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November 10, 2002

Serena Williams


Q. Serena, what did you learn from Billie Jean?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Just a few pointers here and there, why I missed my shots, and why they go long or things like that. She's really amazing. I really, totally, look up to her, and she's just like a mentor and just everything. I really, really have so much respect and admiration for Billie. There might be a difference in my game tomorrow thanks to Billie.

Q. I presume you were just talking about Billie Jean. Any chance she'll help out next year?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm looking forward to it. I went to play this year, but I couldn't. My ranking wasn't high enough. I wanted to play singles at the time, but I'll play next year for sure.

Q. What did she tell you? She usually is a proponent of the aggressive game coming in.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Obviously, I need to come a little bit more aggressive.

Q. Serena, this seems like today was the highest level match of the tournament so far. What was the difference? How were you able to close it out today?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. She just hit a ball out in the end. That was it. It was just our intensity levels both were so high. I don't know. We battle each time we play. We bring out the best in each other. She had some amazing returns. Finally, my serve was able to come through in the end.

Q. What do you think makes your matches so compelling and your rivalry so compelling and engaging?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think it's the fact that we both want to win so bad, and we know each other's game so well. Maybe that has something to do with it.

Q. How do you explain at the end the last six times you've always won?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. That's unexplainable. I was hoping you guys would give me a reason.

Q. Is this one of the highest quality matches you guys have played in the 11 meetings?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. I don't think so. I don't know. I mean, I guess maybe it wasn't so lopsided in the beginning and in the middle. Usually when we play, one person is dominating. We were pretty close throughout the whole match. I think, not Indian Wells, but Miami this year was really, really close and compelling and very high the whole time.

Q. Serena, what goes through your mind with the opportunity that you could have potentially played your sister tomorrow and now it's not there?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I mean, nothing really. I just hope she was doing good. She was really injured and I don't think she should have went out at all. I was upset she went out. In that case, it's kind of like whatever, because I'm just looking out for her health right now.

Q. When did you find out she was hurt?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Before she went out she told me to be ready because she wasn't feeling so good.

Q. Serena, a pretty good crowd and pretty good energy. You were talking with Billie Jean. 30 years ago she walked out of a tournament explaining that the women's prize was just one-eleventh of the men's. What does it mean now that women's tennis has evolved from that to a $3 million event in the major markets in the US?

SERENA WILLIAMS: You can see how far women's sports, in general, have been able to come, not just tennis. I think she set the standards and then by not playing, it might have been a major factor. I know a long time ago, they demanded equal pay at the US Open, also. I think they were able to be good pioneers for the rest of us.

Q. There has been so much talk about not having a real atmosphere in this building. Did it feel more like a true, good tennis venue today?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, my God, yeah. It's a tennis court and stands. I think the fans were really into it. When I played yesterday, they were really into it.

Q. Serena, can you talk about the -- your opponent tomorrow night and what your expectations are and your previous matchup?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, hopefully I will be able to play a little bit better. If I don't play better, I might not win tomorrow. If I do play better, there is a good chance I will win. The way I have been playing, I'm happy to be in the finals. You know, tomorrow is my last day, and I'm hanging up the racket for a week and I don't want anyone to ask me any questions about tennis.

Q. Let's talk about Los Angeles. Since you grew up here, is it very special for you to make the finals here? Do you have friends coming to the game?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I have a lot of friends and family coming here, and it's great to make it to the finals here. I haven't been in the finals in LA in two years. I'm really excited. Everyone will get to see me play. Hopefully I will be able to go one more. We'll see.

Q. Are you going to spend some extra time here after the tournament, perhaps make some more contacts as far as acting goes?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I have a couple of things to do. I like LA a lot. I like staying here. I wouldn't want to live here. It's nice.

Q. Any particular thoughts on your opponent tomorrow night and what we might expect to see out of the match?

SERENA WILLIAMS: She's going to go for a lot of winners and I'm going to hit a lot of winners. It's going to be a lot about power. It's a good matchup with the both of us. She's playing really well. Last time we played, she played great. I have to make sure I'm ready.

Q. Serena, are these the types of matches that you live for, the types that you raise your intensity up for?


Q. Yeah.

SERENA WILLIAMS: For sure. This is the epitome of tennis. It's definitely what you wait for, and what you hope for, getting a good match. Actually, I'm lying. I hope for 6-0, 6-0. That's what I really hope for. I'm telling you everybody else does too, just not the fans.

Q. Are you surprised how well she was moving on the court today?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, she always moves very well when we play. She always gets the extra ball back. I wasn't really surprised.

Q. Does this seem similar to a Grand Slam to you?

SERENA WILLIAMS: For sure. It's a lot of points at stake, I believe. I don't really know, but I think it is. It pays more than the Australian and the French.

End of FastScripts….

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