March 22, 1999
KEY BISCAYNE, FLORIDA
VERONIQUE MARCHAL: Questions for Serena.
Q. Was that as easy as it looked?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think actually today I was playing pretty well. I was out there. I was serious. I stayed focused. I was motivated. I did pretty well.
Q. Your mental and physical games and abilities are brilliant. I was wondering when you started and who was your biggest influence on the mental?
SERENA WILLIAMS: My parents are always a big influence to me, my mom and my dad. They really influenced me. My mom especially mental, and my dad was more physical. My mom was mental, my dad was more physical. In both ways, I would have to say it was them that was really able to get me in such good shape, both mentally and physically.
Q. It's a good balance.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah.
Q. What percentage of your success in tennis do you think depends on your mental fitness?
SERENA WILLIAMS: My dad always told me, "99 percent of the game it's mental. If you beat them mentally ..." A lot of players out there are not in best physical shape or look in the best physical condition, but they have a lot of strong mental power. That's what really helped them in the past, now and in the future.
Q. You said you were motivated today. What are you motivated by?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I was just motivated to just stay focused, just go out there and do well.
Q. Now that you're inching closer to a possible final against your sister --?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I have a lot more rounds. I'm not thinking about finals right now. I'm just thinking of playing it one match at a time, doing the best that I can do. That's what caused a hindrance to me in the past was looking too far ahead. I really am just playing one match at a time.
Q. When you spoke about the Australian Open, telling yourself that it was time to grow up, what exactly went into that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: The Australian Open, I was so very disappointed with the way I played. I didn't play well. I was practicing well, but I went there and didn't play well. I felt that I wasted my time during that January season because I could have spent some time at home with my dog. I could have done different things besides go to Australia and lose in the second round in Sydney and third round in the Australian Open. That was a waste of my time and money. I decided I could no longer travel if I was going to continue in that manner; things had to change.
Q. You say you decided.
SERENA WILLIAMS: It was my dad. No one was very happy with the results we had there. I was really planning to go there and do well. Obviously, I didn't. I think from then on, I got definitely mentally stronger instead of physically. I was able to make some dreadfully needed changes.
Q. What kind of dog do you have?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I have a Beagle mixed with Labrador and another mutt, then I have a Maltese.
Q. So it's two?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Three.
Q. What are their names?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Queen, Star, and Angle.
Q. When you say changes, are you talking about the decisions you made, different decisions?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Just changes in the way I think on the court. There are some shots I should have made that I didn't make in the past.
Q. Changing your mind?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yes. Just thinking different when I go out there, having a positive view.
Q. You're a great example.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Thank you.
Q. Yesterday's Times there's a quote from your dad how he doesn't want you going --?
SERENA WILLIAMS: LA Times?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Elaborate.
Q. The New York Times.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Okay.
Q. Saying he doesn't want you playing together too much, and if it hurts the results this year playing against each other in the Slams, he may start doing something different, "I may allow both of them just to play two Slams. We'll see how they feel about that one."
SERENA WILLIAMS: That doesn't sound like my dad at all. Did you get that quote directly from him?
Q. No. It's from the New York Times.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. You can't just go and skip some Slams. I definitely want to win the Slams. I want to win them all.
Q. Even if that means having to play her?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, yeah, I guess. I'm going to have to play her sometime. I mean, we're not necessarily skipping all tournaments together. We're playing like the Lipton, a lot of other tournaments like Rome. We're just playing a lot of tournaments together. Just see how it turns out.
Q. It's not unprecedented. Siblings have played against each other in other sports. Have you studied that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I'm not really into studying that too much.
Q. How important was the win over Steffi for your confidence factor?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I guess you could say it was important. We had a pretty close match the last time I played her. Hopefully my results can be a little better.
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