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July 1, 2004

Serena Williams


THE MODERATOR: Serena Williams.

Q. Was this what you meant when you said you enjoyed played Mauresmo, a top quality match?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think this is one of the best matches that we've had. I think it's definitely one of the best matches that we've played each other, so it was definitely top quality.

Q. John McEnroe said you proved yourself a great champion if you can go back up to the plate after you've had a big setback. You've had a huge setback in the last 12 months. How would that apply to you?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I guess maybe in John McEnroe's books, maybe that kind of does apply to me. I think it is, you know. It's tough to come back after injury, surgery, nonetheless. It's just always about keeping a positive attitude.

Q. You were I guess pushed to the limit out there today with all the fist pumping and everything. It seemed like a real emotional time out there for you. Can you just describe what was going through your head?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I was really excited. I was thinking, "Okay, I lost the first set." I really shouldn't have lost that. At least I didn't think I should have lost the first set. I thought, "I could be on my way home if I don't change fast." But I just kept fighting. That's all I really had, was fight.

Q. Did she open a door for you? You were down Love-30 on your serve, 1-3 in the second set.

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't remember that. I don't remember that at all. But, you know, like I said, I kept fighting. I don't give up. I mean, things might not -- things can't always go your way, in general, not just on the court, but just in life. You can't just stop.

Q. You said immediately after the game that this was the most special moment of your career. What was the reason you said that?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, this tournament hopefully will be the most special moment so far in my career, yeah. Not quite. One more. But, yeah, because it's a been a tough -- you know, it hasn't been an easy road back. I really was struggling a lot. This is my second Grand Slam. To be in the finals, seems like you guys always expect me to win, expect me to be in the final. But, you know, it's not so easy all the time as it looks.

Q. Being pushed as you were, was there something you found out about your game or about yourself just in the process of that match?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah. You know, I didn't have a game today. I just really had heart and that's all I had, because I was making lots of errors. I don't remember getting too many first serves in at all. I don't remember hitting nine aces at all. So really it was just the fact that I was just there and I kept just fighting with what I had. I had a good volley. That's pretty much all I had.

Q. What do you think the parallels are between the situation Maria Sharapova's in right now and when you were on your way to your first Grand Slam final?

SERENA WILLIAMS: It's the same. I think we're the same age. She was playing really good tennis. So I don't know. Except it's at Wimbledon, mine was the US Open.

Q. What do you see in her game? What sort of challenge is it for you?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think she's really focused out there. She doesn't seem to get too distracted, so that's always good.

Q. How could it be flowing so well, your last match and then really didn't seem to be on your game too much today?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. I mean, I just had a bad day today. But it's always good to pull it through against a top player in the semifinals of Wimbledon on a bad day, so that's always a plus. You know, I was playing really well throughout the whole tournament. Today, I don't know, I wasn't feeling my shots and I wasn't -- I wasn't really doing much. But I was really fighting.

Q. Was it hard to concentrate when you knew she was injured?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, it wasn't hard for me at all, at all. I was really focused and relaxed.

Q. How will you prepare for Sharapova? Do you get reports? Will you look at videos? Do you know enough about her game?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I will prepare in a way that I will not tell you (smiling).

Q. Why not?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Because, the lion is the king of the forest, but the tiger is the king of the jungle.

Q. What does that mean? We need a translation.


Q. In the end, was it more of a mental battle today?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think Mauresmo was really mentally strong. I think she played a really good game. I honestly think it's the best she's ever played. I think we both were down to the nitty-gritty. I mean, two and a half hours later, we were still fighting. And I don't think she broke mentally, I don't think I broke mentally. Like Pete Sampras always said, "In order to win a Grand Slam, you have to have a little luck." I don't know if I got lucky, but I was really focused and determined more than anything.

Q. You surprised us all in Paris with your new color. I think it was fuscia. Do you have a surprise for us Saturday fashion-wise?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No surprises. I told you they wouldn't let me wear my other outfit here at the All England Club.

Q. Can you wear it to the press conference?


Q. You've seen Maria play. What are the aspects of her game that you noticed most?

SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, she's a tough player. She's solid on all sides. She hits good angles. That's always a plus. She's real focused. I like that about her.

Q. What do you see in her backhand and are there similarities in her game and yours?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think we both pump our fist a lot. So that's really similar.

