September 1, 2004
NEW YORK CITY
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Serena, please
Q. Do you have any concerns about the hurricane and, if so, what are your plans if it gets around Palm Beach County?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, there's nothing I can do about it right now. I'm here and I just hope people are really sheltering up out there and getting plenty of water.
Q. Is that the skimpiest outfit you've ever worn at a Grand Slam?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Uhm... I don't... I don't... I didn't consider it skimpy.
Q. You didn't?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, it's really sexy and micromini.
Q. In general how do you feel about the way you're playing and moving?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think I'm serving real well. Pretty relaxed out there today. I didn't go for too much. I just played enough to get what I needed to do.
Q. That's what I noticed, you were kind of relaxed. Do you save energy for later on in the tournament or just kind of going easy on the knee?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I just -- you know, I didn't warm up too much, so I just wanted to just stay relaxed and just feel the shots. You know, I didn't want to put too much pressure out there on myself.
Q. I was getting concerned. The other player was getting too close, moving a little bit.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Definitely. But I didn't feel pressure out there at all. I felt pretty comfortable the whole time.
Q. Did you feel hampered by the knee at all out there?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I can't say. No, not really.
Q. Are you aware of the fact that most people are watching your clothing instead of your tennis?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Uhm... maybe (smiling). I don't know. I just have a lot of exciting things that I'm wearing this year, so it's fun.
Q. Would you say they know or...
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't remember the question.
Q. Did the knee hamper you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Did it hamper me? I don't remember what I said.
Q. Did the knee hamper you in running down shots?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Not really, no.
Q. You said on court that you consider yourself more of an entertainer. Was there a time, if asked that question, you would have said, "No, I'm more of an athlete than entertainer," and when did that change?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I always considered myself as an entertainer. I remember always thinking of myself as a broader picture as opposed to just your normal athlete. I don't think I've ever been your normal athlete. I've always had something different going on in my life.
Q. What kind of feedback did you get after the match, from fans?
SERENA WILLIAMS: After the match, I got lots of feedback. I just -- I mean, from the most part, I think people liked it. I hope they liked it. It was a really fun design. It's different. I think it's always exciting to wear something that's different out there, get people and other companies to start thinking on different lines and more fun things. I kind of feel like a superhero out there.
Q. Why did you pick this line this time?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I was playing a day match so I was trying to decide if I was going to wear my dress or the little alleged skimpy outfit - although I don't think it's skimpy at all.
Q. Did you ask the chair umpire whether you could leave the boots on?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No. I left my earrings in my purse, so I asked them to bring my purse out.
Q. Can you explain what the boot things are actually all about?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I could wear them if I wanted to. I think there's a false rumor going around that I can't wear them because the tournament won't let me. But they are totally for me to wear the whole match. It keeps my legs -- it's really like a neoprene that keeps my legs really warm. It's a really light fabric to kind of warm myself up.
Q. What is the point of them on a day like today? It's hot.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, it is. But I'm wearing them before I walk out on the court. So usually I'm doing intense warm-up. I actually felt myself being more, you know, kind of warm as opposed to cold. But it's really going to work when I go in the indoor season, I think, as well.
Q. Did you ever think about keeping them on when you play?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I did. They were so comfortable today, I thought, "Gosh, I should keep them on." Then the other night when I played, they're extremely comfortable. I felt like -- I was trying to debate as to whether I should keep them on or not. But I just keep taking them off.
Q. One of these days you might play in them?
SERENA WILLIAMS: One of these days I might play in them.
Q. Chair umpire before, the start of the match, you asked somebody to bring your purse so you could put your earrings on before you played the second-round match at the US Open? Is that right?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I left my earrings and I was going to put them on before my match but I forgot to put them on. I was hitting warm-up and I realized I didn't have my earrings on so...
Q. That was a distraction?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It wasn't a distraction. I like to look good when I go out to play. I felt like I was missing an element. I like to wear heavy earrings.
Q. Is it a kind of fetish?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It's not really a fetish (laughing). I just -- I really believe in accessorizing. I used to wear lots of bracelets. Now I only have the one bracelet on. I have a ring. I like to have my earrings and necklace. I just like to accessorize on the court. I think it's important for me to look the best I can. I mean most people see me on the tennis court, and a lot of people don't see me elsewhere. That's where I'm mostly photographed at.
Q. Are they real diamonds, the earrings?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, the earrings, no. They're just a funky, fun little plastic thing that my sister gave me.
Q. Everybody's asking about your fashion, not your tennis.
SERENA WILLIAMS: They ask me about my tennis a little bit.
Q. The talk now is all about the clothes. Do you mind that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, not at all. It's more fun. Everyone comes in and talks about their game. It's so boring and redundant (laughter). I think you guys like talking to me because I don't talk about the same thing all the time.
Q. Lindsay said recently in a conversation you said you don't care if you're comfortable, you just want to look good.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I can't believe Lindsay told you guys that. I'll have to talk to her. She's great. But, yeah, when I first went to meet with Nike, I told them, the best thing about me is I don't have to be extremely comfortable, I just want to look, you know, nice out there. I don't want to be in the basic, you know, white skirt and the white shirt with the collar. I want to look different. I'm okay if I have to wear a fabric that's not your basic nylon and spandex. Let's mix it up, try different fabrics. If I'm slightly uncomfortable, that's okay. I'm usually able to play through it.
Q. Are you concerned at all that children who look up to you might go out on the tennis court in boots that aren't appropriate and injure themselves?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, because they can go out and get the Nike boots.
Q. I think it's interesting that you say, you know, you want to have a different look. Some think, "This is borderline inappropriate." This old tennis club mentality. Tracy Austin was like, "Oh, my God." You look at her, she's got on Laura Ashley. I don't think you represent that. Tell us, who do you represent when you go out there?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I just think I represent all females out there who believe in themselves. It doesn't matter what you look like, it's all about having confidence in you. That's not necessarily having to wear some short shorts or extremely small top, it's just about believing in yourself. I think, like, I represent that woman that believes in herself and has confidence in herself and to be unique.
Q. Is this collection only for you and not wearable for everybody?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I have a collection coming out in the spring '05, so next year everyone can buy the boots.
Q. As boring as it might be, talking about tennis before we conclude, could you please just comment about the way you played today and your thoughts going forward.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think I was really relaxed going out there. I didn't really play -- you know, I don't think I played as well as I did the other night. You know, I just think I was kind of just blah out there. It was enough today, and obviously with each round I want to get better.
Q. Where do you think you are tennis-wise as opposed to where you were 2001?
SERENA WILLIAMS: 2001?
Q. Sorry. 2002, before last year.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm almost back to that level. But I don't want to be back at that level. I think that I can go beyond that level because there was so much that I could do better. So that's not the level that I'm trying to get back to at all.
Q. Doubles, why aren't you playing doubles? When do you think you'll play doubles again? Miss seeing you out there.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, me, too. We're expected to return at the Australian Open, myself and my sister. We're excited.
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