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September 3, 2004

Serena Williams


THE MODERATOR: First question, please.

Q. Just with your unforced errors today, did that take you by surprise at all?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I was near 50 in two sets, so I pretty much gave away over a set in unforced errors.

Q. Is that mental?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I just -- I don't know. I don't think it was mental. It was just missing every shot, just going for too much and not looking at the ball.

Q. Where are the earrings today? You didn't send for them?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, I had an earring malfunction, so...

Q. You left them off?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, one of them died, yeah. So I decided not to just wear one, so I have to go get some more.

Q. Everybody would have thought it was a fashion statement if you had just worn one.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, but then I thought, "This is ridiculous. Just give it up."

Q. When you fought behind from 4-1 in that first set, how tough is it to come back from that?

SERENA WILLIAMS: It wasn't too tough. I always think to myself, "Okay." I kind of relax when I'm down. I usually relax. I feel so comfortable.

Q. As you analyze, I mean, yeah, 42 unforced errors, whatever it was, what was behind that?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Craziness, maybe. I don't know. I just couldn't get the ball in. I mean, a couple matches before I was really making my shots. I just think I was hitting flat. I wasn't looking at the ball. And I just made all these errors. And they are shots that I really should have made. Most of them were shots I really should have made.

Q. Towards the very end of the match you had that wondrous split. Kept a straight face for a little while, but then started smiling to yourself. What was going through your mind?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I thought for sure the ball was out. That's why I kept the straight face. I thought, "Oh, shoot." But then the ball was like -- I looked at the umpire. I was like, "Was that in?" He was like, "Yeah." I was like, "Yeah." I couldn't believe it. I just thought that I was fighting at that point. I was really playing two opponents: her and myself.

Q. Did you have any worries on bad turns or falls like that about your knee?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I mean, I was in the moment. I definitely didn't have any worries. I used to want to be a gymnast, so I kind of like doing the splits, yeah. Think I grew too tall, though.

Q. What did you think about your opponent's game?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think she had a really good game. She's really young. And I think she played a really good game out there. She was really consistent. I can see that she improved so much since just the last time I played her at Wimbledon. So it's good for France. You guys can put pressure on her besides Amelie for once at the French Open.

Q. You won the match, but you sound like you're not quite happy with the way you played. How do you shake that off?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I really feel like going out and practice right now. But maybe that's not so smart. So maybe I'll wait until tomorrow, early, and just go out there.

Q. As you take this path back from your knee injury, do you ever concern yourself with not having that air of invincibility? Is that anywhere in your mind as you go through these stages?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I don't even -- I don't even think about invincibility. I've been off for eight months. It's just trying. I've had a very difficult 12 months - just my life in general. And I think, considering everything that's happened to me, just happy to be playing right now. Sometimes I'm hard on myself. I'm thinking why didn't I do this, why didn't I win this. But if you really look at my record this year, it's not really bad considering. I mean, I had extensive surgery in my leg and I had a couple setbacks. I keep having setbacks. I didn't have enough -- I would have liked to prepare more for this event. I couldn't go to the Olympics. I wasn't supposed to come here but I thought, "I can't miss this." They're very devastating, but I just keep fighting.

Q. Is it tough for you to be patient while that comes back?

SERENA WILLIAMS: It is. It's so tough. I lost my patience after I couldn't go to the Olympics. I said, "I don't care." I'm just gonna fight as hard as I can to get to this event. You know, whatever it takes, I just really want to be here, competing. I don't care if I lose in the first round or if I win. I didn't want to miss this event again. But I had no patience. I was supposed to wait for like six to eight weeks.

Q. Are you concerned that now that you have decided to play here that it might affect later on in the season?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I don't think so. And if it does, I'm at the Open. But I really want to give 200 percent here, and I think that was my main goal, is to play.

Q. This is the last Slam.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, and I want an opportunity to play it. I really was fighting to get here.

Q. Do you feel like the knee is holding up well so far?

SERENA WILLIAMS: It's holding up.

Q. Pain, stiffness, soreness, anything like that?

SERENA WILLIAMS: It's holding up. I don't make excuses.

Q. It doesn't seem like something you like to talk about.

SERENA WILLIAMS: No. He doesn't like to be talked about.

Q. But you feel a bit of a tinge, it sounds like?

SERENA WILLIAMS: A little bit of...?

Q. Tinges, tweaks?

SERENA WILLIAMS: However you guys predict it.

Q. Could you talk for a minute about the experience of going out on to Ashe. It's obviously really different from the Centre Court. What is that experience like?

SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, each Grand Slam has its different experience. Obviously, this is the biggest stadium for tennis, period. You know, it's a great feeling because, I mean, for me, I've won here in my first Grand Slam. I just love that. And I love -- I don't know. I love New York. Although I love Paris. But, I mean, I love New York. And I just, you know, it's like playing in America to me. And the crowd tonight was really amazing. I've never had a crowd like that for me, so I was really, really excited.

Q. Do you ever take a moment to look at...

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I've never taken a moment to listen to everybody or hear because I'm so in the moment with playing the point or playing my match. I never really, ever, in my career I haven't thought about it. I probably should.

Q. Even in the changeovers?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No. I mean, I always look at the big screen. That's how I knew I had so many unforced errors. I was like...

Q. Do you ever think to yourself, "I'd like to play on Court 11"?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Actually, I did. I said, "I hope I play my next match on Court 11."

Q. Why?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. It's a long story. I'm tired.

Q. We have time?


Q. What about your dogs?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, my son's in Florida. I'm really worried about him. But my little girl is here.

End of FastScripts….

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