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January 14, 2003

Serena Williams



Q. Are you okay? Where you been?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. I don't know where I was. I'm okay, thank you.

Q. Why was that so tough?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I didn't -- I made too many errors. I didn't play anywhere near to my ability, even the way I was playing in Perth, I didn't even play anywhere near the way I was playing there. So it was just -- it was me making errors and not attacking and getting a little tense, a little tight and just, you know, not doing what I need to do.

Q. Have you had any practice against left-handers?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Actually, my hitting partner that I always hit with in Florida is a left-hander.

Q. So it wasn't a problem that she was left-handed?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No. It's just the whole problem was me not looking at the ball or hitting late and just not doing my techniques right.

Q. Do you feel it's just a slow start to the year, not in a groove yet?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm definitely in a groove. This match is just a heads-up that everyone wants to try to beat me and I probably just need a reminder.

Q. What was the pill?

SERENA WILLIAMS: It's just a antiinflammatory.

Q. Were you aching?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I was having a little knee problems in the beginning, second game actually. So I just wanted to take -- usually, that kind of makes me feel a little better, that way I can go in and play the match. It settles in about 20, 30 minutes.

Q. Did it?


Q. You said you weren't doing things right. Can you explain why you weren't doing them right?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I probably didn't want to do them right. I know -- I just -- I don't know. Sometimes everyone has a -- I just had a bad today. I haven't had a bad day in a little while. Actually it's been a little while since I've actually had a bad match. Usually I play good matches. Today's just one of those days. I'm just happy I was able to pull that through.

Q. You never played her before. Was your preparation for her in hindsight not enough?

SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, I never underestimate my opponents. I always know that everyone is out to win. I've seen her play before. I believe Venus played her before, but I'm not sure.

Q. What are your thoughts on the format of the tour? Do you get enough rest? Is the scheduling right? How would you like to see it?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Everyone knows I'm not a pro of all the tournaments that we have to play. Everyone knows I'm all about less tournaments, more money (laughing).

Q. What's the answer, though? How would you change that?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, it's tough. It's really tough because there's a lot of girls who would like to play more tournaments and who live to play those tournaments. I'm just not one of those girls, but I think the majority of the girls are, so it's kind of tough.

Q. Do you think that your voice is being heard by officials?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I don't know. I hope so. But I really don't know. It's just -- it's hard. If you're winning Grand Slams and you're winning most tournaments you play and you're focused for every round, not just for two tournaments, then lose your focus, focus again, but just for every tournament, I think it's a little more difficult. And actually, when -- I believe when Steffi was playing, there wasn't as many tournaments as there is now.

Q. Do you think that might have contributed to Jennifer Capriati not having enough time to sort of recover? Is that what we're seeing here?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. I really don't know. Maybe it did. But maybe -- I don't know. I have no idea.

Q. Your next match is against Callens. You had a very close match with her at Wimbledon.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, she was No. 1 that day I played her at Wimbledon. After that match I said, "If I can beat her, I know I can win this tournament." Hopefully she'll play me just as tough so I get the confidence here.

Q. Was there any point in the match you knew you weren't playing as well as you can and you were worried?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I never thought I was going to lose that match. I just -- it -- that thought never crossed my mind. I mean, I did think, "Gosh, this is bad." But I didn't think I was actually going to lose.

Q. Can you tell us about the diamond strap on your tennis dress.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, that's a Serena couture design. Actually, I've added that on. Puma had made this different strap for me but I wasn't really feeling the strap. I said, "Okay." What I'm going to do, I actually have rhinestones, diamond rhinestones, that I encrusted with my heat gun, actually. I sewed it in. While I was here actually I sewed it in. I got tired. I have a couple of them that I did like that. So that was...

Q. You did it yourself? That's your design?

SERENA WILLIAMS: That's my design. I'm really excited about it. I'm really proud of myself.

Q. They're rhinestones, not diamonds?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Not diamonds.

Q. When do you step up to diamonds? Serena, come on.

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, no. One might fall off and geez...

Q. There will be another one somewhere.

SERENA WILLIAMS: No. Lady never wants to lose the diamonds.

Q. The fact that you've got a warning, was that a reflection of how frustrated you were?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't remember that.

Q. No regrets?


Q. No regrets?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I definitely regret the way I played today.

Q. Do you recall what you said to your opponent at that stage, when that dropshot went over?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, I was just like, "Good shot." That was -- you mean when I had matchpoint? That was a really nice shot. No one really has guts to hit a dropshot. I was just like, "Wow." I don't think I said anything. I was just like, "Wow, that was a nice shot." That was a really, really nice shot.

Q. Why did you decide blondes don't have more fun?

SERENA WILLIAMS: That's not true. Blondes definitely have more fun. Brunettes are more serious (laughing). I don't know. I had a lot of fun. I won Wimbledon, the French, the US Open. So maybe I should go back.

Q. What do you think about Venus' match yesterday?

SERENA WILLIAMS: We both didn't -- we both played really bad, but, you know, we forgot about it. We're moving on to the second round.

End of FastScripts….

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