March 14, 2001
INDIAN WELLS, CALIFORNIA
MODERATOR: Questions for Serena.
Q. Are you surprised how quick this went against Lindsay?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I can't sit here and say that I'm surprised because when I go out there, I play as hard as I can always. But I think I played a pretty much almost nearly immaculate match. Yeah, for sure, I don't usually make that few errors. But that's what I've been working on.
Q. You were very contained, within yourself. Never seemed to be going for too much today.
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, not at all. It gets to a point where you get tired of going for too much and making too many errors. I'm getting a little older, and I need to go ahead and straighten things out.
Q. Why do you think things started to click for you today?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, no, they've clicked for me all week. I've been working since the Australian Open, except for the little hiatus I had with the flu. Other than that, I've been working really hard. I've been trying to get my game together.
Q. What did you do against her today that you didn't do against her at the US Open? It was a completely different match.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah. Like I said in the other interview, at the US Open, she came out with a real plan. I think she had a similar plan, but I knew this time what type of plan she might have against me. I just was focused. I think maybe she didn't play her best game today, because I've seen Lindsay play very well. You know, every now and then, fortunately enough it was today, but we all have little problems with our game.
Q. Is it tough with both you and Venus, stop-and-go tennis, you play well for a while, then you're off in school, and Venus actually said the other day she got lazy? I don't know if that happened to you. You start again then. Is it hard to get started again?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, not this year. I think I have a pretty good start this year. I think I did okay at the Australian Open. It's not like I did, you know, less than mediocre. I think pretty much this year I've had a pretty good start.
Q. Early in the week you were describing your costume to us and you said, "Hot pink for a hot girl." When you said that, did you realize you are as hot as you are?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I meant attractive, very attractive girl.
Q. Talk about your level of consistency today. Is that a matter of focus?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yes, I guess everyone here is surprised that I'm playing so consistent. This is the new Serena. I'm trying to change. Don't be surprised. It comes a time when everyone changes in life. I'm trying to get off this wide path and get on a more narrow path to successfulness.
Q. Were you concentrating more on keeping the ball away from the lines and waiting for her to make a mistake? What was your plan?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, my plan basically actually was to stay focused the whole time. I didn't have too much of a technical plan. I know when I play well , I've mentioned before, when I play well, I don't know there's too many people that can beat me. It's because I'm a very strong player, especially if I'm serving well. My first serve still is not doing good, so imagine when I'm serving well and doing all those things well, it's very hard and difficult to beat me. I just wanted to stay very focused when I was out there.
Q. When you are playing at that consistent level like today, it doesn't matter who your opponent is, you feel?
SERENA WILLIAMS: That's what I think, you know, just play your game. It doesn't matter who you play. As long as I'm playing my game, I know that the result can be fairly positive.
Q. You say this is like the new you. Didn't seem like there was that much wrong with the old you, was there?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No. I just made a lot of errors. I still probably am going to play a lot of matches where I'll make a few errors. I'm trying in general just to cut it out and be more consistent, just trying to do different things.
Q. Of course, you will be playing your sister, which may happen again, what would be the plan? Is Richard going to say something different to you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Who knows. We'll see. My dad usually doesn't like to attend our matches when we play against each other. I'll just try to be focused again, stay very focused.
Q. At Wimbledon you were playing great up until the Venus match, then you fell apart a little bit. How are you going to change your mental approach if you have to play her?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. I don't want to answer that question right now. Sorry.
Q. Did you get your English paper done over the weekend?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yes, I did. Actually, I did it the very last moment. But I did it. I actually am doing better because I've already done some work for this week. Keep it up.
Q. Maybe you have the homework off your mind.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Maybe that's it. At the end of the week, because the homework is due, it gets a little nerve-wracking.
Q. What did you write it on?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I wrote it on teenage driving. I'm against teenage drivers (laughter). It sounds weird, but honestly, especially 16- and 15-year-olds, they're just not mentally stable to be behind the wheel, especially if there's a lot of kids in the car. Most accidents besides drunk driving are caused by teenage drivers. I just think it could all be stopped if there is a curfew put on the time and the age was lifted, make it at least 18.
Q. When did you start driving?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I was driving when I was 15 (laughter). But I was more mature than a normal teenager because I'm doing more things.
