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March 29, 2004

Serena Williams


SERENA WILLIAMS: Before we have questions, I wanted to say that I'm very disappointed in you guys. I woke up this morning and I'm on the cover of USA Today saying "Serena is unsure if she's playing the Olympics." I never said that, if you look back in my transcripts. I just said that I was aware of things that happen in the world, and I will not let things that happen in the world stop me from living my life. I'm 100 percent planning on going to Athens, so I was like, "Serena's..." I always read about myself, though. I just wanted to clear the air. I can't wait to play singles. It will be my first time playing singles. I won doubles. I love trading pins, and I wouldn't miss that for the world, the pin trades (smiling).

Q. When you say "you guys," how do all of us relate to USA Today?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Hey, "you guys" are the media. I was just misinterpreted.

Q. Most of us don't work for USA Today.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Okay, sorry (smiling).


Q. You played well today. Talk about your game.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Who, me? No, I don't think so. I couldn't get a return in today for some reason. I served well; I think that pulled me through. Other than that, I wasn't very consistent.

Q. Yesterday, though, was clearly a sloppier match than this one. Do you feel like you're chipping some of the rust off little by little?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think both days were a little sloppy. But I think confidence-wise, it's getting better every day, and physically I'm better every day. Mentally, which is a mental standpoint of how I feel physically, it's like I feel that I can play two, you know, three or four days and be feeling pretty good. That's really good.

Q. You said yesterday you had no pain.

SERENA WILLIAMS: There's a little stiffness, you know, but it's normal.

Q. You're hitting fantastic returns for winners and then you're shanking one someplace, or you get into a short rally and you go for something and either make it or miss it. Are you at a point where maybe it would be better for you to get into an extended grind on the court to get rhythm from the back court?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I could do that if I want to, I just -- I'm just trying a little stuff out there, little of everything. Sometimes I get involved in a grind. Sometimes I just feel like smacking the ball for a winner and just see what happens. Like I said, I'm at that point where honestly I'm really happy that I'm out here. You don't understand how happy I am just to be out here competing. For me, that's a huge step.

Q. Can you talk about the match you played against Jill Craybas. You'll meet her next. Talk about what kind of game she has.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, she's improved a lot. Is it the quarterfinals? So, hey, like I said, I'm just playing. I'm happy to be in the quarterfinals. She's doing very well to have gotten this far in the tournament. I'm definitely not going to underestimate her. I know she works with a great coach who knows my game very well. I can't say I really, really remember the match. I think I played her at Wimbledon. But I have film.

Q. Serena, this is your first tournament back and still early days, but if you had to feel there was an aspect of your game that needed extra attention, what would that be?

SERENA WILLIAMS: You know I can't narrow that down - everything.

Q. Besides mentally, what other positives do you take out of this match?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I think, like I said, I think I served well today. Although I think I could have served better, but that's just my attitude so... That's it.

Q. Anything else?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No (smiling). I'm really hard on myself.

Q. How would you rate it?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm really -- I don't know. I'm really hard on myself, though.

Q. How long has it been since at this relatively still early point in the tournament you've allowed players to dictate the pace of the match as much as they have in the last couple of matches? Not that they've dictated it for the entire time.

SERENA WILLIAMS: What do you mean "the pace of the match"?

Q. Just dictating from the back court. They're making you do the running.

SERENA WILLIAMS: I haven't been doing much running. If I have, I've been, you know, feeling good. But I don't think they're really too much dictating the match at all. At least I don't feel that way. And, hey, as long as I don't feel that way, I'm okay.

Q. Another new outfit today. Is that the last we're going to see? Are you aware of how much male attention you were drawing this afternoon?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I was just out there to play. I didn't want to wear the outfit.

Q. You didn't?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I was supposed to wear that the first day, but I kept putting it off. I was like, "Ahh..." Then the guys told me I should wear it.

Q. Why did you not want to wear it?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Just because I like the dress. I love wearing dresses out there. I think it's so feminine. I just love wearing the dresses. So I was like, "I want to wear my dress." They're like, "Oh, well, can you please wear the other outfit sometimes, too." I said, "Okay."

Q. Did you help design this one?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't take credit for this whole design right here. I was real excited, they gave me these wonderful designs and I had input. But the design was already there.

Q. Can you just talk about the naval ring.


Q. What was that made out of? Were those diamonds?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, they were diamonds and platinum. Platinum and diamonds. Diamonds are a girl's best friend. I like to pull on it when my mom's looking because it grosses her out (laughter). And I scream when I pull it, "Argghh."

Q. "The guys," meaning the Nike people?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, the Nike people, yeah.

Q. If the other dress was the "Corset Dress," does this one have a name?

SERENA WILLIAMS: This is my "Wonder Woman" outfit (laughter). "Wonder Woman" suit. I feel real powerful in this suit, like a superhero.

Q. Silver chandelier earrings?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, my sister gave them to me because I didn't have any earrings. But I'm not gonna give them back. You don't have to print that (laughter).

Q. How many karats was the naval ring?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know, actually. I don't remember.

Q. Do you like the outfit now that you wore it?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I love it. I love it. It's so comfortable. I love it.

End of FastScripts….

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