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January 19, 2005

Serena Williams


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Serena, please.

Q. Pretty (inaudible) in the second set. Did you step your game up a gear a little bit?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I definitely tried to step my game up after -- in the middle of the first set. So, yes.

Q. You seemed to be hitting a lot of clean winners. You were hitting the lines today rather than missing slightly. How do you think your progression is going here?

SERENA WILLIAMS: It's definitely getting better and better with each match. Today I hit a lot of winners against a girl that actually gets a lot of balls back. So I was excited.

Q. It's been pretty easy going the first two matches. Are you looking for more of a challenge before you get into the second week?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I mean, not really. Who wants to play a tough match? But sometimes it's easy -- it's good to play a tough match and get it under your belt. But in all honesty, I'm sure everyone would rather go straight sets than three sets.

Q. After two matches now, how do you feel physically coming into the tournament?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm feeling really good physically. I'm really proud of how I'm doing, how I'm feeling and I'm really excited that I'm feeling so well. I'm really looking forward to the rest of the tournament.

Q. Have you lost some weight?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I always try to lose lots of weight always.

Q. Have you lost a bit?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yes. I lost inches. Maybe a few pounds, so...

Q. Working hard?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I've been working really hard and trying to always be slim and trimmer each year. Each year I try and lose a little weight. Thank you. Best compliment.

Q. When you had the knee problem and then the stomach, stuff like that, do you change your training to learn something from those previous injuries that could help in the future?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Each injury you have to change your training. Like with the stomach, there's a lot of things I could not do and I had to gradually go forward and do it. It was really great that I didn't tear it and it was just a strain. So that was really, really exciting. But, yeah, you learn what you should do and what you should strengthen so you don't have to go through those injuries anymore.

Q. Are you pretty disciplined about doing all that stuff?


Q. No?


Q. Did it feel abnormally or excruciatingly hot out there?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, not at all. I'm a firm believer that Florida is hotter in the summer than Australia. It's so hot in Florida and humid. People should try to commit suicide normally. Whew! It's just... this is lightweight compared to what it gets in Florida. It's crazy.

Q. Do you understand this meteorological formula they have to determine whether they will play on a given day?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I do not, but I do understand that they close the roof after certain temperatures, is that correct?

Q. They've got this whole formula.


Q. Temperature, humidity, whether an egg fries on the court, things like that.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, wow. No, I don't understand that. But I'll bring my eggs out next time (smiling). I'll scramble them out there.

Q. What does it feel like to be back in the sports world when you're looking around sometimes in the entertainment world? Is it similar?

SERENA WILLIAMS: It's great. It's like I have the best of both worlds. Go in the entertainment world, come back and be in the sports world. You know, try to do pretty good at both. But this is what I love right now. I love going out there and playing for the tennis -- playing tennis, I should say, playing for the crowd. For me, it's a great experience.

Q. Not having a Grand Slam title right now, does it bug you when you're at an entertainment function and people say, "Come on, Serena, what's going on"?

SERENA WILLIAMS: People don't ask me that. People always assume that I'm No. 1, and I never correct them in any way. They always assume, you know, that I've won the last Grand Slam. I mean, except for the people that really watch, then they know. But other than that, people always assume that myself -- that I'm winning and that I'm No. 1. So, yeah, keep it like that.

Q. What do they think about Venus? Do they think she's also No. 1? Or do they understand she's not anymore?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think they think that we're 1 and 2. For them, it's like we've -- us being the Williams sisters together, we've kind of broken and opened so many doors. It was just amazing. So I think they look at it like they're really -- I'm surprised that some people were excited to meet me. I'm like, "I'm excited to meet you." They're like, "Are you sure?" I'm like, "No, really, I love you." For them, it's like an athlete is at the pinnacle of their game. There's no acting, no excuses, nothing going into it. It's all about talent and going out there and doing the best you can. For them, they really respect us in that aspect and it's really cool.

Q. Amelie lost a set today and steamed through after that. Were you surprised she was one of the top players to drop a set so far?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No. She played Safina. She was playing really well. Dinara tends to play very well and she's a very talented player. She's no pushover. So that definitely wasn't a very easy draw for her. That was good that she was able to pull it through.

Q. I think you're playing Sania Mirza in the next round, from India in the next round. Have you ever heard of her?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, but I'm pretty sure she's heard of me and she'll be ready to play my game.

Q. Are you staying in the same place with Venus while you're here, sharing a practice partner, warming up together?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, we're roommates, we're practice mates, we're gambling mates. We pretty much are sharing everything this week.

Q. Staying in the same hotel room?

SERENA WILLIAMS: We're roommates, so... Yeah, we're together. It's great. You know, we haven't been together a lot lately because I didn't play here last year. I love being with her. She's really funny, and we always -- we have these obsessions, so we encourage each other not to be so obsessed.

Q. Could that be maintained if you move right through the tournament together?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Absolutely. Absolutely. I actually think I play better when I hit with Venus because she just brings out the best in me. She's just slapping winners left and right, and I'm just at this point, "Oh, gosh." So for me, I always do better when I practice with her.

Q. Would you still share the same room if you're both in the final?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, we always do. We always did.

Q. Don't try to keep her awake?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No. I try to poison her sometimes but it never really works (laughing). One time I put a pillow over her head, but she woke up. That didn't quite work out. I told her I was just moving the pillow (smiling).

Q. The betting markets in Australia have you favorite to win the final. Do you feel that yourself, do you think you feel like the favorite?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm just here to play each match. I want to play five more. I really want to be there. So I'm in the next round, yeah, and I'm there.

End of FastScripts….

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