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August 28, 2002

Serena Williams


MODERATOR: Questions.

Q. Last night, two double bagels. Were you saying you were going to do the same thing?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I guess Venus and Jennifer both had. I just never did it in my career. Maybe it's not meant to be for me.

Q. When you won the first set 6-Love...

SERENA WILLIAMS: I tried. But she played a good game - a few good games. Next time maybe. I used to do it all the time in the Juniors, but I haven't been able to do it yet.

Q. It was a conscious thought in your head?

SERENA WILLIAMS: It was. It was. But, oh, well.

Q. At the same time it looked like you were really trying some very difficult angle shots, working on that stuff, too. Is that part of it that took time to work on some difficult shots?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I've always been the type of player that hits a lot of angles, lots of drops, when I was younger. Then all of a sudden I started playing power. It really comes natural for me. Whatever I can do, just I can do it. Someone hits the ball a hundred miles an hour, I can get an angle on it. I have really good hands. I've been trying to do that more in matches, not just in practice.

Q. What keeps you from doing it more, just getting caught up in the power game?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, just getting a little caught up, just getting a little overexcited, wanting to end the point a little too quick. I took a conscious effort today in trying to work on that.

Q. Any thoughts on Dinara, your opponent?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I thought she was a good player. She's only 16. I don't think I was around when I was 16. She has lots of power. I think she'll be a really good player. She's a very nice girl, which really matters most. That's a big plus.

Q. You think she's a little overwhelmed by the moment?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. She's done good, well in the past. Maybe. It's a big stadium, the biggest Grand Slam. So I don't know. Maybe. But I think she did really well. I think she has a lot of potential.

Q. What tells you she's a really nice girl?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, she's always smiling in the locker room. Today she hit an ace on me, she was like, "Sorry." I'm saying, "Wait a minute."

Q. She apologized?

SERENA WILLIAMS: "You shouldn't do that." Hopefully none of the rest of us animals won't rub off on her.

Q. Have you ever said "sorry" after acing somebody?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, not quite. But she's young. Maybe if I was 16, I had an ace, aced Steffi Graf or Monica Seles, I would have been completely overwhelmed also. I can totally understand.

Q. Did you say anything to her at the end?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I said, "Good job." She did well. She really did.

Q. What do you like best about your outfit you've been wearing this week?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Just how sporty it is, how light it is, how fun. First, I thought, "Oh, this is going to be uncomfortable." They told me to practice in it. I was like, "Okay." I never did. It's really comfortable. I really like it a lot. It's one of my favorites.

Q. Is it easier over two weeks to have easy matches early, or would you prefer to get competitive matches early on to get yourself better prepared for what's ahead the second week?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I prefer to have easy matches the whole time, of course. That's a no-brainer (laughter). I think also it's important. One time at Wimbledon I had too many easy matches. I played Venus and I didn't have enough. I think it's important to have a bit of a tough match - one or two at least.

Q. Your movement today, was it better than it was in the first match?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm better today. My movement is the only thing I did well in the first match. I think my movement has even improved a bit today. Definitely striking a little better. For me this -- my next match, I still want to be at a different level than I was today.

Q. Do you worry at all that the outfit does take away from the tennis? You walk around the courts, everyone is talking about the outfit.

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I don't think so. Maybe more people want to watch tennis. Maybe more people look, see how nice it is, how fun it is.

Q. Tommy Haas was wearing a muscle shirt today. He was not allowed to wear it. He had to change the shirt.

SERENA WILLIAMS: You're kidding.

Q. People were booing. Do you think it's fair?

SERENA WILLIAMS: It's definitely not fair. You should be able to make statements if you want to, I think.

Q. The guys, too?

SERENA WILLIAMS: You know I think that. I think for the guys and the ladies, you should wear whatever you please. Someone can't tell me what to wear. I hate when people tell me what to wear.

Q. Is it difficult to play without the tiara?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Today is the first time I played without one. Because '80s, pink and black is so 80s, the headband, the wristband. It's all fashion with me. It's all strategically placed, everything I wear, even the socks.

