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March 24, 2002

Serena Williams


THE MODERATOR: First question for Serena, please.

Q. People have been saying for a while now on both tours that bigger, stronger players, it would be their world, their planet, taking over the tour, looking at Safin on the men's side, Guga; Venus and yourself on the women's side. You still have either Hewitt becomes No. 1, he's a relatively small player. You have Henin playing some good tennis last year. Can you just comment on your feeling about that, the issue of size and physicality in the game?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think everything is changing. In the past, at one point in time it was consistency that mattered. Martina Navratilova came and brought in a different game. As years go on, people change the game. I just think now, the more stronger you are, you might have a bigger disadvantage -- I mean a bigger advantage. But then, you know, you still have your younger players out there who aren't hitting as hard, but they're just consistent and don't make mistakes and can win. I think it's good to have a good mixture of both. (Inaudible) . A power game is harder to develop and it takes longer to get to where you need to be.

Q. You don't believe it's an evolutionary process; that it's always a mix?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. I really don't know. I think that the scene of everything is changing. I would have to say that stronger players are getting more advantage. But you can't be strong and hit with a lot of power balls and not have consistency or be able to run well. I think you have to have a very good balance for both.

Q. Enough of a workout today?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, yeah, definitely. It was hot out there. I usually practice when I'm at home around eight or nine. Then sometimes I come out a little later. I'm running late a lot. But I got more than enough.

Q. After Sydney, how much time were you actually off the court before you could do anything?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I was off for - until, like, some time late February or mid February. I didn't really practice. I couldn't do any cardio, besides the bike. And so I was just chilling.

Q. How surprised were you with the level you were able to play in Scottsdale?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I'm never surprised when I go to a tournament. I usually go in expecting to win. But at Scottsdale I had the flu, and it was just -- I was just really nervous about playing some matches. I was thinking, "Wow, I really hope I can get through it." That was really good for me because I was really sick. When you're sick, it's hard to breathe. You can't run for long. That's what I liked most about Scottsdale. That was really nice.

Q. Having the extra week off this year between Scottsdale and here, is that more of a negative or positive thing?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. I didn't get to defend any of my points. I didn't get to gain any points, so that's a negative in that way. But at the same time I get to rest - God knows I love to rest and relax.

Q. You ever find it's hard to get motivated for some of the lower-ranked girls, or you just go out there and...?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Never, never. Because people are always fighting hard and want to win. I mean, the score line looks like I won really easy, but she really was playing. She really was trying. I just think I kind of just mentally was able to go over her.

Q. You get either Meghann Shaughnessy or Marissa Irvin in the next game.

SERENA WILLIAMS: I played Meghann at Sydney, but I wasn't able to finish the match. I've never played Marissa. We all grew up together - me, Venus and Marissa Irvin, a couple other people, (inaudible). Who else in particular? A couple people. And Alexandra Stevenson. We all grew up together. I never played Marissa in the Juniors. Venus also played her. If I get to play her, it will be fun. Just old memories and everything. If I play Meghann, that will be great, too. So doesn't really matter to me.

Q. You guys reminisce about those days much?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Not really. Those days are over. I sometimes, when I'm talking to Alex, we do. But, no, not really, nah.

Q. Does your hair get any blonder?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think it's the sun, because it used to be a little bit darker. Not much. But I think it's the sun maybe.

End of FastScripts….

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