July 4, 2002
MODERATOR: Serena is going to play doubles shortly, so we're on a tight schedule.
Q. Are you excited about Saturday?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I'm very excited about Saturday. You know, the past three Grand Slams I've competed in, I've been in the final of all three, so that's not bad (smiling).
Q. Can you talk about becoming No. 1? How did you find out?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I didn't know going into the match. Normally, you guys take the liberty to tell me. At the French, I was actually a little nervous about being No. 2. No one said anything to me, so I wasn't really looking at the points. I just thought I was farther behind. I was really excited. Shed a few little tears. I'm a real emotional person (laughter).
Q. Do you feel like the No. 1 player in the world?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. I really don't. It's just been a goal of mine. I just don't know -- I don't know. I haven't even been able to settle in right now.
Q. You always said you wanted to do that. What does it feel like to actually be that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It really feels great. I've really been working hard. You know, at points in my life, things went down. You know, game-wise, I wasn't playing a lot. I had a lot of injuries. Especially in the beginning of this year, just seems like, you know, they just weren't looking so up. I just decided to fight, and things just turned around for me.
Q. Do you ever think of the sheer odds of No. 1 and No. 2 player in the world coming from the same family, no matter the order?
SERENA WILLIAMS: One in a million.
Q. It's pretty farfetched that one family would raise one great player, let alone two.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, it's tough enough to raise one great player. That's why I appreciate my parents so well. They've really done not one, but two. No matter what people say about my dad and my mom, hey, they've made some champions.
Q. What do you say to Venus about taking away the No. 1?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I haven't talked to her about it.
Q. What will you say?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. Later on in the year, I have lots of points to defend (laughter). I don't even want to come to next year. But right now I'm just enjoying the moment.
Q. A lot of people just view you as a big, tough athlete, yet there's really another side. Could you talk about the emotional side of Serena?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, actually I'm a very sensitive person. I'm not as strong as I seem - only on the court. But off the court, I'm a real baby (laughter).
Q. How so?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I'm the first to cry, especially in the movies. Actually, no one even likes to go to the movies with me. But just in general, I always have to have my way because I'm the youngest. It's just something.
Q. Could you take us through the personal growth process that you've gone through to face your sister and play her, play better against her, especially since the US Open final and through the French Open, now here at Wimbledon?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, yeah, you know, what happened at the US Open, I think I was too satisfied. I was very satisfied with my game. I thought -- I really thought I was going to win, just because I'd beaten some other players, and I had won Toronto. I went in there a little overconfident, a little cocky. She really beat me that day. Next time I played her I think in Miami, I thought, "Okay, you know what, I'm just going to go in here, do my best. I'm not going to expect to win." The way she played me at The Open, it was like, "I'm just going to go out here and fight." I think I've grown mentally more than anything because maybe at the time I was too overconfident, maybe - I don't know - thinking, "I can do this." But now I'm thinking everyone is a fighter and they're going to fight me, you know, with as much strength as they have.
Q. Is it something that you were able to talk to your mom and dad about or have you pretty much gone it alone? Have you talked to someone else about it?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. I think it's maybe something that -- I don't know. I've just been focusing a lot more mentally on my life, just try not to have a lot of distractions. I don't know. I've even been reading my Bible more. I'm growing up as a person.
Q. Is this the kind of court, grass, that might bring out the best in the two of you, you both can attack?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. It's going to be quick because we both have big serves. I haven't lost serve in three matches, so I'm really happy. Venus is running very fast, but I don't know how fast we're going to be able to run. The court is extremely fast. I don't know.
Q. Given that you've taken it from your sister, does your mom sort of celebrate this or does she not really care?
SERENA WILLIAMS: We're not big celebrators in our family. We're very low-key. I never celebrated from winning the French Open, as a matter of fact (laughter). Just because I'm No. 1 doesn't mean that I don't want to win Wimbledon. I'd rather win Wimbledon right now because maybe the ranking would come later on. So I'm really focusing on playing Venus. I have to play pretty close the way I did today to come close to beating her.
