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November 7, 2002

Serena Williams


Q. Serena, yesterday your sister said she felt a little bit rusty. What about you?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I guess I felt a bit rusty today. I had a few, you know, forced errors, too many. I hit a lot of double-faults, and I predominantly don't hit that many double-faults. I'll play better the next round.

Q. Do you like those kind of matches in the opening when you get to hit a lot of balls?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I do. I was having fun hitting a lot of balls. I like that. I then get to work front ground strokes, cross-courts and go for the shot down line. I liked that she kept all balls in play.

Q. You had 28 winners to her 0.

SERENA WILLIAMS: I saw that. Now that I think about it, she didn't have any winners.

Q. What does that suggest?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I was running pretty fast out there. She doesn't hit a powerful ball. She'll probably tire you to death or run you to where you just can't run anymore, then she'll probably come up with a few winners in the third set.

Q. You were just too good?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Today I was a little bit, but she played a real good match, and she did well to get all the way to the top 16 of the championships, and that was a great effort on her behalf.

Q. Serena, you haven't played in a few weeks. Where is your level at?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I guess I'm still No. 1.

Q. I mean, playing-wise, do you feel like you are the same place where you left off?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I left off in Germany. It's just a matter of mentally focusing, and again I think the tougher the opponent, it automatically clicks in, okay, I've got to be more focused.

Q. What do you think you have to improve on in your next match?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Obviously, I would love to improve on my serve. I felt I was serving very well in my practice. I felt I was clicking. I was getting the right shots. It was working perfect for me, but it didn't work in the match today, and also my return, I would like to do a bit better on. Dokic serves very well.

Q. Did she throw your pace off on her returns, all her little slices?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No. I love that.

Q. So overall, give us a grade tonight. How do you feel you played?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I would give myself -- well, I'm a hard grader. I judge technique and errors. I would give myself a C- for what I could do. You guys don't know all the stuff I can do. I haven't done all the stuff I can do. There is a lot of room for improvement.

Q. Did you have an A effort at all this year?

SERENA WILLIAMS: For effort, yeah.

Q. How about performance?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, for sure. I had a couple different A performances. Some matches early on in the US Open up until the semifinals, I think I played well. The matches went really fast, and I was really focused and I didn't lose many games. A+ was Whimbledon semifinal against Amelie Mauresmo. I played out of my mind.

Q. She said the reason she thought you were so good is you not only hit with power but a lot of angles and it kind of threw her off.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah. I don't really get credit for my angles. I get credit for power. At this rate, as long as I keep racking in the wins and bringing home the trophies, that's all that matters. I'm glad she saw that. Maybe she thought I was going to hit a lot of hard balls. I really didn't.

Q. I saw that you were kind of taking the power out of those strokes. You hit a couple winners across.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, sure, I hit hard. I do hit the ball very hard, but I think it's impossible to hit every ball hard because you wear yourself out and you will find yourself going home earlier than expected. Of course, I'm going to hit the ball hard.

Q. Serena, what do you think about the floor out there? Was that okay?

SERENA WILLIAMS: It was like a hard court. It was fine. It's not too fast, which I guess could work against me. I don't know. I think fast courts with my serve and stuff works very well for me, but I do very well on the clay, too.

Q. Serena, do you not think you get all the credit you deserve for all the things you can do? Do you think people view you as a one-dimensional player?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yes, We all don't hit the ball hard every time.

Q. Does it seem unreal to you that you're getting so close to the $4 million for the whole season? Does that seem unreal?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I've never really thought about it really. I saw the article and everything. I would like to get there, and I would guess I have to win to get there, so we'll see, hopefully. If not, there is next year. It's going to pass soon anyway. It's not a record that's going to last because prize money goes up every year.

Q. You told Mary Jo that you see yourself as having a bounty on your head.

SERENA WILLIAMS: I mean, yeah, if you beat me, you get a lot of points. You can always say you beat the No. 1 player.

Q. How do you feel about carrying that reputation every time you play a match?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't feel it. When I go out there to play the match, I see the ball and that's about it. I don't feel any pressure to win. It's not going to be the end of the world. If anything, I can go home, but it's definitely not going to be the end. I don't look at it like that.

Q. Serena, what is it going to take to beat you right now, what kind of performance from someone else?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. I have to make sure that I'm focused. Like I said, when I'm focused, it's very difficult to beat me. I have to be focused. I have to make sure that I am.

Q. Have you come here with that focus?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I don't think I was focused enough tonight. I think I could have zeroed in on a few more shots. I think I made way too many errors today. I don't like to use that as an excuse. Monica Seles, whenever she lays off for a while, she comes back and wins and keeps winning. I try, when I'm off for a while, I think about her. If she can do it, I think I can do it, too.

Q. It seems like a lot of players come into this tournament tired and exhausted.

SERENA WILLIAMS: It's been a really long year, and the end of the year is always especially tough, and it's like one more tournament, one more match, and that can get you to go crazy. I was on the verge of that in Germany, but I had to take a little break and step back.

Q. Did you expect a bigger crowd tonight?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, not really, because it's LA. Everybody is Hollywood. Everybody is, I don't know, at home doing something, going to a premier. It's hard in LA. I think maybe over the weekend we'll have a great crowd, but normally on weekdays, it's tough to get people to come out to the tennis. I think seeing the matches on the TV the first few days, tomorrow we'll have a really good crowd, hopefully a sellout. We'll see.

Q. Do you perform better in front of a large crowd?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think I do. I do perform better in front of a larger crowd.

Q. Because of the entertainer you are?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I get into it a little more. I guess it's just that whole entertainer thing comes into mind. I'm really out there enjoying myself.

Q. Do you get more ticket requests here than you do anywhere else?


Q. How many, for example?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Today I just left 6 tickets, but normally I say, you can't bother me about tickets, I have to focus. That can get you crazy. People don't bother me for tickets. It's very few people.

Q. Anna said that when we were talking about the fact that she didn't hit winners tonight, that she didn't want to take the chance of hitting what she called 50/50 balls against you. Do you think that's almost like giving you a step up right off the bat if the player isn't really willing to go for the lines against you? Do you think somebody has to go for the lines and take chances to beat you?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know what people have to do to beat me. If I did know, I definitely wouldn't tell you.

Q. Do you feel like you intimidate people right now?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't think I intimidate people. On the court I'm a totally different person. Off the court I'm really nice.

Q. I'm talking about on the court.

SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm not trying to intimidate anyone. I'm trying to play the ball and stay focused and trying to win. You would have to ask the other people. I'm out there trying to win. I don't really try to intimidate people.

Q. On the second serve when you step in about three steps, do you think that's intimidating the other player?

SERENA WILLIAMS: You know what? I guess it could be intimidating, but if someone did that to me, I allow it.

End of FastScripts….

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