Q. Last year you attended the fashion shows. Are you coming this year?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Is it after the tournament?

Q. Yes, the 19th they start.

SERENA WILLIAMS: I won't be able to make it. I really wish I could.

Q. You were talking about acting, getting yourself an acting coach. When you're on the court, is that a character that you play or is that you?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, it's -- no. When I'm on the court, when I'm in a tennis tournament, it's all about tennis, especially nowadays. I'm so focused on tennis. I'm very focused on what I want to do, how to do it, how to be the best. How did I get here? How can I stay here?

Q. Some people will say, "I'm a totally different person in the athletic arena than I am away from it."

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I guess so. On the court, I'm really mean, I'm really cut-throat, you know. I can't think of another word. Just "RRRR." Off the court, I'm a very nice person. I get along with everybody. You have to be able to distinguish that on the court and off the court. So, yeah, I guess so.

Q. Acting is all about getting the right role. Now that you're an aspiring actor, if you could choose to play a role of anybody, sports figure, political figure, who would you choose?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Wow. Gosh, I just never thought of that. Who could I be? There could be lots of roles for me. I could play maybe an action hero. I don't know. I never really thought about that. I just can't think of anything off the top of my head. Do you have any suggestions?

Q. Mother Teresa.

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know if that would be politically correct for me.

Q. How much do you enjoy the celebrity status? Is there any downside to that?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, there's -- I can't go anywhere. I haven't been able to go anywhere for a little while now. But every year it seems -- I seem to get more popular. I'm pretty used to it. I look at it this way: I'd rather be at this end of the stick than the other end, being very successful than not winning at all, not being successful, not have any success in my life. That's how I try and look at it.

Q. Could you talk about Venus' serve, how much of a weapon it is, and is it the toughest you face?

SERENA WILLIAMS: When she's serving well, it's very difficult to have any type of chance. She's been doing very well this summer, especially her serve. Last week I think it was really on. Yesterday, obviously. Venus has been playing very well. She's moving very fast. I'm trying to get to her level at this point.

Q. When you were coming up, how much did you take from her serve, how much did you learn from her as far as serving?

SERENA WILLIAMS: My serve is kind of different from Venus' serve. When Venus started out, her serve was way different. Mine has always -- I don't think we really have necessarily the same serve. We get almost the same amount of speed, but we take different approaches to it. I like my style. I'm sure she likes hers. I think she bends her knees a little more than I do. I should probably bend my knees a little bit more.

Q. Anybody else stick out on the tour for you as far as tough serves?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Definitely Lindsay. She has a nice, big serve, and consistent. A lot of people are serving well these days. Even Justine Henin, she actually has a very good serve also.

Q. Your dad has been running some very fast-moving practices here this week, no standing around. "Let's go, move the ball." Is he trying to get both of you off to a quick start in this tournament?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, he always does this. We always move slow and complain. But it's working. He always tells us to move, not to take too long of a break, we got to go, time is money, that sort of thing.

Q. Can you talk about playing somebody like Corina and all the emotional baggage that goes with facing her?

SERENA WILLIAMS: It's a little tough under those circumstances, especially in the first round. Maybe if it was the quarterfinals, it would have been different. That was a little tough. Everything thrown at you, it really isn't easy.

Q. How difficult is it to get a gauge of where your game is when you're practicing against Venus every day? Does it get any tougher than that?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, right now, I'm a little farther down than she is. Like I said, she's practicing very well. I feel almost as if I shouldn't be practicing with her. I'm trying to get on her level.

Q. Do you really believe that?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Actually this week, really, she's doing very well. I've actually played better because of her. She motivates me. I realize I wasn't practicing well enough, moving fast enough. Venus is doing everything. It's really motivating me to practice better, and it's showing in my matches. When you leave a practice session, against Venus or somebody else, you do feel like you won a practice or lost a practice. You know, I never leave the court without -- I always have to end on a good note. I just can't leave on a bad note. Always when I leave the practice court, I feel like I have to win because I always have to end on a good note.

End of FastScripts….

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