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September 5, 2004

Serena Williams


THE MODERATOR: First question for Serena, please.

Q. You were serving big today. When you're serving like that, do the other elements seem to kind of fall into place for you?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, naturally. When I'm serving better, my whole game gets better because you start the point off so strong.

Q. Do you generally feel you're playing better and better?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I have my highs and lows. Hopefully I'll play better my next round. I don't want to get too far ahead of myself.

Q. How do you come up with your designs for your outfits? What's with the spats over your sneakers?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I like to wear cool shoes. I love shoes. I love Bergdorf, second floor, because it's nothing but shoes. I love shoes. I went to have a meeting with Nike. I was wearing these awesome boots. They decided to try to do something that kind of you could wear, perform in, and still be performance enhancers. Came up with the boot idea.

Q. Might be Capriati next round. Do you feel like you're at a level where you can face someone like that?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, definitely. I'm always ready. We always play each other. I'm sure the next tournament I'm in, I'll play her again. We really know each other's game. She's been working really hard. I have, too. I had a little setback. She's been doing really well. So we both want to fight, you know, to hopefully get to the semis.

Q. Does the Schnyder match prepare you to move on to a higher opponent?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, yeah, because Patty, she's a good player. She's kind of tricky, and her serve is really tricky if you're not really moving your feet. So you have to really be on the beware of her serve. I think it definitely prepares me mentally, knowing that I was going against a player that I had lost to previously. Obviously, I've lost to Jennifer previously. So I was really prepared, prepared for the next round, whether I play Jennifer or not.

Q. Four matches under your belt. How do you feel physically? How is the knee? It's not Wimbledon on the grass. You're on the hard courts here. How are things holding up?

SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, I'm really proud of my legs. I'm really happy. I'm just excited to be here because I wasn't supposed to come. I couldn't miss it for the world. It's just exciting that I'm competing at a professional level.

Q. Are you still doing a lot of therapy, physical therapy after your match with the icing?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah. Do a lot of icing and stuff. But I don't like to get too much therapy, so I'm not so good.

Q. You and Jennifer, this will be your seventh time meeting in a Grand Slam. This is the first time at the US Open. How big of a match is that for you? How excited are you going to be for something like that?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, it's definitely big because we're both Americans and we both -- you know, we're going to have, you know, just -- we're going to be excited to go into the next round. We're at the US Open, who doesn't want to do good here? I like playing Jennifer a lot, I really do. She brings out the best in me.

Q. Is Jennifer the one player where at The Open she might even be more of a fan favorite than you?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I would think so because usually the fans aren't for me. But here it's been really unbelievable reception. I've gotten so many fans here. It was really shocking to have all these people cheering for me. Always go in thinking that, you know, they're going to cheer for the other person for some reason.

Q. Why do you say that when you won the title here twice, gotten pretty good receptions.

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I have gotten great receptions. But usually when I'm playing like a Lindsay Davenport or when I even played Martina Hingis, they're like really for them, so... That's just in every country. But like I said, this year, it's been amazing. They're really out there cheering for me. It's kind of weird, but it's really cool. It feels good. I know what it feels like now.

Q. You say you're not supposed to be here. Does that mean you had medical advice not to play and you went against it?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah. I was just -- yeah, I couldn't -- I really fought hard. Took all the guts for me to pull out of the Olympics. I didn't really want to do that at all. But then I just literally every day was getting myself better, ameliorating my leg.

Q. Were you actually told you wouldn't be able to play here by doctors?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah. But kind of went in one ear and out the other.

Q. How many doctors told you not to play here?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Like three. I get like 20 different opinions, though.

Q. Any of them say it was okay? Did you search until you found one that said it's okay?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, none of them did. I became a doctor just recently (smiling). I took my own doctor's advice.

Q. Five years ago you were one of the young players. Now there's a new era of young players. What do you think of all the young players on tour now?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think it's exciting. I'm not going to be the youngest for all of my career. I was playing, I was really young. I have to think back to those times, how excited I was to be out here and just get the opportunity to play the top players, just go for broke every time. It's always good to see new faces.

Q. There's a new generation of young African American tennis players slowly rising, about to make an influence on the tour. Can you talk about that, maybe relate that to this honoring of Althea Gibson, her legacy, what that meant to you?

SERENA WILLIAMS: That's even more incredible for me because it's good to see, you know, African Americans coming up in tennis - not only just coming up, but actually doing well and getting some big wins, getting a little further in the tournaments. And they're young, so that's even more exciting. I'm all for that. I feel kind of like a pioneer, even though I'm not. Obviously, Althea Gibson, Arthur Ashe, Zina Garrison were. I kind of feel like myself and my sister, besides Althea, we were the first to win Slams over and over, not just one or two, but we've won multiple Slams. It's like I feel that, wow, this is a first. Seeing it trickle down to other people, they want to come up and win Slams as well and do well, even beat us.

Q. Is this your best match so far in the tournament today?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I started really good in this match. I think I had a few errors. In the first few games, I definitely did. But I thought to myself, "I'm not going to do 42 errors like I did the other day." How do I make 42 errors? It's incredible.

Q. You said the other day after your match, you felt like practicing. Have you done that?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I told my trainer I was going to go out and practice. She told me no. She was kind of like, "No way."

Q. How are you preparing for your next match?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. I'm just going to do what I always do, just prepare myself. Obviously never tell you guys.

Q. Naomi Campbell looked on at your match. What kind of fashion advice?

SERENA WILLIAMS: She's a really good friend of myself and my sisters. One time we would go out in LA a lot. She'd always tell me what I should wear. I'd try on some different outfits. She's like, "Wear that one" (with British accent).

Q. What does she think about what you've been wearing?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, she loved it. She loved it. She was really excited about it. She had never been to a tennis match, but she was here to see Venus yesterday. She got a chance to see me today. She's really excited to come.

Q. On September 14th, are you going to attend any of the shows of Fashion Week?


Q. Which ones?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I would love to go to Calvin Klein, but I'm not sure when his show is.

Q. On the 13th.

SERENA WILLIAMS: You know more about fashion than I do.

Q. Can you talk about Sugiyama, what you've learned from playing her in the past?


Q. Yes.

SERENA WILLIAMS: That's an interesting question. Can I ask you why?

Q. She's playing Jennifer.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Woops (laughter). That was a brain freeze there. I never look at the draw. I just play me. I do me. You know, last time I played her was a tough match. I think it was at the French Open. She gets a lot of balls back. She's been doing really good lately. She's not a pushover. Now that I know I potentially play her, you can't overlook that. She's a real fighter. Seems like she never gets tired. I mean, she sweats a lot, but it's like she just keeps running and never gets tired. It's like, "Are you ever really going to get tired?" She just keeps going. If I play her, I have to make sure that I'm willing to hit like 50 balls if necessary.

Q. Because of the knee, are you trying to keep points a little bit shorter? You came into net a good amount today, going for your returns, bigger serves. Is that part of the overall strategy?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, not at all. I really should be coming to the net a little bit more. My knee is doing pretty good right now. I haven't had any worries. No, I probably should be at the net all the time pretty much.

End of FastScripts….

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