August 31, 2005
NEW YORK CITY
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Serena, please.
Q. Can you talk about your donation you're going to make to the Relief Fund and explaining your thinking about it.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I was just lately on TV, just every channel I watched, even on ESPN, they have all this coverage over the hurricane, all the damage it's done. Last year we in Palm Beach got hit really bad. That was like a Category II, III maybe, at the most. It was devastating down there. It was a lot of damage. I even lost a window. It was pretty sad. I can only imagine what it must be in New Orleans, especially looking at the all the footage, all the rain, all this horrible stuff. I thought it would be just a halfway decent gesture.
Q. It's a hundred dollars for every ace?
SERENA WILLIAMS: A hundred dollars for every ace. That's for the rest of the year. But if I don't do so good with the aces, I'm going to have to start doing it for the double-faults. I don't hit that many double-faults.
Q. Do you think other players are going to follow your lead, both on the men and women's side?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It's totally up to them. It's absolutely no pressure. This is just the way I feel about it. I've always considered myself a philanthropist in a little bit of a way, somehow, some way. That's kind of how I feel because I've been in the situation the last year, but not nothing -- that's a double negative. Nothing like it is in New Orleans.
Q. Do you have any particular connection to New Orleans? Do you know people down there?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I don't. I've been there once for the Super Bowl. I had a lot of fun there. Actually saw the casino I was in. It was just horrible. It was like, oh, my God. It was quite shocking.
Q. You saw it on TV?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I saw it on TV.
Q. You're going to give the whole donation at the end of the year?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I haven't decided that part yet. I might do a little bit each at a time because they probably need some of the funds right away. I just haven't been able to think about it too much or decide that.
Q. A tougher opponent today. Would you say a much smoother performance also than your first round?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I definitely would say a bit smoother performance, even though I still made a lot more errors than what I wanted to, a lot more than what I've made in practice. I'm definitely moving a lot better than I have in the past couple weeks.
Q. Most of the errors coming off your forehand side. Why?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Just because I'm going for it more. She hit 90% to my forehand. It's just a higher chance. It's definitely my stronger side. I feel as if I hit more winners on that side.
Q. Would you consider trying to convince your sister to match your donations?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Like I said, it's no pressure. This is just something that I'm doing, something that I've decided. It's just me. We're separate people, even though we live together and do everything else together. We're separate people. We have different hearts. I know she's a great girl, but it's totally up to her. This is just something that I'm doing. No pressure to anyone.
Q. Does a situation like the hurricane put your life in perspective in terms of you had the opportunity or made the opportunity to play a game, earn great experiences?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I was just looking at it. Hurricane season is not over yet. We still have a chance to get hit. Like I said, it's just thinking about last year how devastated we were. It wasn't nearly as big as hurricane Katrina. It just looks like a war scene. It's just horrifying. I couldn't imagine. You take things for granted. I can't imagine having to go through that. All these people who aren't in the position I am, don't have hardly the stuff that I've been able to have through hard work. I always say I've been blessed.
Q. Do you know who you're giving the money to yet?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I don't know yet. I'm going to look into the best charities. I'm going to choose one that I feel is doing the best.
Q. In the third round, it's time to take on a seeded player now. Schiavone is a very veteran, smart player. The level you had today, is it good enough to beat her?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I definitely was at a point where I could have picked up my level today. I'm definitely excited to play Schiavone. It's going to be a good match.
Q. After you lost in Wimbledon, your dad mentioned he didn't care that much about tennis any more, you were out of shape. What do you think of that? Did you do something about it? Did you talk to him?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I was -- I'm definitely not in denial. I was definitely a little bit out of shape. No, I love tennis. Quite frankly, I'm tired of people saying I put tennis third and last in my life. If I did, I wouldn't be here playing. I wouldn't be practicing. I could be at the beach. I could have retired. I could be drinking lemonade with my legs crossed in the sun on the beach. I'm not doing that. I'm playing tennis every day and sweating. I'm not in Saint-Tropez. Obviously, tennis is something I enjoy or I wouldn't be here.
Q. You came into net a lot tonight. I think you converted all but one point. That is a conscious thing you're going to be doing in the tournament? Have you been working on it frequently?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I've been working on my net play. I have great volleys. I have one multiple (indiscernible) Grand Slams in mixed doubles. It's a shame I haven't been to the net sooner. I'm just really talented at that. I have great volleys. I just need to open my eyes and stop being so myopic and staying on the baseline and rallying it out. It's so much easier to come to the net sometimes.
Q. The serve and volley you thought to attempt even when you weren't getting your first serves in, are we going to see a lot of that at this tournament, too?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I hope (smiling). When times get tough, I stick to that baseline. It's what I love. I could hit a thousand balls. I like coming to the net, too.
Q. If you could quantify the level that you're at right now in percentage term, what would it be?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm definitely not at my best. I don't even want to put it in percentage terms. Honestly, I'm under 50%. But I've won stuff under 50% before.
Q. In order to win the tournament, do you think you need to be up near 80, 90%?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think in order to beat Venus, I'm going to have to be there. Each day I'm getting better. I just have to face my next opponent. I think my biggest test will be Venus.
Q. Is the loss to Schiavone a one-off because you were injured?
SERENA WILLIAMS: That was due to a lot of stuff.
Q. Was it mostly because of the injury, because she's no slouch?
SERENA WILLIAMS: She's definitely not. I actually enjoyed playing her in the past. She played a really tough match against me. I think it went to a tiebreak. You know, she was just killer in that tiebreak. It's going to be a good match. She obviously beat me last time. I feel as if I'm going to go in there and do what I do best.
Q. You have some new jewelry today.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I have a new necklace. It's really nice. My stylist pulled it for me. I fell in love with it, so I decided to practice with it. It's a lot of diamonds.
Q. To play against Schiavone, there is more a spirit of revenge or it means that you will be more careful since you lost last time?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm definitely going to have to be more careful, definitely keep my eyes open because, you know, she's no push-over. I think she did pretty well here last year, as well. She's one of those players that you have to play in the draw and you have to beat them in order to get to the next round. That's who she is. I'm there and that's what I'm going to have to do.
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