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June 27, 2001

Serena Williams


MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. It looked like it took you a little while to get on track out there. Why was that? What turned the match so completely your way?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, today in the first set, I was just wanting to come to the net a bit more and try a different game I've been practising. I decided in the earlier rounds, if you know maybe you have a good chance against a player, you know, try something different.

Q. What turned it around for you?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, I just decided that I'd rather get off sooner than later (laughter).

Q. Your dad has just told Radio 5 Live that he didn't think you played very well and left halfway through the second set.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I wasn't playing very well today. It's an earlier round. The match is over with. Nothing I can do about it. I'm going to practise really hard and work for the next round.

Q. But if you win 6-Love and you didn't play very well in the second...

SERENA WILLIAMS: You can only imagine what I have the potential of doing.

Q. Seems that tabloid coverage here at Wimbledon is like strawberries and cream: you expect it when you come here. It's kind of a phenomenon for Americans because we just don't have it in as much bulk. What is your take on that? Is it just kind of a frivolous, fun thing?

SERENA WILLIAMS: We have it in America. I've seen those tabloids in the grocery store. They're there, for sure. Trust me, I know about it. This country, they like a lot of gossip. Everyone is trying to sell a paper. You have to do things to sell a paper and make that money these days.

Q. Do you ever read them, get a laugh out of them?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, no. I only look at the pictures. I like to look at the pictures. If it's a nice picture of me, I'll keep it. Sometimes it might even be a picture of something I did well, if I'm not looking at the ball. I like to look at the pictures a lot. That's it. I don't get involved in that.

Q. Do you have a dog problem, too, like your sister?

SERENA WILLIAMS: What type of problem does she have?

Q. She was missing Bobby a lot.

SERENA WILLIAMS: I have pictures of my dogs in my purse. I look at them every day. I don't want to talk about it.

Q. You were saying before that you're trying to use some of these matches as more or less practise, I'm guessing, for later rounds. Do you feel like you need to be coming in a lot to win the tournament?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't think I'm using them for practise. I never said I was using them for practise. But I just think that maybe in the earlier rounds, I have a chance, maybe I should work on coming in like I want to when I get to the later rounds. Hopefully coming in and playing more of a grass court game. So, yeah, I think for sure you need to come in to win here. You're not going to win rallying 20, 30 balls over the net.

Q. Do you feel comfortable yet doing that?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I definitely feel comfortable. My volley is looking a little better. I feel comfortable coming to the net. So, yeah, I've always had good hands and just good hand-eye coordination.

Q. You came so close to winning here last year. You had such a great run. How much do you think about that? What do you think you need to do to make it different this year?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think maybe I had too many easy matches last year, and I got a tough match, and I just went ballistic. It's over, said and done. I missed a great opportunity then because I didn't get to play singles in the Olympics, so I was really disappointed. But, you know, this year, there's nothing I have to worry about. I'm just going out there one match at a time. I have two down. I'm just taking it one match at a time, take every opponent very seriously because people, they want to win also. Fight, just go for the plate.

Q. Do you feel like if you were in that kind of situation again, not necessarily against Venus, that you'd be better at it this time?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think so, for sure, because I was in that situation before. You learn out of everything.

Q. What's the one thing you like the best about England?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Let's see. Well, there's so many things. You know what, actually I like the fans in England. Usually, like in Paris, I always seemed to play French girls in Paris. In England, it's really nice here. I like the support and the atmosphere here. I like that. I like the fans.

Q. Could you ever imagine the centre court fans getting on your case the way they did in California or at Roland Garros?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I couldn't. But, you know, I never underestimate those fans (laughter). I leave that behind. That's all said and done. It's been real and it's been fun.

Q. Given that your game is based so much on confidence, do you feel that you can come out and say that you are here to win Wimbledon this year?

SERENA WILLIAMS: If I wasn't, I wouldn't be here right now. That's for every tournament that I play. If I don't feel that way, then there's no need for me to play. It's time for me to retire at that point.

