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March 21, 2003

Serena Williams


THE MODERATOR: First question, please.

Q. Very tough one. Did you just gut it out and get through it?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, that was the main goal, just to get through the day.

Q. Did you think at any point, at the end of the first set you might not be able to play?

SERENA WILLIAMS: At one point, I didn't think I'd be able to go on. I thought, "Gosh, I should have never came out here." You know, you got to keep fighting. I said, "Just give it a try." I was able to win that first set. I still was very fatigued.

Q. You really showed your concentration and mental tenacity tonight in a completely different way. You didn't look like you had the energy to move, yet you willed yourself?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I don't know where I get it from. I think it's energy that I stored up years and years and years and years ago. I'm just -- I'm really happy I'm able to get through today because I know I have the day off tomorrow. I know my body can recover more and by the time Sunday comes, I'll definitely be ready.

Q. Stomach flu?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, just amazing. It was horrible. I wasn't even -- I couldn't even walk yesterday.

Q. Think you might not -- obviously, you thought you might not be able to play?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I didn't think I'd be able to play. I just hit balls for the first time at six. I said, "Oh, let me try to hit a few balls." I hit a few, I said, "Oh, just let me give it a try." I mean, it amazes me sometimes. It's not me, it's -- I guess it's strength from God. He's given me some strength to go on.

Q. Had you ever had a match where you felt this bad?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, actually at Wimbledon.

Q. This past year?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I think it was 2001 when I played Jennifer Capriati. Then actually before that, I played Maggie Maleeva, those two matches.

Q. Could it be some food?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know, I went to the doctor and they said -- they've said a fancy way of saying food poisoning. I ate the same thing Venus ate and she didn't get sick at all. It was like me and my trainer, Venus. We all ate the same thing. I'm the only one that got sick. I didn't think it was really food poisoning. I didn't know what it was.

Q. A lot of people here are complaining about some kind of thing that goes with the weather, headaches, chills?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm used to the weather, I live here. I'm fine with the weather. It's definitely humid and I'm losing a lot of water but I just got to keep hydrating. I'm okay with the weather.

Q. You have cramps?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, knock on wood, no.

Q. Monica said in her press conference yesterday she thought security on the tour was not as good as it could be. Do you feel good about the way security's handled?

SERENA WILLIAMS: For me, yeah. I know I've had a couple issues myself and I can understand how it may be improved. I haven't really been paying attention. I'm young and I'm just trying to live my life and I don't necessarily want people following me the whole time I'm going somewhere.

Q. You were on the court in Paris when those two guys walked out or something?


Q. Bizarre moment for you?

SERENA WILLIAMS: That was definitely bizarre. I was like, "Whoa" I got a little nervous after a while. I was like, "What are they doing?"

Q. They didn't hit her?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I think they had balls and racquets in their hand. It was definitely bizarre what they were doing. Who knows. It was definitely very strange. I think there could have been a little better security there.

Q. But overall, you wouldn't consider what happened in New York...

SERENA WILLIAMS: Overall, New York is great. I have a totally different respect for them now.

Q. How they handled it?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, how they were able to handle my situation.

Q. How about in everyday life? You go to the mall, people know who you are?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't go to the mall anymore. If I do, I can't get out. So many people, I either go -- I wear clothes that aren't going to attract any attention, big, baggy sweatshirt, some pants, I don't wear attractive clothing when I'm going out because it attracts too much attention.

Q. I think for you, because you're somebody who really likes to do things, that must be a real down side to this?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Actually, I love to stay at home nowadays and draw a lot of things and I'm working on a lot of different stuff. I don't really have time to go out that much. I'm really okay with it.

Q. A match like this, I mean, you obviously have done so much over the past year, do you take anything out of it, "I've proved myself, I can get through it," at this point, you didn't need to be sick, didn't have to be sick. Did you think it would have been better to not go through it?

SERENA WILLIAMS: It would have been. I wish I didn't get sick. Next time, if this happens again, I can say, "Serena, think back to 2003 at the Ericsson," the NASDAQ, sorry, the name changes every year, I can't keep up with it. "Just think, you were able to get through that match." I think that will be able to help me.

Q. Did it come to your mind at all, Pete Sampras' match at the US Open where he was having trouble with his stomach?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I didn't want to do that. I don't know how he went through that.

Q. You weren't in danger of that, were we?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I wasn't gonna do that.

Q. Was it fun being in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, it was fun. It's always been a goal of mine, to be in the swimsuit. So I just keep my goals coming. One day, I'll make it, who knows.

Q. I thought it was fabulous, A, that you did it; B, that you looked as good as you did and; C, that the new beauty model is no longer somebody who weighs about a pound and a half. I think it's good for American girls.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, it is. I'm really excited. I'm having a lot of fun.

End of FastScripts….

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