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January 23, 2005

Serena Williams


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Serena, please.

Q. That looked like a struggle.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, it looked - did it?

Q. You were in control twice in the match. You'd won the first set quite easily. You were in control in the third set. Any particular reason why it was harder than you expected?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I didn't expect it to be easy. I mean, she beat me before. For some reason when she plays me, she hits these unbelievable serves, like 198 even I saw one was hit. So it's just I have to be ready to play when I play her.

Q. At those times, when you were right on top, she came back.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah. I made errors. I didn't play well. I didn't, you know, hit my shots right. It's going to be a struggle if I, you know, play like that.

Q. Were you feeling okay out there? It looked like you were in some sort of distress, especially in the third set.

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I'm feeling fine. I'm okay. My health is great. I'm feeling great.

Q. Your opponent played very well, you also had some problem with line calling out there. What was your view on some of the calls you got?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I thought they were out but maybe they weren't. I mean, I think I won pretty much all the points anyway except for one. I don't know. But I try to play every ball anyway. Did anyone see them on TV? Doesn't matter. They probably were in.

Q. Did you feel it sort of challenged your ability to focus in the match, that those calls were going on?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, not at all. Like I said, I won all the points but one anyway. I just -- I didn't feel it was a struggle to focus. That wasn't the reason.

Q. You've talked about how disappointingly you played at times today. What do you have to improve in a hurry, now you're through to the quarterfinals, to continue progressing?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I mean, everything. I'm practicing really hard. I never usually practice this hard. So, you know, I mean, hopefully it will come together tomorrow, whenever I play again.

Q. Do you think you have to play much better if you want to get through the next round?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I mean, for sure I'm playing a tough opponent, I'd imagine. I'm playing Mauresmo, right?

Q. Yes.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, so she plays great tennis. I actually really like playing her. She wants to win and she's going to be really ready and well-rested, so I'm going to have to, obviously, improve better, play better.

Q. Does she bring out the best in you?


Q. Amelie.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, I definitely think we've had some great matches. And she definitely brings out some great shots. She hits some great shots and plays some great tennis. I definitely think I bring out the best in her as well.

Q. You almost seem like somebody who's lost. Were you that unhappy with the way you played?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah. I feel -- I mean, my serve was horrible. I've been working really hard on it. It's just, you know, I'm a perfectionist, and I played a really bad game today. I, you know, to be honest, didn't deserve to win the way I played. But I guess I have to get over it and play better in the next round.

Q. Can't you look at the positive: you came through it? Or is that not your personality?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No. I mean, I should, and I should try. But I don't really see too many positives out of the match today except I think I ran well for it on some dropshots. That's about it.

Q. Were you at all surprised to see Mariana Alves out here chairing matches after your match at the US Open?


Q. Alves, the umpire who did your match at the Open.

SERENA WILLIAMS: She was on the court today?

Q. Well, she's been on the court during the week. She was on this week. Are you surprised she's out here?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I saw her in Beijing and then I saw her again in Linz, so...

Q. Next match, do you think you have to improve your serve? It will be okay?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, definitely have to improve my serve. I mean, every aspect. I didn't play like this in the first three matches, so there's no need for me to go out there and perform at such a low level.

Q. You're expecting Amelie play as well as she did in LA, for instance?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I expect her to play very good and better. You know, I expect her to come out and perform extremely well, like she normally does. But, you know, I really like playing her. I mean, it's really fun tennis. We have a good time out there.

Q. When you saw Mariana Alves in Linz, did you talk to her at all? Did she say anything to you?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I talked to her because I wanted to know what the problem was, and I never received an apology or anything. So I just wanted to know was that professional not to even -- because I requested a written apology or something because I just thought it was pretty much outrageous. And I didn't even want to talk about that. I ran into some bad luck during that tournament, but that's the past. We talked about it, and I think she was really happy afterwards because she wanted to talk to me about it. I don't know if she could. So, yeah, I had to confront her. She was fine and we both feel better about the situation.

Q. So would you be unhappy or wouldn't care if she was put on one of your matches in the future?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I mean, preferably I wouldn't want her on my court, but that's just my preference. I know I wouldn't be happy. I have too many demons still. Maybe I have to -- I have to continue to go through my rehab and try to get over it.

Q. Did she end up apologizing when you talked with her?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, yeah. When I talked with her, she said she didn't do it on purpose, and that's just the way she saw the ball, although everyone else in the world saw it different. But that's just -- that's way in the past, though. That's like six months ago, four months ago.

Q. There was a sportsmanship incident last night with Chela. Did you see that?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I didn't see it.

Q. He was fined for spitting in the direction of Hewitt. I'm just wondering, your sister had that incident with Spirlea back at the US Open. You had that issue with Justine at the French Open. Do you think there's a lot of gamesmanship going on in the game? Do you think people abuse that?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think I have great gamesmanship and I try to be professional out there. I know that's just the type of person that I am, because at the end of the day it's a game and it's not the rest of your life. You know, you have the rest of your life to live. But I don't know if everyone feels that way. I can only speak for myself and my sister, but that's how we feel.

Q. So it's just part of the sport? People stall or take breaks or signal that they were stopping a point and then deny it afterwards?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. Fortunately enough, I've only ran into a little bit of it. I don't really know if it's... People will do anything to win and, you know, maybe sometimes that's the attitude you have to have. But it didn't -- I've never done anything, and I've won a lot.

Q. Do you think players sometimes cross the line?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. There's a tremendous amount of coaching on, and I don't get coached out there because when I'm out there, I really believe in being professional, you know, unless they approve coaching. But other than that, huh-uh. That's just how people are. You know, people just want to win so bad.

Q. Would you say something to the umpire if you thought a player was getting coached?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, of course. Pretty much everyone gets coached, you know. It's standard. Except for me, I don't get coached.

Q. One of the local papers did a "separated at birth" item with you and Tina Turner.


Q. Do you think that's a good comparison?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, my God. Are you kidding? I mean, I would love to look like Tina Turner, and she's like 60-something. She's amazing. She's like incredible. Her body is like ridiculous for her age. She's like on a totally different level. She's incredible.

Q. When you will step on the court on Tuesday, will you remember one more time the match you played against Amelie in Rome? You said every time you think about this match...

SERENA WILLIAMS: (Laughing). Now that you reminded me, of course. Maybe if you hadn't of reminded me, I wouldn't. But definitely I'm going to think about that. I'm still a little bitter about the situation - very bitter, actually.

End of FastScripts….

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