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June 27, 2004

Serena Williams


THE MODERATOR: Serena Williams for you.

Q. How good is it to be finished before the rain delay?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, it's really good. I saw the people coming to the -- the attendants coming, looked like they were going to cover the court at 4-love. I was like, "Oh, boy, I better really -- don't want to be up 5-love, 40-15 and have to come off the court." That would have been really unfortunate.

Q. One match was interrupted between Golovin and Gagliardi. You are going to play the winner. Do you know the French girl, Golovin?

SERENA WILLIAMS: She's been doing really well. I saw her play at the French Open, actually. I've been watching her game a little bit. I've played Gagliardi before so, yeah...

Q. Was this your best performance of the fortnight? She's a tricky player to play.

SERENA WILLIAMS: She's very tricky. I'm really feeling really satisfied with my movement because especially in the second set she was hitting the slice. But I started adding the spin and really actually playing grass court tennis instead of clay court or hard court. I was beginning to come to the net a little bit more. I was pretty excited about it. So I'm getting better each round.

Q. It seems like you had real good rhythm on your serve, too.

SERENA WILLIAMS: I did. For years my dad's been telling me, "Take the pace off. Don't hit them 120 if you can hit it 110." First time in 10 years I decided, "Okay, hmm..." It finally clicked. "Okay, I'm only gonna hit 110 and just place it and it worked every time." I took a lot of pace off and got it in.

Q. Jennifer Capriati said the rain made her sluggish for her last match. Is that responsible for why you didn't start so quickly in the first set?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I just didn't start so quickly because I was still getting a rhythm. She hit some pretty good shots. I was getting used to her game for the first few games. She has a really wicked serve. Her balls are literally this low off the ground, so you really have to be low.

Q. How would you sum up your first week at Wimbledon this year?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I made it through with all the rain. This is the first time I played on the Sunday - I think.

Q. Just mentally compare yourself to last year at this time after the first week, how you're feeling, how the game's going, confidence level, all that.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Actually, I'm feeling better and I'm trying to feel -- last year, wasn't really feeling really good my play. Really was disappointed in it. This year I'm just feeling better because I've been through a lot physically, you know. And just for me to be at this point right now, where I'm really, really, really feeling good for the first time, so I'm really looking at the positives.

Q. Could you step back for a moment and share with us where you might like your life to be in about 20 years from now, way down in the distant future.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Twenty years from now, that would make me... 32 (laughter). I would, you know, I would see my company Aneres, we'd be really huge - hopefully. If it's blessed enough, we'd have a really solid company with my clothing line and hopefully have a few little Serenas running around - two Serenas.

Q. Would you still be involved in tennis then, and what about the movies?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, definitely. Hopefully by then I would have really made my mark in the movies as well, I would say about -- I don't know how many films. Do a few different comedies, few different scary films or whatever. I think it would be fun. And what I made my mark in? In the movies I think I would have been successful as well, too, hopefully. I'd still only be 32, so it's kind of hard.

Q. You said the other day your best attribute as an actress was your scream. No offense whatsoever, but has your tennis career helped you a little bit with that?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I'm real dramatic, as well. I just have a good scream, but I'm also really funny and have a great personality on the camera and also have a really good laugh. At any given moment, I can just laugh. It doesn't matter. So it's really brought on. I think tennis has helped me because I do scream a lot on the court, too.

Q. The scream was better than the punch you threw in "Street Time" to knock that girl out?

SERENA WILLIAMS: The punch was terrible. Actually had to do a couple takes because my first punch was literally like this (motioning). I've never been in a fight before, so... But after a while, they took me aside and was like, "Serena, you got to punch." So the scream's definitely better.

Q. Did you notice any difference in the atmosphere out there today?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, it was more fun and more live and more real, and I really liked that. I remember one year, maybe 2001 I want to say, I had to play on the Monday after Wimbledon was over, because we had to play doubles. One of the worst -- I was so stressed, I was really ready to go. But it was the same atmosphere there. It was just like a younger crowd, the people were really real and they were really just out there screaming and enjoying the tennis. I really, really liked that atmosphere.

Q. Tim just said that he thought People's Sunday should perhaps be institutionalized. Would you like to see that here and also have a reduced-cost day at the US Open to bring in fresh fans, so to speak?

SERENA WILLIAMS: What do you mean "institutionalized"?

Q. That it would occur each year.

SERENA WILLIAMS: No one plays on Sunday.

Q. There would be a Sunday.

SERENA WILLIAMS: People could get in?

