March 28, 2001
THE ERICSSON OPEN
SERENA WILLIAMS: I was having some, I guess, you could see quadricep problems.
Q. When did they start?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, after the Indian Wells tournament. I actually strained it during then. But it has been getting well, but I really felt it, like after the Finals and then every round just didn't-- has been getting more and more.
Q. I heard you say that because of the press you have been getting lately you felt you had to continue to play today. Would you have pulled out if it wasn't --(Inaudible)
? SERENA WILLIAMS: Out of a 10 usually my practices it has been around a 7 or an 8. But I just was going out there and just trying to play.
Q. It looked like you were limping a little bit from the get -go?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It was hurting all week, everyday of the match. So, yeah.
Q. When did you first begin getting treatment for this injury by the?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I have my own trainer so I have been getting treated everyday. I always thought it was my knee because I usually have knee problems but, she just was telling me that it wasn't. I was-- like the muscle above my knee so it was my quad. It is like -- my leg has been getting tight, just a little weird.
Q. At what point in the match did you first begin to feel pain?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Who did I play in the first round? I felt it like, you know, I was feeling it in practice today, when I played Kim my first round match, I felt it all week. I have just been going on like a soldier, that is all.
Q. Until today, there was no physical sign for it for us. Today you were grimacing before serving. At some point in the match today it began to become unbearable for you. When was that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. It was early on. I usually try not to show emotions, so that is it. But when I first walked out there it was hurting, but I was just going out there to compete.
Q. With all the press since Indian Wells how are you able to compete? How are you able to stay focused with everything that has gone on?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I am a competitor. I just -- I have said in my press conferences I really don't read what you all write. I just look at the pictures; if they are nice I collect them. So that is it. I don't really read the press. I hear a lot about it. People ask me about it. I don't really know about it because I just -- I don't really read it.
Q. This is a tough question after a match like today's match, but I wanted to ask -- Martina said that it was nonsense that there was racism on the Tour and that in fact that it could be an advantage being black. Could you take a moment and comment on that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: (Laughs) I don't know. I really don't -- I think I commented enough on that yesterday or the day before.
Q. There is still going to be a Williams/Williams match at south Florida. Can you tell us about that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, actually there is going to be. My mom is putting on an event for learning for -- a learning foundation for kids who struggle in regular classroom settings so we are going to actual play on April 7. I am going to go home and get in shape and get ready so I can performed best for the kids.
Q. How can people find out more about that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: You contact Ticketmaster to buy tickets or you can contact -- there is a lot of fliers going around. Contact Ticketmaster, they have all the information.
Q. Do you have a role in it?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It is my mom's foundation, so obviously I have big role in it. I am really big on education, so it is really great for the kids and things like that. So I am really excited. It is the first charity that the family has done so it is pretty exciting.
Q. Can you comment on that 10th game trailing 15-40 -- (inaudible)
? SERENA WILLIAMS: She hit a lot of big serves, nice points. It was --I think I made a few errors, so she was playing very well. She really went out there and didn't let anything get to her. Sometimes it is kind of hard to play someone who is on the other end limping and grimacing, but she handled it very well.
Q. If you had just walked in on that match midway to the end of the match, the second set, and you had not seen the trainers come out, you probably wouldn't be able to tell that SERENA WILLIAMS was hurt. You'd suddenly had begun to play very normal like Serena Williams.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Which Serena Williams? (Laughs) I don't think so. I don't think so at all. I wasn't able to run fast and if I couldn't get to it I would just barely slice it back. Wasn't able to reach my full potential at all.
Q. Did the injury begin to -- (inaudible)
? SERENA WILLIAMS: The thing about this is the longer I played the worse it gets. Usually like when my knee hurts, the longer I play the better it gets, but with this, the longer I play and warm it up the worse it gets; the more harder it gets for me even to bend it.
Q. How tough would a third set have been today?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Who knows, I would still be out there fighting and just trying to go for it. Why not. I will never have a chance to redo 2001, so I try to go out all.
Q. Since all the events since Indian Wells has there been any person outside of your immediate family, any player or person in general who has been particularly supportive towards you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, obviously my parents and all my immediate family. Actually been a lot of people who left me messages like Billie Jean King and who else, just a lot of people who just called Zina Garrison. They just called in congratulating me for just staying so strong because if you think about it, 19 years old, not many people can just go out there and just -- people would just probably have to leave because it was just really difficult to deal with. As I look back on it, I really don't know if I -- I don't know how I was able to deal with it. But I have been getting a lot of support because a lot of people realize that it was ridiculous that I had to go through that at such a young age.
Q. In Indian Wells you said you didn't -- you were asked what kind of person would jeer a 19 year old. Now that you have had a little time to reflect on it how would you answer that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: What type of person would jeer a 19 year old? I am sure we can all answer that ourselves. Like me saying what kind of person would jeer a baby that could barely talk?
Q. Serena, was Jennifer somebody that you remember when you were younger?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I was a little older when she was around. I was like maybe 11. She was someone that you always -- I remember her playing Monica a lot. When I was younger I looked up to Monica and Boris Becker mostly. Jennifer was just coming on the scene.
Q. Is there a lot of -- among the players on the Tour, is there a lot of goodwill towards her for her progress?
SERENA WILLIAMS: For sure. I am definitely happy for her because she has gone through a lot apparently and this is a good example for teens and people who look at us as role models to see how you can overcome.
Q. Taken into account the time needed to cure this injury, what are your clay court plans leading up to the French?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I am playing -- let's see, a lot of the clay court events and the French. A few before.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Rome, maybe. Maybe.
Q. Nothing definite?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, definitely -- I don't really know what I am playing. I have to look at my schedule, but two of the three and French.
Q. What do the doctors and trainers tell you regarding how much time off you need?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't see how this can be so major. I just think like give me a few days and I will be back hopefully. It has been getting worse since Indian Wells, but I mean, I take a day off and hopefully it will be better because I haven't any time off because I have been practicing for here, so...
Q. From the minute you wake up do you feel like it is tight it is going to be a bad day?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, from the minute I walk out on the court it is not a good sign.
Q. How do you relate to the fact that you have won a Grand Slam title, defending champion, does that enter your mind at all during the year in situations that are tough?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I am getting better as the year goes on. I am doing pretty decent this year. I can't wait for the next event. And, yeah, I am doing a lot better.
Q. Did you consider withdrawing today and if so, was it in the back of your mind what happened in California? Was that in the back of your mind at all?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No. I don't want to answer anymore questions about California.
Q. If things had turned out better today you might have met Davenport in the semi and I am wondering you have a great record against her compared to Capriati who hasn't done as well. To what do you attribute your success against her?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I like the way she plays. I like her game. I know her game like my backyard. I am sure she knows my game just as well. We always -- it is not like whenever I play her -- well, I, you know, am winning very easy. A lot of times I won and I was down matchpoint, so we have had some very good matches. It is a matter of between one point that actually turns the match around. I like playing top players. So maybe that is it. I just have no fear.
Q. You are beautiful, brainy and loved by many. How would you describe your game on a really good day and how do you describe it today in three words?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, today was a little sloppy. I will say sloppy. I don't know. I can't say.
End of FastScripts....