September 3, 2002
NEW YORK CITY
MODERATOR: Questions for Serena.
Q. How well did you think you were playing tonight?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I played better today. I definitely served decent, returned all right, solid. How well did I play? Solid. Still could improve on a few things.
Q. Was it your best since the tournament started?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Maybe, yeah, because I played a really good player today. It's not that she didn't play good. She didn't play that bad. Some days you just meet players, no matter what you do on that day, it's not going to help. Maybe that was the case today.
Q. There has been a lot of talk about the fake player that they wrote about in SI.
SERENA WILLIAMS: The fake what?
Q. They made up a player, made up a photo, wrote a whole article about this fake player. Have you heard about that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No.
Q. You may want to read that.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Who is on the cover?
Q. She didn't make the cover.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Who is on the cover?
Q. NFL, Randy Moss.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Okay.
Q. You had a lot of good matches with Lindsay. Do you have any memories of any of them?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I remember the one that I unfortunately lost here. I believe it was in the quarterfinals. It haunts me still.
Q. How come?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I was defending champion that year. Lindsay played very, very well that night. There was nothing I could do to beat her. Last year we had a very tough match. She played well again. I remember I had a match point. She goes and hits this ball on the line. It was for a winner.
Q. Why do you think you two have such good matches?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I mean, we're top players. We play the same style of game. I actually like playing Lindsay. I can't wait. Win, lose or draw, I'm going to have fun.
Q. Monica beat Martina in two pretty easily today. It's the first time Hingis hasn't been in the quarterfinals since '95. Is that surprising to see her out so early?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, it's not surprising, because she just had surgery. It's surprising to see her back so fast, I think. You can't have surgery and expect her to do very well. I think she almost lost in the first round. I think she did very well to get this far. It's hard to play the top players when you've just come off an injury and you haven't played for a long time. It's really difficult. I think she did very well.
Q. Is it surprising to see Lindsay in the semis?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No. Lindsay did it different. She took eight months off. She probably had more time to practice, more time to develop her game, more time to get in shape. I think her plan worked very well for her.
Q. A moment ago you said you really liked playing Lindsay. What do you like about playing against her? What do you think the match outcome depends on?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, it's just that I like her style of play. She hits hard, I hit hard. I think it's fun for the fans.
Q. What's the key when you play against her?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, I don't know. I'm just going to go out there. Honestly, at this tournament, I feel like I have nothing to lose. I don't know why I feel so free and floaty, just carefree. I'm just going to go out there and have fun. I think I'll do well, she'll do well. Either way, another American in the final again.
Q. Why do you feel that way? You're playing that way.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm relaxed.
Q. Seems as though you think you can't miss a ball. You're hitting lines cross-court, down the line, serve, return. Where is it coming from?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know, but I hope I can keep it for two more matches. I don't know. I'm tired, really I'm tired of losing. I got tired of it really. I'm getting older. Soon it's not going to be my turn anymore. So while it is my turn, I have to take it for all it's worth and enjoy it. It's not going to last forever. Maybe I'm realizing that. I'm doing better.
Q. How long can it last?
SERENA WILLIAMS: As long as it lasts here (pointing to her head).
Q. If you know a player is hurt beforehand, does that factor in your game plan? Would you go to a certain side if you knew her forehand was troubling her injury-wise?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It was?
Q. She hurt her wrist, but it didn't seem she was having trouble.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I heard she fell. I didn't know.
Q. Chanda really attacked Venus at the net today. Did you watch that? Is that a strategy that's worth pursuing as far as being able to beat her?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I can't watch Venus on TV. I get too nervous. My palms get sweaty. I can't breathe. I can't watch unless she's winning very easily. Other than that, I can't watch.
Q. You couldn't watch at all?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I didn't watch. I turned to look at the score, turned to Lifetime. I can't watch Venus on TV. I like it when people come to the net on me. It gives me a target. When I played Bedanova, she came in consistently. I liked it.
