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July 1, 2003

Serena Williams


MODERATOR: Good evening. Serena Williams for you.

Q. That was a very long day.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, it definitely was very long. Yeah (smiling).

Q. How do you feel now?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I feel good. I want to just get home and relax and take tomorrow off.

Q. I'll ask you about the semifinal. Everyone will be talking about the French and this one. Are you looking forward to it?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, definitely. It should be a good match. I think I had a good match today to get me prepared for the semifinal, and so that was nice.

Q. This loss, was this due to weariness in the doubles after the singles? Did Venus look like she was hurting maybe a little bit more?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, we both had three-set matches today and we put a lot of mental work in our singles. Jennifer played really well. I was watching Lindsay, and Venus told me how well she played. It's hard to turn around in, you know, 15 minutes and try to play a doubles match against people who are playing well.

Q. Neither of you was aching at all in this match?

SERENA WILLIAMS: We were just a little bit fatigued mentally, and a little physically. Just needed a little break.

Q. Going back to Jennifer, in that match, what do you think happened in the first set, because you were making a lot of unforced errors?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, that's what happened. I wouldn't stop missing them, didn't serve well throughout the match. I just made too many errors.

Q. Do you have any idea why you came out that way? Were you a little too eager to play?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know why. I always come out this way against Jennifer.

Q. Do you think it will help you preparation-wise to have a tougher match?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think it was good. We had a lot of long rallies, back and forth, back and forth. I know I'm going to have a little bit of that in the semifinals as well. It was definitely nice to play a match like this.

Q. Jennifer was talking afterward almost as if it was a privilege to play that match and she said she felt like she played well and you just raised the level of your play and you definitely won that. I was wondering if you could talk about it. Did you feel that way, that this was just a really high-quality match?

SERENA WILLIAMS: It was. It was definitely very high-quality. Jennifer came out off the bat, just blowing everything away. I knew that I had to raise the level of my game if I wanted to stay in the competition because she was just playing so well. And usually that's what I have to do, I have to raise my game in order to stay in with her.

Q. How are you able to do that? Because that seems to be what separates you from other people.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I just, I don't know, I just... I don't know. You have to. You can't continue to stay on the same level; you have to be able to pick it up a notch when it really counts.

Q. Four matches in a row with Jennifer where you've lost the first set and then gone on to win the match. Why do you think that happens with her? What makes the difference for you down the stretch, do you think, against her?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I don't know. She -- we always have a tough battle and a tough match. I guess it was the last four times, so... It's tough to say. She just -- she plays me well. She's a tough player. She's definitely no walkover. Whenever I see my name next to her, I know I'm gonna have a tough match, I'm gonna have to be in tough shape. So I don't know why it's so tough.

Q. Like us all, you're a human being, you said you're a young woman just trying to make your way in life. You're facing an opponent who obviously stopped your streak. You had a very tough loss at the French. You have to have some thoughts going into that match that are a little different. Can you share with us what those might be.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, actually, I don't. Really, this is the semifinals of Wimbledon. You know, I would like to do well. Obviously, I would like to win. So I'm going to go in with the mindset of, "I have an opportunity to get to the finals." That's all I'm thinking about. As long as I'm serving well, a little better than today, I think I'll be okay.

Q. Are you expecting a different type of match to the French?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Definitely, because it's on grass. I think everyone's going to be expecting a different type of match. So, yeah, yeah...

Q. Don't have any thoughts of revenge?

SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, no. Not at all. I'm just here to play the game and enjoy myself and have fun.

Q. What's toughest for you about her game? What does the grass do to neutralize it?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. I haven't played her on grass. She gets a lot of balls back. I think you can run fast on grass as well, so we both will be getting a lot of balls back come Thursday. Yeah.

Q. When you play her, is that the number one challenge? What else, in the way of...

SERENA WILLIAMS: I wouldn't say that's the number one challenge. I just would say the challenge is -- usually depends on me and how I'm serving, how I'm moving and how many errors I'm making.

