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March 27, 2000

Serena Williams


WTA: Questions for Serena.

Q. What do you feel you have to do now to really get back into things?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Actually, you know what, I feel I played okay today. I mean, she just played some great shots. Maybe I could have came in a little bit more, just try a little different things, yeah. I just -- I don't know. I'm going to go home, talk things over with my dad. We'll evaluate things.

Q. Does this shock you?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Shock me? Anytime I lose, it shocks me.

Q. Is it tougher now that you're no longer an underdog, people are gunning for you?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, not really. People were always gunning for me. I don't know. I mean, they always played me real hard than I've ever seen them play other people. You know, whenever I go out there, I know people are going to play me extremely hard, whereas they might go a little easy on other people.

Q. What do you think of Jennifer's game at this point?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think definitely today she played some of her best tennis. She did good. The best for her.

Q. Do you remember a big match where you started out not being able to get your first serve in like this?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I don't remember a big match. No, I can't remember. I mean, this tournament, I've been really struggling with my serve. I don't know. I'm going to go and work on that, too. I don't know why.

Q. No explanation for it? Toss? Wind?

SERENA WILLIAMS: It was really windy out there. I mean, it was hard to, you know, play my game. I think if it wasn't so windy, maybe I would have came out with the win. But I don't know. You know, just yesterday people were asking me if I ever played in windy conditions. I said, "No, I never played in windy conditions." What do you know, the next day it's really windy, so. You know, there's a first for everything. Today was my first. I'm still young. I'm only 18. She's 24. How old is she? 23.

Q. That foot fault call.

SERENA WILLIAMS: That was unfair. Things happen.

Q. Then after the call, your smash was called in, the crowd seemed to disagree with that. Did that surprise you a little bit, the crowd's reaction?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't understand. When the crowd was going crazy?

Q. Yes.

SERENA WILLIAMS: I didn't know what happened at all. I didn't understand. All I knew is I got the game. I thought maybe the umpire gave Jennifer a point penalty.

Q. Is that what happened?

SERENA WILLIAMS: That's what I thought. I don't know what happened at all. All I know is I got the game and I thought my ball was out. I don't remember what happened. I remember I hit a backhand and it was out. Jennifer, I don't know, I thought she got a point penalty. All I know is I got the game.

Q. They ruled it in, that it was good.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, it was out. But I didn't know that, you know. It's not my job to call the lines.

Q. Didn't seem like she could have gotten a point penalty.

SERENA WILLIAMS: That was the only thing I could figure. I didn't think they would call that in, though, because it was pretty far out.

Q. Do you think the chair has a responsibility to tell the players and crowd what's going on so there's clarity?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I guess in that situation, usually it's pretty clear. But the crowd was so loud, no one could really hear anything. Even I couldn't hear anything. I don't know. Usually it's pretty clear, but today I guess it wasn't clear. Something that doesn't happen so often.

Q. When you say the foot fault was unfair, do you mean you thought you didn't foot fault?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't foot fault.

Q. On TV, replay showed you did on that one.

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't foot fault (laughter).

Q. After that controversial point, you changed sides, hit three very un-Serena like service returns. Were you feeling tight in that game?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No. I mean, at that game, every time I tried to go for a return, the ball just at the last minute turned into me like the wind. I was like, "Wow, this is ridiculous." It was really strange.

Q. Have you ever seen anybody serve a ball into the crowd?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, Venus. I used to really not like playing doubles with her because she did that all the time.

Q. What was your reaction when Jennifer did that?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I didn't have a reaction. I was just ready to play, you know, try and get every point that I could.

Q. Did you sense that things were getting a little rocky for her there when she was trying to close it out?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Every time I play her, she might have a lead on me; I usually come back. I think I played her in Berlin, she was up 5-2, I came back and won.

Q. Martina said that while you played great at The Open, these days she and Lindsay were at a level better than the other players, a level by themselves. Could you comment on that?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. I'm ready to play Martina again because she makes a lot of comments. But she's right. Actually, I've been losing a lot. I lost in the Australian Open, I lost in Indian Wells, I lost here. So, yeah, it's her and Lindsay right now, yeah. Hopefully we'll play each other soon.

Q. You'd like to change that situation?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Obviously, of course.

Q. What's the key to getting that consistency back?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. Like I said, I'm going to go home and talk things over with my dad, you know.

Q. At one point during the match, the chair cautioned the crowd about cell phones. Is that ever a distraction for you during a match? Can they do something about that?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No. You see, I grew up in the ghetto. I've been used to worse distractions. That's really no distraction to me.

Q. What are you targeting for your year? Do you have a particular ambition, a part of the year you're especially looking forward to?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I usually look forward to the beginning of the year because most of the tournaments are on hard court and I do really excel. You know, now I'm really looking forward to the middle of the year because I love to play on the clay. I'm definitely going to get ready for the play.

Q. What's your schedule?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm playing a lot of tournaments, you know, Bausch and Lomb, Hilton Head, Berlin.

Q. Are you aware of the Confederate flag controversy up in South Carolina?


Q. The NAACP is proposing a boycott of all events up there because of the Confederate flag flying over the statehouse. Do you have any thoughts about that?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Wow, I didn't know that. Maybe I won't play.

Q. Seriously?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Seriously, yeah. I mean, I'm really not involved in politics. But, you know, what's right is right, and what's wrong is wrong. I mean, that's so long ago.

Q. Are you scheduled to play in the Family Circle Cup?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I am actually. It's a shame. I hear they're moving it to South Carolina next year.

Q. Charleston.

SERENA WILLIAMS: So, I mean, maybe I'll play next year. We'll see. I'll have to talk things over with my dad again, see what he thinks. I'm not going to support anything that's putting down my race, you know.

Q. Jennifer Capriati doesn't look like the fittest player on the tour out there. Is she more fit, in your opinion, than she looks?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, yeah, definitely for sure. She's a strong girl. She looks real strong. She's very fast. Every time I play her, she runs down a lot of balls. She's always been fast, even when she was younger. I remember I watched her when I was young. I remember she was really fast.

Q. Was that last game, filled with double-faults and unforced errors, a nervous game for both of you?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I guess. I don't know. I don't know. Not for me, no. You'd have to ask her.

Q. Was this a tougher loss to take with your sister out of the tournament? Is it easy to get over? Is it a devastating loss?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I mean, I try not to get devastated over losses anymore. I took a personality test, and I found out that I was a perfectionist. If I don't do things perfect and cross my T's and dot my I's, it's really hard for me. I have to realize that this is just a game; I'm just out there to please the crowd, just do the best that I can. If I go too extreme, I'll end up in the nut house with the other perfectionists.

Q. Were there losses that did devastate you, earlier in your career?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah. Every time I lose, I don't feel good. I mean, it's kind of hard to feel good after you lose. Like I said, I can't dwell on it because I'll go crazy, because I like to have everything perfect.

Q. Have you ever played a match which you felt was close to perfect?


Q. What was the one that was --?


Q. Have you ever put out one of your newsletters that was perfect, didn't have a typo in it?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No. There's always a type error after it's printed.

Q. Us, too.

End of FastScripts….

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