Q. When Venus was here, she said the major difference in playing you, the mental baggage that comes with it, not only does she want this for herself, but she wants something for you, too. Can you describe what the mental baggage is when you play Venus, how you think it affects the quality of play?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, it's just -- I don't think it necessarily affects the quality. For me, I'm different. I go out there wanting every point. Doesn't matter who I'm playing. At the end of the match, if I win, I'll feel really bad. A win's a win. You have to go there and fight. I know Venus has beaten me a few times. She felt bad. Like when I beat her at the French Open, I kind of felt like I wished there was something that she could have won, too. But we did. We both walked out as winners. We both should keep our heads up. We're very happy.
Q. Is it not like you're facing Venus? Is it like you're facing other players?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I try to put it as if I'm facing other players. But obviously, I'm not. I'm facing the best player in the world right now, and it's going to be difficult.
Q. You said yesterday that you've become jaded because of all the things that happened in your life. Something besides what we know that happened that you're willing to share?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, come on.
Q. You know, hey.
SERENA WILLIAMS: It was worth a try (laughter).
Q. Amelie Mauresmo had a big day yesterday against Capriati, serving and volleying. What was your game plan to take that away from her?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I came out here knowing -- I seen her practice the other day. I saw if I was even going to have a chance against her - because the way she was practicing, she was going to do very well against Capriati - I just knew I was going to have to pick up my game. I'd have to be Serena Williams, you know. I haven't been being Serena Williams. But today I have. I knew I had to take away her coming to the net by playing my game, forcing her. It's going to be difficult coming in on a ball that's coming a hundred miles an hour groundstroke. I think that's going to be very difficult to do.
Q. Did you also want to take away her slice serve in the deuce court, which was a problem for Capriati?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Was it? I love when people serve me out wide. I just love hitting that forehand. So to me, hey, go for it.
Q. Of all the things you might be jaded about, it didn't sound like in your post-match interview you were jaded about being No. 1.
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, not at all. I'm still waiting for the catch. There's always a catch. I guess there's not. I'm very happy right now. I've worked hard. I've worked really hard. I deserve it (laughter). I do. I worked hard. Times have been tough. I really do deserve it.
Q. What's been the toughest time for you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Just overcoming a lot of injuries that I've had in the past, you know, a lot of negative things that you guys tend to write sometimes. But just overlooking that, just growing up as a person, just being better about everything.
Q. Venus told us what she found difficult in your game. Obviously Venus has a big serve, great court coverage, backhand. What's so tough playing Venus? Can you give us a little scouting report on her?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, Venus -- this is going to be the most difficult surface for me to face her serve. She has a good serve here. She's been doing well here. So I've been practicing, trying to hit with her in practice. It just kind of skids. Actually, I've been returning better against the other players because of Venus serving to me, because she's just been serving unbelievable. She runs very well. I'm going to obviously have to hit two to three, maybe four more balls that she would get that someone else wouldn't get. And that's always a problem for me because, especially at the US Open, it was a nightmare, she just ran down every shot. So, you know, that's what I'm going to try to use, just run down a lot of balls. I'm going to have a lot of fun out there, really. I'm going to go out there and really try to win Wimbledon. I want to belong to the All England Club.
Q. Obviously you probably heard this man who has been following you was arrested here. How has that affected your focus here, if at all?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It hasn't. I mean, again, no one ever tells me anything, so I didn't find out. Actually, before Venus played, I was practicing, the reporter was saying things. You know, I don't really pay attention to anything - well, like that. But, hey, I don't see how it could affect my game, him being arrests. I'm a strong person. I try not to let things like that affect me.
Q. Being an emotional person, does that work for you or against you in tough matches?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I'm a very -- I can tell the difference between me and Venus on the courts, I'm way more emotional, I pump my fists more, I scream a little more. It's just totally different. I think in the past, it's affected me because I would get down on myself. But now I actually, you know, whatever happens, I don't get down on myself anymore. I just keep my head up because things could be worse.
Q. Can you describe what you think the impact of you and Venus meeting in so many Grand Slam finals, it seems to be just getting started, what the impact is on the sport, good, bad or somewhere in the middle?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think it's definitely good for the sport. I mean, we can get a lot of minority kids into tennis, just get new faces. It's going to be a great impact for the sport. We're really excited about it.
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