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September 4, 2000

Serena Williams

Flushing Meadows, New York

MODERATOR: Questions for Serena.

Q. Did you ever read The Color Purple?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yes, yes, of course. Read it, saw the movie.

Q. Has it been an inspiration?

SERENA WILLIAMS: It's really a depressing book and movie. It's very sad. Every time I see the movie, I'm in tears. It's a good movie.

Q. I just thought your purple style. I'm really interested to know what you thought of Jelena Dokic?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, obviously she's a great player. She's got a lot of good wins in her career. She's very good. She has a nice future.

Q. That line call in the tiebreak, what did you think of it?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't remember. I remember getting a bad call in the tiebreak. Is that the one you're referring to?

Q. She's saying she feels as though that was the real turning point for her today in the match. If things had gone her way, she might have had a chance at winning. What do you say?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't even remember, I really don't. All I remember is I think I -- I can't be complete. I do know that there is this one ball that she hit that I thought was for sure out and she called it in. You win some, you lose some. That's just how it is.

Q. It's all about the strength of mind, isn't it, when things don't go the way you think they should. Do you think perhaps experience is the only antidote to that?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I guess so, yes. After a while you get to know that not all the time you're going to win every point. Sometimes you're going to get bad calls. You just have to say, "Oops, oh well." Not, "Oops, I did it again." Move on.

Q. You were up 4-2 in the tiebreak, 4-1. What went through your mind when it was 6-4?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I did not take my opportunities. I made too many errors. I did not move up to the ball. I was playing too cautious. I just was not playing the way I should have been playing at that point. I'm a real fighter. At that point when I was down 6-4 in the tiebreak, I was thinking, "Well, all I have to do is get the ball back in play and make her play." That's what I wanted to do.

Q. When you lose a set real close, what is the reaction going to the next set?

SERENA WILLIAMS: My reaction going to the next set is make sure I get the first game, break the next set, game, then all I have to do is hold, break, hold, break. I never give up. I can never see myself in a losing position, so I just keep going. Like I said, that's what I think about.

Q. Can you talk about how deflating it was to lose such a close tiebreaker? How much of a lift was it for you to win?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Obviously, it was a great lift. Sure, I wanted to win the tiebreak. If I had lost the tiebreak, I would have came out even stronger in the second set because I tend to play a little better when I'm down. Just the way I am, I just tend to play a little better.

Q. Jelena spoke of having to lift her game when she plays against you or Venus. Do you feel that the two of you have sort of raised the bar as far as athleticism and quickness on the court, make the rest of the players raise their level?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yes, I think for sure when a lot of people play us, they lift their games. They might play in a way that they've never played before. Venus and I definitely have lifted the bars of tennis. People are playing a lot harder, especially against us. They're bringing out their all. Everybody wants to beat a Williams sister now. It's the person to beat. That's just the way it is.

Q. What is your highest number of aces in a match? You had 14 today.

SERENA WILLIAMS: 14, yes. I know one time I had 12.

Q. You had 15 once.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Did I? Wow. I'm really happy with the way I'm serving today. That really pulled me through. That's when you know you're able to have a shot you know you're going to make. I knew my serve was going to be there. I knew I could count on that ace. I'm really happy I can definitely count on that ace. I'm serving a lot better than I was my first two matches.

Q. You and Venus feel like marked women? Everybody is after you.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yes, for sure. Everyone is after us. Everyone wants to win. But that makes me play better because I know whenever I go out there, I'm going to have to fight because the girl that I'm playing is going to want to win, going to want to have that win against me or Venus. It's good for us because it actually makes us better players, that they play us hard. I actually like it when people come out and give me a tough match, whereas when I was in Wimbledon, I didn't have any tough matches. I was just running through everyone. Now I'm feeling a lot better. I have a tough match in the next round. I'm feeling more confident because I've had a few tough matches under me.

Q. How much does it matter to you when family members are there watching?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, it's good. It's definitely good because you get a lot of support, especially if you make an unfortunate error that maybe you should have made the shot. It's good to look up, they're like, "That's okay, let's go." That's what's most important.

Q. How did your parents raise you and Venus to be so independent?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I really don't know. You'd have to ask them.

Q. Nothing in your upbringing, when you were a teenager or younger, they kept telling you?

SERENA WILLIAMS: We were always encouraged to make our own decisions. Whatever Venus did, I did (laughter). I finally was able to grow up. That's how little sisters are. We were encouraged to make our own decisions, and we would learn from them. That was a good thing.

Q. You and Venus both made it to the quarters now. How likely do you think a final match-up is seeing what you have yet to go through?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm just taking it one match at a time. Three matches together. Four down, three to go. I just hope to make it there. I have a great chance. I don't have anything to lose. I'm feeling very excited and very happy. But I'm not satisfied. Obviously, I want to go farther. Yeah, I'm really excited to go the rest of the way.

Q. You had a great match with Lindsay a couple weeks ago in LA. Talk about playing her, possibly.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I don't know. I like playing her. She has a game that I like to play. She's a great player. She's been doing great things. The best thing, one way or the other, an American is going to be in the semifinals for sure. That's good, because we're all a team, we're about to go to the Olympics. It's really exciting.

End of FastScripts....

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