Q. People are talking about you as maybe the favourite now.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I'm taking it one match at a time. My serve, it's really looking a lot better. I'm really working hard on it. If I didn't believe it, I wouldn't be here.

Q. You're looking probably at a quarterfinal match-up with Jennifer. This is what you had at Roland Garros. How much better are you going to have to play this time to win that kind of a match?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, I didn't play well at all last time. I'll just have to play better. You know, she's playing pretty good. I just need to come out and perform. Last time I didn't even perform. I should have been taken off immediately. I don't want to talk about that either (laughter).

Q. Have you had time to finish your book?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Not quite. I'm almost finished. A lot of twists and turns in it. Getting a little weird. I should be finished by next time. I'll be definitely starting a new one.

Q. Is it based on a true story?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, no. I hope not.

Q. What's more weird, the book or the tennis circuit?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I'll pass. I don't want to get quoted anything. I'll pass.

Q. Were you ever attempted to be sort of made shy or retiring or inferior because of having such a powerful elder sister like Venus?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't quite understand your question.

Q. Someone as powerful as that in the family, a lot of people would wilt and be nervous.

SERENA WILLIAMS: For me, it served as a great inspiration because we both grew up together practising on the same courts, the same thing, every day working really hard. Obviously when she was doing very well, I wanted to be there. I saw everything she was having, getting. I wanted it also. I wanted to be up top. I wanted to be a player. I wanted to be a Grand Slam champion. I wanted to be the best. That's what I'm still trying to work for. I'm glad I didn't shrink.

Q. What are your dogs called?

SERENA WILLIAMS: There's Jackie and Bambi.

Q. They are?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Jackie is a little Jack Russell, my little girl. Bambi, he's a pit bull. He's my son.

Q. Bambi is a pit bull?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yes. Anyone think about coming to my home, you know.

Q. What happens to Venus' Pete?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Pete has a broken heart.

Q. Back on tennis for a moment. Today on court and yesterday, Venus was talking a bit about the nature of power in the ladies' game. Growing up together, she probably slammed the ball at you, and you slammed it back harder. You built up this raw aggression to your game which has taken the world by storm. This emphasis on power, do you think it's here to stay, something that all women need to sort of take note of?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think so, yeah. But then you still have Martina Hingis, she doesn't hit the ball hard, but yet she's No. 1 in the world; she wins a lot of matches, consistently getting to the semis. But I think naturally the game is meant to change. I think Martina Navratilova added a little more power, added serve and volley to the game. Monica Seles came along, hit it even harder. Definitely there's more power to the game. But every now and then there might be a player that has more finesse. I think that's going to kind of play out a little bit maybe.

Q. Weight training is now an important part of the women's game. This is something again the British girls were saying. Maybe it's something they need to address.

SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm a firm believer that if you're mentally there, you're mentally stable, you really -- it's more mental than physical. I have always thought tennis is 80% mental and 20% physical. I still believe that. That's my personal belief. I think if you're really there, really determined, you have a little talent, it's going to be hard to stop you. Mission impossible.

Q. Particularly on grass, we saw Martina go out earlier in the week. Do you think perhaps her game, particularly on grass, suffers from not having that sort of extra bit of power that someone like yourself or Venus has?

SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, I'm really not quite sure because I've always played with a lot of power. You might have to ask one of the players that are more finesse.

Q. Do you have a grass court at home to practise on?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, we do not have a grass court at home, no. We don't.

Q. How important is, say, finesse around the net or the dropshot for your game?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think it's very important. I think to put in a dropshot every now and then, you can win a free point. It could be set point, you really need it. All of a sudden, hit a dropshot, there you have it. I think it's a very important shot. I try to use it quite often.

Q. Would you say finesse and touch is maybe more important when you're playing the net than it is from the back court?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Maybe. Obviously, yeah, for sure, yeah. Also I think maybe you can use it if someone is at the net, you can lob over them with a nice finesse shot.

End of FastScripts….

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