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September 2, 1999

Serena Williams

U.S. OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP, Flushing Meadows, New York

Q. She was pretty tough, huh? Do you feel like you had to play well to win the match?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Definitely. She was definitely a good player. As everyone's playing these days. No one is kidding and no one's joking anyone. Whenever you play, you have to go out and play.

Q. Were you happy with how you played? You didn't make too many errors.

SERENA WILLIAMS: I really didn't play so well today. I think I made way too many errors. I didn't get enough first serves in. I was pretty erratic, and kind of not playing that great. But... I came out with the big "W."

Q. Is there less pressure on you from the media, from the fans, from the family, to win than your sister?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I wouldn't -- I wouldn't say there's any pressure on either me or Venus. I think that any pressure that's put on either of us, it would definitely be the one that we put on ourselves. I don't think being younger has anything to do with it. It's just about who's playing well and who's not.

Q. Are you approaching this Grand Slam like any other tournament, or do you feel like you have to mentally prepare in another way because it's a Slam?

SERENA WILLIAMS: You definitely have to do a lot of mental preparation and be really focused and just get real serious. I'm trying to be more mentally focused than what I have been in the past and try and be more serious than what I've been.

Q. Yesterday, Martina Hingis talked about your father's comments about you and Venus being in the Finals. She said they all have big mouths, or something to that effect. Does that offend you, or do you shrug it off? How do you react to that?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I mean I really don't -- that's just her problem. She's always been the type of person that -- she says things, just speaks her mind. I guess it has a little bit to do with not having a formal education. But you just have to somehow just think more, you have to use your brain a little more in the tennis world. She does that well on the court. She's No. 1. She's doing very well. But, I mean, I just don't have anything negative to say about anyone. It just literally does not pay to say anything negative and bad about anyone. So... That's her opinion and she's entitled to her -- everyone is entitled to their own separate opinion. Obviously she's No. 1 so she can say whatever she would like to say. I personally don't think my mouth is big, if you're looking at it. (Laughter.)

Q. Would something like that motivate you more if you were to eventually face her?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I've already been motivated before, just to play the best I can against everyone. So... It doesn't matter. I just go out and play my best, just do the best that I can do.

Q. You brought up the notion of a formal education. How has your formal education helped you in the tennis world?

SERENA WILLIAMS: It's really helped me to realize that tennis isn't everything. There's so much more beyond tennis. You could break a leg any day and you never know what's going to happen. My dad always tries to stress education. I believe education is really important. I just -- I really just do the best I can to go farther -- further my education and my mental development.

Q. What was your education this summer, your school this summer?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I haven't gone to school this summer but I am going to school this fall. But usually I'm always learning new languages. I'm learning Portuguese right now. I'm going to learn Spanish next. I always try to keep my brain focused on something. I don't like to get too much involved with a lot of nonsense. I like to be a little focused a little more.

Q. What kind of school are you going to?

SERENA WILLIAMS: An art school for fashion design. I'm also going to take psychology classes. Maybe I can help some of you guys. (Laughter)

Q. Thank you so much. (Laughter.) In which, the fashion or the psychology? (Laughter)


Q. Is this in the Palm Beach area?

SERENA WILLIAMS: It's in, like, it's in the south Florida area, yeah.

Q. So do you have your high school degree now?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yes, I do. I was pretty excited when I got my diploma. A lot of people can't say that, but I guess they pursue other things. In a way, I guess it's better for them. For instance like Martina Hingis, she was No. 1 when she was 16. That's something I've never done personally. I still haven't won a Grand Slam and she's won five. She's pursued other things, I'm pursuing education. I'm catching up in tennis, though.

Q. When did you complete your course work for the degree?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I graduated last year in December. So I graduated a little young. I was working really hard. So I was 17 when I graduated. It was cool.

Q. Everybody wants you and Venus together just because you're sisters and both on the tennis Tour. How are you guys different, your personality?

SERENA WILLIAMS: We're different in a lot of ways. I think I'm a little more outgoing but yet at the same time more introverted than she is. It's a little weird.

