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let's use this thread to post all interviews from Serena Williams.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
January 17th, 2005
S. WILLIAMS/C. Pin
6 1, 6 1
An interview with:
SERENA WILLIAMS


THE MODERATOR: First question for Serena, please.
Q. Were you comfortable in that match?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Sure, yeah. I was comfortable.
Want to elaborate?

Q. Especially playing after a long break like that.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, I was a little nervous going into it. But after the first game, I was okay. I thought if I just get the first game, then I'll be all right. I think that's just first round nerves. That's it.

Q. What happened when your shoe came off? Was it just not tied properly?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I have a bad habit, like I always slip in and out of my shoes like they're flip flops. So I never tie them. So I just slip in, I go out and play matches, and slip out. I guess I forgot to tie them.

Q. What were you doing on your off time? Did you take some vacation time or you were just practicing?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I had to take time off so my stomach could heal because I didn't want to tear it. It was a severe strain and I didn't want to get it so bad, so I had to take some time off so it could heal properly.

Q. So what were you doing then? Were you in California or Florida?
SERENA WILLIAMS: We were doing a lot of charity events. We did the Williams Tour with McDonald's, and that was great fun. It was really successful.
I filmed a TV show, actually, I had a lot of fun doing.

Q. Which show?
SERENA WILLIAMS: "All of Us."
I did a fashion show. Gosh, I did a lot (smiling).

Q. Nice to be back in Australia winning matches?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It is. It's lovely down here. I've missed it. I really like this surface. I enjoy playing out here a lot. I have good memories out here, so...
It's fun to be back.

Q. You say, "All of Us." Is that a TV show?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It's a TV show.

Q. A sitcom?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It's a sitcom.

Q. Who stars in it besides yourself?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Elise Neal and Duane Martin. It's produced by Will Smith and Jada Pinkett.

Q. What was your role?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I played two roles. It was fun. I never do comedy. They have been begging me to do a show a lot, but I never got the right script.
Finally, I saw this amazing script. I was playing I never play myself, but they wanted me to play myself and my assistant. My assistant was really kind of out there, she was really insane and very, very unprofessional. So it was really, really a hilarious script for me. I thought, "Okay, I have to do this."
So it was a lot of fun. It was like playing two characters.

Q. When will it air?
SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, I'm not sure. I'm not sure if it came on already. I think it might have aired last week.

Q. You mean you played Serena Williams?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I played Serena Williams and her assistant. Her assistant was kind of wore this really loud blonde wig. It was really short. She was really eccentric, I should say.

Q. What was her name?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Her name was Wanda (laughing). I had a tattoo that said Wanda. Wanda was very ethnic (laughing).

Q. What was more fun, playing yourself or Wanda?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Definitely Wanda. I really got to stretch my comedic roles. I was really going out there. I ad libbed so much. I was working with Debbie Allen, which was great for me because I never worked with her and she's amazing. That was so fun.
She was like, "Okay, do whatever you want to do. Stretch. Make Wanda really, really eccentric." When she told me that, I just really went for it. I had so much fun. I kept adding lines. The next day I'd see it, the lines I added, I was like, "Oh, cool."

Q. Emmy award winning role?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Definitely not.

Q. After a long break from the game, do you see yourself as one of the leading contenders here?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I definitely wouldn't be here if I didn't think so; I'd rather stay home.
I always see myself as someone that's coming here for seriousness and to win the tournament.

Q. How frustrating was Los Angeles? I know you were injured, but with a 4 Love lead, to not be able to...?
SERENA WILLIAMS: After that point, I was going to pull out and I just started hitting balls as hard as I could. And then I was surprised that I even went up 4 Love, honestly. I was in a lot of pain. I was really just happy to be competing at that point still.

Q. How important is it for you to win a Grand Slam title this year? It's been a while.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, my goals are just to win pretty much my matches. I think Grand Slams will come with it.

Q. How do you feel physically now?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Physically I'm feeling very good.

Q. 100%?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't like to talk about it because it's like I'm doing good and I don't want to jinx myself.

Q. Any trepidation about having first time back and you double fault on the first point?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I usually never double fault. I think I double faulted four times today, or five.
But I shocked myself. I was like, "What?" But it's okay.

Q. There was a pretty discreet length skirt. Is that part of a new style trend?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think it's too long (smiling).

Q. Think it's too long?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I like the length. It's perfect. It's so flowy and it's very sheer, very see through. It's so flowy that any shorter wouldn't be appropriate, so we definitely went with a longer length. I love how it just pops up and down. It's so flirty and feminine for me. I love it.

Q. Will we see that or are there changes for the rest of the tournament?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I have other changes but I really like this. We'll wait and see.

Q. Is this one you designed or not yet totally?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I designed the warm up and the outfit, yeah. I pretty much am involved in a complete collaboration where we get together and we just design everything as a team so...
I'm very hands on.

Q. Did you get to design Wanda's clothes?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No. You know, Wanda, she's a little crazy. She likes to wear really outfits that are really out there. So I tell Wanda, "I can't dress you, but, you know, you have to be more professional as my assistant."

Q. Any rejoinder from Mr. Blackwell, any response to Mr. Blackwell?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yes. I love how you use good, big words. I love that (laughter).

Q. Tell that to my boss.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I love that.
I mean, come on, who was on that list? I mean, it was Lindsay Lohan. I'm sorry, she wears simple clothes and she always dresses nice. Jessica Simpson, I have never seen her dress bad myself. She wears some of the best clothes.
I mean, it was just, come on now. It was like taking a shot at all of young Hollywood out there and me too. It was just like they took a shot at all of us. I'm like all these people most of the people on the list, I have no problem with Nicolette Sheridan, what she wears. To me, she always looks good.
So I didn't understand that list. I think he was just, I don't know, upset that young Hollywood is doing so well and taking over.

Q. You're No. 7 now. A couple years ago obviously you were at the very top. Do you sense a difference in the way the other players feel about playing against you now that wouldn't have been there a couple years ago when you were more dominant?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't think there's a player out there who would see their name against mine and go, "Oh, my God, yes!"
So...

Q. They've said this, Myskina said that "we don't fear the sisters anymore." Do you sense that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: What?

Q. Do you sense that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, I don't know. I don't hang out I don't know. I feel that, like I've always said, when I'm at my best, no one can beat me. I think that's just the bottom line.

Q. Are you aware of the doping allegations against three other players?
SERENA WILLIAMS: The doping allegations?

Q. Yes.
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I'm not.

Q. Three players were named one of them has tested positive apparently in an exhibition event in the last year. They haven't provided any B samples. Do you advocate naming players before someone's been found guilty?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think there's no need to accuse anyone of anything unless there's hard proof.

Q. How full a schedule would you know now you're going to play this year, roughly?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I have no points to lose early on, so hopefully I'll play a few tournaments early and... I don't know.
Couple years ago I was No. 7 and I ended up top. So I kind of like the position that I'm at right now. It's hot.

Q. What will you play from now till the French and Wimbledon?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I'll play a few indoor. I'll play Miami, obviously; I love that tournament. Few clay court events (smiling).

Q. Will you go to Indian Wells, or are you past that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, no, that's my vacation period because I'm playing a lot overseas in Europe. I usually like to chill out around Indian Wells.

Q. Fed Cup in Delray?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It's in Delray, are you serious? Oh, I'll really want to play. I'm going to play for sure. I really look forward to it. I really want to play for Zina, I haven't been able to play with her yet.
Oh, I'm so excited. That's perfect. It doesn't get better than that. There's no way... (laughter)... they did that on purpose.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
January 19th, 2005
S. WILLIAMS/D. Randriantefy
6 3, 6 0
An interview with:
SERENA WILLIAMS

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Serena, please.

Q. Pretty (inaudible) in the second set. Did you step your game up a gear a little bit?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I definitely tried to step my game up after in the middle of the first set. So, yes.

Q. You seemed to be hitting a lot of clean winners. You were hitting the lines today rather than missing slightly. How do you think your progression is going here?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It's definitely getting better and better with each match. Today I hit a lot of winners against a girl that actually gets a lot of balls back. So I was excited.

Q. It's been pretty easy going the first two matches. Are you looking for more of a challenge before you get into the second week?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I mean, not really. Who wants to play a tough match?
But sometimes it's easy it's good to play a tough match and get it under your belt. But in all honesty, I'm sure everyone would rather go straight sets than three sets.

Q. After two matches now, how do you feel physically coming into the tournament?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm feeling really good physically. I'm really proud of how I'm doing, how I'm feeling and I'm really excited that I'm feeling so well. I'm really looking forward to the rest of the tournament.

Q. Have you lost some weight?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I always try to lose lots of weight always.

Q. Have you lost a bit?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yes. I lost inches. Maybe a few pounds, so...

Q. Working hard?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I've been working really hard and trying to always be slim and trimmer each year. Each year I try and lose a little weight. Thank you. Best compliment.

Q. When you had the knee problem and then the stomach, stuff like that, do you change your training to learn something from those previous injuries that could help in the future?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Each injury you have to change your training. Like with the stomach, there's a lot of things I could not do and I had to gradually go forward and do it. It was really great that I didn't tear it and it was just a strain. So that was really, really exciting. But, yeah, you learn what you should do and what you should strengthen so you don't have to go through those injuries anymore.

Q. Are you pretty disciplined about doing all that stuff?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No.

Q. No?
SERENA WILLIAMS: By no means.

Q. Did it feel abnormally or excruciatingly hot out there?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, not at all. I'm a firm believer that Florida is hotter in the summer than Australia. It's so hot in Florida and humid. People should try to commit suicide normally. Whew! It's just... this is lightweight compared to what it gets in Florida. It's crazy.

Q. Do you understand this meteorological formula they have to determine whether they will play on a given day?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I do not, but I do understand that they close the roof after certain temperatures, is that correct?

Q. They've got this whole formula.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, no.

Q. Temperature, humidity, whether an egg fries on the court, things like that.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, wow. No, I don't understand that. But I'll bring my eggs out next time (smiling). I'll scramble them out there.

Q. What does it feel like to be back in the sports world when you're looking around sometimes in the entertainment world? Is it similar?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It's great. It's like I have the best of both worlds. Go in the entertainment world, come back and be in the sports world. You know, try to do pretty good at both.
But this is what I love right now. I love going out there and playing for the tennis playing tennis, I should say, playing for the crowd. For me, it's a great experience.

