January 11, 2001
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Serena.
Q. Was that just a bit of rustiness? You obviously made a few errors that you would have preferred not to have done towards the end of that second set.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah. Yeah. I was a little bit rusty. You know, first match, first -- this is the third match since October, so I'm not -- I'm doing pretty good considering. And it's a good experience for me because this is a warm-up. I played this tournament specifically to get a warm-up because I wasn't happy with my performance last year at the Australian. So I decided this year I'm going to try a warm-up, and we'll see what happens.
Q. How do you think Martina is playing at this stage of the buildup?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, you know, she's playing her game. She's doing what she can do best - move the ball around, put the ball in play. She's doing great, sure.
Q. Were you disappointed after breaking back there to level the score again at 5-5, then to let it slip out of your grasp again?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, yeah. Obviously I was a bit disappointed, but I just -- yeah, obviously I was a little disappointed.
Q. Do you think there were places where you could have -- you made a couple of unforced errors by the look of it. Is that something that you'll be working on more with Venus on the practice court?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yes, it's definitely something that -- my mom's here. She's coaching us this week. It's something that we've been working on, cutting back on the unforced errors, just trying to attack and do a lot of different things like that. I'm getting my rhythm back. I'm getting it back. I felt it a little in this game. It's like I have it; I'm not able to produce it right now. Next week I should do a lot better because I have it, I'm just working on getting it out there. Taking a little time off, you're always going to be a little rusty here and there. But I should definitely be ready next week.
Q. So it's definitely rustiness and not concentration?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, no, not concentration at all. I just -- I was pretty focused out there. It's sometimes I have a shot and I just missed it because, you know, you just have to be used to these terms and conditions throughout.
Q. Do you ever use videos in terms of planning strategy or cutting out errors, so if you see the error for yourself again you know exactly what you've done wrong?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I use videos. But predominantly when I miss the error and I make the error, I usually know what I did wrong because I've been playing for a little while, and 99 percent of the time I know what I did wrong. It's just the fact of me being able to correct it before I make the mistake.
Q. Serena, how do you rate your prospects at the Australian Open, and do you consider the Big Three to be your main threats?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Pardon me?
Q. Do you consider the top three to be your main threats?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah. I would say Venus, Davenport and Hingis, top three, yeah. They will probably be my main threats, especially Venus because she's playing very well. But right now, I'm up there. Just working on getting up there. Yeah, I just... I think next week I'm going to do very well; I really do. I can kind of feel it because I have this great new attitude, and I don't get angry at myself any more on the court. And, you know, I keep my head up and my shoulders back, and that's what's most important.
Q. How do you stop yourself? How do you change that attitude?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It's been 19 years, and so it was a really tough change for me. (Laughing.) But I must say that the match I played at the US Open against Lindsay this year was a turnaround. It had to stop. It stopped and ever since then, I've been a different person.
Q. How do you see this year in terms of the big picture for your career? How important is this particular year?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, this year is very important for me. I'm trying to make a move. And all the Grand Slams and big tournaments, I'm trying to do very well. Actually, all the tournaments I've entered in I want to pretty much make it happen, so to say. Got to make it happen.
Q. You seemed to have a little twinge in your left foot at one stage there. Is that okay? You'll be fine for next week?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, it should be. What happened was I was giving, you know, that usual 120 percent effort that I like to give, and I was running for a backhand. I kind of rolled over on my ankle. And last time I did that, I didn't feel it until two days later, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that everything's going to be okay. I have my trainer with me, so I think it will be okay.
Q. If you have a big year as you hope, is there a big clothing contract or a big contract out there for you like Venus got?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think definitely there is for sure. I have two years left on my contract, so I have a couple years. And I think a lot of people are, you know, watching me and buying the products. So I think I should, you know, do very well with that.
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