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January 27, 2005

Serena Williams


THE MODERATOR: First question for Serena, please.

Q. Was that your most satisfying match?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I can't say it was my most satisfying. I'm only in the final now. I would obviously love to win here, and I've had some pretty satisfying wins in my career.

Q. After a rough first set, when did you feel that your game came into tune the way you wanted it?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yesterday. I felt that I was playing well, I was practicing well, I was really feeling my shots and I was really feeling my balls. Even in the first set I was just making all these errors but I'm thinking I'm not like practicing like this, it's going to have to come together.

Q. You have a preference for the final?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Either one 'cause I have to fight. At this point it's the final of a Grand Slam. Everyone wants to win. Everyone wants to fight as hard as they want to. You can't underestimate anyone.

Q. What's going through your mind when she's serving for the match in the second and in the third set?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, in the second, I thought, "Okay, God, I could have won this set already. Why am I still out here?" I thought, "Okay, well, maybe I should have played better. So just fight for every point." In the third I thought, "Okay, I've been in this situation before. No problem." Then the third matchpoint came around. I was like, "Okay, haven't been in this situation before. It's a new experience for me, but I can keep fighting."

Q. Did you think about the Clijsters match from a couple years ago?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Actually I did. I thought, "Okay, Serena, you're down matchpoint but that's okay, you've been down matchpoint before. It's a little closer this time." So I thought, "Okay, I could do this."

Q. How satisfying is it to be under that sort of pressure with matchpoint and come up with the winners?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Those are always the best wins, when you're down matchpoint because it's like you realize that you can't give up at any -- I personally never give up, but I thought, "Okay, I definitely don't want to give up now." I think those are the best wins, when one is down matchpoint for me.

Q. In the first set did you feel like you were battling more than just Maria?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think I was battling Maria and myself. I was playing two opponents because I was making a tremendous amount of errors. I wasn't doing what I had practiced. But I just tried to stay positive out there the whole time.

Q. What about in terms of line calls? There's been so much consternation in this tournament over line calls. Were you thinking about that at all, too?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I thought I got one -- well, I never argue unless I'm a hundred sure. I was a hundred sure on one shot, and that's the one I argued. I don't know about the rest. I wasn't personally a hundred sure. I'm not sure how they were. So I can only comment on that shot that I know was out. I know my shots.

Q. Are you in favor of electronic assistance?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think, I mean, I've had a lot of bad luck. So now obviously I am in favor of it. But I think it should be to a point where you can only challenge like two or three calls in a match. A player can't challenge every call.

Q. For years probably people thought you were the best competitor, fighter in women's tennis. Do you see her as a mirror image of you in terms of what a good fighter she is?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I definitely think she's probably looked at me as a reference maybe growing up, which is exciting. I never thought -- I'm so silly. I'd never thought I'd play someone that probably looked up to me. I definitely think she has a fighting spirit and I think that's gotten her to where she is today.

Q. Is it satisfying to be able to overcome that today?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm still a fighter, too. So overcome.

Q. That she's so good a fighter.

SERENA WILLIAMS: I said I'm still a fighter as well, so... I'm still top fighter out there.

Q. On the second matchpoint she served to your backhand. From where we were sitting it was tremendous close. Was it close to an ace?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't remember. I'll have to look at the tape. I don't remember at all. I just remember -- I don't remember (laughing).

Q. Seemed like the less demonstrative you were, the better you played. Were you conscious of that?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah. It seemed like that. I thought okay. But then sometimes if I wasn't grunting, I felt as if I wasn't giving all the effort. So in the last game I thought, "Okay, I'm going to give everything, give all the effort here." Then I started to grunt again. I don't know. It was weird. I try not to think about that too much when I'm out there.

Q. Is it that conscious, the grunting?

SERENA WILLIAMS: It's not conscience (sic).

Q. How conscious are you of Maria's grunting?

SERENA WILLIAMS: It's pretty loud. I think it's pretty obvious. But I also grunt really, really loud sometimes so...

Q. Does it affect your game? Does it put you off?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, not at all. I think sometimes a grunt can work for you or against you, so...

Q. (Inaudible) on your own?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No. I'm just saying a grunt, you know, a grunt, whether you have one or not, it could either work for you but sometimes it also works against you.

Q. Did you feel when she stopped grunting at the beginning of the third set that you had taken control of the match? I mean, does it have that sort of effect?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think that's one of the effects it has, so yeah.

Q. Did you notice she stopped?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yes, I noticed. But I obviously didn't do anything about it. She was better off grunting (laughter).

Q. You could play Dechy in the final. Do you know her?

SERENA WILLIAMS: She's always been one of my favorite people in the locker room. She's always been so nice and so sweet. I've always respected her as a person, and it's good to see her doing so well finally. I'm happy for her. But obviously, I'm, you know -- whoever wins, it's going to be a tough match, whatever. I have to be ready.

Q. Many people think that the rivalry that's being established now with you and Maria could become the next great rivalry of women's tennis. How do you see your future matches?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think it would be a good rivalry for sure. I think there's a lot of good rivalries out there. That definitely could be one of them, most definitely.

Q. Were you conscious of the support you had out there today? A lot of support.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I had so much support out there and it was so fabulous, you know, to have and to see. I never really had so much support, so I was really, really excited. Just felt really honored to have that support.

Q. How will you prepare for Saturday now?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I won't be able to tell you that information. That's Classified G14. Sorry (laughing).

Q. You did say earlier in the tournament that you had a special pattern going with Venus, your hitting partner, roommate, etc... Now she's out of the tournament, does that upset your pattern now at the business end of the deal?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I really was upset about it. Like I said, I always do well when I hit with her in a tournament because she hits so well, especially in practice. She just blasts these balls left and right. I really would need it for each of these opponents coming up. I'm hitting with Mark Hlawaty, he's from Australia. I've hit with him -- I'm bad at math. I'm 13 matches and 0 hitting with Mark, so it's pretty good.

Q. Now that you can look back and it went well for you, do you feel like you needed this match today?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Definitely. Honestly, I feel like I need every match. So I would have not been happy if I had lost because I don't think I played to the best of my ability because I had - I don't know - the last time I looked, it was like 43 errors. I got sick to my stomach at that sight. I was like, "Come on." But I definitely think it was a good win for me. But I don't think I would go back and be like, "Oh, I played so awesome. I won this." I really think there's so much I can do to improve.

Q. How did you feel physically at the end of the match?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Honestly, I feel like practicing right now. I'm okay.

Q. You've won a lot of titles, you've earned a lot of money. Why does this still matter so much out there?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Because this is what I love to do. I love nothing more than walking out there, hearing my name being announced, "Serena Williams," the crowd goes wild. I love that feeling. I love being able to perform and being able to play a sport that's so fun, you can travel the world. It's just -- I think it's a great, great thing for me. I wouldn't give it up right now for anything.

Q. Where does this stand on your excitement level, the fact that you had to come back, the fact that you saved three matchpoints?

SERENA WILLIAMS: This goes on the matchpoint-down list. So I have about four matches on that list. This will be one of them.

Q. What are the other two?

SERENA WILLIAMS: The Clijsters one. I can't think off the top of my head. I think I played --

THE MODERATOR: Los Angeles final against Lindsay.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Los Angeles against Lindsay. Then Sydney once.

THE MODERATOR: Against Davenport.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Against Davenport, actually.

THE MODERATOR: 2000 against Davenport.

SERENA WILLIAMS: There's a few of them out there on the list, so...

End of FastScripts….

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