August 28, 2004
NEW YORK CITY
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. How does it feel just to be back here?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, it's an amazing feeling. I am so excited and so happy. I feel like it's been a while since I played here, so I am just really ready to be performing here.
Q. How is your knee?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It's doing a lot better. It was really tough for me to make that decision not to go to the Olympics, but at the end of the day I had to do it.
Q. Was it a recurrence of the problem you had before?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, it was kind of, sort of. I was playing a match and I felt it. Thank God I didn't continue on throughout the tournament because the doctors didn't want me to go on.
Q. When did the knee start feeling good again to where you could feel like you could actually go out and play?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I mean, I just -- the very next day, after, I just started working harder. I don't remember when it started feeling good. I just was at the gym two times a day, just working out every day.
Q. But on court, when did you start practicing again after you made the decision not to play the Olympics?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Uhm... the week after the Olympics, first weekend.
Q. How do you size up this year?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, I kind of got a late start on this year, but I think I did okay so far. It's not over yet. I have a lot to add to my resume this year.
Q. Did the doctor say exactly what you did? Did you just tweak it?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I tweaked it again. I don't want to get into too many details because I try to forget about it.
Q. Did it swell up this time?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It had a lot of swelling. It was a little discouraging, but then I thought, "I just have to stay positive."
Q. Did you watch Justine in the Olympics? How do you think she played?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I didn't watch. I didn't watch. I just watched the swimming. They didn't show the tennis -- I didn't see any of the tennis. After Venus came home, I didn't watch any more of the tennis. I was really into Michael Phelps and Paul Hamm and then the other little gymnast girl.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Carly. Carly Patterson (smiling).
Q. Would it hurt too much to watch the Olympic tennis, do you think?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't think it would hurt or influence in any way.
Q. Do you take from Justine winning that she must be in pretty good shape, that she came back?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, she's doing good, and I'm really happy to see her back. So I think that's great. Especially coming into the Open, she's defending champion. I know she wants to do really well. So good for her.
Q. Do you feel like defending champion at all since you didn't play last year?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I haven't even thought about it too much really.
Q. Do you feel like you're the defending champion?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I haven't really thought about that. I'm just here right now. I haven't thought about much of anything. I'm not -- theoretically, I'm not, but I kind of am (smiling).
Q. Where's your game at right now?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Right now, where's my game? It's solid.
Q. Are you running with full confidence?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No. I'm running. I'm just doing the best I can right now.
Q. How close were you to not coming here? Was there a point where you had to decide?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No. I said, "There's no way I can miss this tournament again." I wanted to do everything I could to make sure that I was here, playing and competing.
Q. Do you feel like even when you say that, did you say, "Okay, I need to be past this point where I know I can win it," or do you have to say, "I need to be able to be here"? Coming in, did you feel you had to know you could go through to play all these matches?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think I definitely felt that I didn't want to come here thinking I could win a round and have to go home.
Q. Were you ever in a situation where you almost had to choose between the Olympics and the US Open because of the knee, that you figured you weren't going to be able to play?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I was advised by several - like five different doctors - not to go to the Olympics so... It was really just -- it was pretty much "Don't go. Just don't go."
Q. What a horrible decision to have to make.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, definitely.
Q. How did you enjoy kids' day?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It's fun. I love the atmosphere. I love the kids out there. They always have a great showing for the kids' day. They come out here and get to see some of their favorite tennis players play. They have some wonderful music acts every year. So I love it out here.
Q. Did any kids ask you why you didn't play in the Olympics?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, the kids aren't like you guys (laughter).
Q. There's been talk about one of your outfits for the competition. Can you talk to us about that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I have a lot of exciting outfits this year. I have this black mesh dress that's kind of see-through that I was gonna wear but I decided not to. There were kids today, so (smiling)... Then I have the shorts, the other short outfit they wouldn't let me wear at Wimbledon because it "wasn't proper attire." I'm wearing it here, but it's all in black. I have the jean outfit, the jean skirt and the jean jacket. It's cool. And, of course, the boots. I have some -- I have a pair of boots.
Q. So are you only going to wear the saucy one in the night sessions?
SERENA WILLIAMS: What?
Q. Are you going to wear the slightly saucier outfit in the night sessions?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think I should wear the smaller and cooler ones during the day sessions, right (smiling)?
Q. Because of your injury problems, is it too much to expect you to win the tournament?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Uhm... gosh. I'm not even -- as usual, I'm not thinking about that. I'm just thinking about performing the best of myself. And, obviously, I want to win, but I'm taking it one round at a time.
Q. Since you are into fashion off the court, are you at the point where you could wear one outfit per game?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, definitely. I'm kind of -- I hate to be, but I'm a little superstitious. If I like one outfit, I'll just keep wearing it over and over again.
Q. Do you have an outfit like that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Not yet. I haven't played in them yet. I'm already leaning towards one.
Q. Would winning here make this a successful season despite everything that you've had to go through?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It would be a mediocre season.
Q. Are you wearing the cat suit?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, no, the cat suit, he's no longer going to come back. He decided to retire after all.
Q. Can you talk about your sister's health a little bit, her draw, your draw.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I haven't seen her draw, haven't seen my draw. Don't want to know her draw, don't want to know my draw just in case you're going to tell me.
Q. What's her general attitude?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think she's positive, but it would be best if you ask her.
Q. Did she come back feeling pretty healthy from Greece?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, she's feeling great. She's excited to be here, too. We both missed it last year.
Q. How much of a test has this been for you mentally, having to deal with the injury since March, never knowing whether you're going to be healthy one week to the next?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It hasn't been easy at all. I've had a really tough 12 months. I'm just rolling with the flow, and I realize there's a lot of stuff I enjoy doing off the tennis court and a lot of things I take more seriously in my life, just my family and things like that. When I think about that, I really am able to relax even more on the court and enjoy myself even more than what I did before.
Q. Is it frustrating for you on court not to be able to do the things you used to do because of the problem with the knee?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I mean, it obviously could be frustrating, because I'm working my way to that point.
Q. Can you say that you're 100% fit?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Uhm... I don't know what to say.
Q. Is that a no?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm getting there.
Q. Do you feel confident with your game, or have you not been able to play enough this year to feel like it's natural?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think most of my game is confidence, so I think that that probably will be the best thing for me, is to have a lot of confidence.
Q. So you do?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yes.
Q. The technical problems you were talking about in LA and San Diego, have you gotten rid of those?
SERENA WILLIAMS: We'll see (smiling).
End of FastScriptsâ€¦.