Q. Yeah, right.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I like to think I am. But I haven't been involved in any accidents. Knock on wood.
Q. What kind of a car do you drive now?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm driving this huge Excursion here. I'm a truck girl.
Q. No BMW anymore?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I still have that. I'm still cruising.
Q. Who conceived of this format for the exhibition that's coming up in April?
SERENA WILLIAMS: That's for my mom's charity. She's starting a charity for children. It's going to be April 7th in the Delray Beach Tennis Center.
Q. The format is kind of interesting. Who came up with that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: My mom came up with it.
Q. Explain it.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Hopefully we're going to get a few players, Venus and I, Alexandra Stevenson, I think we're getting a couple other players. We're going to play each other and have a little -- it's like an exhibition, doubles format. We'll play a couple games against Venus. It's raising money for children.
Q. Sort of like a round-robin?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yes.
Q. I thought a player was going to play you for one set, Venus for another set, and if there's a third set, they would have an option of which one of you they're going to play?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No.
Q. That's what the press release says.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Is it?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, well. I don't know about that. Maybe she changed her mind. I like that idea actually.
Q. Your dad gets a lot of attention. Could you take a moment and explain the role that your mother has had in your tennis career.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, she's a disciplinary (smiling). No, my mom, if you take a human being, you have a body, she would be the spine, where you can't move without it, you can't do anything. I would say that's her. She was there in the beginning of our career, and she really supported us the way your spine would, help you stand straight. She was there the whole time. She really -- I called her said. I said, "Mom, what do I need to do?" just before my match. Apparently she gave me some good advice. My dad is here. He's helping us practicing. I'm like, "Mom, what do you think?" She's our coach. That's why she travels with us.
Q. What did she say?
SERENA WILLIAMS: She's the one who told me, "You know, Serena, you know your game. You know how to play. You know what to do. All you need to do is go out there and focus for every point and want every point." That's why I was okay.
Q. Why do you think you have such a good record against Lindsay?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm not really sure. You'd have to ask her. Lindsay's a great player. I wish I had some of the records she has against other players, but unfortunately I don't. You'll just have to ask her.
Q. You said the other day you want to do everything that Venus does. Is that because she's the sibling closest to you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't want to, I just find myself copying her all the time. It's really ridiculous.
Q. How about your older siblings? Are they too much older?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think they're a little older. When I was younger, I used to copy them, too. Now that Venus and I live together, I always try to peek over on her side of the house, see what she's doing.
Q. You've split the house down the middle?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Pretty much.
Q. So you get the kitchen?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Actually, she has a kitchen. One of my other sisters says, "Eat to live; don't live to eat." I try to keep it like that.
Q. Why do you think you copy Venus so much?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. She's a good example. She's not doing anything crazy and wild. She's set a good example for a younger sister. We stay out of trouble. We don't do anything wild and crazy.
Q. What kind of example are your other sisters?
SERENA WILLIAMS: They all set positive examples, which is good for me, because being younger, you look up to your older siblings. Fortunately enough, they're all pretty successful.
Q. What are they doing?
SERENA WILLIAMS: One is in law school now. I feel very sorry for her. I can only imagine. The other, she's working on being an accountant. She actually works with us. She does all our taxes and stuff. She helps out. Keep it all in the family.
Q. I guess the semis will be tomorrow. How will you prepare?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I've already prepared years in advance (laughter). It's all been done. If it hasn't been done, it's really too late to try to get it together today and tomorrow. It's too late.
Q. What I was going to ask is, do you do anything special when you know it's going to be your sister, would you approach that differently?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Obviously, yeah. They play two totally different games. Yes, for sure, I would approach it different.
Q. As a tennis player, if you could have one of Venus' qualities, what would it be?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I'd have her reach. I'd have her reach. I mean, I'm really fast, and she's very fast, but she has all this reach. She can just get balls by taking one step where I have to take two or three.
Q. How tough is it just to focus on the ball when you play Venus and go point by point?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, for the first match I played against her, I believe -- I don't even remember the first match we played against each other. That was tough. But ever since then, it's been a lot easier for me.
Q. What is your match record?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think she's up 4-1, 3-1.
Q. If you lose tomorrow --?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't think about losing.
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