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June 23, 2005

Serena Williams


THE MODERATOR: Serena Williams for you.

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?


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?


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?


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.

End of FastScripts….

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