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June 29, 2000

Serena Williams


MODERATOR: Good afternoon, Ladies and Gentlemen. Serena Williams for you.

Q. How come you lost one game?

SERENA WILLIAMS: At 5-1 -- 5-Love in the first set, seriously I lost focus there. I tried to get it back, but if you lose it like that, it's kind of hard just to bounce right back. I was actually down breakpoint in the next game too.

Q. Was it difficult to judge how well you were playing because the match was so quick, or was it so quick because you were playing so well?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think both. It's a little difficult to judge how you play when the match is so quick and there's not too many rallies involved in the match. Also I think maybe I just played better, coming to the net more, actually closing out the points. I think overall I've definitely improved from my first round.

Q. What about the serving today?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I was popping it today. It was amazing. Sometimes I just had to pinch myself. That's how it was going at The Open. I'm glad that it's back. I love just to pop them like that.

Q. Could you have played any better?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, for sure. I think I could have maybe made a little less errors on the return. But, you know, I was going for them. When you go for it like that, you're bound to make some mistakes. Maybe I could have, you know, did little things here and there slightly better.

Q. Would you have liked a more demanding match than you had out there?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I mean, maybe, maybe.

Q. Are you surprised that you're playing so well soon after you've come back?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Actually, I was looking at an article the other day on me. It said how last year I didn't play the Wimbledon. I had two months off. I came back; I bounced right back to win the LA tournament and US Open. I said, "You know, Serena, you can do this again." Just because I had two months off doesn't mean anything at all. When I looked at, that really encouraged me. I've started playing better.

Q. Are you concerned about peaking too early?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, not at all. I haven't even began to reach my peak at all. I think there's so much room for improvement; there always is.

Q. It was apparent today that you wanted to try to make some more volleys.


Q. She couldn't get the ball back to give you any practise, could she?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I guess not. But she tried her hardest. That's all you can ask for out of an opponent, just to do your best. She did her best. That's good.

Q. Are you feeling very comfortable with the knee?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I'm feeling really comfortable. Especially today, I didn't want to stay -- in my first few matches, I don't want to stay out too long. I just want to go out, do what I came here to do, and move on. So that's what I was happy most of all with today.

Q. Why is it that Wimbledon is your favourite tournament?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. I like the grass. Did I say it was my favourite tournament?

Q. Yes.

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think I said it was my No. 1 goal, to win Wimbledon now. I like the grass. It suits my game. I have a fast-paced game. I have a nice serve. I can serve-and-volley. I can stay at the baseline. I have an overall game. I think this is the surface for me.

Q. Were you delayed coming out?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I was waiting for my opponent. I thought she was going to meet us and the guards. Apparently she was already out there. It was just a slight misunderstanding.

Q. Why no more beads in the hair?

SERENA WILLIAMS: To be honest, I brought beads with me. I just forgot to put them in. I had time. Who am I kidding? I have all the time in the world (laughter). I just neglected, more or less, to put them in. Obviously I've had time. Maybe I'll get around to it. I'm not going to put them all in because my hair is too long, just a few different strands.

Q. Your father has always professed a separation of tennis and the rest of your life. How do you think he would react if you, like so many of your peers, were dating another tennis player? Is that something that could ever happen?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. I mean, I guess there's a lot of action going on around the tour (laughter). I've been away. I missed a little of the action. Every day I see things, my eyes light up, "Whoa, I didn't know." You know, I don't know. I guess it's interesting for tennis for this to happen.

Q. Could it happen for you ever, or is that something, again, that's separate? Social life and tennis is something separate?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I mean, you know, right now I'm really focusing on my career. Yeah, basically I'm really trying to keep that No. 1 in life. It's really hard if you get involved in a relationship. Next thing you know, your game goes down, all kinds of things happen.

Q. Here you are being gracious to your opponent in defeat, who you clearly murdered, saying there's room for improvement in your game. What do you make when John McEnroe says that you and your sister need lessons in humility?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I saw that also the other day. I don't know. I don't recall too many times where I say too many negative things. Maybe I do. I'm just not aware of it. I never recall saying anything negative in the public about anyone. I don't think it's fair. They have feelings, too. If I had, then maybe there was a problem there. But I really don't recall it.

Q. Do you think people say this kind of thing because you're a woman, you want to win, you're ambitious?

SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, I think maybe because there's a lot of guys out there who have - I don't know what - you know, just say a lot of things. If a lady comes out and says it, it's totally different. If a guy says it, it's acceptable, it's okay. But that's life. That's life.