Q. Not having a Grand Slam title right now, does it bug you when you're at an entertainment function and people say, "Come on, Serena, what's going on"?
SERENA WILLIAMS: People don't ask me that. People always assume that I'm No. 1, and I never correct them in any way. They always assume, you know, that I've won the last Grand Slam. I mean, except for the people that really watch, then they know. But other than that, people always assume that myself that I'm winning and that I'm No. 1. So, yeah, keep it like that.

Q. What do they think about Venus? Do they think she's also No. 1? Or do they understand she's not anymore?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think they think that we're 1 and 2. For them, it's like we've us being the Williams sisters together, we've kind of broken and opened so many doors. It was just amazing. So I think they look at it like they're really I'm surprised that some people were excited to meet me. I'm like, "I'm excited to meet you."
They're like, "Are you sure?"
I'm like, "No, really, I love you."
For them, it's like an athlete is at the pinnacle of their game. There's no acting, no excuses, nothing going into it. It's all about talent and going out there and doing the best you can. For them, they really respect us in that aspect and it's really cool.

Q. Amelie lost a set today and steamed through after that. Were you surprised she was one of the top players to drop a set so far?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No. She played Safina. She was playing really well. Dinara tends to play very well and she's a very talented player. She's no pushover. So that definitely wasn't a very easy draw for her. That was good that she was able to pull it through.

Q. I think you're playing Sania Mirza in the next round, from India in the next round. Have you ever heard of her?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, but I'm pretty sure she's heard of me and she'll be ready to play my game.

Q. Are you staying in the same place with Venus while you're here, sharing a practice partner, warming up together?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, we're roommates, we're practice mates, we're gambling mates. We pretty much are sharing everything this week.

Q. Staying in the same hotel room?
SERENA WILLIAMS: We're roommates, so... Yeah, we're together. It's great. You know, we haven't been together a lot lately because I didn't play here last year. I love being with her. She's really funny, and we always we have these obsessions, so we encourage each other not to be so obsessed.

Q. Could that be maintained if you move right through the tournament together?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Absolutely. Absolutely. I actually think I play better when I hit with Venus because she just brings out the best in me. She's just slapping winners left and right, and I'm just at this point, "Oh, gosh." So for me, I always do better when I practice with her.

Q. Would you still share the same room if you're both in the final?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, we always do. We always did.

Q. Don't try to keep her awake?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No. I try to poison her sometimes but it never really works (laughing).
One time I put a pillow over her head, but she woke up. That didn't quite work out. I told her I was just moving the pillow (smiling).

Q. The betting markets in Australia have you favorite to win the final. Do you feel that yourself, do you think you feel like the favorite?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm just here to play each match. I want to play five more. I really want to be there. So I'm in the next round, yeah, and I'm there.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
January 21st, 2005
S. WILLIAMS/S. Mirza
6-1, 6-4

Q. Were you surprised with the ease in which you won your game? Was it like a walk in the park?

SERENA WILLIAMS: By no means I don't think it was a walk in the park. I think I was really ready to play because I knew she was a young, talented, good player, and I wanted to make sure I was ready.

Q. She made you work a lot harder in the second set, didn't she?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, she did. She definitely brought up her game. Maybe she got rid of her jitters, if any at all. Maybe I made a few more errors.

Q. Are you happy with the way your game has gone along, fourth round?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm happy with my serve today. Finally, after forever it seems, able to feel my serve. So I was really happy about that.

Q. She said that it was a dream to play a great player like you on a big stage like this. You spent a little more time at the net at the end of the match. What did you say to her?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I told her to keep up the good work because it was good to see someone from India for the first time do so well. I was excited to see someone particularly do so well from that country, and I told her to keep fighting.

Q. Have you managed to do anything away from the tennis, look around?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Not really. I'm always -- when I try to watch Venus' matches, she always gets stuck behind five-setters. Today, you know, I thought I would play earlier but I was stuck behind a four-and-a-half hour match. I've pretty much been spending the nights here.

Q. Do you get bored waiting around?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Definitely. I'm not one to hang out and I'm not one to be seen, but...

Q. Does that actually affect your mood when you go out to play a match?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think it could if you were waiting all day. But for the most part I usually am pretty good timing as to when I'm practicing. But I kind of got it off a little bit today.

Q. How do you rate her game? She's 18 years old.

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think she has a very solid game, especially to be so young; she's only 18. I definitely see a very bright future for her.

Q. Is that one of the outfits that you've designed? If so, does it have a name and can you describe how it works?

SERENA WILLIAMS: It is one of the outfits that I designed. It's a part of the Serena collection. It's called -- it's about the agents of change because it's all about -- Nike wanted to do something with me since I was able -- you know, they see me as an agent of change. You know, in my sport, I kind of changed the sport.

This actually comes off, this dress part, and it's a short. So this is actually a short. I can play in a short if I wanted to. The top is a top and then it's the bottom.

Then this jacket, it's cool. I think it's sold out so far in Melbourne. We're working on getting some more here. But this is actually a part of a jacket that I wear. I was inspired to design it because I wanted it to look like kind of like a motorcycle neck. The zipper isn't a center-front zipper, it's actually a bit -- two or three inches on the side. It has a button here. But it comes off and then you can have this little piece here or you can wear it as a vest. I don't have the main part of the jacket on. I just have the vest part because it's so hot here that I can't wear the whole jacket, but I still want to have something to cover up my arms so I can stay warm. So this is perfect. I just wear this little sleeve part, but it kind of buttons up and it zips on the side to connect to the vest area.

It's really cool. It's really like interchangeable; you can wear it so many different ways. Like you can wear this one outfit three different ways and no one would ever tell it's one outfit.

Q. You mentioned motorcycle and sports. Would you be courageous enough to ride any kind of motorcycle?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I used to want to buy a motorcycle when I was younger, but my mom didn't think it was a good idea.

Q. What kind was it?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know, whatever one that goes really fast and makes a lot of noise. And that's what I was going to get, but...

I didn't.

But I do, I kind of like to go fast. So I like to watch a lot of race car driving.

Q. You like velocity?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I like velocity. I'm stuck into the race car driving instead of the motorcycles.

Q. How long did you spend designing the outfit?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Not long. Not long. I mean, for me, if I get an idea, I'll think about it and then I'll look at different inspirations and pop culture and then all of a sudden it could either come right then and there (snapping), or I'll leave it there for a day or two and I'll come back and then I'll just sketch something. And I'll get together with everyone at Nike and then we'll put our sketches together.

But really, like honestly, 20 minutes at the most. Because once I get a dress, I just keep sketching and sketching and sketching.

Q. You pretty good at sketching?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm not the best at sketching, but it's improved. I used to not be able to draw a stick man, but now I'm actually doing really good at forms. I have a way of doing my own things now, so I'm much better.

Q. In terms of the first week of your matches, the matches have been so short, do you fear that there might be rustiness that could come over you in the second week if you don't have more action?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I definitely am happy for the match today because in the second set she was hitting -- first two matches, I played girls that didn't give me any pace. Today she was hitting lots of hard balls. In practice I'm hitting against some hard hitters, so I'm okay.

Q. One last thing on your outfit again. What is this attached to?

SERENA WILLIAMS: This?

Q. At the bottom.

SERENA WILLIAMS: It's attached to -- it's a dress. I demonstrated the -- I demonstrated it for my -- it's a dress. It's attached here. It's like a button. It snaps on and off. I would snap it off, but I'm really shy. See? It snaps off.

Okay. What the hell? Is that okay?

THE MODERATOR: Go ahead.

SERENA WILLIAMS: It snaps off. I've never done this because... okay.

It becomes a short. So I can play a match. Like a lot of players play in shorts, so there you go. But it's still a dress. Like you saw me today, I was playing in the dress.

It's really cool. It's a great outfit. People should buy it (laughter) - it's really hot - please.

And I can throw it to the crowd, too.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
January 25, 2005
S. WILLIAMS/A. Mauresmo
6‑2, 6‑2

Q. The prevailing talk is that the Williams are "declining." Venus has lost. Do you feel you need to win this tournament to counter that sort of talk?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't ‑‑ I don't appreciate that language, to be honest with you. I'm tired of not saying anything, but that's not fair. We've been practicing really hard. We've had some serious injuries. I mean, I've had surgery. And after surgery, I got to the finals of Wimbledon. I don't know too many people that have done that.

Venus had a severe strain in her stomach. I actually had the same injury, but I didn't tear it the way she did. If I would have torn it, I wouldn't have been here. That's another understatement. She played a player yesterday that just played out of her mind and Venus made some errors that she probably shouldn't have made.

And to top it off, we have a very, very, very, very, very close family. To be in some situation that we've been placed in in the past little over a year, it's not easy to come out and just perform at your best when you realize there are so many things that are so important.

So, no, we're not declining. We're here. I don't have to win this tournament to prove anything. I know that I'm out here and I know that I'm one of the best players out here.

Q. That was much better than two days ago on the court.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yes. I definitely think it was a lot better. But it's in the past now. I'm focused on the next round.

Q. Mauresmo was injured a bit. Could you tell she wasn't moving as well?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I mean, I couldn't tell. I was just really looking at the ball and I was trying to be focused on the ball more or less.

Q. How tough was that out there? Was it one of the hottest experiences?

SERENA WILLIAMS: It was extremely hot out there. Geez, it was like taking ‑‑ it was really hot. Was that the hottest I've been? Maybe. Maybe. It was definitely one of the hottest. Because before I think they closed the roof, so that kind of chilled it out a little bit.

Q. Do you think it's fair to close the roof when all the other players are left out to play in the conditions?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yes (laughing). Because it's so hot out there. But, I think they cancel some of the matches if it gets to a certain degree and it gets too hot. I know they cancel. I know that today maybe they moved some of them back to the Vodafone arena where I think that roof ‑‑ does that roof close as well? I think it's to a certain degree they close it.

I was pretty hot out there. I think we were playing above the closed‑roof degrees.

Q. Would you have been happier if they closed it or do you think it gave you an advantage because you play in the heat all the time?

SERENA WILLIAMS: To me, it doesn't matter. If they would have closed it, I would have been okay. Probably would have been a little cooler. But if they kept it open, I was fine, too.

Q. You have such a good record against Amelie. Do you think you're in her head a little bit?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think when you play a person like that and they have a good record against you, I think next time she plays me, she probably feels she has nothing to lose 'cause I have such a good record. It's like, "Okay, I have nothing to lose here." In a way, it's like I have a little bit of an advantage but at the same time she does, too.

