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March 29, 2003

Serena Williams


SERENA WILLIAMS: Questions (laughter)?

Q. Congratulations. Were you feeling sluggish in the first two sets?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think I was just being lazy and expecting the win to come without moving my feet. I was just being lazy and not working hard enough. So, yeah, that's definitely sluggish.

Q. I know you tune the crowd out when they're cheering and stuff. But there was a point in the match that irritated me when someone yelled out, "Get mad, Jennifer." Did that bother you?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, if anything, it motivates me to want to win. See, a lot of people -- I can understand, it's her third time in the final. Honestly, if she was playing anyone else, I would have liked to see her win. But just playing me, obviously, I want to go out there and win as well. But it just motivates me to be stronger.

Q. What does it say when, obviously, today you are in that top form, and against Kim Clijsters maybe you weren't quite at your top game, yet you're beating them quite easily. Today wasn't easy, but you weren't on your game like you've been in the past; yet you always come through?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I haven't been on my game today. But, I don't know, I'm going to go home and I'm not going to take some time off, I'm actually going to practice because I don't think I've been doing enough practicing. That's why my form is off, I'm hitting the ball a little off. Going into South Carolina, I really want to do well there. So I'm going to actually practice for once - actually practice.

Q. What have you been doing instead of practicing?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Hanging out, relaxing, not working.

Q. What does it tell you when you can be doing that and still win it?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I can't keep doing it like that. There's people out there who's working hard and coming closer. It's not like I didn't want to, it's just that I think there are some things I can do to work harder that might make my day a little easier.

Q. Did you ever, at any point, feel discomfort out there, that she had you behind the eight ball, so to speak?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, not really. I'm just always thinking positive. I think, going into anything, you have to think positive and you start feeling just uncomfortable and feeling like, "Gosh, you know, maybe I won't get it," then I think that's when you start to lose.

Q. What were you thinking after the first set?

SERENA WILLIAMS: "Three sets." (Laughter).

Q. She talked about having high anxiety of each point playing you, that's how she feels. Is it the same for you on the other side of the net today? She was talking about, like, she felt anxious with every stroke, seeing who was going to take control of each point.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Uh-hmm. I mean, I don't know if I felt anxious. She was actually -- I could say I did, a little bit. She was getting a lot of balls back. I made I don't know how many errors.

Q. 42.


Q. She mentioned also that she was restless last night. How did you sleep?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I slept well. Woke up, I watched this movie "Nash" or something like that. But I slept really well, right through the night.

Q. Were you thinking this morning when you were getting ready? This is where your wonderful winning streak started last year.

SERENA WILLIAMS: It actually started in Scottsdale, so I was actually a little weary when I wasn't able to play Scottsdale. It was here, too, it was a big win for me last year, actually one of the biggest I've had in a long time. So it shows that I was able to be serious and keep going. I want to keep it up.

Q. What are you saying to yourself before the start of the third set?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I just said to myself, "I've got to get off to a quick start. Got to stay tough."

Q. Do you really think you can end this year ending every match you played without a single lost?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, no, I don't think so. It's gonna be really hard. It's impossible to win them all. If you could, I would love to. That's going to be what I'm going to try to do, but I don't know if it's possible.

Q. It's been said that you said that. It wasn't true, or...?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I mean, I'm tired of explaining it. I mean, just read the transcripts on it; I think a couple interviews ago.

Q. You said the other day that when you play well, nobody can beat you. How far were you today from that standard?

SERENA WILLIAMS: It was -- mentally, I was up there. That really does have a lot to do with the match. I think, physically, and actually, playing-wise, I don't think I played that well. There was a lot of things I should have done, 41 errors, how well is that? You tell me. It's just -- I don't think it's well.

Q. Serena, her level of play dropped off after the first set. How much of that do you think was what you were then doing?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't think it dropped off after the first set. I think she played well in the first and second set. I just think I had to pick my level of game up.

Q. She said she was fatiguing, I mean, from running around. Did you see that happening?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I saw that she was getting a little tired in the third. I was just starting.

Q. You think those two breakpoints she had on your serve in that first game, then when she didn't get them, kind of let her off?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, maybe, she was up 40-15. I hit some nice shots, but I don't -- I don't know if it did. I would have kept fighting. But it's hard, you know, running. I don't know. It's very hot out there. So...

Q. What are you going to go home and practice?


Q. What are you going to work on? You said you would have done things differently out there.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, yeah, I'm just going to work on some things here and there and just focus.

Q. Without giving away any of your trade secrets or anything, how do you stay so fit? I mean, in the third set, it really was a big difference between you and she. What do you do? Can you just take us through a day of your regimen?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well... haven't been to the gym in about four weeks (laughing). I think my trainer's upset about that. Been eating some -- I had a Snickers the other day. I don't know how I stay so fit (laughing). I just -- I said to myself - because one time I was playing and I lost a match because I was tired - I said, "I never want to lose another match because I'm tired." ike I said, I slacked off a little this week, but I'll be back. I'll be back in South Carolina. I'm going to actually go to the gym.

Q. Does it mean more to win a match when you're not at top form and you have to sort of mentally gut it out, or would you -- does it mean more to be just -- play that perfect, in-the-groove match?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I prefer to play the perfect in-the-groove match because then I won't have to struggle so much and fight so much and have to worry about making so many errors and it's just -- it just would be a lot easier if I could play in that groove a little more often.

Q. But do you maybe learn more about yourself when you can gut one out?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, it's always nice. I can't say it's fun. I mean, if I win, it's fun to gut it out. It shows a lot of character that I'm able to stick in there and pull it out, yeah, fighter.

Q. Do you plan on limiting the amount of matches you play?


Q. Do you plan on limiting the amount of events that you play this year?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, the same. My goal is not to play too many, win all of them that I play, and I don't have to play that many.

Q. Seven in a row against Jennifer. How much of a psychological advantage do you think you have over her?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I always say when you go into a match, you can't have a -- I think when she beat me, like, six in a row, I just , every time I went in there thinking, "This is a new match. The six matches before didn't count. This is a new day." That's how I think we, as players, go into a match.

Q. You've made it clear you love Paris and you love being at the French Open.


Q. Is it sort of disturbing for you to see the anti-French sentiment that's been on display at various events here in the US?

SERENA WILLIAMS: The anti-French...?

Q. Sentiment.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Because they didn't want to participate in the war?

Q. Exactly.

SERENA WILLIAMS: "Well, we don't want to play in the war, we want to make clothes. We don't want the war," (said in an accent.) I don't want a war either. I don't know many people who do want to be involved in the war. "They want to make clothes," (said in an accent).

End of FastScripts….

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