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January 20, 2003

Serena Williams


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Serena, please.

Q. Is that the way you want a quarterfinal to be, challenged early but then sweeping aside in the second set?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I'm going to have -- every match that goes on I'm going to have a much tougher match. So I'm just here, taking it one point at a time, one match at a time. However the outcome is, I'll take it - as long as it's positive.

Q. Having invoked the heat rule for the first time today at the tournament, is that something you support? It looked like you were hot out there?

SERENA WILLIAMS: It was hot but it could be worse. I live in Florida, where when you walk out, you lose 20 pounds because of humidity and heat. So this is nothing.

Q. Do you support that rule?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think they've had a lot of problems in the past. I've been blessed not to play in the heat too much, at least here. But I don't know. They obviously know what's best. They're putting on a really good tournament, so...

Q. Is the smoke an issue at all?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, it's very foggy. I looked out my window this morning, I didn't realize it was smoke. I think it was a bit strange. But playing-wise, it wasn't an issue at all for me. I just blocked it. I didn't smell it. It was actually a stronger smell in my hotel than at the site.

Q. Not affecting breathing at all?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, not at all.

Q. Were you concerned by the number of errors in the first set that you made?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I wasn't concerned. I just always say, "Okay, keep trying, keep doing this." I think I got out to a slow start, which is something I don't want to do tomorrow or whenever I play again. I'm going to have to pick up my game a little quicker.

Q. Why do you have both ankles taped?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I have bad luck, always twist my ankles. So it's just for prevention. As you could see, last year if I had my ankle taped, I would have still been able to play the Australian Open. Plus this court is very sticky, lots of ankle sprains come on this court. So I tape them for here and for Wimbledon, the French. But other than that, I don't tape them.

Q. Do you find the court getting stickier as it gets hotter?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm the type of person, I don't pay attention to all the details like the heaviness of the ball or the stickiness of the court. I just go out there and I just play my game. So I don't know.

Q. You actually enjoy playing in the heat though, don't you?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I do. Like I said, it could be worse for me. So this is -- it was definitely -- going, walking out there was hot. I think I was hot in the first three games. But I adjusted fairly quickly to it. I was able to move on.

Q. What is the worst hot weather match you can remember playing, if there is one?

SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, I played a really hot match in Sydney against Martina Hingis. I remember, it was so hot, my feet were burning. Back then I didn't have a hat, because now I at least keep a hat in my bag. I looked over at her, she had a nice little hat on, she was really cool. I said, "Oh, no." My feet were on fire.

Q. How long ago was that?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know, maybe two, three years ago.

Q. I asked Venus the other day. A lot of people refer to the sisters as book ends, as almost the one entity. Obviously, you're completely separate entities. She said the difference between you may be that you're a bit more go-get-'em on and off the court. How would you put the differences? How would you describe the differences between you both?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I'm definitely more of a go-get-'em on and off the court. I don't know, I'm more of a perfectionist, where she's more lackadaisical. She will just relax. Me, I relax a lot, too, but she's even more so. I have to have things perfect, where she's more... I don't know. There's a lot of differences. I'm more loquacious than she is. Just everything.

Q. Does it annoy you when people just sort of lump you together as one entity?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Nah. I mean, obviously, we're separate. It really doesn't annoy me.

Q. Are you still doing your words?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I'm not. But when I get home I am going to pick up my book and, you know, a word a day. I kind of fell off. But I'm going to try to start again. Nothing like having an education.

Q. Are you looking forward to your rematch with Meghann?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I am. I'm just glad I was able to make it to the quarterfinals so far. This time I'm going to try to do a little better.

Q. How many of that outfit do you have? I read that you actually put the rhinestones on. Is that right?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I put them on, I sew them in. It's a special couture line. Very rare to come around . I only have two.

Q. Two?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I have two. But I'm in the process -- when I get home, I'm in the process of making more. I got tired and I didn't feel like making -- putting more rhinestones on the material.

Q. You have to hand wash it every night?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I do. In the tournament I always end up wearing the same dress anyway. I always hand wash it and wear it again.

Q. The orange one you were wearing yesterday doesn't have rhinestones?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, that was my doubles outfit, my get-up. I like that one.

Q. You coordinate your colors?

SERENA WILLIAMS: It was cool. This time our companies just happen to have the same colors. It was perfect for Fed Cup. We want to play, you have to match for Fed Cup. So it's perfect.

Q. She was having a bit of problem with her serve.


Q. Particularly in the first set. Your opponent, she struggled with her serve. What did you make of that?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, she just struggled a bit with her serve. I think maybe she was a bit nervous or maybe it was something technique-wise, I'm not sure. But she obviously has a really strong game.

Q. Getting back to your thing about your coordinated dresses a minute ago, do these companies by their own magic come up with these colors?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I think it was by chance. They did this -- the designs are done years in advance because you can't just make it up six months, has to be done at least a year and a half in advance. I just, I don't know, I think they just struck lucky.

End of FastScripts….

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