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January 28, 2005

Serena Williams


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."

End of FastScripts….

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