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January 17, 2005

Serena Williams


THE MODERATOR: First question for Serena, please.

Q. Were you comfortable in that match?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Sure, yeah. I was comfortable. Want to elaborate?

Q. Especially playing after a long break like that.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, I was a little nervous going into it. But after the first game, I was okay. I thought if I just get the first game, then I'll be all right. I think that's just first-round nerves. That's it.

Q. What happened when your shoe came off? Was it just not tied properly?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I have a bad habit, like I always slip in and out of my shoes like they're flip-flops. So I never tie them. So I just slip in, I go out and play matches, and slip out. I guess I forgot to tie them.

Q. What were you doing on your off time? Did you take some vacation time or you were just practicing?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I had to take time off so my stomach could heal because I didn't want to tear it. It was a severe strain and I didn't want to get it so bad, so I had to take some time off so it could heal properly.

Q. So what were you doing then? Were you in California or Florida?

SERENA WILLIAMS: We were doing a lot of charity events. We did the Williams Tour with McDonald's, and that was great fun. It was really successful. I filmed a TV show, actually, I had a lot of fun doing.

Q. Which show?


I did a fashion show. Gosh, I did a lot (smiling).

Q. Nice to be back in Australia winning matches?

SERENA WILLIAMS: It is. It's lovely down here. I've missed it. I really like this surface. I enjoy playing out here a lot. I have good memories out here, so... It's fun to be back.

Q. You say, "All of Us." Is that a TV show?


Q. A sitcom?

SERENA WILLIAMS: It's a sitcom.

Q. Who stars in it besides yourself?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Elise Neal and Duane Martin. It's produced by Will Smith and Jada Pinkett.

Q. What was your role?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I played two roles. It was fun. I never do comedy. They have been begging me to do a show a lot, but I never got the right script. Finally, I saw this amazing script. I was playing -- I never play myself, but they wanted me to play myself and my assistant. My assistant was really kind of out there, she was really insane and very, very unprofessional. So it was really, really a hilarious script for me. I thought, "Okay, I have to do this." So it was a lot of fun. It was like playing two characters.

Q. When will it air?

SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, I'm not sure. I'm not sure if it came on already. I think it might have aired last week.

Q. You mean you played Serena Williams?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I played Serena Williams and her assistant. Her assistant was kind of -- wore this really loud blonde wig. It was really short. She was really eccentric, I should say.

Q. What was her name?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Her name was Wanda (laughing). I had a tattoo that said Wanda. Wanda was very ethnic (laughing).

Q. What was more fun, playing yourself or Wanda?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Definitely Wanda. I really got to stretch my comedic roles. I was really going out there. I ad libbed so much. I was working with Debbie Allen, which was great for me because I never worked with her and she's amazing. That was so fun. She was like, "Okay, do whatever you want to do. Stretch. Make Wanda really, really eccentric." When she told me that, I just really went for it. I had so much fun. I kept adding lines. The next day I'd see it, the lines I added, I was like, "Oh, cool."

Q. Emmy-award winning role?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Definitely not.

Q. After a long break from the game, do you see yourself as one of the leading contenders here?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I definitely wouldn't be here if I didn't think so; I'd rather stay home. I always see myself as someone that's coming here for seriousness and to win the tournament.

Q. How frustrating was Los Angeles? I know you were injured, but with a 4-Love lead, to not be able to...?

SERENA WILLIAMS: After that point, I was going to pull out and I just started hitting balls as hard as I could. And then I was surprised that I even went up 4-Love, honestly. I was in a lot of pain. I was really just happy to be competing at that point still.

Q. How important is it for you to win a Grand Slam title this year? It's been a while.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, my goals are just to win pretty much my matches. I think Grand Slams will come with it.

Q. How do you feel physically now?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Physically I'm feeling very good.

Q. 100%?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't like to talk about it because it's like I'm doing good and I don't want to jinx myself.

Q. Any trepidation about having -- first time back and you double-fault on the first point?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I usually never double-fault. I think I double-faulted four times today, or five. But I shocked myself. I was like, "What?" But it's okay.

Q. There was a pretty discreet length skirt. Is that part of a new style trend?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think it's too long (smiling).

Q. Think it's too long?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I like the length. It's perfect. It's so flowy and it's very sheer, very see-through. It's so flowy that any shorter wouldn't be appropriate, so we definitely went with a longer length. I love how it just pops up and down. It's so flirty and feminine for me. I love it.

Q. Will we see that or are there changes for the rest of the tournament?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I have other changes but I really like this. We'll wait and see.

Q. Is this one you designed or not yet totally?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I designed the warm-up and the outfit, yeah. I pretty much am involved in a complete collaboration where we get together and we just design everything as a team so... I'm very hands-on.

Q. Did you get to design Wanda's clothes?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No. You know, Wanda, she's a little crazy. She likes to wear really -- outfits that are really out there. So I tell Wanda, "I can't dress you, but, you know, you have to be more professional as my assistant."

Q. Any rejoinder from Mr. Blackwell, any response to Mr. Blackwell?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yes. I love how you use good, big words. I love that (laughter).

Q. Tell that to my boss.

SERENA WILLIAMS: I love that. I mean, come on, who was on that list? I mean, it was Lindsay Lohan. I'm sorry, she wears simple clothes and she always dresses nice. Jessica Simpson, I have never seen her dress bad myself. She wears some of the best clothes. I mean, it was just, come on now. It was like taking a shot at all of young Hollywood out there and me too. It was just like they took a shot at all of us. I'm like all these people -- most of the people on the list, I have no problem with Nicolette Sheridan, what she wears. To me, she always looks good. So I didn't understand that list. I think he was just, I don't know, upset that young Hollywood is doing so well and taking over.

Q. You're No. 7 now. A couple years ago obviously you were at the very top. Do you sense a difference in the way the other players feel about playing against you now that wouldn't have been there a couple years ago when you were more dominant?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't think there's a player out there who would see their name against mine and go, "Oh, my God, yes!" So...

Q. They've said this, Myskina said that "we don't fear the sisters anymore." Do you sense that?


Q. Do you sense that?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, I don't know. I don't hang out -- I don't know. I feel that, like I've always said, when I'm at my best, no one can beat me. I think that's just the bottom line.

Q. Are you aware of the doping allegations against three other players?

SERENA WILLIAMS: The doping allegations?

Q. Yes.


Q. Three players were named - one of them has tested positive apparently in an exhibition event in the last year. They haven't provided any B samples. Do you advocate naming players before someone's been found guilty?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think there's no need to accuse anyone of anything unless there's hard proof.

Q. How full a schedule would you know now you're going to play this year, roughly?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I have no points to lose early on, so hopefully I'll play a few tournaments early and... I don't know. Couple years ago I was No. 7 and I ended up top. So I kind of like the position that I'm at right now. It's hot.

Q. What will you play from now till the French and Wimbledon?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I'll play a few indoor. I'll play Miami, obviously; I love that tournament. Few clay court events (smiling).

Q. Will you go to Indian Wells, or are you past that?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, no, that's my vacation period because I'm playing a lot overseas in Europe. I usually like to chill out around Indian Wells.

Q. Fed Cup in Delray?

SERENA WILLIAMS: It's in Delray, are you serious? Oh, I'll really want to play. I'm going to play for sure. I really look forward to it. I really want to play for Zina, I haven't been able to play with her yet. Oh, I'm so excited. That's perfect. It doesn't get better than that. There's no way... (laughter)... they did that on purpose.

End of FastScripts….

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