Q. How about her backhand? What thoughts do you have when you watch her move over there and hit those shots?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I wasn't really focused on her backhand. Maybe, I don't know, I can't answer that.

Q. What do you mean by "tiger" and "lion"?

SERENA WILLIAMS: You have to figure it out (laughter) .

Q. Are you the lion or the tiger?

SERENA WILLIAMS: You have to figure it out (laughter).

Q. What is Maria Sharapova, is she a lion, tiger or gazelle?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Honestly, it's just what I said. It's not for me to figure it out. I've already figured it out.

Q. How much do you think your experience is a factor in this match for Saturday?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't think so. I mean, when I was young going into it, if anything, I was really determined to really fight and win when I played my first Grand Slam final. I think you run so much on adrenaline, it's like experience doesn't have -- I don't think it has so much to do with it. Like maybe if it was 7-All in the third set, maybe a little more experience would kick in. I think it all kind of boils down to talent. I think she's been playing a lot of tournaments, more than me, so I think she's had enough experience.

Q. I think this last time last year your whole family was together. Can you talk about how much you've thought about her this week, if at all?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, you know, it's just -- really just trying to stay up and just focus on my tennis right now.

Q. What's been Venus' role in all of this? She's back home. Have you been talking a lot? How have you been filling your time with her not being here, I mean, in relation to her? Do you call her a lot?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, we talk all the time. I mean, we don't really talk too much about tennis. She just fills me in with everything that's happening, you know, in America. So that's about it.

Q. Why are you not playing doubles here?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I just had a de'ja vu. That's weird. Why am I not playing doubles here? Because (laughter)... I didn't want to. And because the lion is the king of the jungle, but the tiger is the king of the forest.

Q. I was just wondering what your thoughts were for women to play Grand Slams best-of-five sets?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I'd still be out there now if it was the best-of-five, so... I'm all for equal play, less matches (laughter).

Q. Do you feel like you're getting used to being in Wimbledon finals?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. I'm just real excited. You know, I'm not overly excited because I really want to take this and I really kind of focused on, you know, I get a day off tomorrow, I'm focused on my final round. You know, I think that kind of had a little thing to do with it, too. I was in the semifinals. I was like I really want to be in the final again. This is my -- I love playing on Centre Court, and so that kind of had a little factor into me really fighting, as well.

Q. We've always had a great time interviewing you, the media. I was looking through Boris Becker's book and I was amazed at his feeling about the media. He didn't really look at us as friends because of what a few people wrote that was not true. What is your attitude towards us in the media?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, you guys always get it wrong, but...

I like to make the media my friends.

Q. I wonder if we could straighten this out at the end here. Is the lion the king of the jungle or the king of the forest because you said both?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I had it mixed up the first time. The lion is the king of the jungle, but the tiger is the king of the forest.

Q. So that's the definitive answer, is it?


Q. This will be the first Grand Slam final you played in quite a while where you're not looking across the in etiquette at Venus. Can you talk about that? Is it in some ways a relief to be able to just play an opponent that you don't have such feelings for?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, you know, I thought about that. For the first time, since my first Grand Slam title, I believe, it's going to be different because I'm usually playing my sister. But in a way I don't, because I love to see Venus get to the final or myself get to the final. I always want to see the best for her and she always wants to see the best for me. You know, I'm never going to part with that, ever. It doesn't matter. I always like to see her do the best.

Q. When you spiked your racquet 3-1, you played three points and won three points. Did you know the racquet was broken? Did the break, when you went to your bag to get another one, help you refocus on the rest of the match?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I take the Fifth on the first part of the question. But when I went back to get the new racquet, because it somehow cracked, I think I was hitting the balls too hard maybe, I don't think it helped me refocus. I just went over and got a new racquet.

Q. Where do you think the crowd's loyalty will lie on Saturday? They've been good with you, but might it shift to the underdog?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Hey, the crowds always root for the underdog, at least with when I'm playing. I'm always not the underdog. You know, I'm kind of used to it now. I actually kind of feel weird when people root for me too much.

Q. What was your de'ja vu experience?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I dreamt that Venus lost at Wimbledon, and somebody asked me why didn't we play doubles. Then I was playing this young girl in the final. Isn't that weird? I always have de'ja vus.

Q. You've been through this a few times.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, it's really weird.

End of FastScripts….

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