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September 12, 1999

Serena Williams

Venus Williams

U.S. OPEN, Flushing Meadows, New York City

WTA: Questions for Venus and Serena.

Q. How is your first day as the US Open Singles Champion?

SERENA WILLIAMS: It's great. I have 363 more days to go as the defending champ. It's definitely exciting.

Q. Your thoughts on winning both? I don't think anybody has done that since Martina.

SERENA WILLIAMS: I've actually won all three events. I'm thinking maybe next year I should try to enter the men's event and see if I can at least win a round (laughter). It's pretty exciting. Just hope not to play anyone like Andre or Pete in the first round.

Q. Karsten waiting for you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Who is that?

Q. How is it for you, Venus, winning this tournament?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I love winning. It's great. And, yeah, I'm happy.

Q. How late did the celebration last last night?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I didn't have time to celebrate. I'm not really a celebrating person, to be honest. I did a lot of celebrating on the court yesterday.

VENUS WILLIAMS: She'll celebrate with her credit card.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I guess that's where my celebrating unconsciously comes in.

Q. Was it hard to wind down and go to sleep?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Not really, because I was really tired. I did a lot of press. I took a lot of pictures. I played a doubles match. I still had to do something after that. I was really tired. Took me really no time to go to sleep.

Q. Are you still planning to tour Stanford with Chelsea?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, if I have time. Yeah, it would be fun.

Q. What is your schedule after that?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I just have one more stretch of tournaments. I'm playing one in Luxembourg and two in Germany, and then that's it, and the Chase. That's all.

Q. Venus, yourself?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm just playing in Germany, one in Switzerland, maybe the Chase.

Q. How do you think this will change your life, Serena?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think it's definitely going to change. It was bad before I won the tournament, so I really can't imagine if it could get worse. I really don't think it could, to be quite honest.

Q. Your father said it will impossible for him to go out. Is it going to be the same for you?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Probably so. I mean, it's actually impossible for me to go out now. It's like no real difference. I can't go anywhere. From the beginning of the tournament, I just can't walk down the street. At the end of the tournament, I probably won't be able to, either.

Q. What about at home?

SERENA WILLIAMS: It's the same. You're driving, people honk their horns. It's actually kind of annoying. You can get in a major accident, you know (laughter). I mean, really. It's deadly. It's just something that you wouldn't want to happen.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't respond to any honks of the horn. I don't look. Honking is not good.

Q. When you got back to the hotel room last night, how many messages did you have?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I didn't check my messages. I had 21 messages on my cell phone. An all-time high. I think I'm very popular now. I would only have one before.

Q. Are you going to increase the frequency of the newsletter?

SERENA WILLIAMS: It comes out --.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Should be coming out in about a week.


Q. What's going to be on the front page, I wonder?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think I might make the cover.

VENUS WILLIAMS: You know, there was like an all-Czech quarterfinal, or fourth round. We could do that for the front cover.


Q. Serena said yesterday she'd never seen you so down after you lost to Hingis. Was it good to have this doubles match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It doesn't help at all.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Doesn't help.

VENUS WILLIAMS: It never helps. I'll never forget. Very bitter.

Q. Do you plan to carry on playing doubles at all the Grand Slams next year, as far as you can see ahead?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yes. You have two weeks to play a lot of matches. It's great practice. One day before I played - I don't remember - I think it might have been my semifinal match, we played doubles. It was great practice. I was able to work on my returns actually in a match situation. It was good for me.

Q. Do you find the same, Venus?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Most definitely. I like playing doubles in the Grand Slams. We like playing with each other most of all. We don't play too much in the year. So the Slams, a good opportunity for us to play well.

Q. Do you find it also helps your singles game?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, definitely, because you can go out there and start working on your singles. You just think 'singles' when you're out there.

Q. After you beat Lindsay, you went out and practiced. Was that the first time during this Slam that you had gone out and practiced after a match? What did you work on specifically?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah. I think that was the first time I practiced after a match in a Slam. I worked on some groundstrokes, trying to get a lot of balls back and be consistent, and some serves.

Q. Was that your suggestion?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, it was my suggestion. It was after the Venus match. I knew I'd have a lot -- I would definitely have a chance of winning the tournament. She was playing great tennis, so I wanted to go out and practice and make sure I had my game together. If I had my chance, lost, at least I could say, "At least I did everything I could do." If I hadn't gone out and I had lost, I would have felt very bad.

Q. Are either or both of you planning to play a tournament in Australia before The Open?

VENUS WILLIAMS: We're not sure.

SERENA WILLIAMS: We're not sure. We haven't got our schedules yet. We're not sure.

Q. Serena, as one of the historical sides of this, you're the first African American woman to win in 41 years. Has that sunk in? Can you comment on that?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I really don't think any of it has sunk in, really. It's a great win. It's very fascinating. I knew when I went on that 16-winning streak, I could win a Slam. I knew that I really could. It's definitely great that I was able to come through here.

