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January 22, 2003

Serena Williams


MODERATOR: Questions for Serena, please.

Q. Is this the most error-free match you've ever played?

SERENA WILLIAMS: It may have been. I was noticing on the screen. How many did I end up with?

Q. In the whole first set, you made zero backhand errors. You made your first backhand error in the second or third game.

SERENA WILLIAMS: So I didn't really have that many errors going in. I feel much better than I have throughout this tournament. This day is the first day that I'm actually feeling like Serena Williams.

Q. What's made you feel like that, do you think?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I had a really solid practice today. Last night I just was really able to relax. I had a really good doubles match yesterday. That's why I think it's good for me to play doubles sometimes, because it helps me calm down, I'm able to work on my serve and my return, it gives me a lot of confidence.

Q. What did you do to relax?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Just laughed a lot with Venus and joked basically. But it was really relaxing.

Q. Myskina came in and said she thought that Kim was now playing the best in the world, that she would win the tournament. What would your response be to that?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Kim is definitely playing really good tennis. I don't know. We both have two more matches to win, whether I win tomorrow or not. I'm just taking it one match at a time.

Q. Do you think you're the favorite against Kim?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think I would be, yeah, because of my ranking and my past record. But whatever happened in the past, like I always say, it doesn't matter because this is a new match, a new day, and the semifinals of a Grand Slam.

Q. Have you ever wished to make it two matches at a time, just line up a couple of opponents and go right at them? Would that be fun?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Maybe (smiling). No, it wouldn't. Just one match at a time, one day.

Q. The Fed Cup match, the USA against Belgium.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Is that who we play?

Q. Yes. Does it feel like you are going to play two Belgian girls?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I'm definitely going to play in the Fed Cup. It's been a while.

Q. Does this semifinal feel like that?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, yeah, I never even knew we were playing Belgium. New news to me.

Q. What happened last time when you lost to Clijsters at the championships?

SERENA WILLIAMS: She played really well. She played really well.

Q. Did she surprise you in a way? What did she do well that made her win that match?

SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, I don't like to live in the past. You can feel free to look up the last transcripts and see why I lost that match.

Q. Kim in her press conference thought she may have been getting sort of closer in terms of challenging you. What are your thoughts on her view that the gap may be getting a little narrower?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, the gap is definitely getting narrower. Everyone is improving year in and year out. I'm just trying to keep up with everyone else. Most of all I'm just trying to have fun out here and really enjoy myself because I think once I stop having fun, then it's going to get a little boring. Sure, the gap is closing, yeah. Quite frankly, I'm tired of answering these questions. Every day the same question. "What does it take to beat the Williams sisters?" You know, I don't know. I don't know.

Q. Yesterday in your doubles match, you and Venus looked like you were having a really good time. It was a fun match for the crowd. Could you talk about why you want to play doubles?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, it's good for me for practice because it makes me be able to calm down. There's a lot of tough situations in the doubles. It makes you be able to stay a little more relaxed. Especially if we were down, I think we were down 5-3 yesterday. We were able to come back. That also helps. It kind of goes into your singles match.

Q. Assuming that you play the final, who would you prefer to play?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I'd have to win my semifinal first. Kim's playing really well right now. I mean, obviously I want Venus to do well. I can't focus on that. I have to focus on Kim Clijsters. She's in my path right now. She's playing great tennis.

Q. How does it feel to be in the final four?

SERENA WILLIAMS: It feels good. I've never been in the final four here. I'm doing one step better than I've done in my past history here, so that's always good.

Q. How do you match up with Kim? What are the things you have to do well against whatever she does well to try to win the match?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I just have to be able to make sure I'm in my A game. She's running fast. She's hitting winners on both sides. She's really confident right now. She won Sydney, so she's doing really well. She's in great shape.

Q. Does your A game beat her A game?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I've never played an A game in my career. Maybe once, back in 2000.

Q. Where was that at?

SERENA WILLIAMS: That was at Wimbledon against Lisa Raymond. Maybe in the US Open this past year. I played really well in some matches. Other than that, I've never been able to play my best potential. I always say, if I'm playing my best, it's hard to beat me, because I'm coming to the net, I'm doing everything right.

Q. So what was today? B plus? A minus?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I lost focus today, so...

Q. Although you don't like looking back in the past, isn't there some kind of revenge here you're out to get?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Vengeance belongs to God. I'm just here to play tennis.

Q. Belgium produced Kim Clijsters, Justine Henin. Does Belgium remind you of anything else?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah. They have -- I hear they have wonderful chocolates and waffles.

Q. What was your reaction yesterday when Venus served over 200 K?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I tried to get one today. Mine went past the baseline. I thought I was in the lead with the 196. I was like, "Yeah." But she hit a 201 yesterday. I was like, "Oh, shoot."

Q. Talk about it afterwards?

SERENA WILLIAMS: She said she didn't even know she hit one. I'm excited, "Venus, you hit a 201." She is like, "Yeah, I know." I get more excited about it than she does. I'm just trying to get there, trying to catch up.

Q. You were glittery today. Have you thought about putting diamonds on your headband?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Actually, I have. I didn't have any at home, so I didn't have any to put on. Maybe you guys will see some later on.

Q. Compared to your first-round match against Loit, what makes the main difference you play now and you play in the first match?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm just more confident now. I'm just a little more relaxed. I think I was putting a little too much pressure on myself in that first match. Now I feel like I'm in the semifinals. Whether I win or lose, I'm going to be happy with my performance, I'm going to be happy with me. That's basically how I feel. That just really makes me calm and relaxed.

Q. Did Loit play better than your opponents afterwards?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No. I think Meghann Shaughnessy played really well today; I just played a little bit better.

Q. Have you had a blood test at all or know any players who have at this tournament?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. I don't know of anyone who has had the random blood test yet. I don't know.

End of FastScripts….

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