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July 3, 2000

Serena Williams


MODERATOR: Ladies and Gentlemen, Serena Williams.

Q. Feeling pretty good? You seem to be going through your matches pretty easily.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I'm feeling okay.

Q. Just okay, huh?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, just okay. I have to feel a little better.

Q. Why? What's going on that's not making you feel great?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I mean, I wasn't really happy with the way I played today. I didn't feel like I had a really good practise. I didn't come out the way I wanted to.

Q. What made you unhappy, particularly unhappy?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I wasn't really happy too much with my return game. I felt I was missing too many. But, you know, I can't really complain that much.

Q. You're one match away from playing Venus Williams. Does that dwell on your mind? Have you been thinking about it since the start of this tournament? If so, what is your emotional reaction to having to do that?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I played her enough times now to be ready and focused. I've been aware of it from the beginning of the tournament. I know we're just taking it one match at a time. That's what we both are doing. We're both okay.

Q. Hingis thinks you'll be more dangerous than your sister. Do you think she's maybe underestimating your sister?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. I never underestimate anyone. I'm ready to play Venus or Hingis or whoever it will be. I'm playing very well. I'm trying to -- I'm watching a lot of matches, trying each game to stay more and more focused. I just have to take it how it comes.

Q. Do you wish you'd been more tested?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I've been tested enough. I think I'm just trying to conserve my energy right now.

Q. Since winning the US Open, how do you think your game has grown? What parts have you been working on to improve?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think I'm definitely playing better here than I was at The Open. I was very erratic there. Too many three-set matches. I think overall, I'm more mentally strong. I'm not making as many errors. I'm just serving -- I don't know, I served pretty well there. I'm serving good here also.

Q. When you're training and working on your game, how many hours do you put in? How many hours do you put in on the court with Venus? Do you train with other people?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Usually on our days off, we train together. If we play a match, it depends on what time it is. She might hit earlier. We have hitting partners. I might hit later. It depends like that. On our days off, we usually are playing doubles, so we don't hit that long. All the hitting has been done before, all the preparation has been done before Wimbledon. Now it's time for matches and mental preparation.

Q. Will you hit with her the day before you have to play her, if you have to play her?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Maybe (smiling).

Q. Lisa Raymond says all the pressure is on you to win the match. Do you agree with that?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No. I don't ever put any pressure on myself. If that's how she feels, I guess it is. I'm ranked a little higher. She's been playing some really good tennis, she has a nice slice. I have to make sure I'm ready.

Q. There are a lot of American women left in this tournament.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, it's really exciting.

Q. Is it a surprise? If not, what accounts for it?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. I mean, American tennis, at least on the female side, is looking up. Venus, I, Lindsay, Capriati, Lilia Osterloh was in it still, Monica. I don't know what it is. Maybe it's McDonald's.

Q. What aspect of McDonald's helps American tennis?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Definitely their cheeseburgers.

Q. Not the fries?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Not too much the fries. The cheeseburgers, yeah.

Q. Martina said it's been very hard for her when she's had to play you both back-to-back. What do you think it is particularly about the two of you back-to-back that would present a particularly difficult challenge to somebody?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Who knows. First of all, I still have another match to win. I don't know. I guess it's like playing us both twice in a row because we both run very well, we both have big serves, we both are attacking. I don't know. It's like playing the same person who's your nemesis, playing them all over again.

Q. You mentioned that you've been watching a lot of tennis also. Do you enjoy that side? Is it becoming something you get more of a kick out of? Do you like sort of the intellectual challenge of breaking down other players?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I do. Tennis, it's fun. It's a lot of thinking involved. I'm doing a lot more thinking on the court nowadays. What was the question? I'm enjoying watching it, yes. The English, I'm having a problem finding good programs here. Like I said, Total Recall was on. I fell asleep. I never saw that movie. I wanted to see it. They always have the tennis on BBC-1 and 2, so I get to watch a lot. You can always learn. You can always learn. There's always room for improvement, in life, in tennis, whatever.