Q. You're 8‑1 against her. Wouldn't she be thinking about that today?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, still a little bitter about the Rome experience (laughing).

Q. What about Sharapova?

SERENA WILLIAMS: She's playing really good. She's really ‑‑ I think she's a really mentally tough character out there. So, yeah...

Q. Did you see any of the end of her match where she appeared to be laboring through the heat?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Not really. I tried to focus on my match. But I can only imagine. It was hot out there, for sure. She played three sets. So that was ‑‑ you know, wasn't very easy to do.

Q. When you find out that she was laboring in the heat, do you feel like you have an advantage in that sort of a case, because you didn't seem to be?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I just feel as if my advantage is going to boil down to me playing, you know, my shots. Like I said, if I play well, then it's hard to beat me. Sometimes I make a few too many errors, get a little excited. But, yeah.

Q. There are a lot of players that probably have a winning record against you in big tournaments, especially that are younger than you. What is your feeling going into this semifinal against Maria? Are you nervous going into the semifinal with Maria? Are you extra motivated? Where are you?

SERENA WILLIAMS: To be honest, I feel like I don't have anything to lose. I think I was way too nervous at Wimbledon. I couldn't sleep, I couldn't breathe. Sometimes you want it too bad that you just freak yourself out.

So now I feel fine. I feel like I just ‑‑ I'm really proud of myself, doing pretty well with my preparation here.

Q. How are you striking the ball compared to the last few months?

SERENA WILLIAMS: A little better. My mom got on me this morning in practice and yesterday. She put a lot of pressure ‑‑ not pressure, but she got behind me and really motivated me because I think she was a little upset at some of the way my strokes were going. So she was like, "Okay, Serena, you can't do this anymore." That really helped me a lot.

Q. Was that a tough practice yesterday and today? Did she work you pretty hard?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yes, yes. But not crazy tough, but more mentally.

Q. Amelie said it was tough to judge your performance because basically all you had to do was get the ball back over the net. She was only 50%. What do you say to that?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, she did make a lot more errors than normal. I don't know if she ran ‑‑ I don't remember even running her that much. I know she made a ton of errors. She usually doesn't hit that many errors within two sets like that. Usually it's over three sets so...

Q. Last two matches against Amelie were very close. Were you expecting such an easy match today?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I was actually expecting to play, not necessarily looking, saying, "Okay, this is going to be easy," I'm expecting to compete, be the best competitor I can out there.

Q. You play Sharapova in the next round. Do you look at that as a revenge match?

SERENA WILLIAMS: As a revenge match? No, I look at it as a chance to be in the finals here again. But I got to play that one first.

Q. Can you start to feel the tournament in your grasp at this point, now that you're two matches away?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, there's a few ‑‑ I'm two matches away, Maria is two matches away. So we both kind of have it in our grasp and we're both going to be going out there and fighting. We'll see.
 

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THE MODERATOR: Questions for Serena.

Q. A lot's been written about the trajectory of your career, the rise of the Russians. In the end, you and Lindsay in the final. Very retro feel.

SERENA WILLIAMS: It is. Yeah, with all the Russians, there's two Americans in the final, so I'm real excited about that.

Q. You're seeded seventh here, and Lindsay is seeded first. The way that you're playing as opposed to the way she's playing, do you sort of feel like you're the favorite here?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No. Honestly, since the beginning, I've always felt that I just have to play each opponent with so much intensity and so much -- just really going for it as opposed to just being lackadaisical. I can't underestimate anyone.

Q. In the past you and Venus have played doubles here. Lindsay is playing doubles here this time. She played six sets two days ago. She's due to play the doubles final again today. How much of a strain is that on her, do you think?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I really don't think it's a strain because I think, if anything, it's a good practice. I know when I played doubles, it was a great practice for my singles match. I got some great returns. With her playing against Molik and Kuznetsova, she'll really get a good look at some hard serves, which at the end of the day is very good for her.

Q. Do you think her physical condition will be the difference between you? Do you think you may be a bit fresher?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No. I've had a couple three sets. I know she's had a couple three sets. And like I said, the doubles is really just like a practice match. She's not covering the full court. Although it is very intense and she still wants to win, but still at the end of the day, it's a real good practice session, at least I've always thought so when I've played doubles.

Q. Do you feel at all like looking back on yesterday that you got something out of your system?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. I don't know. I don't think so. Should I?

Q. No sense of a kind of cathartic feeling or anything, the amazing match you played badly, you still won?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, definitely. Well, in that sense, yeah, it's good. This past year I've played some tough matches and I haven't been able to win them all. I've been close some times and I would lose. I guess one or two or three matches. But still at the end of the day, it was a good feeling to come through.

Q. Lindsay is obviously a bit older than you. Do you have recollections of her from Juniors in Southern California?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I don't remember her that well because I was really young and she played up, obviously, because she was a bit older. But I do remember her name. And then -- I remember a lot of her matches when she turned pro.

Q. How do you think your game matches up against hers in the situation?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I think she's hitting the ball really solid, but I am as well, too. We both want to win so bad. Her for her sake, and me because I just want to win. So I think we both have a great match-up.

But, I don't know, I want to be out there and I want to hold up the trophy.

Q. In what parts of the game, when Lindsay wins the last two matches you played her --

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, last match I just gave it away. I really had opportunities to win, and I just kept making the worst errors and the worst shots. It was just like ridiculous. And the time before, she just beat the daylights out of me. There was nothing I could do that day, so.

But I'm playing better than I was in LA, the smaller tournament. And at the year-end tournament, like I say, I just literally handed it to her. She said thank you and she took it.

Q. Can you compare the difference, you come off a court, you beat somebody 2-1, then you come off after winning 9-7, being down match points or whatever, can you just compare what the difference to you is when you come off with a W of that kind?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, when you're winning easy like 6-2, 6-1, it's obviously much easier, you feel better about yourself, you're more relaxed, the next day you have no soreness at all. You're just thinking, "Okay, that was easy." But at the same time, you know, it's a perfect match.

And when it's like a 9-7 or 8-6 in the third, it's almost even better, especially because it's like you fought for that win, it's like you know that you can do whatever you set your mind to. It's almost a better feeling to win that close, even though I prefer to win easy matches. But, you know, they all can't be easy. I just think it's more satisfying. It's more satiating, for sure.

Q. Have you seen a tape of yesterday's match yet?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah. I always get my tapes, and I saw a tape of it. I was working on some stuff in practice.

Q. Were you impressed with yourself with the match points and stuff?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I figured if I'm going to go down, I may as well go down hitting and fighting. I'm not going to go down on my back and on the ground. So, yeah, I was definitely impressed.

It was typical. I always go out at least hitting the ball out.

Q. How about the volume levels?

SERENA WILLIAMS: On some points they were loud. We were both really getting into the match.

Q. You don't take (inaudible) to be that loud against Davenport?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No. We won't be screaming in agony out there, for sure. Maybe I will, but she won't.

Q. Did you scream back as kind of a response? She was really, really loud.

SERENA WILLIAMS: No. No. I usually grunt really loud, but I've been trying to chill out. I've been trying not to grunt so loud. But sometimes it just comes back without me trying, so it's just natural.

Q. When you clinched the Serena Slam here, how different is it now? Do you feel any more anxiety, not having won one for a while, compared to the roll you were on back then?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, well, it's a different feeling, definitely. I won three by then. It was just incredible because at that point I really wanted to win four in a row, you know, to hopefully be in history books. That was amazing.

This is different. This is the beginning of the year, and I don't want it to stop here. I want it to keep going and keep winning several more.

Q. Has there been any moments of doubt over the past year where you thought maybe you won't get another opportunity?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I never doubt myself, so to say, like that. I'm always hard on myself and say different things like, "I need to do this better." But I never will put that doubt in my mind.

Q. Is there a different approach going into this final compared to 2003? There's the similarity that you faced match points in the semis, then and this time, but then you got the difference of your sister in front of us.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, definitely. But it's similar games because Venus and Lindsay play alike. They're both really tall, and they both can just reach a lot of balls just by putting their arm out. So that's definitely similar.

But, you know, this is a new year and we're in a different Slam. Obviously I want to do really well. I'm sure she does, too.

Q. Did you watch last night's Federer match?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I did. I was dying. I couldn't watch at one point. I had to turn. I was torn. I had to turn because it was just -- I turned when Federer was down 5-2 in the fifth, and then I turned back, and I was like, Oh, I hate to see him lose. I turned back, and it was 6-All. I'm like, Oh, my God. But then I turned again because I couldn't bear to watch.

Q. Did you look at the match as a fan or looking for things you can take out of it?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Both. I think Federer is a great player. I think he's an amazing athlete, just his ability is second to none. I learn so much from his game. He's just so smooth and so solid, effortless. So I look for a lot of things from him.

Q. It surprised you that he lost?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Safin's taller than Federer. I always thought Safin was a great player and I've always wondered why he didn't win more Slams. But it doesn't necessarily surprise me because Safin is very tall and very strong and he has the ability I think to be the best.

Q. Players on the circuit are starting to take a little more notice of Alicia Molik now.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, most definitely. I think last year she had a very solid year. She won a very big tournament in Zurich. She's already won Sydney and got to the quarterfinals here. She has one of the best serves on the tour. She's definitely up there with the best servers on the tour. And she's improved her game as a whole. So she's definitely someone that always, when I play, I've always looked, you know, to be really confident and really go in there, really knowing that this is not going to be an easy match.

Q. You've won six Grand Slam titles. It's easy for us to wonder on the outside. Do you have a figure in your head what you would think would be a good career total for you?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I do.

No, because I don't want anyone to put any expectations on it. Only I have to put my expectations on there. Although I forgot which one -- what number I wanted to get to, now that I think about it.

Q. What would number seven mean to you then?

SERENA WILLIAMS: It would mean, you know, I'm one step closer. But I definitely don't want to stop at number seven, but I really want to get to number seven, and I probably should have already had number seven, so.

But I guess I got to keep fighting.

Q. Do you still think if you play a perfect game, there is no way that anybody in the world can beat you?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm a firm believer that when I play my best tennis and when I serve well and when I hit my balls well and when I'm actually making not 50 errors, I think everyone would have to agree that it's next to impossible for someone to beat me.

