view. It's always good to get a different point of view. I've never seen anyone know so much about the game, every aspect of it, from the serve to the footwork.

Q. What did the last point of the first set tell you about your fitness level, your movement?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I'm running really fast here. I'm running really fast. That's great. I've been running fast, though, since the first round.

Q. Do you feel like you're the fittest you've been all year right now?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm definitely -- I would say so. I'm definitely -- I came in here really, really fit. Yeah, I guess it is the fittest I've been all year. But I was fit in Australia, as well.

Q. Are you going to play the Fed Cup in Washington?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Is it in Washington?

Q. Yes, it is.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, boy. I would love to.

Q. You came in here Sunday and had to field a lot of questions from people about perhaps you're not the favorite here, there were other people whose games were better for this tournament. How much has that played a role in how focused you've been this week? Did that help?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It's always great not being a favorite in a tournament. It takes a lot of pressure off me, you know, puts it on some other people. So for me I'm perfectly happy playing that role.

Q. The losses that occurred to you in Charleston and Rome, were they the little warning lights you needed to get as focused as you are now or would you be as focused even without them?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think yes to both. They were definitely warning lights I could use. Prefer not to have them. At the same time, I'm glad that I got them because I can learn from them and hopefully move forward.

Q. There's so many things you and Venus have in common. What are two or three things you think are most different between you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm more of an extrovert than she is. I like LA. She likes Florida. She likes LA, too. Whenever she comes, we have fun.
I don't know. I think that's about it. We're pretty much the same.

Q. What's your favorite part of LA?
SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, I love going to the nail salons and getting your nails done because they do the manicure, pedicure at the same time, and they'll give you a massage on your shoulders, if you want. I love this. It's at any salon you go to. I go to one in Beverly Hills. They know me there. It's great. I love this.

Q. Near Rodeo?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yes, near Rodeo.

Q. Fancy?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Uh-huh.

Q. You just said you learned something from your two losses. What exactly did you learn?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I learned some techniques I would like to work on and improve in my game. Just need to attack more and be a little more consistent, be a little better physically in shape.