Australian Open: Serena Williams, Jan 13, 2007
January 13, 2007
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Serena.
Q. What do you expect of yourself here?
SERENA WILLIAMS: What do I expect? I just expect to go out there and most of all have fun. Mostly the things I'm expecting to do are based on my just technical things. I think if I do that well, then I'll be fine.
Q. You have a pretty tough road ahead of you. You could have to face six seeded players, including 1, 2 and 3. Do you think you have your sights set actually on winning?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think, you know, at this point -- I haven't seen the draw. I think last I checked, whoever I play, we both start at 0-0. They wouldn't be up like 3-Love in the beginning. You just have to go out there and play it like that. That's how I look at it.
Q. Have you been satisfied with your physical conditioning?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah. I've been doing a lot better.
Q. What is the name of the gentleman who was playing with you today? I don't know if he was a coach or just a warmer -- upper. Who is he?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I think that you are talking about Boris. He's from Turkey.
Q. He was the first good Turkish player in my memory. Couldn't remember a second one.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think he was probably one of the best Turkish players. I don't know many Turkish players, if any.
Q. What is your feeling looking to the situation, without your injuries, without your vacation, the top of the rankings, was your place, belongs to you, first place?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't understand your question. I wasn't on vacation. I would have loved to have been.
Q. Without your injuries, do you believe you would be the same No. 1 in the world or not?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I definitely think -- I wouldn't be ranked where I am right now. I think everything happens for -- actually, I don't think anything happens for a reason. But I don't regret anything that's happened to me. When I did get injured and I did get surgery, I did things I would have never been able to do, i.e. spend time with my family, spend time with my sisters. I wouldn't give that up for anything.
I think it was just a learning experience. I've been able to, like I said, spend some time that I've never been able to get back or never be able to have again.
I welcome the challenge of being where I am. Like right now, I just think mentally I'm in a different place. I'm excited to be playing, just to be traveling again, more than anything.
Q. Does it feel strange to come in here unseeded?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No. I haven't really thought about it.
Q. Considering you haven't played since last year's US Open, what happened in Hobart, do you feel like three matches after all that time off is the right preparation for playing here?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I thought it was awesome. I played three solid matches, like eight sets. So it worked out good. You know, it was nice. I'm glad that I started out there and didn't start out here. It was definitely a good decision I think on my behalf.
Q. You had a pretty eventful off-season. How much of a distraction was the trial? Also, Africa, what was that like for you, what that meant for you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, Africa was amazing. I think my dream in life has always been to go to Africa. I've never been. I was able to see things that I've always wanted to see, visit people, just go to I feel my home country, that I've just never been there. It just felt really amazing to go there.
It was an unbelievable experience.
The trial was -- you know, it was tough, spending the better part of seven weeks of your training in court every day. It's kind of hard. It's very difficult, to say the least. Some days you can get upset and be very discouraging.
I don't know. At this point I was just excited to be able to make it all the way here after that, such a strenuous off-season mentally.
Q. You were happy the way it turned out?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Absolutely. You know, I don't think it should have turned out any other way. I sign my own contracts (laughter).
Q. Do you think you'll go back to Africa?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I would love to go back to Africa. You know, it was really an amazing experience for me. I loved every bit of it. I would like to go a little more to East Africa and South Africa. It would be awesome.
Q. What countries did you visit?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I went to Senegal and Ghana, West Africa.
Q. Which is the biggest surprise you have coming back, something you didn't expect?
SERENA WILLIAMS: What do you mean? You ask funny questions.
Q. When you arrive in Africa, what were you surprised about?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I thought you were talking about in general. So many things popped up in my mind.
Hmm? In Africa, something that I really didn't expect? I don't know. It was exciting for me to go and see the slave castles. I thought that was really interesting. I just thought it was a really moving experience more than anything. That was like the most best experience I think I could have had.
Q. Do you think tennis needs Serena Williams, because is a great player, a great person?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I would be kind of pontificating if I said I think tennis needs me. But I think we work together. I think tennis needs me; I think I need tennis. I think I'm happiest playing tennis. I love to be on the court. I love walking out in the crowd. I love the competition.
I think it works both ways.
Q. Do you have any insight as to why Venus, this wrist thing is so persistent?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I have a lot of inside information (smiling).
Q. Does it surprise you that it goes away, she plays, it comes back? She can't seem to shake it.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I have a feeling that it's shook now. I have a really good feeling about that. Just, yeah.
Q. How are you feeling physically right now? Would you expect to play a full schedule this year?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I definitely expect to play a full schedule this year. Physically I'm feeling nice (thumbs up), yeah.
Q. How would you explain the fact there is no seeded American woman here. First time in history it's happened.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Really? It's all my fault, I guess (smiling). I should have been