Q. Do you think that you're capable of playing that kind of game tomorrow?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I hope. I really hope.

Q. You used to talk a lot about how much you enjoy just sort of the competition and being out there. What is sort of your level of taste for combat these days? Winning 6-All in the third, are you enjoying it?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Absolutely. I don't want to get that far and lose. It's like if I got this far, it means, well, leave it all on the court.

So to be honest with you, at 6-All, I'm not thinking about enjoying it. I'm thinking about more or less winning. I think that's the last thing, "I'm having so much fun out here." Actually, no, I'm not enjoying it at 6-All. I'm thinking, "Gosh, I've got to close this out."
 

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Serena Williams
Saturday, January 29, 2005
THE MODERATOR: Just to remind you, when Monday's rankings come out, Serena will be ranked No. 2. She'll be the first player in history to move outside the Top 5 into No. 2 in the world after a single tournament. She's only the second Grand Slam champion ever to come from matchpoint down to win two Grand Slams. The other was Margaret Osborne duPont.
First question.

Q. You've declined beautifully. Congratulations.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I've declined? Thank you (smiling). I appreciate it. This is one way to decline.

Q. Very fashionable way to decline?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It is a very fashionable way to decline.

Q. How did you do it?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. I just I just did it. Like Nike said, "Just do it."

Q. You took a time out. Let me ask about the injury.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, what happened, in the first point in the first game, I was down breakpoint. Lindsay had me running from side to side. At one point I reached for a backhand and I think it tweaked my back out, one of my ribs out. For the next few games I was completely out of it. I had to adjust.
Then I finally decided, "Okay, why don't you call for the trainer and see if she can put it back in place." She did, and everything worked out.

Q. Did you ever think you might at that point have to give up?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I never, ever think that I have to give up, in the most dire situations.

Q. Do you feel it was a matter of her putting up less resistance once the tide had turned or you actually lifting your game so much that it wouldn't have mattered?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm not sure if she put up less resistance or not. I think she was fighting herself. It's the final of a Grand Slam. So I think we both were fighting out there.
I just I just said, "Okay, I got to just do a little bit better here."

Q. In the fifth game of the second set that you started to hit the ball that much harder, I mean, did you take something in the injury time out that took 20 minutes to work or what?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, at that point I just did not want to lose that particular game. I was serving so many balls my arm was hurting. I said, "I don't care if my arm falls off, I'm not going to lose this game." I just kept going for the serves and I just kept fighting. I knew that that was a very pivotal game. For some reason, I just felt it, I said, "Okay, I need to win this one."

Q. I know you're always saying you have nothing to prove, but what does this win say about you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Uhm, I'm excited to be No. 2 now. It's been a long way coming back. I'm almost to my goal, and it feels great. And this Grand Slam win, obviously, is great for me. You know, I feel good. I'm at No. 7 now. I'm like, "Yea, I feel so excited to be here."

Q. Do you have a feeling that you are the No. 1 if you beat the No. 1 like this?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Not yet. I haven't played enough tournaments yet, but I really feel that I'm doing the best that I can and I think it will all pay off. Eventually I'll be where I want to be.

Q. Is it a particularly sweet victory, given the fact that you and Venus have obviously got a lot of criticism lately on your way back?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Definitely. That makes it that much sweeter because people are always wondering about what's happening to us. It's nothing. We're working really hard and we just the matches we lose, it's just maybe because of a few points here, a few points there of not playing well but we're really in it. It's just, you know, we're excited to be back.

Q. Is this an ongoing stepping stone then?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Uhm... I don't know. For you guys maybe it is. But for me, I've always considered myself the best and the top. I never considered that I was out of it ever.

Q. Coming back from the trainer, did you have any trepidation about having the full range of motion in your back or anything like that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No. I felt that I would be able to eventually get the full range, although I was a little bit nervous, but not quite. I thought I just wanted to give a better effort out there.

Q. Was there a point after you came back from the trainer where you realized, "Now I'm okay, I'm 100%"?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No. I just realized that I was okay mentally. You know, my mind, everything was working. So I figured that was enough.

Q. What did you feel happened to Lindsay when she was leading 40 Love on her serve at 3 4, and she'd won the first set, then she lost 10 points in a row?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I think honestly, at that point, I had gotten used to her serve finally. I started playing better. You know, I think she tried it's not like she gave away the points at that point. I think I went out there and I won the points and I was getting her returns back better at that point.
So, uhm, that's all I can say about that.

Q. Was the rib hurting you on every shot before you went in?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Not in the first game, until that last point. And then after that, it was hurting me like on mostly on some of my backhands and my serves. After that, I just fixed it. After the trainer fixed it, it was much better.

Q. How do you consider this time from the last Grand Slam you won on this one? I mean was a vacation, a day off, what?
SERENA WILLIAMS: The last one I won I think was Wimbledon and that one was exciting and fun. I love winning Wimbledon. I don't know. I feel that I need to win the French because I've won two of each already except for the French. I've only won one. So I feel that, "Okay, I need to win another French Open so I can even them out."

Q. With the trainer, was it manipulation to guide whatever was out in?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. I mean, I think so. I guess so. I wasn't nearly as stiff, and I didn't feel a little pain when I turned. So it definitely felt a lot better.

Q. Was there an element of shock when you initially felt it go in that first game, that, "Here I am on the biggest stage and I've got some pain"?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, because I had some pain before and I just felt that, "Okay, well." I was a little disappointed but then I thought, "Okay, this isn't the end of the world. This isn't even the end of the match." I just decided I needed to pull my game together a little bit. She was really attacking some short balls, so I decided maybe I should try to hit a little deeper.

Q. Did you have to win that fifth game, six deuces or six breakpoints, eight deuces, 12 minutes? Was that the turning point for you? Otherwise you're down in the second set.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah. I don't know if it was a turning point. I believe it was because I think I would have been down 3 2. But that doesn't mean I would have gave up. I would have been fighting to win the next game. I would have been fighting even harder to do everything I could to win the next game.
So maybe it was a turning point. But either way, I would have still been like, "Come on, let's get the next game."

Q. So when you hurt yourself, you weren't thinking, "Here we go again, here's something else to take me out," or were you thinking, "This is something I can work through"?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I thought that for a split second, then I told myself I couldn't have those negative thoughts and that I was still in the match. I said I'm still like I was before I got out here, you know, I'm still two sets away from, you know, winning the Australian Open. So I just looked at it that way.

Q. As players get older, often they get more popular, crowds warm to them. Outside the US, do you think this is the warmest you've ever felt a crowd to you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Definitely. I felt a little weird. Even in my semifinal match, I realized they were really rooting for me. I was usual usually, before, they were really rooting for the other person usually to win, maybe because I was winning all the time. I don't know.
So I don't know how that works. We'll see later on how that works, if I keep winning. 'When' I keep winning, see how that will be.

Q. The trainer obviously did a terrific job. Was it manipulation or massage?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Did you guys talk with her?

Q. No, not yet.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm not quite sure what it was, to be honest with you. I wasn't doing it.

Q. Did a good job?
SERENA WILLIAMS: She did a great job, definitely. I mean, I'm working and have the trophy right here, so it's perfect.

Q. She gets a bottle of champagne or something?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Maybe, huh? I didn't think about that.

Q. Do you feel anything now? Is it totally gone?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Maybe a little bit, but it's okay. I mean, I'm happy. I don't need to feel anything right now.

Q. When you thanked your mother, I don't know if you saw her, but she kind of rolled her eyes. What was that about?
SERENA WILLIAMS: She always does that. That's her way of saying she's really shy. That's her way of saying thank you. Plus, we have like this inside joke kind of sort of, so that's all that was.

Q. Speaking of champagne, what's on the agenda tonight then?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, tonight... I don't ever celebrate. Like when I first won the US Open, I went to the movies (smiling).

Q. What was the movie?
SERENA WILLIAMS: The movie, "I see dead people." I remember. What was that? Sixth Sense.

Q. What about tonight with the family?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. Maybe I'll go get something I'm not heavy on any alcohol, so that won't be a part of the agenda (laughing).
But I don't know. I'm not like I said, I'm not big on the celebrations. Maybe I should be. I don't know why.

Q. What is it about here? What is it, 14 matches in a row, you haven't lost since 2001. People miss the fact there's something about this place that's conducive to winning?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. I think it's my hitting partner. Ever since I began hitting with him, Mark Hlawaty. I mean, it started in Perth. I hit with him in Perth. Then he came here, haven't lost since. So definitely keeping that.

Q. How does it feel like winning now from the position of the underdog more than before when you were the favorite? Is it more satisfying for you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I was looking at the bets and I think I was the favorite going in here anyway.
But it was cool 'cause even though I was like I had 7 by my name, I felt as if I didn't have anything to lose, I didn't feel any pressure on me. Honestly, I was really feeling my game and my shots anyway. I felt I was going to be fine. It's fun sometimes to be the underdog but I obviously prefer to be on top.

Q. More satisfying?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think winning any Grand Slam is satisfying.

Q. What's on your schedule from here?
SERENA WILLIAMS: From here I go to Paris to play the Paris Indoors. I'm excited. I really like that tournament. And I don't know. After that I go to the Middle East. I've never been there, in Dubai. I'm looking forward to that one.

Q. Then Miami?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Of course, Miami.

Q. Fed Cup?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm saying yes now because it's in Florida. It's 10 minutes from where I live. I'll get practice matches and great practice, and it will be perfect. So I would love to I think I really am going to play Fed Cup. I look forward to it.
 

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Serena Williams two-times winner of the tournament is back at the Open Gaz de France after a long year of absence. The youngest of the Williams recovered pretty well by winning the first Grand Slam of the season in Australia. Meet the great favourite of the week.

What did you do since Melbourne ?
I took some holydays in Asia to relax a little. But I didn’t celebrate too much because the season has just started and it’s still a long way to go. I am getting a lot of rest and trying to keep my energy for the matches. I didn’t even go for shopping yet since I am in Paris…

Is there a love story between you and the Open Gaz de France ?
I’ve always liked this city and specially the Open Gaz de France. That was my first win on the WTA Tour and I like it because it’s a cosy tournament. I don’t feel too much pressure here, which is cool. Besides, I take any chance or opportunity to come to Paris.