Q. Can you think of one example of what you picked up from watching?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I can think of a lot of things, especially some forehands and serves, because I've been doing a lot of watching on those on the men's side.

Q. Have you ever gone back in your mind and rethought the match you played against Venus at Key Biscayne, thinking, "How would I have played this differently now that I'm a little more mature, my game is a little more developed"?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I never went back, not to that match, no. I never thought about that, actually.

Q. When you beat her at the Grand Slam Cup, what did you do specifically that broke her down?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I was really playing well. That's one of the few times I think I played well. Venus said, "I never see you play that well before." It was true. That day, I really wanted -- I guess either I wanted to win or I wanted the 800 or 900 thousand dollars. I'm sure that can motivate anyone. I was fairly motivated. Because she would have only got 800. Since I won the Slam, I would have got slightly more.

Q. Martina Hingis earlier, in a complimentary way, said that the Williams sisters have helped her lift her game in terms of the fitness that she's had to improve on. I'm wondering, conversely, if anything that Martina Hingis has done has forced you to have to lift your game in any one area?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think when Venus and I came on the tour, a lot of people went back in the gym, started getting more physically fit, started trying to hit harder, everyone's serve went up, everyone's game actually improved. That's just the bottom line. I think we've basically not only helped lift her game. She saw us and she saw that, "Hey, I want to do better." A lot of people actually improved their games.

Q. One of the players told me you still have your game face on in the locker room pretty much. Is that still the case? Do you think you'll go by, wave, say hi, smile? Are you dead serious about winning the title?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm really serious about doing well here. If that's what it takes to have your game face on the whole time, that's what I'm trying to do. I don't want to come all this way to get only so far. I'm really ready to go all the way now.

Q. You and Venus don't pool your money? You keep your money separate?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, we don't, no.

Q. You have it separate?


Q. The knee injury, is it related to teenage growth?

SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, I think so. I've grown since the US Open. I was shorter at The Open than I am now.

Q. Is that a potential problem for the next couple of years? What do the doctors say about that?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't think I'll grow anymore. But back then, I didn't think I would grow either. But who knows. I mean, some people don't have to worry about growing. Venus and I had to pretty much. You know, it's little setbacks here and there. I don't think I'll grow anymore. The doctors said I wouldn't.

Q. What is your height now?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm like 5'10" now. In The Open, I was below 5'9".

Q. Drinking a lot of milk?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I love milk. You saw the ad, right? Milk and McDonald's (laughter).

Q. Did you get that diet from Martina Navratilova? Did she suggest it?


Q. Anything for desserts?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I can't think of anything, man. No more funnies.

Q. When you and Venus train together, do you ever play sets?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, we never really played sets - never. Maybe in our whole life, you can take a handful of sets we may have played.

Q. Why not?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. You'll have to ask my dad really. I don't know. We just usually train, groundstroke, work on different things.

Q. Never been a day where Venus or you said, "Let's go out to the court and play for a couple of six-packs of soda, a couple McDonald's"?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No. In our spare time, we don't go out and say, "Let's go play tennis." We're more like, "Let's go to the beach."

Q. You've probably returned her serve thousands of times in practise. Can you read her toss?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think so. I'm good at reading pretty much a lot of people's toss. That's one of my specialties. I think my return is really a strong part of my game. I have one of the best returns out there. I'm really capable of reading people's toss.

Q. Can she read your toss?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. I try not to mix up my toss. I was watching this one program about Pete Sampras, how he said when he was younger, his coach made him toss the same place, and at the last minute he would say, "Go out wide." I practise on that.

Q. You can take just about everybody's serve about two feet, three feet inside the baseline. Can you take Venus' serve inside the baseline?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Maybe. It depends. If Venus hits a 127, I would either have to block it back or go in immediately for wrist surgery, move back.

Q. If you guys play against each other, does your dad coach both of you? Does he give both of you strategies on how to play each other? At that point you just don't need it from anybody?

SERENA WILLIAMS: At that point, he doesn't give us any strategy. He just tells us to go out and have fun. At least one of us either win or make it to the next round. We'll have to see.

End of FastScripts....

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