Q. Have you had a chance to talk to her since that match at all, any points in the last week or so?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Sure. We're in the locker room for a whole fortnight. What do you expect?

Q. You were very animated out there. Just doing all these different, for lack of a better word, convoluted movements. Are you even aware of that? Is that a sign of the intensity of that match?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Usually when I do that, I'm trying to rear the ball over the net.

Q. You're willing it?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Just willing it over the net. So just a lot of will behind that.

Q. You say you've spoken to Justine in the locker room, obviously. Has she expressed any regret about what happened at the French Open?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I don't think there's any regret. She won the French. She played very well. So I don't see why she would have any regret about winning, no.

Q. About what happened in the semifinal against you?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I mean, I didn't really talk about the French, whatever. Like I always say, what happened in Paris stayed in Paris. That was a long time ago for me. I don't even remember.

Q. Would you expect the crowd here to be different in your semifinal? You expect the crowd to be, the atmosphere to be completely different?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I always expect the worst. At least now I do. That way, you never have to be surprised.

Q. You expect the worst here at Wimbledon where people seem to...

SERENA WILLIAMS: I always try to think very pessimistic. That way I won't be disappointed.

Q. Do you think the crowd at Wimbledon, I mean over the years, they seem to have been supportive.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I love it here, Wimbledon. I've always had a great crew of fans here in England, it seems. I really enjoy -- that's one thing I love about Wimbledon, is that they -- it's not necessarily -- they appreciate good tennis. Whoever is playing good tennis, they really appreciate it. Unless of course you're playing Tim Henman (smiling).

Q. Which is unlikely, unless Tim has a sex change operation, or you do. But it's unlikely then we're going to get a repeat of the crowd situation?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I think the English is a bit older crowd as well. And it's obviously going to be a different -- they're more -- I don't want to say polite, but, you know, they're more polite, in a way. Definitely much more polite than the French crowd. But it's different countries and just mental...

Q. If I recall correctly, midway through the French you said it was fine playing against a crowd that was going against you.

SERENA WILLIAMS: It's fine playing against a crowd that's going against you, it's just a little tough to play against people that are booing in between first and second serves. Come on, this is definitely a bit difficult.

Q. You say now you always expect the worst.

SERENA WILLIAMS: I know what to do in that situation now. You know, as a player, you don't have to stand for that.

Q. How much did the No. 1 ranking enter your thinking today? If you would have lost the match, you would have lost the No. 1 ranking?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well... Uhm, I didn't. You know, I just... It's hard to keep up with the Belgian girls. They're playing every week and winning all the time, so -- and I don't play every week. But I might have to start (smiling).

Q. Did you know it was at stake in the match?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I didn't know.

Q. The top four seeds have reached the semifinals. Is that a strength in women's tennis or a weakness?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I wouldn't say it's a weakness. It's definitely how the draw usually is. It's really how it's supposed to happen every tournament. But there's often upsets here and there. I wouldn't say it's a weakness at all.

Q. You were talking about the Belgian girls. Is it for you something like the Belgian girls?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No. Justine is different from Kim, and Kim is different from Justine. Just like me and Venus, we're different.

Q. But is it really becoming a rivalry between the Williams sisters and the Belgian girls?


Q. What's your opinion?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I asked you (laughter).

Q. Yes.


Q. You were talking that it didn't enter your mind, losing maybe your No. 1 spot. Then you say, "I might start playing more tournaments." So you want to stay No. 1 even if that means playing more tournaments?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Uhm, I would love to stay No. 1, you know? I mean, I'm playing more already. I just, you know, I didn't win the ones I should have won this year. Last year I won a bit more around this time.

Q. How many tournaments do you feel somebody should need to play in order to obtain a maximum chances for the No. 1 position?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think 12 is enough, 13, 14, 15, 16, maybe not including the Slams. And that's pushing it. Ten not including the Slams is enough, or the championships.

Q. Justine said that she's planning on playing a little more offensive, maybe showing you something different. You've lost to her the last two times. I know it's been on clay and you've won the fast court matches. Are you going to bring out something different in the semis?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, we'll see...

End of FastScripts….

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