After an eight month injury, is the real Serena definitely back ?
My knee is nearly at 100%. I don’t have any apprehension at all and I’m excited playing at this level again. My victory at the Australian Open was a great relief especially after such a long absence. It gives me a lot of momentum for the rest of the season and a lot of confidence too.

Do you want to be WTA N°1 again this season ?
My goals are to win Grand Slams and important tournaments. If I do so, I believe the ranking will pretty much come with it…(laughters) The N°1 raking is difficult to reach because you have to stay focused and dedicated during the whole year.

What kind of relations do you have with the French public ?
To be honest, I like Paris so much that I also like its public. Whenever I come here, I always play against French players and the crowd is always going “Allez Amélie!” or “Allez Nathalie”! I am used to it now and it doesn’t bother me. Like I told you, I love French people, I love Paris and I love the language.

What will you be wearing this week on the court ?
I will wear some flowing fun skirts and a lot of cut outs on my top. You will see a lot a skin
 

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:yeah:
 

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Discussion Starter #10
thanks for the encouragement Becool!! i wasn't sure any one even cared about her transcripts, i'll continue to post them knowing at least one person likes to read them. that's good enough for me.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
S. WILLIAMS/V. Douchevina
6-3, 6-0
An interview with:

SERENA WILLIAMS - March 25th, 2005


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How satisfied were you with that?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I was very satisfied with that win, I guess.

Q. Was it frustrating at the end to close out that first set?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, it was. I was just making errors and I should have did some things different. I did eventually close it out.

Q. How is the fitness?

SERENA WILLIAMS: How is the fitness? Good. I'm feeling good out there, yeah.

Q. Is that because you're very happy in this environment?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I guess I'm happy in the environment. I have a lot of friends out here. I'm in good shape, so...

Q. After three years, you figure that this is like your championship?

SERENA WILLIAMS: It's always up for grabs. I'm here once again to try to defend it.

Q. Do you know anything at all about the girl you play in the next round?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Who do I play?

Q. The young Israeli girl here, Shahar Peer.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Maybe. I think I heard of her. I think I've seen her play. I think I've definitely seen her play. Yeah, I've seen her play.

Q. We've heard lots and lots about your upbringing. She comes from a West Bank settlement in Israel. She's pretty tough.

SERENA WILLIAMS: You know what, I'm ignorant to the whole West Bank settlement of Israel. I'm American. Can you elaborate on that, please.

Q. It's a dangerous place to live.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Is it, hmm. I'll have to look more into that.

I mean, unfortunately, like I said, I have no idea. I'm totally blind to that right now. I would have to look into that more.

Q. Would you recognize her if she came walking past you in the players' lounge?

SERENA WILLIAMS: There's a lot of people that I wouldn't recognize so I can't, you know ?? there's just a lot of people. Especially now because there's so many new players coming and doing so well, so...

But, yeah.

Q. Anything that makes it really interesting for us or the spectators that you have new players coming where you, you know, which are maybe not that well?known but show great ambition?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I definitely think it's very interesting to play different players that I've never seen. I seem to play a lot of players, a lot of different players that I've never played before. It's good because it keeps everything interesting.

Q. By the same token, Kim is back, Justine got back today. How do you see next year going at the very top of the game?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, as long as all the players are able to stay healthy and, you know, get back. You can't come back all of a sudden. It definitely, I think, takes a little while to get in shape. But if you're working hard, you should be able to come back fast. I just think it will be great for the game again.

Q. Is this competition more than what you expected for this first round?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Definitely, no, I knew she was a tough player. Almost played her a few times but then we never met so I've been meaning to play her for a while now.

Q. Does she have much potential?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think she has great potential. She's a great fighter. I believe she's young, is she young?

Q. Yes, 17.

SERENA WILLIAMS: So she's doing really well, and she's a fighter and a hustler. She's gotten better already in a year.

Q. May I ask you about your thoughts about Amelie as a player, Amelie Mauresmo as a player and a person, what you know of her, what you think of her.

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think, you know, obviously she's been doing really well as a player. She wins a lot of Tier II's and Tier I's as well, hasn't quite been able to win that Grand Slam. She's almost there. I think she'll definitely get there sooner or later.

Q. The fact that she got to No. 1 without winning a Slam, can you reflect on that?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, you know, she won a lot of tournaments. I think Lindsay was No. 1 without winning a Slam last year as well. It goes to show you if you play a lot, then, you know, you can be No. 1. But I want to win Slams.

Q. How important is the No. 1 ranking to you at the moment? Is it winning Slams or the No. 1 ranking?

SERENA WILLIAMS: For me, the No. 1 ranking is obviously really important. I would love to be No. 1, but at the same time, I would love to win Grand Slams and keep going because I always said, if you win the Slams, then the ranking will come.

Q. How much does the crowd affect you when you're out playing? Do you ever pay attention to it, do you block it out totally, the calls, the cheers?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I don't know. I try to block it out. Sometimes you hear what people are saying. For me, I'm just fighting, you know.

Q. I wanted to ask you about your other career. I was reading an excellent book on the biography of Althea Gibson. Although your sister looks more like Althea than you do, but since you're the actress in the family, I thought who could play it better than you if it were a movie? Has anyone approached you about doing something like that?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think physically Althea ?? it would be a great challenge for me because I guess I would have to get in different type of shape, maybe lose a little muscle mass. That would be exciting to play that role.

Actually, I think it would be fun. It would be a great role for me to play. I've never thought about that, actually. I should probably try to get in on it, you know, because actually I would really do well in that role. I would excel because I obviously play tennis and I'm obviously an actress, and I think it would, you know, it would be hot and it would really be able to stretch my acting because Althea went through a lot as well off the court, and then she was playing golf and stuff like that. I would love, love to do that.

Q. Did you read that book, the book was called, "The Match"? It is about her friendship with Angela Buxton.

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I didn't read it. I didn't read it. Who would play Angela Buxton?

Q. Well, the author told me he hasn't been approached about doing it as a movie. It was something that was on my mind. He said Venus would look more like Althea, but you're the actress in the family.

SERENA WILLIAMS: (Smiling) Venus, I don't know, maybe she acts as well so, you know...

But we would go out and test for it. Hopefully I'd get the role (laughing).

Q. There's been a lot built up about your outfits. How much of that plays ?? do you just let it by?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I just let it by and I just play tennis. People are always speculating on what I'm going to wear next, so we'll keep watching. I like to make people guess. It's fun.

Q. Last year you came back after a long layoff here and you did very well. What's the last part of a player's game that gets back into sync?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I would say the mental aspect because, you know, I was winning, but it's like getting back in that mental stability thinking, "Okay, right here I'm going to focus on this point." Because you know which point you want to focus on. So just later last year, and during the California swing of tournaments, I finally was in that mental aspect thinking, "Okay, this point right here." I was like, "Oh, I forgot that I used to do that." I forgot that was what I used to do to stay focused on the court. I would say that takes the longest.

Q. How much better shape are you than you were a year ago?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Last year I wasn't in shape at all. I was just here on a wing and a prayer.

Q. You say you weren't in shape. When I'm looking at your muscle tone, your serve and your stamina, the long periods, long matches, you seem to outlast players.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I don't know. I guess mentally I was in shape. I was like "Okay, I'm not going to get tired." But it was hard because it was hard for me to run and do things to get in shape last year because I had knee problems. But, you know, this year has been much different. I'm just so excited that I'm not having those issues right now.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
S. WILLIAMS /S. Peer
6-3, 6-3

An interview with:

SERENA WILLIAMS- March 27, 2005

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Serena , please.

Q. You were really tested today. Did you enjoy the contest?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Uhm, I guess I enjoyed the contest, yeah.

Q. What did you think of her? he's only 17. She seemed to be kind of gutsy.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I thought she was really gutsy. I just wasn't used to playing a person like that. I hadn't played someone like that in a long time. So it was a totally different game for me.

Q. How is she different?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I would say she got a lot of balls back. I thought I got a lot of balls back, but she gets a lot of balls back. She doesn't hit with a lot of pace, but then she will at points hit with a lot of pace. But most of the time she doesn't hit with too much pace. I'm used to playing people that hit really hard all the time, so it was different. Took some getting used to.

Q. She had a lot of support for fairly obvious reasons, I suppose. Did that make it any different for you, more difficult, or not at all?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, not at all. The usual.

Q. How big of a deal is it to you that you can win a calendar Grand Slam? You're the only woman who has the ability now to win all four this year.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, it's, obviously, a great big deal for me. I just take it one tournament at a time. I'm not even at the French yet, I'm just focused here. And then go from there.

Q. You hear Tiger talk about he feels like his legacy is going to be the majors. So that's what is really important to him, how he plays in the majors. Do you feel the same way?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I do. I would love to be No. 1 and that's my main goal, but I figure if I win Slams , then the ranking will come. For me, that's my main goal, is to keep winning the Grand Slams .

Q. Your hitting looked really disciplined today. I think you were really focusing on making as few unforced errors as possible today. Do you feel you achieved that?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I thought I made a lot of unforced errors and I thought I was swinging all out of key. It was weird. I don't think I played that great. I think I played better the other night, for sure.

Q. You see a lot of teenagers like Shahar coming up, playing well. The US doesn't have any teenagers in the Top 100. What do you think is going on? What are your thoughts on that?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I don't know. I guess it's just a matter of getting the programs and getting kids to play. Everyone's interested in becoming a pop star, American Idol , becoming another Beyonce and stuff so...

Maybe I got to up my image, they'll want to become tennis players like me.

Q. What did you like about your performance?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I'll get back to you on that one (smiling).

Q. What did you say to her at the net? What did you tell her at the end of the match?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I told her “good match," yeah.

Q. How often do you wake up on days of a match and feel really 100% on, versus how many times are you just gutting out matches or willing yourself to win?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, today I didn't feel 100% on, and my practice wasn't 100%. I mean, I gave it 100%, but I just didn't feel it. I woke up, I just wasn't into it today.

But hopefully I'll do better tomorrow.

Q. Does it concern you at all that there aren't sort of teenagers coming up?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, because, you know, eventually there's going to be someone else that comes along, and hopefully I'll have my time to shine and then, you know, you have to*-- you can't be*-- I can't play this for 50 years. I chose a career that I can only be good at for, you know, 10, 15, 20 years (laughing).

So, yeah...

Q. When you see, again, teenagers like Sharapova from other countries, we're not really seeing these kind of women players in the US .