Q. After your match, during the US Open, they're honoring different heroes relating to 9/11. A contingent from the Arthur Ashe school came out. They had a ceremony. Do you like the idea that tennis is reaching out to different communities at this point?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Definitely. I mean, we're in the business, we entertain people. People pay to see us, so we're entertainers. We make them happy. I think the reaching out to them can maybe - I don't know - entertain them, relieve any stress they may have, just give them a chance to smile. I think it's great that they're reaching out to do things like this.
Q. Did you always think of yourself as an entertainer, even like at 13 or 14?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No.
Q. Was there a point when you realized it?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I didn't always think of myself as an entertainer until I realized when I started playing in bigger venues, realized it's my job. When I fill out job application, "expect entertainer."
Q. How many job do you realize that's different than the take of some other players, particularly Steffi Graf? She would say her job was just on court.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. I just think of it this way. It makes sense to me. People pay to see you. That kind of describes to me what one would be. That's how I look at it.
Q. When you were growing up, did you like Agassi more than Sampras?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Who did I like? Never mind (laughter). I liked Boris Becker. I loved Boris Becker. I used to love Pete Sampras for a while. I just thought Pete was just everything.
Q. What about Andre?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Even now I'll support Andre. There was something about Pete, I just don't know why I liked him so much. Maybe it was the way he pumped his fist.
Q. What did Pete do to lose your heart?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Nothing. I still support Pete secretly. Secretly when he wins, I pump my fist in the mirror like him. Nowadays, I support Andre a lot also. I like Andre. I like them both a lot. It's going to be sad to see them go.
Q. What do you think of the young Americans, Blake, Roddick? Do they excite you at all?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think I played Roddick years and years and years ago when I was young. I think he was 10 and I was maybe 12. You'd have to ask him if he remembers that.
Q. Did you beat him?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't want to brag or anything, but now that you mention it.
Q. How badly did you beat him?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Ask him that one. Indirectly I've beaten a lot of people on the men's tour.
Q. Where did you score this humiliation?
SERENA WILLIAMS: We used to go to the same academy. It was years ago. I don't know if he remembers. It was a long time ago. Obviously he would kill me now. I would stand no chance. Indirectly he's racking up those wins for me.
Q. You're 1-0 in your career against Roddick?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yes, and I'll never play him again.
Q. Through him, you've beaten a lot of people.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I'll tell you. Through him I've won Wimbledon.
Q. Did he have a serve?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Through him, I hit a 135 mile-an-hour serve.
Q. You won Wimbledon. You won the French Open.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I've won a Grand Slam.
Q. How do you come in here saying you feel floaty, free, no pressure? You should be the one that everyone is trying to beat.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know why. I don't know. Maybe I want to win so bad here, I really do. At the same time I don't want to put that pressure on myself. I'm just trying to relax. Normally when I won here in '99, came back in 2000, there was no way I was going to win. I was too tight, too tense. Even last year I was so tense. Now as time goes on, I'm learning not to be so tight and relax. When I relax, I just tend to play better. My dad has been trying to get me to do this for years. I'm finally being able to see it.
Q. When you hadn't won before the French, Venus would say, "Serena wants it so badly. She says it's her turn." What do you sense in her now?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm sure she wants to win also. I'm sure she wanted to win the French and Wimbledon, but it just didn't happen. I see Venus really playing well here. Not today. She went out to practice again, so that definitely tells you something. I might need to go practice.
Q. What attracted you to Boris Becker? Was it purely physical?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm fabricating that. I won't admit. Venus liked Boris Becker. I did, too. I had a different favorite player, but I can't remember his name.
Q. How much do you enjoy fueling the speculation about your outfits? Is that part of embracing the performance aspect of your appearances?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah. I like it. I love bringing out new things, just having fun with it, things that have never been done before. Next time, five years down the road, I would have been the one that started it all.
Q. What's next in the outfit department?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I have a couple dresses. I've really slimmed up, so they don't fit me anymore - yes. I'll save those for the fall. I'll wear them if I play Tokyo, the tournaments in the fall. I'll retire the cat suit after the US Open. I'll sign it in gold and retire.
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