Q. What sort of things do you mean?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I can't give you any examples right now.

Q. I guess on more than one occasion, critics have said that you and your sister are not as strategically aware as some of the other players; you're incredible athletes with great bodies. What do you make of that?

SERENA WILLIAMS: We definitely have great bodies, yeah (laughter). Nice, slim, sexy shapes. They're right.

Q. What do you make of the comments that you all aren't as strategically aware as some of the other top players?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, obviously, to go out the way Venus and I have and win in a lot of tournaments, a couple -- a Grand Slam (laughter) between us, a couple doubles Grand Slams, I think that that has definitely grown in our game. I mix it up a lot. I'm able to think a lot on the court. I think maybe before when you're younger, you don't see it as much. Maybe another different person might because we have a different game when we first came out. We have a lot of power, whereas someone else doesn't have the power so they have to do different things. I think that now that we've added that in our game, we're definitely doing a lot better. I think I've definitely added that aspect in my game.

Q. Is it okay for you and Venus to have the same goals? I know she wants to win Wimbledon. That was always her top Slam. Now it's yours. Is it okay?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, it's okay. A lot of people have a goal to win Wimbledon this year at this event. Maybe four people who really dream that they can win it. It's okay.

Q. Just out of curiosity, would it take longer to bead your hair than it did to play that match?

SERENA WILLIAMS: You want an answer to that? Yes (laughter).

Q. How long does it take to bead your hair?

SERENA WILLIAMS: It takes a little while, especially now it takes much longer. To bead it now would take like, you know, two hours, two and a half hours.

Q. Do you think it would be fair to say that Venus is a little bit down in the confidence department right now?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't . I don't think it would be fair to say that, no, because she's playing pretty well now, she's moving good. I don't think so.

Q. So you think that her recent losses or, for example, when you watched her lose to Arantxa at Roland Garros --?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I didn't see the match. I was practising.

Q. When she told you about it, did you think, "She's been off the tour for a while; she's a little bit rusty"?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I mean, obviously you're off for six months, that's a long time to be away from doing your profession. A lot of the time she wasn't able to practise because of the tendonitis. In my case, I was able to practise a little here, maybe a day off, then a day on. You know, it was totally different. Whereas in her case, it wasn't as much practise incorporated. Maybe that definitely had an aspect to play.

Q. You've known her your whole life. Would you say she has enough confidence right now to win a Grand Slam title?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I would say definitely so, she has enough confidence to win this Grand Slam title, the next one or any one that she plays. Both Venus and I, we go out thinking with the attitude that we just believe that we can't lose until we actually get there. Personally, if I go in a tournament, I think I might not win, but maybe I can have a good showing, I'd rather not show up. I'd rather go there thinking, "Hey, can I take this," than maybe, "I can get to the quarterfinals, maybe I can get to the semifinals." We don't like to think that way.

Q. Do you have a picture where it might be healthy or good idea to practise away from Venus, possibly have different coaches?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think right now we're in a good situation. Again, that's just in the future. I can't really distinguish what's going to happen in the future. But we have a wonderful coach, my dad and my mom. They have to be excellent coaches to produce what they have; not only one, but two.

Q. You had a short day at the office today. What do you do for the rest of the day?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I really, really, really like playing first on, finish before the rain, you can get out there, have the rest of the day and the next day off. Who knows. I might see if I have any messages. I don't know. No one ever calls me over here. My popularity has really went down, phone call-wise, that is. Maybe I'll go home and study and think about my match, you know, things like that.

Q. Will you watch Venus?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I'm going to watch her match, take a few pointers, might be a future opponent.

Q. How is your father on navigating the roads now?

SERENA WILLIAMS: We were having a little trouble, but now we're able to go to the village from where we live (laughter), without any accidents. We're making it a little farther each day. It's tough.

Q. Do you think you might make it into London at all?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Not in our car. Maybe like through the metro - the metro, yeah.

Q. You go and watch Venus now playing on Centre Court? Have you seen much of the Centre Court at all?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I played on Centre Court before. I saw it.

Q. Is it good having the two of you together again? It's been a while since you were at a Grand Slam hanging out together.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, it's good. We haven't played doubles in a long time. Really looking forward to playing doubles. We have a lot of fun on the court.

End of FastScripts….

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