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March 27, 2005

Serena Williams


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? She'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 don'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.

End of FastScripts….

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