SERENA WILLIAMS: Honestly, like I said, I think America is so charged into becoming a pop icon. I mean, "Top Model," I watch the show, I want to be on it. I also want to be on " American Idol ". So, you know, everyone's kind of trying to do that.

But then you have some people who are playing tennis and who are really dedicated. But I don't know, I think in some of these different countries they have different obstacles that maybe we don't have, unless you're from the urban area. And so I think that's*where we should try to put our focus on, is the kids that have to go through some obstacles, that can appreciate it. Like, I mean, I appreciate where I am and I want to keep it this way.

Q. Do you feel that your mental strength gets the due that it should? People talk about your physical gifts.

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, not at all. No one ever talks about my mental strength. I wouldn't have won Australia if I hadn't have been mentally tough, or any Grand Slam if I hadn't have been mentally tough. I think being mentally tough is something you have to have. For me, I have to have it. I didn't know, everyone says I hit hard, which I don't think I hit that hard, and that I'm fast and I'm powerful and all blase-spree, as my sister would say (laughing).

But no one ever talks about how mentally tough they are. I think they said Hingis was really mentally tough and Chris Evert , because maybe they didn't have as much power so they automatically said they were mentally tough.

Q. The Australian , it seemed like that was what got you through, your unwillingness to lose.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I didn't have anything else to rely on. That was my backup plan, Plan C.

Q. I think you said a day or so ago that you didn't know much about the West Bank , but that you would seek to find out. I'm not saying you should, but is that something you've still to do?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah. Unfortunately, I got caught wasting time yesterday so I didn't do my research. But I'll eventually do it - I promise.
 

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S. WILLIAMS/E. Likhovtseva
6‑4, 1‑6, 6‑4

An interview with:

SERENA WILLIAMS - March 28,2005

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Give us an example of one of your screams.

SERENA WILLIAMS: I was so frustrated. I mean, just so frustrated.

Q. From what, your game, conditions, everything?

SERENA WILLIAMS: From my game. The conditions weren't all that bad. It's like people were just ‑‑ I was just so frustrated with the way I was playing. She was just really treeing. I'm just kind of tired people treeing on me, you know what I mean? It's a fight every day.

Q. You have had some struggles with her in the past. Not a total surprise, right? She won once.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, she's beaten me once. That was 2000 Australian Open maybe. So I always seem to have a tough match with her.

Q. Were you thinking at all about the fact that your sister pulled out her match and you will play her tomorrow? Was that on your mind at all?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, not at all. I mean, she was still playing when I went out on the court.

Q. You're going to have a quick turnaround. Does that matter to you? Usually there's a lot of hype around when you and your sister play. Is it nice to have it happen quickly?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, definitely. So it's boom, boom, boom. Definitely play a match every day.

Q. Do you guys tease each other at all? Is there light‑heartedness about when you are coming up against each other, sisterly kind of kidding back and forth about it? Is it all business?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, it's pretty much all business, you know. We really ‑‑ we both want to win. We'd obviously prefer to play in the final, but this is our job. We take it serious. There's no kidding around really.

Q. At this point do you dread it, look forward to it when the times come up when you guys are out there together on the court?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I wish it was later in the tournament, so that's unfortunate.

But one of us will definitely be in the semis.

Q. News hit of your reality show tonight. Fans were buzzing about it. Can you tell us what they expect to see in this reality show?

SERENA WILLIAMS: It's about the Williams sisters, who we lead very interesting lives off the tennis court as well, and then we're two fabulous world‑champion tennis players. So it's kind of interesting to see how that works out, I mean, our training regime, our different jobs. I'm a fashion designer; Venus is an interior designer. I act. I do so much stuff off the court, and I do so much stuff preparing to get on the court. So it's kind of what it's like. It's going to be fun, interesting.

Q. What are we going to learn about your relationship with your sister, family, friends that people wouldn't know?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think everyone will learn that we're really crazy. Like we're never serious, we're always laughing and joking. We're just really kind of ‑‑ we're really kind of psycho, for lack of a better word right now.

Q. The reality is that you've dominated this competition against your sister for the last several years, at least five in a row in Slams. Do you feel like you have a mental edge over her at this point?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Geez, I don't know. I know she's been playing good in this tournament, and she's usually playing well in practice against me, so...

Whatever ‑‑ I've always said, whoever I play, even if I've beat them a million times, it's a new match, it's a new day. They're going to want to win and move on to the next round.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
S. Williams - Day 2
Tuesday, June 21, 2005


Q. How do you think Angela played?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think Angela played extremely well. I think she was serving really good. She was really focused. I think she played actually unbelievable.

Q. What were your expectations of playing her coming in, someone you knew?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, honestly I expected a tough match because, especially playing against me, she obviously wanted to win. It would be probably the first big match of her career. She had nothing to lose. So I felt that I really needed to be focused and I felt it was going to be a tough match going into it.

Q. During the match, were you focused entirely throughout?

SERENA WILLIAMS: There was a point where I was disappointed where I did lose my focus a little bit, especially in the first set. I kind of got a little off track. But it was good 'cause I was kind of feeling my way through and I was able to come up with the win.

Q. She said she heard a spectator yell, "Turn up the heat, Serena." She said just about that time you did.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I heard him, too, actually. Yeah, so I did. It was accurate. I had to because she was playing really well. If I hit a little bit harder, she had a little bit tougher time getting the balls back.

Q. You had a lot of fight backs in your career. During a match like that, are you drawing on that mentally?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm definitely drawing on that mental and the fact that I just didn't want to lose this match today. It just made me work a little bit harder and go a little bit harder.

Q. I know it's been a while since you played a match. How were you feeling out there today in terms of fatigue or overall fitness, the ankle?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I felt really rusty, you know, especially I just kind of felt like I was feeling my way around. I felt that I made some errors that shouldn't have been made, but it was just kind of getting back in the rhythm of things. I felt really kind of rusty out there.

But towards the ‑‑ as the match went on, I got a little bit better with everything.

Q. Was your ankle bothering you at all?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I kind of twisted it in the second set maybe. But I was able to walk it off.

Q. How do you rate your fitness level right now?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I got a second wind in the third set. First set ‑‑ the second set I got a little fatigued, but then all of a sudden I just was like, "Okay, Serena, you have a six‑hour limit and you're only at two hours. Let's go."

Q. You haven't seen a lot of Court 2 over the years, have you?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I haven't.

Q. When did you last play on that court in singles?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I remember playing Els Callens on that court.

Q. Did "The Graveyard" thing enter your mind out there today?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Not when I was walking out there. No, it didn't enter my mind 'cause I just felt that I had to be better than them, the myths.

Q. Justine lost today. You're the last one who has won the French and Wimbledon back to back. How hard is it to win those two tournaments in a row?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think you just have to be fit to do it. I was fit. I was fine. I think you just have to be ready mentally. I wanted to win Wimbledon really bad. I was ready. You have to definitely be mentally prepared because at the end of the fortnight you do get tired. The first round is usually like, "Okay, I'm back at it again." Because it's so close, the French and Wimbledon are really, really close.

I think it's important to take some time off after the French, even though it's kind of weird because you have to workout. But I think it's important to take like a couple days off and then come back.

Q. After a tiebreaker like that, that goes so long, you have four set points, how do you not have a major letdown?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I did have a major letdown because I felt I should have won the tiebreak, and I felt she hit a ball that was clearly out that was on one of my set points that no one called. So I did definitely have a major letdown. But I was just so angry that I felt that I must go to a third set.

Q. The racquet, did that help sort of release that anger?

SERENA WILLIAMS: You could say so (smiling).

Q. How hard is it to break a racquet on grass?

SERENA WILLIAMS: You have to be real strong.

Q. Have you broken a lot?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Just two this week, which is good for me. Usually I'm at five. I have a really short temper. But it makes the game exciting, I like to say.

Q. Did you give the spectator the broken racquet or the new one?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I gave them the broken racquet because I couldn't do anything with it. I have one at home, just sitting, upset.

Q. Do you usually give your racquets away?

SERENA WILLIAMS: If I break it, I give it away.

Q. Angela talked about having grown up near you in Compton. What are your recollections of her and your family at that time of your life?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I remember hitting next to her a few times because we used to practice at the same park, the public park. I remember hitting next to her, actually all the time. She was so little at the time. She was so small. She would always move her feet. She would never stop. She'd hit a lot of angles. So that's what I remember. She was just always out there, just like us. We were out there a lot.

Q. Do you remember playing her brother?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I remember playing her sister. I remember playing doubles with her brother. I don't quite remember playing him.

Q. She said you used to play her brother a lot more.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh. Probably got a win over the whole family. Now I just got to get the dad and the mom.

Q. With all the injuries and everything, has this been a low mark in your career this season, do you feel, even though you won the Australian?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Just in general, I'm here at Wimbledon, so...

I can't say it's been a low this year.

Q. How high on the list of your priorities is the Federation Cup? Are you planning to go to Moscow for the semifinal?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I ‑‑ well, I want to see the Cup come home. When I was in Delray, I vowed to go to Moscow, so I like to keep my word, unless something happens where I can't go. But it's tough definitely to go to Moscow after this. But I would love to see ‑‑ I think we have the best players, although a lot of people think otherwise. I think we still have the best talent. I think as of right now with Lindsay and Venus and myself, we could bring the Cup home. I plan on going to Moscow.

Q. There are thousands of public courts in America. Why do you think you and Venus and Angela were all able to come out of those public courts in Compton and make it to Wimbledon?

SERENA WILLIAMS: It's an amazing story, it really is. I mean, who would have thought that these people from Compton are playing Wimbledon. It really is, if you think about it, amazing to be that young. I just remember all those days we would be out there, and they would be out there as well, just training and training and training, still struggling, just trying to make it.

Why do I think? I just think it boils down to ‑‑ she has a great father and a great mother who always pushed her, but at the right tempo, I guess. And myself, I have a great mom and dad who always knew how to push us, even if we didn't want to be out there some days. You have to go out there. That's the only way to do it.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
S.. Williams - Day 4
Thursday, June 23, 2005


Q. Another first‑set struggle there, but you regained your form. Can you just talk in depth about your ankle and what's going on with it, what type of treatment you have to receive. Is it ligament or bone or...?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Uhm, I was feeling a little problems in my left leg in the beginning, so it was kind of just getting the feeling, getting used to it. So it's more bone.