Q. Yes.

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. I really kind of like -- one thing about Wimbledon what makes it special is you know every Sunday you're not going to play and you can just relax on that day and. Yeah, I kind of appreciate that. I think there should be more people allowed to get tickets. I don't quite understand the whole ticket situation here.

Q. Have you noticed any change in Jennifer Capriati this year, just in the way she's playing the game or...?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, she's really excited about life. I think she's really happy to be doing so well in here career still. I just always see her really more optimistic about things.

Q. When you came back in March, did you expect that it would take you, say, three months to feel this physically good as you're feeling this week? Or did you think, "I'm feeling pretty good in practice, been running a bit, I should be able to pick up where I left off"?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, definitely thought the latter. I was feeling pretty good in practice, you know, pick up where I left off. But at the same time I think kind of inside I kind of knew that it would be a little more difficult than just picking it up.

Q. With the knee, was it more just having confidence running, or was there a legitimate soreness over the last couple months?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think it was a little of both. Legitimate soreness and confidence running, you know. It was like, "Okay, I'm not gonna go as fast as I can, I'll just go a little slower. I'll take off a little slower, then I'll pick it up." So that definitely was a major factor.

Q. How hard is it for you, I mean, do you have to force yourself to go to the net because of the way you grew up in the game? I mean, you and Venus both volley so well. Doubles comes very easily to you all. Do you have to force yourself to go to the net or...?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I just am a baseliner, I guess. And my idols were Navratilova and John McEnroe, when my idols really should have been someone like Jimmy Connors and Chris Evert. I don't necessarily have to force myself to go to the net. I just find myself enjoying -- I mean, I love playing on the baseline, that I have to find myself, "Okay, it's all right, Serena, you can play at the net, too." It's more of a love I have. I become one with the baseline.

Q. Did you see comments made by Navratilova in a column yesterday saying you should concentrate more on your tennis rather than outside interests? Because they come from her, would you take more notice of them?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, sure. (Note it/noted?)

Q. Did you see it in The Guardian, what she was saying?


Q. Did you read the paper?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I don't read the papers. I just look at the pictures.

Q. Really, are you doing anything more that you didn't do the last two or three years when you won this tournament twice in a row and won the US Open?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I'm not eating as much candy as I used to. I've been really good this past week and a half, two weeks. I've like had close to no chocolate, no sugar. So, yeah, I'm doing much better. I'm in much better shape, too.

Q. In terms of outside interests, really, when you were winning this Grand Slam the last two years, and the US Open, did you have as many outside interests then as you do now?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think I did, but I was afraid to act on them. And I was afraid that, you know, if I act on them, then will I be successful, what will other people perceive it to be. But then once I got over that fear and I realized, "This is only so long. I don't want to be, you know, 32 and not know exactly what's gonna happen in my future. I want to already have my future planned out." It was a real fear. I think a lot of people, they actually have a fear of doing other things because of what people might say or what people would perceive them to be. Honestly, I could get in a car accident today and never play tennis again, and then I wouldn't have anything to fall back on. But fortunately enough, I do. And so whether I did it a year ago... I've done more. But it's like once I'm at a tournament, it's all about tennis. Like I'll sit down and I'll sketch, but sketching is totally different from whatever. I'll sit down, I'll read a script. It's just like me reading a book. That's the only difference. When I'm at Wimbledon, I'm 100 percent focused on Wimbledon.

Q. The bottom line is, would you agree that you can have these outside interests and it doesn't affect your tennis?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I would agree 100 percent, because you can't allow something to serve as a hindrance to you.

Q. Does it annoy you when you hear people saying, "The Williams dynasty is in decline," or, "They don't have the aura of domination they've had in the past"?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I've never really heard that either. Nothing really bothers me, to be honest with you.

Q. Did you ever really believe that there was a dynasty, or did you pretty much figure that tennis has its ebbs and flows and, "Venus and I will play great for a few years, other people will come in, we'll come back again, get to the top"? Did you have the expectation you could, both of you combined, dominate for a decade?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think that we are still, you know, trying to reach the top level of our game. And I think -- I never really thought about us dominating for a period of time. I just always see me playing tournament at a time and seeing myself winning each tournament that I'm at. So I guess that is dominance, but I don't know.

Q. How long do you see yourself still playing tennis?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, you know, I see myself playing for a number of years - not as long as Ms. Navratilova but, you know... I definitely see myself playing for a long time.

End of FastScripts….

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