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September 7, 2004

Serena Williams


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Serena, please.

Q. What was your game plan, going into the match? What did you see as Jennifer's weakness that you could exploit?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know.

Q. What do you think about the calls?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. I don't want to talk about it.

Q. Have you seen the replays?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I don't need to see the replay because I know my shots. I know my ball was in. People have told me they were in. Not only was it in, it wasn't even near the line.

Q. What did the umpire say to you?

SERENA WILLIAMS: At first I thought it was another Wimbledon conspiracy. I thought she just got the score wrong and I just wanted to clarify that I had won the point naturally because I know my shots and I saw the ball. And I knew it was in. So, you know, yeah, you know it's not maybe why I lost the match but I believe it would have at least been on 3-Love at that point.

Q. What do you mean "conspiracy"?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Like the Wimbledon thing where Venus had, you know, the call. I said, "Okay. Wait a minute now. Maybe she just got it wrong." So I said, "Okay. I just want to make sure that, you know, the score was right and it was my advantage."

Q. What did she tell you?

SERENA WILLIAMS: She told me she overruled the ball.

Q. Did she say why she didn't announce it was an overrule?

SERENA WILLIAMS: She said she overruled. I said, "How could you overrule a line that far away? Why would you even overrule that shot? It didn't even touch the line." I mean, did it touch the line? No, it didn't even touch the line. And so, I mean, obviously, I was, and still am, a little disappointed in that.

Q. How long did it take you to put that -- were you able to put it behind you?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I mean, I would have won that game and then I think -- did I win the next game? So I was able to break back, but naturally it would have been 2-Love. It's just... I'm not making excuses. I mean, I didn't lose because of that. Maybe I should have closed her out in the second set, you know. Maybe shouldn't even have been a third set.

Q. Are you saying you couldn't get it out of your head the whole third set?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, no. After the second game, after I think -- was I down 2-1 or up -- I was down 2-1. So, you know, was totally gone by then. But I was just, you know.. Then I began to think, "Okay, well, maybe my ball was out." I never argue. I'm never one to argue on the court - never. And that's just not who I am.

Q. Did the officiating have an effect on your game?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Honestly, I began to think, "Okay, well, I'm not going to go for the lines. I'm not going to go for my shots because, you know maybe," -- I just thought maybe they would call it out. So I started to play a little more safe.

Q. A bizarre or odd officiating call at Wimbledon, and then a bizarre or odd officiating call here. What do you think that's about?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I consider myself the great -- the best right now. I mean, even though I haven't won, you know, a Grand Slam this year, I've competed in three. I always consider myself the best. I mean, not only on the court, but off the court I always try to have a great attitude, win, lose, or draw. It's a game. I'll be here next year. I'll play a tournament next week.

Q. When you say "the best," what do you mean?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I mean, when you become the best, then, you know, things are tougher. People try harder to beat you. You know, if you can't beat them, then it's just -- I just think people try harder.

Q. You think you and your sister get a rough ride. We've had two major incidents in big situations and they both involve Williams sisters. That can't be a coincidence?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I mean, if you look at it that way, it does seem like a coincidence, right?

Q. In the last game, there were two that were maybe just as bad?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I know my balls were in. It wasn't just that point, that's the thing. I know my shots. I know in the last game those balls were in as well. So it's like, what do you do? You just got to keep fighting.

Q. Should there be that Shot Spot that we see on TV, should that be on the umpire's chair? I ask that specifically because Jennifer said last week that there should be one. What do you think about that?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, uhm, I never get bad calls. I never get bad calls. And so I'm not -- you know, I think eventually in the game it's going to eventually come, the Shot Spot. I think that's just inevitable. But I have never really gotten any bad calls. It doesn't really matter to me.

Q. Did you consider calling the tournament referee at any point?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I did. I thought she had got the score wrong. I was going to call the referee. But she claimed that, you know -- I guess she went temporary (sic) insane.

Q. Is it harder to lose when you...

SERENA WILLIAMS: When you know you could win, yeah.

Q. When you knew your shots were good rather than if you just played badly and lost.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Uhm... I don't know. It's like when you lose like this, it's like, "Well, well..." I don't know. It's like I know I should have won or I could have won. But, I mean, like I said, it probably shouldn't even have been three sets. I probably should have closed it out in the second and I didn't.

Q. What are your emotions right now?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Very angry and bitter right now (laughing). I'm extremely angry. Bitter (laughing). I'm upset. I feel cheated. Should I keep going?

Q. Yes.

SERENA WILLIAMS: I just feel robbed.

Q. At the beginning of the tournament you said you're a rebel without a cause. Do you have a cause now?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I'm out of the tournament now. So I guess the lady didn't want me to be in the tournament anymore.

Q. Was that the worst umpiring you've ever experienced?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think Venus had a worse experience than me. But, you know...

Q. But you, yourself?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think not only that, it was other balls, too, that I hit in. I think she should at least, you know, became an umpire and not just, I don't know what she was doing out there. You know, I don't want to, you know, pressure her or anything, but if anyone in here thinks it was fair, can you please raise your hand so I don't feel alone in this battle (laughing). Okay, just want to make sure.