Q. And so can it be treated or is it just something you have to play through the pain and then rest it after the tournament?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Right now I'm working on playing through the pain and just seeing how it goes. And just taking it a match every day, if I can.

Q. So what did the doctor say? Is it a slight fracture? What exactly is it?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Uhm, that's what the radiologist report was.

Q. And the radiologist' recommendation was what, that you let it heal?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think with fractures you have to let it heal with time and let it go. Play it by ‑‑ but, you know, it's weird. Because with me, some days it feels good and then as long as ‑‑ in general, as long as I tape it, it's okay. I haven't felt, you know...

Then some days it gets a little cold maybe and it gets a little strange feeling. But I have to have pretty heavy taping on it.

Q. You said you had four weeks off, right?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I had a long time off.

Q. Were you able to do anything physically during that period?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I didn't do anything, actually. So...

Q. So you know what it takes to win Grand Slams, obviously, because you've won seven. Coming in here, what were you thinking with the ankle? Were you thinking, "If it's holding up, maybe I have a shot," but if it doesn't...

SERENA WILLIAMS: I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to make it at first. I was like, "Oh, I'm not sure if I'm going to go. Let me just try another practice day or whatever." And, again, just every day I was like that until my flight came on Tuesday and I was on it (laughing). "Guess I'm going to Wimbledon."

I came here and I practiced more than I had in four weeks, so that was kind of encouraging. And just, you know, I thought, "Okay, well..."

I'm just taking it a day at a time.

Q. What percentage‑wise would you rate your overall fitness levels at the moment?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Honestly, I haven't gotten too tired. Like first match I played, it was over two hours. Was it over two hours? I think so.

I got a second wind the third set, so I just think I'm just fighting on adrenaline. I have a lot of it. I've just been working out. I'm not in the best shape as I would prefer to be, as I have been in the past.

But I think tennis is 60, 70% mental, and I figure I've been playing since I'm 4 and I'm 20 ‑ depending who I'm talking to, could be 22 sometimes (laughing). Record says I'm 23.

So what's my math, 19 years? 19 years. So I figure if I can't do it now, I'm never going to be able to play tennis. That's how I kind of looked at it coming in. I thought, "Well, if I don't come, doesn't really matter to me. But I should give it a shot," you know. Because if I can't do it now, I mean, when am I going to be able to play.

Q. The ankle problem is directly affecting you in terms of getting back into shape?

SERENA WILLIAMS: For the first time I took off, yes. But now it's better. So now I can get back in shape, but I'm playing Wimbledon

But I feel that I'm pretty well fit. I'm more fit now than I was in ‑‑ during the clay court season, for sure.

Q. And you're able to practice okay?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yes.

Q. So you're saying tennis is 60, 70% mental, then mentally do you feel like you can tough out matches, or the next five matches against high‑level opponents?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I definitely think I'm going to have to pick up the level of my game as well, and just not hitting it the way I want to, and I'm not doing technical things the way I would like to. So I keep promising the next match I'm going to do A, B, C and D. And I didn't do it today.

So, I mean, in the last set, I'm like, "Okay, in the next match, I promise to do A, B, C, and D," then I stopped. And I'm like, "No, I'm going to do it now."

So I think that was a step that I actually started doing a little bit of the things I wanted to work on in the end of the third set.

But I'm here to stay. I think I have the best chances of people left in the draw. I think I'm probably the most mentally tough person out here. I feel as if I have nothing to lose and only things to gain and I want to win this title really bad.

Q. When was the last time you came into a Slam feeling perfect ‑ your health was great, your attitude was great, you felt like everything was the way it should be?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I felt really good in Australia

Q. You were still having a little trouble before that with an injury that kept you from training full‑time, I guess?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I guess. I didn't really train too much until I got there. But, hey, it happens.

Q. But do you remember looking back, when you felt you had the right training period before ‑‑

SERENA WILLIAMS: I felt really good in Australia, in the Australian Open '03, all '02.

Q. When you won your fourth in a row?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah. I think I felt really good at the US Open '02. Probably the best I ever felt.

Q. How much of this confidence you're talking about now come from winning seven Grand Slams or how much of it just comes from playing Wimbledon where generally you've fared very well?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I haven't even realized I won seven. It sounds kind of cool. But I definitely want to get more, so...

I like that number, but I got to get more than that. So I think confidence definitely comes from winning Slams and winning matches. And if you sit back ‑‑ if I were to sit back and think about it, I would probably not be so hard on myself.

Q. What's an ideal number of Slams for you?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I can't say.

Q. 22, 23, the Steffi, Margaret Court numbers?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Definitely nowhere near there, Margaret Court or Billie. No way. I don't think I have the patience for that. I don't see myself playing 20 years.

But I have a number in my head, and I will reach that number.

Q. It's got to be double digits though?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Excuse me?

Q. It's got to be double digits.

SERENA WILLIAMS: It's definitely not single digits. Definitely not seven.

Q. A little while earlier today Maria Sharapova said that as a general principle you can't feel sorry for your opponent. What do you think about that principle? What if your opponent happens to be your sister?

SERENA WILLIAMS: You can't feel sorry. I find myself feeling sorry for people when I'm watching matches. I was watching Tim Henman playing. I felt so sorry for him. But then I thought, "Why wouldn't the other guy let him win?"

I thought, "Wait a minute, that's not the other attitude to have. The other guy obviously wanted to win, too."

I don't feel that way when I'm out on the court. I feel like I have to win under any circumstances. I definitely agree with that.

Especially at Wimbledon. It doesn't matter who you're playing, because this is Wimbledon. This is The Championships. It is another Grand Slam

Q. Can you separate how you've played through your first two matches versus how you competed in your first two matches.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Basically, I didn't play, I just competed. I don't think I played well.

Q. Of the top players you've faced over the years, which one or two have you gotten up the most for, have you really wanted to beat?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, that's a tough question (smiling). Yeah.

I like to play a lot of players. There's a lot of players. When I see them, I'm like, "Oh, yeah, cool."

Q. In your mind, is part of your preparation saying, "This match is yours and you're not going to..."

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, definitely. I'm like, "I'm not gonna lose no matter if I die. I'm going to have to wait until I get off the court and die. I'm gonna win this match." It's exciting playing those players. I love it.
 

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Interview before the tournament:

An interview with:


SERENA WILLIAMS


THE MODERATOR: Serena and Jackie. Questions, please.

Q. I can't bring my dog in here. There's a sign outside there that says "No pets allowed." How did you get Jackie in?
SERENA WILLIAMS: She was my lucky charm in '99, so I got her back now.

Q. She eat any turkey lately?
SERENA WILLIAMS: (Smiling). She apologized. And when she saw the show, she was like, "Mommy..." She apologized again. We made up. So if she wants turkey, she asks now.

Q. Your clothing line, is it going to be in stores, is it in stores yet? Where can your fans buy your designs? Are they available yet?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, we were hoping to come out in the spring of '06, so maybe we'll do something. But then I'm thinking maybe we should just wait and show it in February, show it in the New York shows in February here. So we're trying to decide.
I'm a little nervous about getting into the shows because I really want it to be perfect. I'm taking my time.

Q. You said you always dreamed of winning this tournament and you finally did. What is it about this tournament that is so special for you aside from the fact that you won?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I just love it here. I love the crowd. You know what, I love this court. The center court for me is amazing. I have so many wonderful moments on center court. Just wonderful everything.
For me, when I think back, I just think, you know, just about everything. I love the United States, I love being home, and there's no place like home.

Q. How are you feeling injury wise?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I definitely feel like this is definitely as good as I've felt in a while. I'm hitting better than I have in two years, so I'm excited.

Q. Does it concern you at all you might have to face your sister so early in the tournament?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It was definitely a concern, a disappointment. But I think whoever wins that match I don't know. I'm just focusing on my first opponent. I'm not really looking that far ahead.

Q. Are you disappointed the electronic line call system is not in its later stages?
SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, I was able to talk with Jim Curley. We talked about a lot of stuff. I know that they were trying and they wanted to get involved. There was a lot of stuff, a lot of testing that has to be done. I know they use it in Team Tennis, which is really cool. It will be fun to see it hopefully soon. It's definitely the future and it's going to come soon, it's just a matter of time now.

Q. This current injury, are you still getting therapy for it?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, of course. Every day I'm trying to make sure I stay in really good shape injury wise, yeah.

Q. Can you define what the problem is.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I have a problem here and there and, you know, a little bit...
I don't want to get too in it because every time I do, my physio gets upset with me. She's mean.

Q. Can you think back to the first time you were in the US Open. At what point for a young woman in the US Open does she know she's not playing just because she's happy to be there, but she's playing to win?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. For me, I knew I was going to win a week before; I just felt it. I said I was gonna win and I wasn't going to let anything stop me.
So I don't know. I don't know what made me feel that way. I just was ready to play and be a competitor.

Q. Is it realistic for you to come in here thinking you can win the tournament with how few matches you've played since April? Are you just thinking, "I'm going match by match and hopefully maybe I can pick up some steam along the way"?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm just playing it match by match. I'm not thinking about winning or losing. I'm definitely not thinking about losing, because that's never been a big thought with me.
I'm just playing, and I'm here and I'm happy to be here. Like I said, I'm hitting better than I have all year. It's actually been really positive.

Q. Outside of the hitting, movement wise, we're in a tournament where you were saying you weren't moving very well. It's your first tournament since Wimbledon. Are you moving the way you want to be moving?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm moving much better. I'm obviously not moving as I normally do, but I'm almost there. Hopefully, I'll pick up steam later on in the second week.
So, no, but I'm almost there.

Q. You said before you won the Open you had a sense you were going to win it a week before. We all have doubts. What was a time in your career you had the most doubts, and what did you do?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I guess recently I've had a few doubts because of my ankle sprain and the way it's affected my leg and my body. So that was, you know, that was a little wary for me. It was interesting to feel that way. But I don't know.

Q. How did the physical problem affect you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It affected it pretty bad. It was like really nerve wracking. Just coming off a big injury, so it was a little upsetting to have to deal with that.

Q. Your last match at the Open last year was not a very pleasant experience.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Not at all.

Q. Do you have any bad feelings about what happened here last year? Are you harboring any bad feelings?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm not. I got over it. It was important for me to get over it. I'm definitely not harboring any bad feelings, I just am feeling that hopefully won't happen again.

Q. The schedule's been set up so that you and Venus won't meet in the finals; is that correct?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah.

