March 28, 1999
KEY BISCAYNE, FLORIDA
VERONIQUE MARCHAL: Questions.
Q. Does it get any easier emotionally to play your sister?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I guess you guys had a lot more emotions than what Venus and I did. I mean, I really wasn't that emotionally involved today, so, not necessarily.
Q. Was it as easy to focus against her as it would have been against some other opponent?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah. I mean, especially after a little while, you want to win. You're thinking, "I can win." You're not thinking about who's actually over there. You're actually just thinking about you being the player. I looked over at her sometimes, and I didn't consider her Venus or my sister; I just considered her an opponent.
Q. Seemed like in the second game of the second set, you put some emphasis on your second shots. Jump-started your game.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, really tried to come out with a different plan because obviously my plan wasn't working and she was getting a lot of balls back, forcing me to hit the errors trying to go for a better shot. But I really tried -- even if the first game of the second set, I tried something different. And it was working, but just not in that game. But I knew if I kept doing it, then I would be able to come through.
Q. Even though it was not emotional, are you glad now that this first final together is over, you don't have to face this anymore?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, sure I'm glad it's over. I wouldn't want to still be out on the court right now. I think I'd be lying down. Venus would have to come over and help me up. So, yeah, sure. I'm definitely looking forward to another final with Venus. It's great to play her in the final because it's like what we've always dreamed of. Always dreamed of seeing her on the other side of the net instead of someone else. So now that my game is taken to a different level, I'm playing better, winning more matches, it's going to happen more.
Q. Was there anytime today that you realized you just weren't practicing against each other, that this was a real deal? Was it obvious from the start?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I realized that when I first walked out there and hit the first warm-up ball. I realized, "Hey, this is not a practice match." I never even thought of it as a practice match. Maybe you did, but I didn't.
Q. What does Venus bring out in your game that you don't necessarily have to deal with with a lot of the other players?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I think she brings out just me having to hit a lot more shots because she gets a lot of balls back. And I have to really, really play a lot of shots. Usually I hit -- usually, like against Martina Hingis, she's a pretty fast player, too, but not like Venus. Venus is not only fast, but she just has a long reach. Even if she doesn't hit a good shot, she'll just get it back.
Q. What did you two say to each other at the net after the match?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Venus just said -- I don't remember. I just shook her hand, yeah. You mean directly after the match during the handshake or later on?
Q. As soon as the match was over, at the net.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Usually when I play people, I just say, "Good job."
Q. There was nothing different today?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No. Maybe she said something I don't remember, but no.
Q. You worked so hard to get to 4-All in the third set, then you lose eight of nine points, mostly on errors. Was it mental fatigue? Physical fatigue?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think I just really made a lot of errors, like eight or nine. That was really out of control there. I should have got more balls in play and just played better. I went for too much, too soon. Maybe I should have tried coming to the net or just do something a little different.
Q. Did you put pressure on yourself feeling had you to make certain shots more so than you would in other matches?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Not necessarily, no. You have to know when you're playing Venus, she's a great player. You have to know when you're playing me, I'm a great awesome player, too.
Q. Your dad said that you didn't play up to your potential. Are you disappointed with the way you played?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I mean, I definitely didn't play very well at all. I was making way too many errors. Seems like I couldn't keep many balls in play. It just wasn't the same Serena like the rest of my 16 matches.
Q. Were you always aware that you were playing Venus or did it drop out of your mind at some point?
SERENA WILLIAMS: When I'm playing someone, I don't think about who I'm playing. I'm just playing the ball. I'm not playing my opponent. Doesn't matter who I play, when I play them, where I play them. I wasn't necessarily thinking, "Oh, I'm playing Venus." No, I wasn't thinking that.
Q. Your dad told us that he couldn't watch, he was close to crying.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Really?
Q. Yes. I'm just wondering if at any point today, has there been anything out of the ordinary for you or the sister or the family? Are you surprised to hear that about your pop?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I guess so. I guess he had his reasons to why he was almost to tears. He's worked so hard with Venus and I since I was four and Venus was five, or whatever. I mean, he's done so much for us. Just to see us succeed like this, in his dreams, it must be a very emotional time for him and my mom. It's really amazing for him seeing us grow and just grooming us into champions. It must be a great feeling for him. So I can imagine.
Q. You and Venus haven't said anything out of the ordinary today, breakfast, anytime?
SERENA WILLIAMS: What do you mean "out of the ordinary"?
Q. Have you talked about how big this is?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't consider it that big. I guess it is. I don't know.
Q. When we watch you played in the semifinals, both of you were very emotional, pumped up when you hit a great shot. In this one I saw a couple of fists from you. But neither of you showed much emotion when you did something really well. Do you have to think about that, subconsciously maybe?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I didn't really hit many shots, that's why I didn't have many fist pumps. If I had hit some great shots, things might have been different for me. Maybe for Venus, it might have been different. I don't know what the stats are, but I don't remember too many winners throughout the match.
Q. Was it hard to play Venus because she knows your game so well?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I guess in a way it is because she knows my game very well. I know her game extremely well. When you play an opponent that knows exactly what you're going to do, the exact moves you're going to make, it's going to be tough definitely.
Q. Who is going to write this for your newsletter?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm trying to decide if I should do a story on Serena or Venus. I'm not sure.
Q. You said you're looking forward to meeting in more finals. There's only so many Slams, but playing in the lesser tournaments, could it hinder your progress if you keep knocking each other out, as far as your goal to be No. 1 and 2 or No. 1 and 1?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't understand what you're --.
Q. If you keep knocking each other out early in tournaments.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Like before the final?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, okay. I didn't understand that.
Q. In smaller tournaments as opposed to the Slams.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Can you repeat the question, please (laughter)?
Q. Obviously, there's so many Slams you both have to play those. In the smaller tournaments, would it be better to play in different places as opposed to knocking each other out?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I don't know. I guess so. We try to do a lot of things alike. We like to go to the same places a lot. It's just going to depend on how the draw is picked sometimes. It so happens at this tournament that we were picked on different sides of the draw.
Q. Your dad said that the family hired some psychologists who said that tennis is a sport that can be disruptive to a family, that's why he didn't want you to play each other that much. What's your reaction to that? Do you think your relationship with Venus is going to be affected by you playing her a lot more?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I can't necessarily say that our relationship is going to be affected by tennis. We have a strong background, we're Jehovah's Witnesses, we really believe that family comes first, not a game that's going to last ten years at the most. I don't know if I'm going to be playing ten years. It can last. Why would I want that to become between someone who has always been around, always been a very special friend for me. I couldn't imagine that. I definitely don't think she could either. I don't think, no matter how many times we play each other, I could never say that it would affect my relationship with Venus.
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