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April 3, 2004

Serena Williams


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Congratulations, Serena.


Q. How much better idea do you have of where you are today than you did two weeks ago?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I think, obviously, I have a much better idea as to where I am today. Two weeks ago I was really nervous to come out here and play for the first time in eight months. I'm just thinking, "Gosh, I'm really nervous. I want to get out." But at the same time I was really, really anxious to come back and get out here.

Q. What do you think it says that you're able to come, after eight months off, and kind of, you know, no offense to any other players, but you kind of breezed through to the final and won the final very easily. What do you think that says about women's tennis?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. I think it just says that I'm back. And as long as I'm healthy, then I'm definitely still a top competitor.

Q. Do you wish that some of the top players had been here so you could have tested your game even more, or do you think this was a good way to come back in?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think it kind of goes back to the same thing - do they wish I played the US Open, do they wish I played the Australian Open, do they wish that I stayed well? It kind of all runs together for me.

Q. How are you feeling as a result of winning today?

SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, I'm really excited. I feel really happy. Just really excited. I'm real happy that I was able to come back and take a title. It's great.

Q. Did you have any doubt that you would win?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I just came out and just wanted to win every match or just win every point. I never looked to see who I played in the next round. I just wanted to do me (sic). I think I was able to do that.

Q. How do you prepare to do your best mentally?

SERENA WILLIAMS: It takes a lot of preparation, not just on court playing; I do a lot of stuff off the court as well. I actually study the game and look at different films and try to do the best I can.

Q. Did you follow Wonder Woman when she was on TV, or were you too young?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I was too young, but I do follow the Justice League. I know Linda Carter was Wonder Woman. I followed it a little bit.

Q. The cat suit you wore at the US Open, it did very well when it hit the market. How well do you think this outfit will do?

SERENA WILLIAMS: This outfit isn't available for retail, unfortunately. It was just done so quick. It's just to get my name out there, that I am a Nike athlete, obviously, and just to give it some pop. Eventually, we were gonna start selling my outfits.

Q. Kim Sands was in here earlier. She talked about when you came to the courts and the kids were just crying, they were so excited to be in your presence. Can you talk about what that was like for you.

SERENA WILLIAMS: It was great. It was a great experience. I love the kids. I love having the opportunity to go and hit with kids and see that they have a desire to play tennis. I was really impressed. When I went there, they were able to keep rallies and to hit well and get the balls in the court and move the ball around. They actually had a lot of skill. Usually when I go to different events and different clinics, I don't see that skill. So I was really excited. I think the program First Serve is doing really well. I just was really -- I am almost at a loss for words at how well the kids were doing.

Q. When you talk to kids, do you talk to them about tennis or other...

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't talk to them about tennis at all. I talk to them more about the importance of getting an education and the importance of being a good person and being close to your family. And tennis, if you do well, it can open doors, different types of doors. You can get scholarships to the best of schools anywhere in the world. It's just a grand opportunity. And if you have that opportunity, you can capitalize on it.

Q. Do you think your rest has gone to the point where you're ready for Justine and Kim and Venus, too, for that matter?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think that there's so much I want to do better. I think there's so much that I can do better. So I'm gonna go home and practice a little more and get ready for the next tournament.

Q. How much do you look forward to those challenges when you do cross paths with them?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Like I say, I don't care who I play. It really doesn't matter to me, because I'm going to play them sooner or later. Honestly, I don't -- it just doesn't matter to me who I play.

Q. Which is more enjoyable - Venus watching in the stands or you playing her on court?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I would say against her on the court, because it's us both reaching our maximum potential.

Q. What parts of your game do you want to work on? You said you have to improve. What would you like to do better?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I mean everything from my serve to my return to my ground strokes to my running. I mean, literally, everything.

Q. Do you think this is your best match of the week?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I guess, yeah. I think each round I got a little better for sure. I think that's important, to get better by each round.

Q. Did Venus give you any tips from her match?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, she did. She gave me a lot of tips. I was there, so I kind of knew what to expect. I knew what to do.

