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Old Jan 26th, 2003, 12:02 AM   #1
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serena's interview

S. WILLIAMS/V. Williams
7-6, 3-6, 6-4

Q. What would you suggest your sister do to beat you? I know you've heard that before, but on the basis of today's match.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think she just about had me. I just wanted to win so bad. I think just the serve, I think if she served really well in the first and the third, the way she did in the second, I wouldn't have a chance.

Q. Her serve let her down?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't think her serve let her down at all. I had great returns. I'm often able to handle the big serves. No one can consistently hit 198, at least on the women's tour.
I think she did a mighty fine job. Yeah, I don't think there's anything she could complain about.

Q. Venus thought that you were slightly mentally tougher than her right now. Do you think that's the situation when you get into something like a tiebreak?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think going into a tiebreak like that, you have to really, really be really tough. I wouldn't say I'm more mentally tough than Venus. Most of my ideas and everything I actually get from her. Most of my fight and courage I've gotten from Venus. So I don't know if that's a true statement.

Q. You talked about this on the court, but what is it like to be linked with some of the greats of the past?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It definitely feels really special to even be mentioned among Maureen Connolly. I've always looked at her story. That's just super special. Martina Navratilova, Steffi Graf. Help me here.

Q. Margaret Court.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Margaret Court. Really only a handful of people that's been able to do it. I don't know. I guess it's a really special feeling.

Q. How much pressure did you put on yourself to achieve it?
SERENA WILLIAMS: You know what, I didn't put any pressure on me. I just went out to play tennis, went out just to do the best that I could do. I didn't necessarily say, "I have to do this."
I did often think about, "Okay, I'm only one set away from achieving the accomplishment," but I only thought about that once.

Q. Are you saying you weren't any more nervous going out for this than any of the other past ones?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, because at that point -- well, I guess not in this match at all, because it was a really tough and very close match.
But I think in the beginning of the tournament, I put a little pressure on myself. Once I was able to calm myself and relax, I realized it wasn't much after that.

Q. What did you do last night to get ready for today?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, nothing. I just had a little slight massage, went to bed a bit early. Well, not early, 11-ish, maybe a little later. I don't know, I didn't do anything different.

Q. Can you talk about the atmosphere on the court, what it felt like with the roof shut.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think the atmosphere maybe made the courts a little faster. But it felt great because I'd rather be playing in that than the heat of 44 degrees.

Q. Do you think it takes some of the fizz out of the atmosphere in terms of how the crowd reacts and how it feels out there?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't think so. I love to play indoors, so I was really feeling good about that.
I don't think it really takes away at all. I think, if anything, it makes the crowd louder because it's enclosed. It makes things even more tense like going into it.

Q. Back when you were kids, used to play on courts, do you think about those days after things like this or at various times? Did she used to sort of beat up on you then or was it evenly shared?
SERENA WILLIAMS: We never really played each other when we were younger. We played each other maybe once in the junior event.
But I don't think we played each other too much.
Sometimes when I accomplish things, when I win a Grand Slam, I think of how hard -- not how hard it was, but how hard I worked. People say, "Oh, you're so lucky to have this." But luck has nothing to do with it, because I spent many, many hours, countless hours, on the court working for my one moment in time, not knowing when it would come.

Q. After a match like this, a final like this, is it you that calls your father? Does your father call you? The winner usually calls him? He calls both to console the loser? Or nothing happens?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Just, I don't know. I mean, sometimes I call if I'm feeling up to it. If not, no. So much to do after, all the press, all the pictures, everything. It's not like I really even have time to take a second out.

Q. So you haven't done it?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No.

Q. You guys dedicated the match out there to your grandmother, or Venus did today. Can you talk a little bit about that for us.
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, we wanted to dedicate it to her because she was someone really special in our life. It was great getting to know her. I wish I could have known her a little better. But I know that I used to always call her and say, "Oh, watch." She never missed a match, or if we were on TV or anything. She never missed it.
Yeah, we just wanted to dedicate it to her.

Q. I didn't get the name.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Ora Lee.

Q. She was never able to see you play in person?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No. She went to my mom's charity last year. Venus played there. I'm sure she has. I mean, when we were younger, she was always around. I don't know if it was really in person. I don't know.

Q. Is the last name Price?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yes.

Q. P-r-i-c-e?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yes.

Q. There's a report from Belgium that Kim Clijsters's father said that Kim would be off the circuit in three years because the pace of the circuit is just too great. What's your feeling about that? Do you think there should be less tournaments? Would you personally like to play less tennis next year, this year?
SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, I never kill myself with the tournaments. Last year I only played 13. I can't see myself playing any more this year. That's just all about taking care of your body. You can't go out there and break your back for someone else. Ten years from now, whether I want to or not, I think definitely there's going to be somebody else winning championships and tournaments.
My whole theory is to take care of me, that way I won't have to worry about getting too tired, ending my career too early.
I've always been a fan of a shorter season. But I don't play that many tournaments to begin with.

Q. How demanding was this tournament in relation to the other three?
SERENA WILLIAMS: This one definitely was more demanding. Yeah, for sure, because I had tighter matches, closer matches. Yeah, it was a little bit more demanding.

Q. Did you surprise yourself the way you came back against Clijsters?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I surprised myself definitely against Clijsters because it was just -- I -- I don't know. I never expected to go down. I didn't get that sinking feeling, so I kept fighting. But it was definitely a shock and a little bit of a surprise.

Q. I don't want to offend you, but in the past many times players, even if they were not brothers, when they were playing a final, they were splitting up the money before playing the final. They were deciding before, we're friends, whoever wins, we split the whole money. Have you ever thought about something like that with your sister? Have you ever talked about money with her, whoever wins it takes the biggest prize, the other one less?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It's just like normal with us. You know, if I win, I take the money. If she wins, she takes the money. It's not anything like that, like splitting-wise. We both worked really hard.

Q. Do you consider that you are a Grand Slam winner, even though you won all four not in a traditional calendar year?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I guess you can say I am because I think in order to win four in a row, either way, you have to be pretty serious. They're back to back to back. It's definitely very tough. So I guess I would say that I am.
I think anyone would want to say that they were if they won it four in a row, whether it was in one year or not.

Q. What's the sequel to the Serena Slam?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Who knows. I'm just going to keep fighting, keep working hard and keep smiling.

Q. Now that you've won everything there is to win in the women's game, if Mr. Trump came again and put up some money for a big Serena via a top male player, would you be interested?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm here to play women's tennis. I'm a lady. Predominantly most of the time I always like to play ladies.

Q. Will you and Venus play in your mother's charity event this year?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, for sure. I plan on playing. It's always for a good cause. We're really excited about it.

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