Q. What do you think about that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: We're just playing each match at a time.

Q. Given how great the year started for you in Australia, thinking back, are you stunned at what happened later on?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Am I stunned of what happened, not really. I was kind of I was really excited to win the Australian because I didn't practice until I got to Australia. I was just I was just playing on heart and desire and just the abilities that I have.
So stunned as to what happened afterwards, no, I think I would have been solid if I hadn't of twisted my ankle.

Q. What's your overall conditioning like now compared to when you were playing regularly?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I'm doing well now. In Canada even though I wasn't moving that well, when the girl was moving me, I wasn't tired at all after the match. Physically and conditionally, I was just ready to keep moving. I'm fine.

Q. Stamina wise, you feel like you're where you need to be?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Absolutely, yeah.

Q. How has your ankle problem affected your knee?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It definitely had an effect to it because I had to take time off, and then my muscle got a little weaker. I should have been working on it, but I didn't realize that that would happen, which is really naive of me. I don't know why I didn't realize that.
But you live and you learn. So next time if I twist an ankle, I'm going to be in the gym working on my quad muscles and I wouldn't have to go through this.

Q. Do you think this year more than in previous years the field is more open? Are you interested in seeing how things will shake out?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I just hope I shake out of it and in the end I just feel I don't know. I haven't really thought about it or anything. I'm just focusing on me and playing my matches. Hopefully, I can play seven.

Q. Apart from your practice, what else have you been getting up to in New York?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I've been here a couple days. I had to we unveiled a great line that I'm really excited about called "Flirt," which I'm doing I'm the guest creator for with Estee Lauder. I'm doing great lip glosses. It's really cool 'cause it comes in an unbelievable palette, like a chain that you can wear around your neck. It's really exciting. It's going to come out in the spring. Three great colors.
I had a couple appearances with Florco, another one of my sponsors. That was really exciting, too. I love working with them.
What else have I done? "Today Show" and some other things here and there. I can't remember too much. I'm really excited about Florco and Flirt. That's really exciting.

Q. Are you a good flirt?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I am (smiling). I can write a book about it (laughing).

Q. What's the intro to the book? You open it up and laugh and giggle?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, not at all. That's not the best way to do it. I wouldn't recommend it. That can definitely shoo people away.
It's just some things you say. It's fun. I'm never really serious, you know, so... You say some things, you use little sly looks. I'm not going to get into that anyway.

Q. Has Sharapova gifted you with a sample of her new perfume?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh? No, not yet.

Q. You knew about it?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I didn't know about it. Oh, cool.

Q. I was speaking with the father of a young black player. He said he battled with his son's credentials, hasn't been able to get the sponsorship deals he thought he would. Did you experience that during your career? Do you think race plays any factor in that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: You know what, I believe that I was very fortunate and blessed in my life. I had a great father with a great dream. I had a great and he had a great, like, ability to get the attention.
I had, you know, just great parents in general who kept me my mom kept me really balanced. That's why I'm not out going crazy and doing crazy things, 'cause she was able to keep myself and my sister there.
We've been incredibly blessed to have the opportunities we've had, but nothing comes to anyone if you don't work hard. For me, I had to work really hard. I have to work hard to get everything that I have. Nothing comes for free.
I just think if you work hard and have it, everything will come running to you, that's for sure.


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Interview after her 1st round win

S. WILLIAMS/Y. Chan

6 1, 6 3

An interview with:


SERENA WILLIAMS


THE MODERATOR: First question for Serena, please.

Q. Is that the way you wanted to start, a relatively quick match?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It was definitely relatively quicker than the other matches I had, so it's a decent one, yes.

Q. How are you feeling? Injuries?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm feeling really good. I'm just I'm not feeling too much pain out there at all.

Q. Is it good to be back?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It is, yeah. There's no better stage than the US Open for me. I definitely love it.

Q. Can you talk some about your serve today and how it's coming along.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I haven't seen the statistics for it, but I don't think I made that many first serves. But it's so much better than I've been hitting in a while and it's definitely going faster and there's definitely a lot more pace. I'm feeling a lot more confident in the serve whereas I'm actually going for bigger serves. So that's cool in a way.
My second serve is back to in the 90s, so that was really cool as well?

Q. And her second serve didn't have much on it, to the point that it seemed to kind of throw you once or twice. Is that fair to say?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It definitely threw me a few times. I was like, "Okay." I actually I don't know, I told my hitting partner to hit me some easy serves. I was like, okay, maybe I should just work on it.
I'm glad I did. The 69 ones kind of threw me off, but other than that, I was able to do a little bit better with that.

Q. What was your reaction when you saw the draw this year?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, you know, I was really, really upset, but I realize I have to focus on my first round, and, you know, hopefully I'll get there and beyond.

Q. Were you laboring at all early in the second set? It looked like you lost focus or got tired?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I didn't get tired at all, I think I just started out flat. Maybe I was thinking about something else. I just was really flat. I knew it. I was like, "Serena, get more pep in your step." Once you got down, I just got a little more footwork. I was just flat for some reason.

Q. When did you take your earrings out?
SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, I don't remember. I think it was in the first set I want to say.

Q. How come?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, one fell, and so I didn't put it on tight enough because I was rushing to go out. So I was hoping it wouldn't fall, but I knew in the back of my mind it would, and it did. I was like, "Okay, I'll just put them on earlier in my next match."

Q. Have you ever worn a pair of earrings like that on the court before?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No. I wore 5 karat diamond earring studs at Wimbledon. That was pretty hot. And here, these are more chandeliery, in style.

Q. Was it a concern when it fell out?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, when it fell out, I was like, let me just I should have put it on better. I was rushing and I forgot about them. I was like, "Okay."

Q. What are the stats on those? What are the karats, dollar sign?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It's 40,000. Earlier this week I was wearing a 33 karat black diamond ring on loan. I had to give it up. But I think I'm going to get it. I was so in love with it. And these are I think they're like 15 karat, or something like that, they're really hot.

Q. Are you going to try to play with the earrings in the next match or is it impractical?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, what happened was I was rushing at the last minute because I forgot to put them on because I was stretching and stuff. I was like, "Oh, my earrings." I'll just put them on earlier, it will be better.

Q. Is wearing the earrings part of being on stage here at the US Open? Is that why you brought something so special for this tournament?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, it was definitely something really special I wanted to do. For me it's the biggest stage. I love playing in New York. I love the US Open. I love the court, I love everything about it. Except sometimes the line calls, but other than that (smiling)...
It's a great place to be at.

Q. Is it still fun for you to play here?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It is. I mean, every time I walk out there on the court, it's different. Sometimes in practice it gets a bit redundant, I must say. It's like, "Okay." But the moment I walk out on the court, whether I'm in Canada, because I was in Canada it doesn't matter what city I'm in, I just feel totally different walking out there and just realizing how much I do love to perform.

Q. You mentioned line calls. There was a certain chair umpire who will not be attending this year. Any thoughts?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I was unaware of it, but I can't say I'm sad (laughing). I can't necessarily say I'm very disappointed.

Q. What did you do between Toronto and here to feel better about your leg?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I just kept strengthening every day. I didn't take a day off. It was really time consuming. That was the number one, two, and three priority for me, was to just keep strengthening my leg. That's what I was able to do.
I just needed a little more time not too much more, but just a little more and I was able to get that.

Q. It seemed like there was negative crowd reaction when you were asked about the earring and bling. Was that unfair?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, the guy said, is it Mike? He just said my bling was more money than the young lady I played. And so, I don't know, maybe they were like I guess New Yorkers are trying to be fair. In all fairness she was only 16, so when I was 16, I think I lost in the first round to Ann Miller 6 1, 6 1. I'll never forget that.

Q. How do you see her performance today?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think she had a very solid performance. She had a very solid performance. She's really young so she can definitely take this match and build from it.

Q. You mentioned the draw and how upset you were. Can you really put that out of your mind? How do you approach that it could be so soon that you play Venus?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, it definitely could be very soon, but the only way to think about it is, uhm, you know, just play to get there, don't go out before. That's all we can do, you know. There's nothing else I can do except get back to 1 and 2 in the world.

Q. She was probably upset, too. What did you guys say to each other?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I haven't said anything to her about it, actually.

Q. This is the US Open, so obviously stuff happens. Justin Gimelstob recently wrote that in tournaments where there are both the men's and women's circle that... you're smiling already... that the women players have to compete for the most beautiful 1%?
SERENA WILLIAMS: The most beautiful 1%?

Q. Of the creatures on the Earth, men's players, wives and the girlfriends. Is that a silly comment?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't understand the comment.

Q. He said in the player lounges, women players who come off court and who are athletes and sweaty have to compete with the girlfriends and wives of the men's players who are extremely attractive.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, they're always models. The guys like to date models. I'm not competing with nobody out there (smiling). There's no competition that I'm in.

Q. Are you saying you can hold your own, is that what you're saying?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Hey, I'm not in the competition (smiling).

Q. Do you play into a stereotype, his comments?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, they always date beautiful women, for sure. It's always a model or something. I'm no model.

Q. But you've always been proud of your body?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I'm definitely, you know, excited about my I've always accepted my curves (laughing). There's nothing I can do about it, so I've learned to accept it and live with it. I mean, I read an article in USA Today that was talking about these new ads. Nike had this new campaign. I told my Nike representative, "Why didn't you guys use me for this?" It was a joke, but it was about curvey women. Like I said, I'm not in the competition.

Q. Much has been made about the decibel level of the grunts, especially around the Grand Slam time. Why do you grunt, and how does it change throughout a match?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Uhm, I grunt I don't know. I just, honestly, when I was younger I used to love Monica Seles, she was like my role model. I loved her game. I loved her grunt. So my grunt is kind of like hers a little bit where it's like a double grunt, instead of just like one long one, it's like two of them.
I don't know why I grunt. Grunting actually is a way of breathing. That's how I'm breathing out instead of going... I'm actually grunting to get the air out.

Q. Did you practice it?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Uhm, I don't remember. I don't think so. I don't think so.

Q. Are there times where you think that your work like on the reality show and your interest in movies and fashion, that it actually gets in the way of the tennis playing? Have you found a balance yet?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Uhm, I definitely have found a balance. I've had so many offers in the past to do different movies or, you know, different things, and I always chose tournaments over it. So I definitely and practice over all that stuff.
So it's important to find that balance, and I finally found it.


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