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May 10, 2004

Serena Williams


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Serena, please.

Q. Where are you physically now? Is the knee worrisome? Where are you?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, for the first time in the past two weeks, the first tournament in eight, nine months, I actually was running for balls and jumping for balls and actually running instead of jogging for balls without worrying about my knee, and I didn't even realize it. I was thinking, and I told my dad, "Oh, wait a minute. I'm not even thinking about it." So I knew in talking with my therapist that that's a point we're trying to get myself to. I think I'm at that point, so that's real exciting.

Q. So in Charleston, that was a precautionary thing, just that you were slightly concerned?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, it's just subconsciously. It's more subconscious than anything, but still you know it's there.

Q. So if you're feeling 100 percent healthy, that puts you in something of a minority at the moment.

SERENA WILLIAMS: (Smiling) It does.

Q. Does that change your approach to this part of the season, when you know that you've got a great opportunity?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I mean, of course I'm thinking about taking advantage of my opportunities, so that definitely crossed my mind, yeah, sure.

Q. What's your program between here and the end of Wimbledon? How many tournaments, what tournaments, and are you able to fit any acting into those crevices and cracks in that schedule?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, never. I would never even think to try to put acting in between there, because I'm trying to win Wimbledon and I'm trying to win the French and I'm trying to just win everything (smiling). And whether it happens or not, I don't know, but I can't get sidetracked by doing other things like that at all, by no means.

Q. Bearing in mind how dominant you have been in the past and how dominant Justine has been more recently, how disappointed are you that she's not fully fit at the moment? Would you relish the opportunity to really put yourself up against her now?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I mean, there will be time in the future. I mean, to me, it doesn't matter when, how, where; it doesn't matter.

Q. Have you sensed the great cavity in the women's game when both you and Venus are out, or even when one of you is out?

SERENA WILLIAMS: A lot of people say that, and I would be lying if I said I didn't sense it. But it's definitely there. People obviously miss us. People are really excited to see us back. We're both doing well right now, so we're both really excited to be back and contribute again to women's tennis.

Q. How bad is her injury?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I haven't talked to her too much about it. She seemed to be fine on the phone, but hopefully she'll be okay.

Q. Having had so much time to consider what it would be like to come back because of the time you spent out with the injury, then coming back and winning your first event, can you kind of give us an idea of what it was like to have got back out there again and started playing again?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, when I first got back, I didn't care at that point what happened. I think I was more or less nervous more than anything about re-injuring myself, and I didn't really trust myself. And then just getting back on the court, it was just like, "Oh, I'm just happy to be back out here - serving, hitting, being in the atmosphere." For me, that was more than enough. And so obviously to win was even better. To win was like eating a carrot cake.

Q. How long did that anxiety stay with you then? Because, you know, by the time you got to the final, you looked as if you were firing pretty much on all cylinders. Were you still anxious then, or was it just the first couple games?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think I was anxious maybe in the first round - first round, that's it. And after that, I just, you know, came back down to Earth and relaxed. I was in competition and I wanted to compete.

Q. It must have been a little frustrating to have lost momentum again with the knee flaring up again just after?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Not really, actually. I was fine. I don't let things get me down like that at all.

Q. How much are you looking forward to playing back-to-back Grand Slams? It's been a while. But the fact that the French and Wimbledon are now rushing towards us, how much of an inspiration is that for you at the moment?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, it's a huge inspiration, especially playing the next couple weeks in Roland Garros. I'm just excited to be there and to compete again. I could just picture myself, you know, in the atmosphere, practicing on courts, playing the match. And, obviously, I love Wimbledon. So really can't wait to go to London and compete.

Q. I know they are two different things, but what is more fun, to compete or to act? And if you had to choose one of the two worlds, which one of the worlds would you choose - the one of showbusiness and Hollywood, or the sports world?

SERENA WILLIAMS: That's a very difficult question. I think what's more fun, I have a lot of fun playing tennis; I really do. I really enjoy it. And, obviously, I have a blast when I'm acting. I mean, I love nothing more than hearing the word "cut" and stuff like that. I think for me, that's just , I mean, action. I love that. I couldn't choose. I mean, right now I would choose tennis maybe because I think I do it so well - maybe (laughing). It's my love, and I've been playing it all my life and I just don't want to give it up at all. So, yeah, definitely tennis.

Q. What's next on your acting schedule?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm gonna -- I don't know. My goal this year is to be shooting a movie this fall. So I have a couple different offers, and I haven't decided which one I want to do. I'm definitely going to be doing a movie this fall - hands down, that's my goal.

Q. Which means that after the US Open, you are going to disappear again or...?


Q. ...from the tennis world?

SERENA WILLIAMS: (Laughing). That's not a fair question.

Q. So are we talking action, comedy?

SERENA WILLIAMS: One's action. I'm really excited about it. But the other one's more -- kind of like a comedy/drama. But, believe it or not, I've done action before, and it really is physical so I'll probably be in really, really good shape. And not only that, you have to -- it might be a little too physical. So I haven't decided yet. Working on script changes, so we'll see.

Q. More physical than tennis, or a different kind of physical?

SERENA WILLIAMS: More physical than tennis. You get hurt. You know, you always see the actors that break their wrists and their legs. It's very difficult. So it's definitely more physical, and it's like you have to do it 50 times, especially if the director is one of those directors that like to do it a lot - like again and again and "Take 50." It's like, "Okay," and you have to go to another scene.

Q. A lot of jumping off of things?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, definitely have to get a body double (smiling).

Q. Can we expect to see you as the new kind of "Lara Croft"?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, haven't done too much action, but I think -- I think I'd be really good in a role like that. Just all that is pretty much computerized, like all those jumps and stuff like that. But I think it would be fun. Something like that would be a lot of fun.

Q. How is your nephew doing, the little boy that was in Australia? Is he okay?

SERENA WILLIAMS: He's good, yeah. He's so cute. He's real good. I'll tell him you asked.

Q. Thank you. Do you have him on the tennis court at all?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, he doesn't like to play tennis. He doesn't.

Q. Do you know that one of the three Italians who is a prisoner in Iraq was a bodyguard of your sister? Did you find out? Do you know any reaction by Venus for that?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I heard about it. It's unfortunate, it really is.

Q. Did you know him personally, too?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't think I've ever met him.

Q. What do you think of your French Open chances at this point compared to some of the other top players out there?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think I have a great chance. And if I didn't think I had a great chance, I shouldn't go.

Q. And how would you size up some of the other top players?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Everybody's tough (smiling).

End of FastScripts….

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