Q. Have you heard from Althea?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I have not. I have not.

Q. You've won almost $1 million in two days. What are you going to do with that?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Whoo-hoo (laughter).

Q. Have you thought about that at all? So you want to be a millionaire?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I mean, yeah. That is really great.

VENUS WILLIAMS: You have a quarterly to pay pretty soon.

SERENA WILLIAMS: I guess Uncle Sam is really happy.

Q. In retrospect, do you think you should have talked to President Clinton about that?

SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, I should have, because he did raise the taxes. I should have said, "How about cutting me a deal?"

VENUS WILLIAMS: Taxes were raised?


VENUS WILLIAMS: What do you mean (laughter)?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I guess you just have to go ahead and pay. They will get you. I mean, really.

Q. Were you guys sharing a room here or separate rooms?

SERENA WILLIAMS: In the beginning we had separate rooms (laughter). We actually had five rooms in this hotel.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Different rooms at different periods of times throughout the two weeks.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Venus had her own, I had my own, my dad had his own. Then my mom came.

VENUS WILLIAMS: We all switched rooms.

SERENA WILLIAMS: We all switched rooms.

VENUS WILLIAMS: The hitting partner had another room. We had another room on the other side that someone had before, but switched.

SERENA WILLIAMS: We started out in different rooms the first round. Eventually we ended up back together.

Q. Why did you do all the switching? So no one could find you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: A lot of stuff happened.

SERENA WILLIAMS: A lot of people moved in.

VENUS WILLIAMS: It was six rooms.

Q. Was it actually one suite and a bunch of rooms or scattered all over the hotel?

VENUS WILLIAMS: All over the hotel.

SERENA WILLIAMS: We almost had every room at that hotel.

Q. As things got better, more people were coming?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. It was just that we switched.

SERENA WILLIAMS: We just switched rooms.

Q. Did you ever go back to the wrong one?


SERENA WILLIAMS: Yes. One time I was almost knocking on someone else's door. I tried to call Venus. I got a voice that said, "The person in this room is no longer. We're connecting you to the reception." I was like, "Oh, wow, what's going on?"

VENUS WILLIAMS: I was in a different room.

SERENA WILLIAMS: She was in a different room.

Q. How did you keep track of the keys?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It was difficult when you got a different key. I got a different room; I remembered I was in a different room, I had to go back down and get another key.

Q. You've been in New York all this time. What's it going to be like to go back to California?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It's going to be cold.


VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, chilly.

SERENA WILLIAMS: It's going to be good. I guess -- we're California girls. We like it. California, Florida and New York. We like it all.

Q. When was the last time you were in Compton, either of you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Maybe last year.

Q. What brought you back there then?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm not sure. Actually, I was just passing through, yeah.

SERENA WILLIAMS: We were driving. We were lost.

VENUS WILLIAMS: We were driving. I remember how you get places. When we moved, we were 12. I don't remember any shortcuts. I have to kind of go the long way around.

SERENA WILLIAMS: We were driving.

VENUS WILLIAMS: This is where we used to live. My dad said -- we were driving to go practice at one of the parks. My dad said, "Hey, strangely enough, we're in Compton." I had to kind of turn around and figure it out. It was crazy. We were by the chicken place.

Q. You've played all over the world. When are we going to have you in Africa?

SERENA WILLIAMS: We're definitely planning to travel to Africa next year or maybe at the end of this year. That's definitely someplace we really have in our plans to go. I really want to go there. I'm really excited about going there.

Q. Any particular countries there?

SERENA WILLIAMS: We were thinking about going to Senegal, Nigeria and South Africa.

Q. To play or just to visit?



Q. How will you prepare to go forward from here to Fed Cup? Will you take time off?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah. We're going to take a little time off and relax, yeah. We have to go. We practice there, yeah.

Q. When did you have the last holiday, real holiday, and where?

VENUS WILLIAMS: The last real holiday I had was - maybe you, too - I was injured once like last year after a tournament. It was kind of like a holiday. I didn't practice for a month. I didn't go anywhere. I stayed home. You had a month off.

SERENA WILLIAMS: At the Lipton, we went to the Keys.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, but that was three days.

SERENA WILLIAMS: We really don't have holidays. We don't have time for holidays right now.

Q. Someone asked you yesterday how your life was going to change today. You said, "I don't know." Now it's today. How has your life changed?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know.

Q. How good a player is Richard and how is he able to coach you?

SERENA WILLIAMS: My dad's a great player. Actually, I prefer him to serve to me because he really is really consistent. It's great. He's consistent. Actually, he gets a lot of balls over the net. He doesn't miss. When Venus is on the road, I know when I travel with my dad, I'll have a hitting partner. That's good.

End of FastScripts....

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