August 29, 2001
NEW YORK CITY
MODERATOR: Questions for Serena.
Q. Seem to be breezing along right now. Are you feeling in top form?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm feeling a lot better. Most of all, I'm feeling I can get any ball right now. I feel so fast, just so quick. I feel special.
Q. Is this probably as confident as you've ever felt in a Grand Slam in the early stages?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. I always really -- I guess maybe, yeah. I'm feeling really confident. But I'm just taking it one match at a time. That's two down now. I'm just trying to make it happen.
Q. You go out there and play somebody you never lost a set to, do you have that little knot in your stomach that she can do some harm?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Actually, she's a really good player. She hits the ball really hard. If you hit it hard back to her, she hits it even harder back for a winner. She did that in a couple games, so I had to kind of change up the pace. Playing her, I know what I have to do because I played her a few times. That's the good thing about playing people, knowing their games. The girl I played in the first round, I didn't know her game at all.
Q. Do you have any feelings one way or the other about the new seeding with the 32 seeds? Does it make any difference to you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No. Because in the end you're going to have to play and perform and compete, so it really doesn't matter who I play.
Q. And you don't think it better to kind of get rolling into a tournament by playing theoretically a lesser player?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I really don't know, honestly. As a top player and as a competitor, you have to be ready for either, you know, a Lindsay Davenport and a Venus Williams or, you know, anyone. It doesn't matter, the hundredth ranked player. They're going to come your way, one way or another, sooner or later. When you enter a tournament, if you're not ready from the first point, then you shouldn't be in the tournament.
Q. Venus was in here a couple days ago and said that she perhaps will play more next year.
SERENA WILLIAMS: She perhaps what?
Q. Would play more tournaments next year. And also with regards to a Grand Slam record, there was no reason why she hasn't done well at the Australian and French Open as she has at the other two. Can I get your thoughts?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm definitely going to play a bit more next year, maybe in the earlier part of the year, to make sure I can do well at the Australian Open this year. Maybe I'll play more clay court events because I haven't had any clay court warm-ups before I played the French Open. Yeah, I think -- I don't know. I definitely am going to try to do better at those two Slams in particular. Those are just as important as the rest.
Q. In golf Tiger Woods has made it clear that he plays for the majors, every event he plays he wants to win, but it's gearing up for the majors. Do you feel that way about Grand Slams?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Obviously, you're going to have to lift up your game and lift up your mind basically when you enter in a Slam. First of all, the more you win, the better chance you have going into history. It's just been a dream since I was a young person myself, a young child, to win the Slams. So obviously I'm going to try everything I can whenever I get into a Slam. But at the same time, I'm the type of person, I don't like to lose, I don't. I give my full effort no matter what tournament I play. For me, I definitely must agree that the Slams are really important. You get the most points. It's just a good feeling to go home with a Slam under your belt. At the same time, I'm the type of person that would like to go out there and do the best I can in everything I do.
Q. Are you starting to take tennis a little more seriously? Sounds like you and Venus have been talking about playing more tennis next year, you're more interested in gearing up for your game. Last year was some talk of retirement down the road. This year is a little different, it seems.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I've always been serious about my game. But I think now maybe I'm a little more serious, I guess, if you want to put it that way. But I'm just really geared up to move up to the next level. I've been on the same level for a little too long now. It's time to move on, let it go.
Q. What is that next level?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think the next level for me is Top 3 and then top place. Obviously, I haven't been able to reach that because I'm not playing the tournaments I need to play. If you see with my results, if I played more, I definitely would be a better-ranked individual than I am right now. Right now, I'm not even worried about rankings. I'm just going for the titles. If you get the titles, the ranking is going to come.
Q. Do you think all the publicity over the last couple of years that Anna Kournikova has received has had a good impact on the tour, that any publicity for the tour is good publicity?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I definitely think so because it gets people to watching more women's tennis, maybe even women's sports in general. I'm all for that. I think it's great. I think it's really great.
Q. Is there anything disturbing that it's not connected to how many tournaments she wins? You and Venus are on the cover of a magazine, both won majors, she hasn't. Is that at all disturbing, that it's not related to what she does on the court?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Not for me, no. I mean, she's gone to the finals a few times. She's won a few doubles titles, even a doubles Slam. She's a good player. It's just a matter of time. I just think any publicity right now for women's tennis is great because we can get more kids into it, get more role models. People look at us as role models. I think that's a positive thing.
End of FastScriptsâ€¦.