January 16, 2003
MODERATOR: Questions for Serena.
Q. Little better today.
SERENA WILLIAMS: A little better today. Still not quite comfortable with where I want to be right now. It's getting better and better. I don't want to peak too soon.
Q. You're playing doubles.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Uh-huh.
Q. Are you two going to stay together, try to win a Grand Slam in doubles, too?
SERENA WILLIAMS: We went for that one year. I think we started out with the Australian Open, but then we went downhill at the French. We didn't play. I don't know. We always try to win whatever we play. I don't necessarily say, "Okay, I'm going to win the Grand Slam in doubles." I put singles on my resume (laughter).
Q. You still seemed a little tense. Is that true?
SERENA WILLIAMS: A little dense?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Tense. I think I'm a little tense. I maybe put a little too much pressure on myself. As the match wore on, after the third game, I think I just calmed down in general. Not just for this match, but I think also for my future matches I realized, you know, this isn't everything, things could be worse. I looked at some of the score boards, and I said, "Serena, you could be in that position."
Q. Is it different to come out and play matches now that you're clearly No. 1 in the game? Is it psychologically a different challenge for you to be playing with that sort of status?
SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, I've never really thought about it like that. I never thought, "Wow, I'm clear No. 1. I should be beating this person." I still try to have the same attitude that got me here, and that way if I don't change, I'll be able to stay on top. I just try to think the same way.
Q. Your mom is here as coach and mom, I guess, in dual roles. I guess also with Venus. You obviously get very good at juggling Venus as sister/competitor, and mom/coach. How do you distinguish between what can be very distinct relationships? How do you juggle that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It's a thin line between a coach and a mom. But I don't know how she's able to distinguish it or how I'm able to distinguish it. I think the best way is to get her and ask her how she does it, or my dad as well, because they both do great jobs with being a mom and then being a coach. I don't know.
Q. Sometimes does it get difficult? Do you say, "Put your coaching hat on, mom"?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, she always knows if I'm not feeling well or I'm doing bad on the court. She always knows what to say, what I should do next, what I should try. But at the same time, if I'm really down on myself, she knows how to say, "Okay, Serena, just calm down," just be a mom about it.
Q. She obviously knows how to push your buttons in the right way and Venus in a different way.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah. Definitely I'm more of a perfectionist than Venus is. Everything has to be perfect. I have to have the right shot or I won't leave until I get it right. So sometimes that causes many cracked racquets. She just knows how -- sometimes I get so tense that I can go too far. She knows how to, you know, calm me down, make me not go too far.
Q. Are you in the Safin league with racquets?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I used to be. I used to be. But I've calmed down a lot.
Q. This year?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I've only cracked two this year, so... That's a start. I had to tell Venus to bring me more racquets.
Q. Who is the biggest threat for you in the tournament? Is it yourself, your sister or Kim Clijsters?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I think everyone these days. As you could see with Emilie Loit, everyone is a threat these days. I think you also have to look out for the likes of Chanda Rubin. She's doing very well here. She's done well in the past. She's kind of moving silently and darkly. Everyone in the draw that is still in the tournament that's already won two rounds and moving on, everyone's a threat. You can't overlook anyone. I think sometimes when people go down, it's because they overestimate (sic) their opponent. So I'm just focused on my next match.
Q. Martina Hingis is eventually planning to not come back to the tour, it's reported.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm sorry?
Q. Martina Hingis is maybe planning not to come back to the tour.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, is she?
Q. Do you have any opinion to that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I don't know if that's a hundred percent true, so I can't really comment on that.
Q. Would it be a shame, a person at such a young age, contemplating retirement?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I've been contemplating (laughter) ... No, I'm just kidding, just kidding. I'm just beginning to have fun. I think she's had honestly a great career. She's won many Slams. She's done so well at such a young age. I don't think she could have any regrets in her career, so I don't know. I don't see how she could sit back and say, "I regret or I didn't do well." Whatever she does, I think it will be a good decision as long as she's happy with it. In the end, I think that she has had a really bright career. I see more Swiss players coming out.
Q. You don't think 22 is too young to retire then?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I don't (laughter).
Q. Why are you just beginning to have fun now?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm just beginning to understand and win tournaments, win more Slams. In the past, I was enjoying my life, I was doing my whatever I need to do. But now I have to enjoy tennis.
Q. Were you and Venus surprised that you got the No. 1 seeding here for doubles?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Actually, I was shocked and stunned, and I'm still shocked. I didn't understand it at first. I'm just here to play. Venus told me yesterday that we had the No. 1 seed, but I just didn't believe her.
Q. You're still shocked and stunned?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah. But I don't think Venus has a ranking. The only reason I'm ranked, because I played another tournament.
Q. Would you say it's a smart seeding committee?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I thought that maybe they just seeded on the single's rankings.
Q. They have the prerogative to play around with it, though.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Do they?
Q. It looks kind of smart.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, from what I understand, since we're a wildcard, it will be hard for us to play a top seed. That might be a tough match for either one of us. So, I don't know. I never knew that would happen. I'm just going to play doubles, you know, I have to play.
Q. That happened a couple of years ago. Doubles specialists like Rennae Stubbs were quite angry that very highly seeded singles players got top seeding in the doubles without having a good doubles ranking. She thought it was unfair that she had to meet them in the earlier rounds. Do you think it's fair?
SERENA WILLIAMS: What do you mean? Can you repeat your question?
Q. People who consider themselves to focus more on doubles think it's unfair that other combinations that don't have a high doubles ranking get a top seed.
SERENA WILLIAMS: They think it's unfair that they get a top seed?
MODERATOR: She felt it unfair that Hingis and Seles weren't seeded.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think it's easier for us to be seeded so the top players won't play us in the first round. That way at least we can go to the quarterfinals, so on, so forth. From what I understand, that's what I understand. I don't know, I just found out about it.
Q. Were you pleased today when you were winning the consistency rallies?
SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, I'm very consistent normally - once my game gets on the motor. But I love to rally.
End of FastScriptsâ€¦.