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March 24, 2003

Serena Williams


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. So what do you know about Marion Bartoli?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I've seen her play a lot actually. I like to watch the young girls play. She kind of has the two hands on one side, young, tenacious, enthusiastic. That's the way I used to be (smiling).

Q. She's having quite an incredible run here. She beat a wildcard, a lucky loser, a qualifier, now Lindsay walked off. What do you think her chances are?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, this is a great tournament. She's been -- she works really hard. I see her working really hard. You know, she does everything pretty solid and very well. She's young. She has nothing to lose here.

Q. She said she's actually pretty familiar with you, because your dads are friendly. Are you aware of that?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, yeah. They're really friendly all the time. We were in Paris together. My dad was always talking to, you know, her dad. My dad's really nice. He's really outgoing. So, yeah, it should be a good match. I mean, it would be nice to see newcomers coming up.

Q. You think they're talking tennis or other stuff?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, a little of both I'm sure.

Q. Congratulations on your award. Did you know it was coming?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, pretty much figured I should win that after I won the US Open.

Q. Did you know it was coming when it came today?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, yeah. Well, they prepare you. Told me, you know, "There's a chance you might win the award today." Different nominees.

Q. You breezed through the first set. But in the second set, she kind of was -- she kind of settled down, or you let down a little bit?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, she settled down. I think I lost a little bit of focus. My mind was here and there. Sometimes it happens when you're winning a little -- like I won in the first set. Seeing that she's a tough player, I knew she should play a little better. So she definitely played the way she normally plays in the second set.

Q. To what degree have you taken the level you're playing at now for granted?

SERENA WILLIAMS: What degree am I...?

Q. What degree have you come to take the level you're playing at for granted? It's one thing to have a great tournament here, win a Grand Slam there. But when you play at this level for this long, at some point it must become second nature?

SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, all my life I've been wanting to play at this level or higher, hopefully higher in the future, and for this length of time, it's just always been my goal. I don't think I'm taking it for granted.

Q. Now that you've collected enough trophies for a couple of cases, is there a room planned or something?

SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, we didn't plan a room, so we're like getting overfilled with the trophies. Everywhere I look there's another US Open trophy, it's like, "Ugh, geez," everywhere I turn, it's like, "This is another one. Leave me alone!" So it's getting crazy, but we keep them coming. Hopefully they'll keep coming.

Q. Good problem to have, huh?

SERENA WILLIAMS: It's definitely a good problem to have. I mean...

Q. How long do your shoes last?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I wear mine too long. I wear mine for like -- I'll wear them for seven matches, but my trainer insists that I (trade/train?) them. They're pretty good shoes.

Q. You wear them in practice and matches?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I usually warm up in them for practice if they're brand new, but then I just leave them only for the matches. I usually wear two different pair, one for the practice and one for the match.

Q. You know your sister obviously wants to be No. 1. Right now, you're the only reason she isn't. How do you feel with the fact that you know you've become her main tormentor on the court?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, you know, that's what we've always wanted. We always wanted to see each other as a rival and just fight for that spot. You know, this year, I'm going to have a lot of points coming off. So just really trying to wrack them up while I can.

Q. Would you like to be challenged a little more?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I mean, I think I definitely am. Venus really challenged me at the Australian, and Kim Clijsters as well. Even Emilie Loit. There's definitely a lot of challenges out there. Would I like to be challenged more? No, no, definitely not. Who wouldn't want to have a 30-minute match and go home. I personally would.

Q. What's, for you, the most challenging time of year?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Probably... Hmm... Probably the fall. By then, I don't want to play anymore. You know, by then, I'm tired and it's just like, I've been doing this all year. It's like it gets old after a while. So definitely the fall.

Q. How about in terms of your game and your style?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't have a challenging time of the year.

Q. I'm doing a celebration on the life of Monica Seles. When you were growing up in Florida, Monica was in her prime. Did you ever look up to her, in a manner of speaking?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I mean, I totally wanted to be like Monica. I think I started grunting because of Monica. I thought she was really cool. I really liked everything -- Venus and I, we both loved Monica. She was our favorite player growing up.

Q. Did she ever help you in any way before you were established?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Actually, I've met her at a charity event way back when, maybe in California. I remember I was really excited to meet her, maybe it helped me realize I wanted to be a pro, definitely want to go ahead and make it. I don't know, I can't say for sure.

Q. Is that before you lived in Florida?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think so. I believe so.

Q. So you mean that you initially, at least, started grunting on purpose as opposed to natural?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think, initially, I did. Now I just can't let it go. Like a bad habit.

Q. Venus says that in terms of her design business, you are the most difficult client she has, the most demanding. Do you think that's true? Can you tell us a little bit about how she is designing?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm the most difficult client (laughter)? I just want my couch. I don't have a couch in LA.

Q. What's the theme? What kind of style is that?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I was gonna go for classic. But, you know, I think I want to go more contemporary now because my house now is classic and kind of French classic. So now I want to do something more modern, but comfortable. I don't like modern where it's white and silver because I think that gives me a cold feeling. I like warmth when I'm doing design. So I'm going to go for something warm but a little more contemporary.

Q. What kind of colors would that be?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I'd have to stick with the neutrals just in case I want to change-up, it will be easy. I can't have a pink wall, a blue... I can't do it.

Q. Any furniture in the house yet?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I got a lot of furniture. But I want to change it, just go for something a little different. I did the little French classic instead of a contemporary look.

Q. Did Venus design it for you, pick it out?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I picked it out. I'm really good at that, too. It's just not my love. I don't really like it.

Q. Have you given up the school stuff, with all that design?

SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, no, I definitely didn't give up school. You mean, "design," as in fashion?

Q. Going to the fashion institute.

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, it's really hard, you know, with the media demanding that we play more and the tour demanding that we don't take off the fall, you know, it's kind of difficult to go to school. But I took some on-line classes. On-line classes are actually harder than going to school for me. I think I've learned as much as I can in fashion, whereas school point, I think it's all -- fashion is really hands-on. So I was actually doing an intern in LA. Been doing a lot of stuff, actually.

Q. You're doing an internship there?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Now that I think about it. I was going to, I went a couple of times to work with this one guy. It's really hands-on.

Q. A fashion designer?


Q. When you're taking an on-line course, how can you get the feedback from your designs?

SERENA WILLIAMS: When you take on-line course, you take more the basic, like math and science. You can't really take fashion. That's just to get your degree.

Q. Are you completely over the illness now?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Today's the first day that I've actually felt decent, so I'm really happy about that. So, yeah, I think even tomorrow I'll feel even better - hopefully.

Q. When you said that you wanted to go through this whole year undefeated, were you half kidding or did you mean that?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I just like to set my goals for the sky and land on the moon. Like I always say, you guys, I guess you don't pay attention, but what I said is last year, after I didn't play Australia, I said, my goal, "Okay, I'm gonna win the French, I'm gonna win Wimbledon, I'm gonna win the US Open." I just set my goals for the sky. I figured if I could win one or two, hey, I'd be really happy. I didn't expect to win all three. I don't expect to go undefeated all year, but that's just my goal. If it happens, hey, great. If it doesn't, I think that's a pretty impossible goal to reach. I think you've got to set your goals high.

End of FastScripts….

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