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May 18, 2002

Serena Williams


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Serena, please.

Q. That's four wins in a row against Jennifer. Looks like that must have been pretty much as satisfying as any of them?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I've had some pretty satisfying wins, you know, at the NASDAQ and at Canada. So I guess this one's pretty much, you know... I think it should have been a final match, it was so exciting.

Q. And how is your thigh?

SERENA WILLIAMS: It's okay. I think it's just a lot of work on the clay and all the sliding. You know, a lot of matches. So it's just catching up with me.

Q. You had just taken a 3-2 lead in the third set. Did it start really hurting then? You thought you had to take the timeout?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, it happened when I went for a long slide, I felt it even more and more. It just -- it kind of was getting a little annoying when I'm sliding a bit too much. So I was just trying to at least get a game, see what happens.

Q. Are you not surprised that everyone has twinges and tweaks all over the place? Justine has her thigh strapped. Everybody is suffering a wee bit. Is that because of the conditions?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, Justine and I both played a lot of matches. I even think she was in Hamburg, but I'm not sure. It's tough, you know. We have to play so many tournaments these days to keep your ranking up. Look at me, I'm fighting and fighting, you know? I'm only No. 4 and I have to play more tournaments to get up there. So it's kind of tough. But nowadays, life is -- nothing comes easy. So you have to hang in there and hope for the best.

Q. Do you think you saved the match in that monster fourth game? (Inaudible)?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think so. I think that was one of the turning points. I also think there was another game, I was serving, I believe, and I was down several break points. And I had several opportunities, but I lost that game. Maybe it was in the second set. So it was a couple times I had break points against her and I wasn't able to convert. So it was really -- she really, as usual, pushed me to the limit and made the match go to a third set. So I think...

Q. Going back to the injury, you're confident you'll be okay for tomorrow?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I'm going to have to be. I wouldn't want to, you know, not play. I'm just -- I'm a fighter, and I'm definitely going to go out there and do my best. This should be another good match, you know. Hopefully not a repeat of Berlin. But match-quality-wise, hopefully it will be a repeat of Berlin.

Q. Do you think that you are playing your best tennis ever on clay right now?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Result-wise, yes (laughing). I'm convinced that I played well on clay years ago when I was playing Sanchez at the French Open. I'm pretty convinced that I was playing well then. I think, considering that I didn't play any warm-ups, I think last year I did very well on the clay. I think I just ran out of breath. But, no, I think -- well, result-wise, it's definitely the best I've ever played on clay, so I'm definitely looking forward to going to Roland Garros.

Q. Did you like the fight today?

SERENA WILLIAMS: It was a fight. It was a battle. It was, you know, one of those Lenox Lewis-Mike Tyson fights (laughing).

Q. Nobody bit an ear.

SERENA WILLIAMS: I didn't say that (laughing). So tomorrow it should be another fight. I like to fight. I love going out there and fighting. I'm just really happy I was able to come through because I had -- I was not feeling the best. Hopefully we'll see it again. But, yeah, I enjoyed the fight. I love the competition. That's what makes tennis exciting for me.

Q. You're not a little bit worried that as well as you're playing, it might just inspire Venus when she comes back to play even better, perhaps?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think so because I'm trying to close that gap between me and her on the ranking points. I'm a little far away, but I have nothing but points to gain this year, so... I think she'll be inspired. I'm pretty sure. I know for a fact she will be inspired. She's working hard, so -- I actually don't think I'm working hard enough. That's what I told her yesterday.

Q. Isn't it strange when you have Justine Henin in front of you, she's not that tall, she's not that big, to see her hitting very hard, compared with some hard hitters with big shoulders?

SERENA WILLIAMS: You mean sexy bodies (laughter)? Thought you were describing me (laughing). It's nice (laughing). Sorry. It's... I think she has a lot of hidden strength. Like I would say someone like Venus also is very -- she's actually stronger than me hitting-wise, but she looks more stronger. So I think Justine has a little bit of that hidden strength where she uses her legs a lot. And tennis isn't all about arm, because eventually your arm will wear out. So if you use your legs, because it's bigger, then you'll be able to get more power on the ball. I think even on her serve she starts out low, so she uses lots of leg and she has very good techniques. So I think that's why she's able to hit so hard and do so well.

End of FastScripts….

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