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May 11, 2004

Serena Williams


THE MODERATOR: First question for Serena, please.

Q. Is it new, the band that you have on your head with "Serena" written on there?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I've been wearing it since Miami, so it's not new. But it's new here in Roma.

Q. You had a difficult start in both sets. How do you explain it? I mean, more difficult to explain for us was the second set, because the first we understand. What happened in the second?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I made about 1,000 unforced errors, and so that pretty much explains it all. I couldn't hit the ball in. I'm like "Why?" But, hey, at least I got through it.

Q. What means this, that you make 1,000 unforced errors and you can win in two sets?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. I just... I think I'm playing pretty well. I'm practicing very well. I just think maybe I was off a little in the match. It just means that when it comes for me to make the shot, I can. But if I necessarily don't have to make it, then I don't. But as long as I'm practicing well, I feel comfortable with it. I'm real confident going into the match.

Q. Sometimes we see you still touching your leg. You still feel insecure about it? Your knee, are you limping a bit?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I just think maybe that's something I do naturally, just touch my leg. Kind of like doing this every time for every point (touching her hair). Just touching my leg is something I always do.

Q. Do you have a feeling that your opponent is scared about you?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. I don't think they're scared. I just think -- I mean, obviously, when you have to play a tough opponent, you're going to have to bring your "A" game. If you're not gonna bring your "A" game, you have to... I don't know. I can't really answer that. I don't know.

Q. Is it a bit frustrating to have to go through the process of being a bit rusty and ironing out those errors and then settling down again, having gone through it in Miami?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, not at all. I just feel -- sometimes it's better to have a longer match. I was okay with it. I prefer not to have those errors, but sometimes you want to be able to say, "Okay, I can work myself through this if I do A, B, C and D."

Q. If you think about your outfit, you think about Star Trek or what?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, this is more or less Wonderwoman (laughter).

Q. How do you find these courts compared to the last two years, when you won and last year? Do you find any difference?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Not that I'm aware of, no. I'm not really paying attention to that. I'm just paying attention to finding myself moving out there, looking at the ball.

Q. How difficult is it to concentrate, thinking that finally you're going to win that match? Thinking about next round, next round, next round, what about your concentration?

SERENA WILLIAMS: See, I never think about the next round because that would throw me off. And so for me, it's important just to focus on this round, and then if I'm done with it, then I go to the next round. When I think too far ahead, then bad things happen.

Q. Do you think that Venus will be in Roland Garros or not?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, definitely. She's looking forward to playing. I don't think anything could keep her away.

Q. Is this tournament a special moment for you, or just a passing tournament towards Roland Garros?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I wouldn't say it's a passing moment at all. I'd say it's more of a tournament that I love to play. And I love coming to Rome because I love the city and, most of all, the food - the pasta, the pizza (laughter). So I look forward to coming. I couldn't wait to get off the plane. I was like, "Oh, I can't wait to get to Rome." It's something that I look forward to coming to every year. I want to come sometimes when I'm not playing so I can just hang out in Rome.

Q. This evening you have dinner inside hotel or outside?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't think I play tomorrow, so maybe I'll go outside. You want to take me somewhere (laughter)?

End of FastScripts….

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