Q. Fairness aside, though, you were only down one break in the third set. She was fighting pretty hard, winning a lot of those long points. You had opportunities in that third set, correct?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Like I said, it probably shouldn't even have been a third set. That's probably not the reason why I lost. I probably should have closed out in the second or I came out stronger in the beginning of the second. You know, even in the last game, although my balls were called out, I did have an opportunity to break. But I guess I can't really help that part, but... I had plenty of opportunities, I guess.

Q. Where does this match go in terms of the toughest matches you've played?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm not tired at all.

Q. But emotionally, compared to, say, your loss to Justine, or some of the tough losses you've had in your career?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Uhm... I just -- I just feel, uhm.. It's almost better this way because it's like, "Okay, you've been cheated. What do you do? What can you do?" The other matches, I definitely was more disappointed at Wimbledon.

Q. What did your mom or your sister or dad say to you?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Uhm, my sister said, "Don't be discouraged." I had like 50 unforced errors. (Laughter). And if I had three less, I probably would have won - two less. I told her the same thing after her match.

Q. Have you ever felt this way after a match?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I can't say I have but, you know, I don't want to make excuses and say I lost because the umpire cheated me, which probably does have a major factor in it. But at the same time, I think, you know, you got to give credit to Jennifer, I guess. She had a good day umpire-wise. Usually she has bad days.

Q. Thinking about what did happen to Venus at Wimbledon and what happened to you tonight, what do you make of that?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Like I said, you would think -- I mean, why us? Why not, you know, someone else? Or maybe it is happening on maybe a Court 11; I don't know. So I can't really make it up.

Q. Have you had conversations since the match ended with anybody from the USTA?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, the WTA obviously are really good and they came to apologize. I said I expect a letter of apology as well. In a professional arena, we should all keep it professional. I'm professional. And I think that's the least the umpire can do.

Q. Who delivered the apology?

SERENA WILLIAMS: It was the people, the two ladies in the WTA. I don't know if I should give their names or not. I don't want to bring them into it. They were kind about it and they came immediately because they knew, you know, that it was something that probably shouldn't have happened on a far, far line in the middle of an intense match.

Q. Would you like to see the umpire come up here and answer questions about why she did what she did?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No. I mean, I heard she was upset, so... I mean, if anything, I think I should be upset, you know? But it's a sport, I guess. It's always next year.

Q. If you could talk to her, what would you say?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I would just expect her to express her apologies to me and why, you know, she would -- but I'm sure she made the best judgment of her time. Although I can't imagine that -- the ball didn't even hit the line, so I can't imagine that she would make that judgment. But... It's not why I lost. I lost because I wouldn't play right.

Q. In the third set, you hit a dropshot and on the TV replay it looked like you weren't set for the return. Were you playing with as much fire tonight as you usually do? Because in that instance, it didn't look like you were ready to go?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't remember that.

Q. What action do you think should be taken against her?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Uhm... I don't know. I really prefer if she not umpire my courts anymore because she's obviously anti-Serena.

Q. At Wimbledon, you expressed disappointment that Sprem didn't come clean with that controversy. Were you surprised your opponent didn't help clarify things or is that naive?

SERENA WILLIAMS: It's not her job to make line calls. It's really not her job. That's why they pay the line judges, who did a wonderful job - at least that particular one. And then the umpires. So...

Q. In the last game, those calls were made by the lines people.

SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, that's why I asked the umpire to overrule the shot because I knew those balls were in. Really. I know my shots. I know my shots and I know when I make them and I know why I miss them. That's why I never complain.

Q. How rough has the past six months been, since your comeback?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, it's been a tough road but I'm comforted by the fact that I probably shouldn't have been here anyway and I've made a great effort. And I'm comforted by the fact that I didn't have enough time as I would have generally liked to do better and to prepare for this event. And it's comforting to know that I have a lot to look forward to next year, because I'll be much more healthier than I am right now. And that is the only thing keeping me from being really upset.

Q. Do you plan to play the fall season, are you going to rest your name?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm not to be playing right now, so I don't know what I'm going to do. I know I want to go to some different countries and play, but it's like I don't know what I'm going to do.

Q. The last time you played her, you beat her 6-1, 6-1 on grass at Wimbledon. Can you comment on the quality of her play tonight and on the level of the match all together.

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think she had a game plan just to get every ball back and wait till I make mistakes. So I don't think I played well. I mean, I'm not going to sit here and say I played a great match; I don't think I did. I think I played like an idiot.

Q. How long is this going to hurt for, the incident and the nature of the match?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, uhm, I don't know. I don't think -- I try not to live in the past. That's pretty much the past. I try to live in the future. It's just a disappointment because I really was planning on winning this tournament. But like I said, she played good and I pretty much dug my own grave and got in, pretty much covered myself up with the dirt (laughing). So I pretty much killed myself out there.

End of FastScripts….

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