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March 26, 1999

Serena Williams


MIKE BROEKER: Questions for Serena.

Q. Is this your biggest victory?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I guess it is. I've never beaten the No. 1 player before. Now that you mention it, I guess it is my biggest victory.

Q. Were you just trying to make it interesting starting out Love-4?


Q. Why did it take so long to warm up?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. I didn't make my shots that I was supposed to make. Things didn't go the way I planned in the beginning. After a while, I was able to get the rhythm and come through.

Q. Why are you playing so well?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. I worked really hard for all my life, since I was four years old. There comes a time when you have to start winning, too. I have been trying for years. It's finally paying off, all my hard work.

Q. How do you feel about playing your sister in the final?

SERENA WILLIAMS: It will be a great feeling for me because then it wouldn't really matter who won or who lost. It would be like we both won. The trophy would definitely go to our house. It would definitely be very exciting for the both of us. Venus has one more match. We'll just have to wait and see.

Q. Is it hard to keep your competitive spirit when you play each other, or does it increase?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think actually it increases when we play each other. We really both want to win very badly. We both try our hardest. It's always pretty interesting, so.

Q. How do you usually do against her?


Q. How did you pull it around from Love-4, when you seemed to be in trouble?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I just kept thinking, "fight," tried to get motivated. Kept thinking to myself, "fight." Before the match, Venus told me something. "If you get down, just say this to yourself." I'm like, "Okay." I started saying it, one point at a time. All I had to do was hold, break, hold, break and hold and break (laughter). Wait a minute, that doesn't sound right. I was just able to do that, hold, break, hold and break, break and hold.

Q. Some girls would be gone at Love-4, wouldn't they?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I guess so. I've never given up in my life. I just don't have that spirit in me. It's not a part of me. If it was, it's no longer.

Q. For years there's been stories about both of you, but the focus always was on Venus. That's changing now. Did that ever bother you in the past?

SERENA WILLIAMS: It never really bothered me at all. I've always been in the background. I always liked the background. It's time for me to move forward now. It's definitely time. I'm playing the best tennis I have in my young career. It's definitely time for me to be up a little more.

Q. How do you think she deals with that?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, Venus, she's always been in the front. She's still. I don't know, I guess you could say we're even now. She's always going to be Venus; I'm always going to be Serena.

Q. How is the knee?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Good, thanks.

Q. Are you going to take a rest after this?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah. I don't play tomorrow.

Q. I mean next week.

SERENA WILLIAMS: You have to elaborate. Yeah, I'm not playing for a couple of weeks. I'm going to have a little rest after this.

Q. Before you turned pro and Venus was on the Tour already, your father had a way of saying that you would be even better. Did he always tell that to you also?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, my dad is a great dad. He never told me I would be better than Venus. He said that so I could make my way through, people will start paying attention to me, not just see me as Venus' younger sister, they'd see me as Serena. It's not like any dad to go up to one daughter and say, "You're going to be better than this person over here."

Q. He would say that to reporters. He would say, "Venus is good, but Serena is going to be even better."

SERENA WILLIAMS: You have to say something that's believable. It's definitely believable.

Q. You talk about believable. Can you believe 16 straight wins against some of the best players in the world?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, I definitely can believe it. It's happened.

Q. Did it surprise you just a little bit, despite your confidence?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Not really. I've always expected to win. I really got tired of losing in the past. Every time I looked around, I was losing, losing and losing. So now it's time to do a little more winning. Even if I don't win, as long as I'm playing better and have people afraid to play me, that's a score right there, score.

Q. Is there any part of your game that you're not happy with right now?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I can do everything, but right now I'm not hitting my shots so well. I'm missing a lot. I'm not serving as well as I was in the beginning of the tournament. Yeah, I definitely think I can come to the net more and volley. I think my whole game can use improvement.

Q. Can you talk a little about the difference in the game if it happens to be Steffi Graf that you see?

SERENA WILLIAMS: If it happens to be Steffi, well, I played her last week, a couple weeks ago in the final. It was a very interesting final. I don't think it should have went that distance, if I had stayed focused. But now I have a lot more experience. Listen to me. I have a lot more experience under me. It should be interesting either way. I don't care who I play.

Q. Do you change your game plan depending on who it is?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, most definitely. I mean, if I'm going to play Steffi, of course I'm going to have to change my game plan than if I'm going to play Venus or someone else. If you're playing someone, you always have a game plan when you go out there.

Q. Can you talk about that?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm not going to talk about it because she might want to read it in the paper.

Q. You said you had some business to take care of a couple days ago. Business all taken care of?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think I've taken care of business, but not enough. Maybe next time.

Q. How much does this win mean to you, given what happened here last year?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, yeah, it really means a lot to me. I definitely should have won last year also, but I was young then. Now things have changed. I'm more experienced now. I'm playing better. I'm looking better. I'm doing a lot of better things.

End of FastScripts....

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