March 28, 2002
KEY BISCAYNE, FLORIDA
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Serena, please.
Q. You said in your television interview that this is the first time you've beaten Venus in a real tournament. Did you consider the Grand Slam Cup more of an exhibition?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It was kind of more of an exhibition, I think. I don't think it was a (inaudible) WTA tour event. A win's a win, though. So I guess it did count.
Q. How much of a milestone do you consider this?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, this definitely is a very big milestone for me and all the younger sisters and brothers out there (laughing). But, hey, this is just one week. There's another tournament. The next time we'll be together is maybe the Italian Open, then the French Open. So, this is just one of many. This just sets us as a great rivalry for sure.
Q. Did you decide before the match, "Let's just shake hands this time"?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, we don't talk about what we're going to do in the match before the match. We just go out there, don't say, "Shake hands," or anything. Whatever happens, happens.
Q. You talk about the little sisters. Did this remove some mental blocks for you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think it definitely removed a mental block for me. But like I said, this is just one match of many. Just one win. You can't just beat someone one time. You have to beat them several times.
Q. What was the difference this time?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I was just playing unbelievable. Venus made too many errors. She plays the way I normally play. She -- like at the US Open, I made too many errors. Last time we played here, I made way too many. But she was very erratic out there. But then again, when she did try to come back, I stood in there and I kept my ground. I didn't make as many errors as normally I would. And I just -- my gosh, I was really focused.
Q. Did you see something early on that you tried to attack at all?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Not necessarily, no. I just play everyone the same way.
Q. Second serve look like a lollipop to you? You went after that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I saw some of the ones I attacked. They were like 86. I don't really care who's playing against me; they're just going to have to know that I'm going to attack their second serve. They just better come with first serves. Venus is pretty much the same way. And besides, it's easier to play someone who's hitting a second serve as opposed to someone who's hitting a 100 mile-an-hour first serve whether it's Venus or Martina or anyone, it doesn't matter.
Q. Venus commented because the two of you play so similarly with very hard-hitting balls and basically a serve and quick points and everything, that maybe for the public, your matches don't match up to be the most entertaining. Would you agree with that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think our matches are very entertaining, because we're history every time. So, I'd have to disagree with that. I think we -- yeah, I think they're very entertaining. Whoever wants to come out, you know, because it's a lot of power tennis. I guess we kind of play like the men a little. We're serving, and I guess there's not that many errors. It's probably what women's tennis will look like in a few years, you're just getting a sneak peek.
Q. A lot of bounces before that final point. Were you composing yourself, thinking to yourself, "Take your time"?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah. 'Cause it's next to impossible to beat Venus at this tournament. We all saw that last year. I was just like, "Okay, Serena," I was just thinking I needed to get a first serve in. I don't know if I did or didn't.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I didn't? I was just thinking, "Yeah, okay." And I hit a great shot down the line. I thought was a winner and she went over and got it. It was luck that I got the next ball back, because I didn't look at it, I didn't do anything, I just happened to get it back and she hit it out.
Q. You had an early break. Did you know early on it was going to be your day?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Whenever I break my opponent, I'm determined to win that set. I mean, scratch, fight, whatever. Because I shouldn't really be losing serve. So I'm pretty much determined to go out there and go ahead. But there's sometimes I get broken back. But when I break, I normally really fight, fight hard, tell myself, "Okay, this set's over. You should not lose serve."
Q. Is it hard for the younger sister? Can you talk about why it's hard, what you meant by that.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, it's... For me, I don't know about anyone else, but Venus and I, my whole family, we're really close. She's been doing things for me all the time. Even now, she fixed my dress before I went out. She just -- I just count on her for so much. And I think for me, it might have been a little difficult because someone once said she's my rock (laughing).
Q. Your what?
SERENA WILLIAMS: My rock. That's an inside joke. Venus will get it (laughing). So... I'm sorry. I got lost.
Q. The younger sister thing.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, yeah.
Q. When you say she fixed your dress, meaning it was a ruffled up or something?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah.
Q. Right before you came out?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Before we came out. Just everything, like when I was younger, she used to walk me to my classes. I remember one time - oh, God, this was so long ago. I didn't have any money to eat my lunch. Venus went without a lunch just to make sure I ate. You know, I think that's, you know, she always was doing things like that. She still does always do things like that for me. So I kind of feel really, almost as if I'm cheating someone.
Q. You mentioned your determination after you broke. But, in fact, since the start of the match, you showed an attitude, a strong will to win, while Venus didn't have the same attitude.
