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March 11, 2001

Serena Williams


MODERATOR: Questions for Serena.

Q. Another slow start, but after 3-1 you got right on her?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yes, I think so. Yeah, it was a slightly slow start, you could say. I just think I was going for it too much. I was trying to get a feel for her game, that's it.

Q. So are you pleased with the performance overall?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Overall, yeah. I think I played much better today. I'm getting the feel of it much more. I feel a lot better about my game. Yesterday I was most disappointed.

Q. Is that the first time playing her?

SERENA WILLIAMS: That's my first time playing her, yes.

Q. Do you like playing lefties?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't really mind playing, doesn't matter, lefty, righty.

Q. Is this your lucky dress?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. I don't believe in luck. But it's a nice dress.

Q. What is your next tournament?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm going to play the Ericsson.

Q. Close to home?

SERENA WILLIAMS: It is. I'll drive there, have a lot of fans there.

Q. You mentioned the other day that playing in the States now for many tournaments was good.


Q. Could you rate how important it is for your motivation to play in the States rather than anywhere else?

SERENA WILLIAMS: It's kind of convenient. I think it's more convenient to play in the States because for me you don't have to get used to different time zones. When I come to the West Coast, it's not really a big difference, just three hours. If you go to Europe, it's six hours, England five hours. Australia, you really need to be there days ahead of time. But it's just more of a convenience for me. That's it.

Q. Do you feel more like a Florida resident now than a California native?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I feel a little of both. I still feel whenever I come to California like I'm a California girl. But when I go to Florida, I feel it's my home. But I feel like a California girl.

Q. What's the difference between a California girl and Florida girl?

SERENA WILLIAMS: West Coast girls are different from east coast girls.

Q. How?

SERENA WILLIAMS: They're just different (smiling).

Q. Will you be watching your sister later today?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think I'm going to go out and watch her a little bit. She's playing really well. She gave me some tips before I went out there. That's what I'm going to do, I'm going to go watch her and learn a little something, since I like to copy her. See if I can really start copying now.

Q. Did you get that essay in yesterday?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Of course not. I'm under so much pressure. I'm under so much pressure right now, I don't know what to do. But, you guys, if you want to write an illustration essay, feel free.

Q. Venus was going to give us an interview.


Q. One hour, one on one. What are your terms?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I'll give you an hour and a half (smiling).

Q. Did you at least find out what it's supposed to be about?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Of course not. Like I said, I'm under so much pressure right now. I'm ready to crack. Hopefully I'll get it in today. I am going to get it in today. I'm going to have no other choice. I don't know why I waited till the last possible minute.

Q. That's what college kids do.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, but this is ridiculous.

Q. Do you have any other movies coming up other than the one with Martin?

SERENA WILLIAMS: That's the only one I did. It was fun. It was a small part.

Q. Any more magazine covers coming?

SERENA WILLIAMS: We're doing one for Essence.

Q. You and your sister, you have a slow start this year, like last year a little bit.

SERENA WILLIAMS: I didn't have a slow start this year.

Q. In terms of winning matches.

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I don't think so.

Q. I don't speak about the game, I'm speaking about the number of matches.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, the number of matches I play.

Q. It was last year the same. Do you think it's a coincidence?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, it wasn't the same. This year is not the same as last year. The only reason I didn't do better at the Australian Open is because I had food poisoning. I was barely able to breathe. I think I did pretty well there considering. That's it. I don't think it's the same as last year at all. I'm playing a lot better than I was last year. Last year, there was actually someone here -- I wasn't here last year. There was someone here pretending to be me and gave me a very bad reputation.

Q. How much better of a player are you now than when you won the US Open?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I really don't like to answer that question.

Q. Do you feel better on court than you did then or is part of it confidence?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I feel better. I think I'm most of all more confident. My strokes are better. I'm looking at some of the tapes I saw back then. I just think my strokes are much more smoother. They're just better.

Q. So then how did you win?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I was determined to win. I didn't want to lose. I made up my mind, you know, months before that I was going to win the US Open.

Q. So some of it wasn't strokes; a lot of it was mental then?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think so. I think when you go into a Grand Slam or any tournament, you have to tell yourself you're going to win before you get there and really believe it.

Q. What have you made up your mind this year you're going to win?

SERENA WILLIAMS: That's to myself right now. You'll see, though.

End of FastScripts....

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