Q. A couple of the girls from the Moore Park courts talked about how it's so great for them to see a young woman who's so self-possessed and has so much confidence. Are you aware of how positive an impact you have in that respect to kids that age, and can you talk about that.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I have become aware of it. It's important for me as a young lady and a young individual to carry myself with aplomb and to walk with all kinds of confidence in this world around me. Because a lot of kids are feeding off of that. A lot of people look up to myself and my sister; and a lot of entertainers in our age group, a lot of kids are looking up to us. For me, I'm okay with that. I just feel that I should carry myself in a manner that they'd be able to copy themselves after.

Q. Both your parents have acted as your coach in different ways. Can you just address your mother's role as the coach, since Mother's Day is six weeks away.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, she's on the road a lot. I don't know. I mean, she's just -- we both practice the same things, they both teach the same techniques. We're always on the same page. So wherever we go, we're always, you know, kind of on the same page.

Q. How different is she? Is she tougher to work with than your father?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Sometimes, actually, she's a little tougher to work with. She demands not perfection but nothing shy of it. So we have to always be on our toes with her.

Q. Is it harder because besides being the coach, she's also your mother? Does that add a different dynamic?

SERENA WILLIAMS: It definitely does add a different dynamic. We obviously do more off the court. When she's around more, we go shopping more than my dad. But they're both great to work with. I'm just blessed to have such two wonderful parents.

Q. You said coming in you were nervous. Did you envision you would win this tournament, or in the back of your mind did you think you would not win this tournament?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Like I said, I just came to play a match. When I won my first match, I had another match. That's how I just looked at it the whole time, just go from match to match and hopefully -- I just never looked to see who I was going to play in the next round. I just wanted to go out there, and I just wanted to compete. Whether I won or lost, I just wanted to make sure I did what I was supposed to do.

Q. Both yourself and Venus have been coming back from injury problems, you especially. Do you think that you can imagine a time where one of you may be competing and the other one is retired or something like that, or do you not think it would be the same impetus if you weren't both competing in tennis?

SERENA WILLIAMS: That's a good question. I don't know. I can't answer that.

Q. You passed each test. Did you consider this a demanding tournament?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah. I played a lot of days in a row for a while. I played four out of five days. That was pretty demanding on my body. But I was really excited to know I could play like that and still be physically okay.

Q. What's your schedule for the next couple months now? Where are you going?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm going to Amelia and Charleston, actually.

Q. What in Europe?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Roma and the French.

Q. What's your thoughts on Martina Navratilova playing singles?


Q. Yeah, she's going to be in singles in Charleston and Eastbourne.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, good. I don't blame her. If you can do it, you should do it. You know, she's just an unbelievable athlete, unbelievable person. And, you know, I think she'll win a few rounds.

Q. Are you surprised - I think she's 48 or very close - that she is that keen to still be doing this?

SERENA WILLIAMS: It keeps me motivated. When I'm 48, I hope I can be standing, let alone competing on a professional level with such professional athletes. It's gonna be good, so I'm excited.

Q. A lot of your opponents talked about how you're far and away the best athlete. I was just wondering, why do you think tennis doesn't automatically get the very best athletes? I mean, do you see yourself that way? If not, why do you think tennis doesn't get...?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. I think I'm a good athlete. Outside of tennis, I'm terrible at sports - except for running, I can run pretty fast (smiling). Other than that, I'm not coordinated. I just am not good at it.

Q. Not even volleyball?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I was good at that. I was good at that, but the sand was tiring. But, you know, I just... I kind of got lost.

Q. I guess there's a sense that maybe the sport could have better athletes. I mean, nothing against Elena, but she had a 69-mile-per-hour first serve in there. There are a lot of women who just can't keep up with you athletically, physically.

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't think being very athletic has anything to do with it. I think it all boils down to if someone has desire, then, to me, that's more than being athletic, have a lot of athleticism. If you have 90 percent desire and 10 percent talent, I think you're going to do better than the person that has 90 percent talent or athleticism and 10 percent desire. I think it's all about the heart and what you can produce. I think that's why tennis is so different, because if you have enough desire and heart to do well, then you can be a champ.

Q. You said you're a fan of reality TV. Would you be open to the idea of being followed for a whole day to see what a superstar athlete's life is like?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think I'd have a great reality show. I think my life would just be -- it would be great. It would be out of control. People would be really shocked. Like I said, I never sit down in one place. I can't even get a massage because I'm always moving. So I think I'd have a great reality show. I'd come up with a wonderful idea, especially since I'm a designer.

Q. What kind of designer?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Fashion designer.

End of FastScripts….

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