Q. Explain that. What does that mean?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Okay, it's -- okay, I'm more outgoing. I would say more to more people. But at the same time, I'm introverted. If we have a conversation, I wouldn't talk as much as Venus would. She's definitely less outgoing. I guess many of you can see that. In a way, she's more extroverted than I am. Capishe (ph)?

Q. You're more likely to make the initial contact and then she'll start talking?


Q. What's the name of the school you graduated from?

SERENA WILLIAMS: It was a private school, Driftwood Academy, in Florida. A private school.

Q. Both you and your sister have such a strong mental approach to the game. Do you think that having these other ambitions, going to school, studying fashion and having ambitions beyond tennis, do you think that helps you to sort of put tennis in perspective, you know, it's not your everything? Do you think that helps you mentally in the game; having a world outside of it?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yes, definitely. I think sometimes having a world outside, but then sometimes also if you're too much involved outside, you -- it's too much because you have to realize this is your profession. And you have to take this important -- this foremost because this is what I've done for all my life. I have to realize that. So it's fun. It's important to have fun outside of tennis but it's also important to stay focused in what you're doing. That's why I can only go to school in the fall, because I only play a few tournaments.

Q. Speaking of school, Venus hasn't entered into any tournaments this fall, has she?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. I thought she was. Maybe she isn't.

Q. If that's the case, if you have to concentrate on your profession, is it a -- do you think it's a little bit of a mistake to not play from September to December?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm playing tournaments between that time. I don't know about her. I usually don't play that many tournaments to start out anyway. I don't have that many points to defend this fall. If I can just play a few and go ahead and be serious and take the titles, then that's all I need to do.

Q. Can you think of anything in all your education and studies where you said, hey, this can really translate to tennis or can really help me in the tennis world?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I was always able to relate to psychology and physics, kind of in a way. You know, everything in physics is just -- it just relates just to everything, you know, which is kind of weird. I guess -- I don't know. I don't want to get too much into that. I used to love physics, it was great. I really enjoyed the classes. So.

Q. You said education helped you but there are things beyond tennis. Does that suggest maybe you don't plan on having a very long career in tennis?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't -- I can't see myself ten years from now in here. But I know Steffi Graf, when she was younger, she said the same thing and she was here ten years later. So I really don't know. I mean right now I can't see it but I'm not going to have a myopic view and say I'm not going to be here because you never know in the future.

Q. Where are you going to be in ten years?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Where am I going to be in ten years?

Q. Where do you see yourself if you're not right here?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I see myself definitely as a fashion designer, I will probably have a couple clothes -- I'm into wedding dresses as well as a lot of other things. I'm trying to add color to wedding dresses but I'm into other things as well.

Q. What color?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I mean pure white, but some trims. I mean with a lavender, even a black and red, burgundy trim around it. I think that will be really nice.

Q. Are you going to suggest to Mary Joe you'll help pick out her wedding dress?

SERENA WILLIAMS: We talked about that. But she already had her dress picked out.

Q. Venus said she was envious of her] Sister. You get to go to college.

SERENA WILLIAMS: She did? I think Venus likes college more than I. I'm nervous about going. It's been a while since I've been in school. I think she's going to really help me with my classes. Hopefully, we'll be in the same classes and she can really help me out. It's going to be an experience.

Q. What's the school that you're going to in the fall for fashion and psychology?

SERENA WILLIAMS: It's just in south Florida, just an art school?

Q. Which one, do you know?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Fort Lauderdale. It's in Fort Lauderdale.

Q. From the time that Venus made her debut in '97 here, your father's been saying that, you know, wait till Serena comes along, she's even better. She's going to be better. What do you feel about that when you hear that, and do you agree?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I always believe in myself, and of course I'm going to agree that I'm doing the best I can. You cannot underestimate anyone. Venus is playing great. Everyone's playing their best. So my dad has been right all along, all these years. I've been a super riser, I've risen very fast. And I just look forward to just going farther and reaching the top spot and do the best that I can do.

Q. (Inaudible) Did you hit the storm in Manhattan Beach?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I didn't. I had to buy some furniture. I'm very disappointed. I wasn't able to get anything.

Q. Except furniture.


End of FastScripts….

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