March 15, 2001
INDIAN WELLS, CALIFORNIA
JIM FUHSE: We'll keep this short because we'll have Venus right after.
Q. Correct me if I was wrong, but I was the only one down while you were hitting the ball to warm up. I saw that your sister knelt twice, then she stopped, went and talked to the trainer, did some arm movements. Is that what I saw or what happened?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I guess so. She didn't really practice today at all. I practiced twice. She didn't really hit at all. Yeah, I guess you were out there, you saw that she wasn't feeling so good, but I was just getting my practice on.
Q. Did this catch you off guard?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I mean pretty much. She was my opponent. Usually when we play each other, I'll hit with her, but then I'll go do my own thing. We have a trainer. Venus was in there. I was in the locker room getting ready, getting dressed, getting prepared for my match.
Q. When did you specifically learn that Venus was going to withdraw?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. I didn't look at the clock or anything. I was going out to get some stretches. Like, you know, maybe five, ten minutes to 6:00 or something.
Q. What did she say? Did you talk to her?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, the tour director told me. Venus never told me.
Q. Did you speak with your sister at all?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Of course, I asked her if she was okay. Her eyes were a little watery. I just wanted to know if she was all right. She said, "Yeah." She's just been having some knee problems. In Nice I think she had both her knees taped.
Q. Did she say anything this morning that her knee was hurting her, she might not be able to come out?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No. Like I said, I went out to practice, and she didn't. You really have to ask her.
Q. What did your dad have to say about this?
SERENA WILLIAMS: My dad's not even here. He doesn't really come to our matches when we play each other. He wasn't at our practice. Well, he walked us to the court, but then he left. That's usually how it is when we play each other.
Q. Did you hit some together?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I hit a bit with Venus before the match. She hit for maybe five minutes at the most. We have a hitting partner, so I hit with him mostly.
Q. Could you tell, was she limping then?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, she hardly hit. She didn't really hit. I just thought, you know, slice and dropshot.
Q. We were circulating among the crowd, and a lot of people were extremely unhappy, many were saying how this was just a decision made within the Williams family. What would you say to people who were making that comment?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, well, I don't think that's a difficult question. First I would like to say that it was -- I don't know, first you'll have to -- it's not my injury, so I can't really say much. As for that circulation, the family, we're competitors. We're here to compete. In the end, we're going to have to play each other eventually. We're always here to compete. We're competitors. That's what it all boils down to, who can compete the best. That's what I always like to do. I like to compete.
Q. Do you think Elena's statement yesterday that your father would decide who's going to win the match was incorrect? Could you comment on that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Can you refresh me on her statement?
Q. When asked who would win, she said your father would decide who would win.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Did she talk to my dad?
Q. I don't know.
SERENA WILLIAMS: She must have because, like I said, we're competitors and we always go out to compete, and that's how it's always been. I think if my dad would decide, then maybe Venus wouldn't be up 4-1, maybe it would be 3-All by now. So I don't think so.
Q. If you are competitors and you're here to compete, why do you so seldom enter the same events, other than Grand Slam tournaments?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, you know, to avoid playing each other so match. We'd rather play each other in the finals of a Grand Slam or the semifinals of a Grand Slam or the semifinals of a bigger tournament, or the finals.
JIM FUHSE: Anything about her opponent for the final?
Q. Before we start talking about Clijsters, Dementieva is not the first player who has made the comment that they think it's a family decision. Martina has also commented on that. Lindsay alluded to that yesterday. Whether it's true or not, why do you think other players have that impression that it might be true?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Next time you get Dementieva, Hingis, Davenport, you should ask them. I can't really tell you why. I don't read their minds. I'm not a mind-reader. I can only tell you what I know. I've already answered that question.
Q. Does that offend you that other players are saying that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: People have the freedom of speech. They can say whatever they want. People do whatever they want. They say what they want. It's going to happen. I mean, obviously we're sisters, we're very close. People often speculate things like that. People are just always going to speculate things. In the end, it just boils down to who -- yeah, I don't know.
Q. If people are always going to speculate, isn't there a reason for that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: People speculate that Muhammad Ali was the best, and he was. In his prime, no one believed it.
Q. Why do you think they're speculating that? Do you think there's any truth to it? Don't you think we think there's some truth to it or don't you care?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Would you like me to answer the question?
JIM FUHSE: That's five questions. Let her answer the first one.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I'll pass since I don't think you were very polite to me.
Q. Do you not consider this a big tournament?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Pardon me?
Q. Do you not consider this a big tournament?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Like I say, we like to play the big tournaments. We always play the Ericsson together, except last year Venus had wrist problems. We always play the Ericsson, the Grand Slams, and we play Rome. Rome is a big tournament. We usually play that one. This year we decided we would play Indian Wells, too. We don't mind playing each other in the semifinals or finals. Better than playing each other in the fourth round.
Q. Did you watch Kim today at all?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I saw a little of her match. Actually, I saw most of her match.
Q. What were your impressions of Kim?
SERENA WILLIAMS: She played -- she really came out there with a plan. She played very well. Looked like she was very determined. Even when she was up double match point, looked like she was able to keep focused. That was what I noticed.
Q. Are you disappointed to make it to the final this way?
SERENA WILLIAMS: To be honest, I'm just as shocked as you are right now. I can't really answer that.
Q. When people do say that your dad decides the matches, is that something that makes you laugh or do you have anger at that? Do you just let it go completely?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't really get angry. Like I said, people often say a lot. Everyone has an opinion really. I have an opinion about a lot of things that probably aren't true just because, you know, it's my opinion, and everyone has their opinion. Does it anger me?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Not really. I don't read the press. I don't read the press. I stick to myself. I just look at the pictures, that's it. I collect pictures. That's it.
Q. You were starting to say something about Ali. You couldn't finish. What were you going to say?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I was interrupted. I don't remember, sorry.
Q. What is the situation relative to the doctor, he has to certify the injury?
JIM FUHSE: We'll get that information for you.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Thank you.
End of FastScripts....