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, she didn't really have that attitude. I'll talk to her about it. She might need to be more serious next time. And I'm sure she will. But I'm not going to talk to her too much about it - just a little bit.
Q. Start the second set, I know you wanted to come out and not let her get back into the match. She started serving. You had a couple wild forehands in that first game. Is that one of the few points in the match where you wanted to just calm yourself down?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, yeah. I definitely -- desperately needed to calm down. Like I said, Venus really seems to like to make a lot of comebacks. I knew she wasn't going to give it to me; I was going to have to win it. So I just needed to calm down, take it one point at a time.
Q. When you're standing at the net after the win, did you know how to react to her?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No. Venus is a great -- this is why Venus is a champion. Because whether she's winning or losing, you will never know - you will never be able to see it on her face. That's what makes her so great. And even after a loss, she's -- I mean, I was able to learn a lot from her. Because after I lost, I'd be so depressed and down-and-out. But it's not all that. It's not the end of the world. I've come to grips with that.
Q. So how is she handling this?
SERENA WILLIAMS: She's doing good. I'm sure deep down inside she's going to go home and work a little harder and do something a little more. And I'm sure I will too. We're just going to -- it's just the beginning of something great.
Q. Have you felt like you've been in Venus' shadow? Do you think a game like this helps remove you from that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't think I'm in Venus' shadow at all. I think when I first came out I was, but not anymore. Not at all. It's hard, I know, to get out of the shadow of another person, but I think I came out of that shadow a long time ago. A long time ago.
Q. You're always talking about what Venus did, giving you the lunch and everything. Do you return that? What have you done for her? Or is this just a take situation?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Exactly. That's why I've always just been taking, taking, taking (laughing). You know, I can't really remember any stories where I went -- I don't know. Even the other day, I didn't have anyone to hit with before I played Martina Hingis. It was a night match, before we got rained out. Venus had just finished, she was about to take a shower. My dad -- I was on the court, and I was out there for like 15 minutes. My hitting partner was nowhere to be seen. Next thing I know, out came Venus - long legs, running. I'd never been so happy to see her in my life. I was -- I really can count on Venus for anything.
Q. That lob in the seventh game in the first set, did that shock Venus?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, no. We've been practicing our lobs at home. We've both been really practicing our lobs so we're going to be ready for doubles at the French Open.
Q. How did that shot feel?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It felt great. I know we were at home, we were practicing. I was like, "Okay." I knew as soon as she hit that ball, I was like, "This is a lob. It's going in." I could feel it. It was, no, no surprise.
Q. You're not just winning, you're mauling opponents?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Mida (ph) (laughing).
Q. You haven't lost a set here. You beat Venus and Hingis back-to-back. What does it say about where your game is right now?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Right now, like I said, when I'm playing decent tennis, it's really hard for anyone to beat me. We'll see when I play my next opponent.
Q. You think you might use this as a springboard to reach No. 1 now?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Definitely. That's my goal. I was serious in the beginning of the year when I said it; I'm serious now. That's where I want to be, is the top spot. And if I feel that I can't do it, then I won't be giving any more interviews because I won't be on the tour anymore.
Q. If you feel you always learn something from your sister, does today feel like a graduation day to you? On to more bigger things?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I'm going to have to play Venus again and again and again. I'm not sure I'll always come out the winner. Who knows? I don't think of it like that.
Q. How much did you hold back, if any, after matchpoint, in celebration? Were you thinking about her feelings immediately?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Not really. I was a little bit shocked because of the score line and because of how I was able to close it out, and because of -- Venus is such a great player and a great champion. For me to -- I think that was the biggest win of my career.
Q. What did you say to her after the match at the net?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, no, I said, you know, "Great job." The usual we always say to each other.
Q. Does she seem down to you? Have you had a chance to talk to her?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, she doesn't seem down. I just think Venus is a very private person. I think right now she's thinking about going out there and making it better.
Q. You said you were shaking on TV.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah. I mean, just 'cause, like I said, I think this is the biggest win in my career. Venus, she's such a good player. She gets everything back. But then again Venus didn't play well today, guys. She really didn't. So I was kind of fortunate because if Venus had played well, we might still be playing. I'm not saying I would have lost, but... Because I was determined today. But she made too many errors.
Q. Biggest win, bigger than the US Open?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't even remember that. I need to go ahead and win another Grand Slam. That was so long ago. This is getting ridiculous.
Q. The way she played, was that at all disappointing to you at all?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, no, not at all. You kidding? (Laughter). No way.
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