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March 23, 2003

Serena Williams


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Serena, please.

Q. Can you just give us a health update?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I'm pretty good. You know, pretty happy. I'm getting better each day, each day the tournament goes on, I'm getting better and feeling better. I'm not 100 percent yet, but maybe tomorrow I'll be, hopefully.

Q. How much more comfortable was that performance tonight than your win yesterday?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, it was definitely more comfortable because Tatiana is a really good player. She's been playing well. I was really satisfied to have a solid win like that over her. She was really playing well.

Q. You had an unusual expression on your face tonight, almost like serenity?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm at peace, I guess. I'm at peace with myself.

Q. Your stomach is okay now?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, it's almost there. It will be all right.

Q. Can you give more detail about the partnership between Doublemint, Tom Joyner's Foundation and yourself?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, we just -- we're doing a small thing with the -- Tom Joyner does a lot for black history month and black history. We're just doing a slight campaign. I don't know, Doublemint is one of our sponsors. We always try to get together, we don't want to just get paid, we want to actually go out there and give back to communities. That's what we're all about when we try to get different deals.

Q. Would you consider your Wimbledon title the most prestigious of the Grand Slams that you own?

SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, I was debating. Before I won Wimbledon and Venus had one won, I won the US Open, I was trying to debate which one was better. I mean, the US Open pays more. Wimbledon has more history. But, you know, so does the US Open, definitely has a lot of history as well. I would say prestigious, it would have to be.

Q. Why would that be, not counting the money, obviously?

SERENA WILLIAMS: It's just Wimbledon. Now that I've won -- before I won Wimbledon, you know, it was the US Open that was better. But now that I've won Wimbledon, you know, it's more prestigious. But I still love

New York.

Q. So would Wimbledon still be your next major goal after Paris? I mean, given the shape of the year, would Wimbledon be really, really important?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, actually, believe it or not, I would consider -- I'd like to take it one at a time. Right now, Paris is really what I would like to focus on. I'd really like to win Wimbledon and the US Open again, but, you know, we'll see.

Q. That's one of your goals now, back-to-back?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Hey, I'm just fighting one day at a time. I mean, obviously, I'm sure it's a lot of people's goal this year. I'm just going to go for it.

Q. Your win tonight means there's seven American girls in the last 16 in this tournament. What does that say to you about the strength of American women's tennis at the moment?

SERENA WILLIAMS: We're doing pretty good. We're definitely doing really well. The strength of our games, we're the top two in the world. I don't know how many are in the top five. I lost count after No. 1 and 2, I couldn't tell you...

Q. Do you watch the results in the locker room coming through and see how well the other girls are doing?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I haven't even been here. I've been ill, so I haven't been around. I got around today a little bit, I came in like around 5ish. If I'm passing by, I watch the results.

Q. Were you resting for most of the day, trying to fully recover?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I practice in the morning and I was resting. That's my usual schedule for a night match.

Q. I think there are people who are maybe sort of -- maybe some of your competitors were hoping that they saw you doing some of your acting gigs and other things in the off-season and thought, "Oh, good, she's not practicing, training, maybe she's gotten a little complacent." You clearly have not. Can you talk about that? Did you feel like you had to, you know -- you didn't want to rest on your laurels, so to speak?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I didn't have a solid -- I only had a few smaller gigs here and there, I didn't have a big piece. Who knows, if I get a big part, maybe I will slack off a little bit. No, I'm just kidding, tennis is my main bread maker. I love tennis. I take tennis as number one - not in my life, but just in my career. It's my career. It's my job. I really enjoy it. If I become a successful actress, then we'll see. But right now, tennis is my major success.

Q. What was the difference when you won the US Open? I think you talked last year about how you got kind of comfortable with that and it was hard for you to get back to that level, or even raise the level of your game. What was the difference this off-season after the success you had?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I pretty much did the same thing I do every off-season. Actually, I played a tournament earlier. I played in Perth. But, you know, I can't really say I went out and worked much harder.

Q. Having the ability to win the successive Slams, was that a motivating thing for you?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think more than anything, it was motivating that I was going in the Australian Open trying to win four in a row, seven matches away from making four in a row. I think, for me, that was really motivating, as to want to win another Slam and win a Grand Slam. I mean, it hadn't been done since Steffi Graf. I had a chance to make history. I think if I would have took it lightly on the off-season, just slacking around, then that would have been my own loss, so to say. So I think, if anything, that motivated me. Maybe if I hadn't have won the US Open, I would have slacked around a little more. But I think seeing that I had a goal to reach, a chance to make history forever, I wanted to have an opportunity to do it.

Q. Can you give dates on the OWL Foundation event?

SERENA WILLIAMS: It is April 5th in Naples.

Q. Do you have a line-up of players yet?

SERENA WILLIAMS: We're hoping Monica Seles is going to be playing me, so it's going to be a really, really good match. It's for a good cause as well, my mom's charity for education.

Q. A private lesson with Andre and Steffi recently went for $55,000.


Q. What do you think your private lesson is -- the value is?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I don't give private lessons.

Q. The one for the Tom Joyner Foundation.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, well that one, I don't know. Has it went on auction yet?

Q. Monday.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Monday. I mean, if someone puts a low bid in, I'm gonna bid on it myself. Really, I'm going to put $56,000 so I can, you know, get over Steffi and Andre (smiling).

Q. The girl you're playing tomorrow, Iroda Tulyaganova, have you played her before?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I played her a couple of times. I played her here, was it last year or two years ago? It was three sets. She has a big, big serve. She actually moves pretty well, to be strong. She's a really good player. And really nice, I like her a lot.

Q. A lot of players tolerate press conferences. You seem to enjoy them. Can you talk about that?

SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, I'm... Well... I don't know. I don't like to say the same things. I try to be lively, not to be boring. I enjoy it. I don't really -- I can't say -- I'd be lying if I said I enjoyed it; she could tell you I don't really enjoy it. You know, if you're gonna do it, why not smile and have fun and enjoy it for the moment. I'm not going to be doing this for 50 years, this is only short term.

Q. Wonderful acting skills.


Q. Are you wearing your doubles dress?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yes. I usually wear this outfit in doubles but I wanted to -- I've been wearing skirts. I haven't been wearing the one-piece since Australia. I'll wear it in the French again. I'm taking a break.

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