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June 26, 2003

Serena Williams


MODERATOR: This evening we have Serena Williams.

Q. Can you talk about what a long day this has been for you. You waited all day to play your singles match, in quick succession, you have to go right out and play doubles.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, it's definitely been a long day. I haven't done this in a while since maybe Australia in January. But, you know, you got to expect it. I don't think they expected -- they expected us to play doubles yesterday, so that's why they put us on late. I just want to do a quick turnaround because I know Venus has to play tomorrow, singles.

Q. That was a stiff challenge they put up today, even though it's 3-3?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, yeah. Still stiff. They're playing I think above their means and they're playing really well.

Q. Is it kind of nice to see Corina playing at that level where she's able to hang in there with you guys?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, for sure. You know what, Corina was playing very well last year I think at the US Open, as well. She's the epitome of a fighter.

Q. What did you think of your singles today?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, it was better than my first round, but still want to work on some things. My first serve is 75%, so that's much better. I think I was at 50 the other day. Els Callens honestly plays some of the best tennis on the grass, and you have to be really be playing tough to beat her.

Q. About how much time did you have between your singles and the doubles?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Maybe half hour. But, I mean, it's a good workout. I'm trying to get in shape (smiling).

Q. Trying to get into shape?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I mean, I'm in very good shape now. I'm not tired. I'm running for long points. I don't get tired at all, so it's good.

Q. Are you having as much fun out there in the doubles, since you haven't played in a while?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, not today. We're having a tough match. But normally -- normally, we smile a lot more. But this was a very serious match. We're trying to pull this off, hopefully.

Q. You know the American players pretty well now. You're going to be facing Granville next round. Talk about her game, what you think of her.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I've seen her play Venus in I think it was Connecticut last year. She's playing really well. I had no idea who I played next, so you kind of caught me off guard. I haven't really watched too much of her play. I'm going to ask Venus, obviously, because Venus has played her before. You know, she's doing well. I know at one point she was lower ranked, and all of a sudden she's higher. She's been doing really well , much better in the Slams, as well. It's going to be interesting. You know, I definitely can't take anything for granted.

Q. What do you think the men's tennis side can do to sort of increase their popularity?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I think it depends on personalities right now. I think Andy Roddick has a fabulous personality. I'm not one to watch men's tennis, but I get excited when I see him playing because he's exciting to watch. His antics on the court, you know, he fights, he says, "Come on," he screams, does wild stuff. I think it all boils down to personalities. In women's tennis right now we have several different personalities. It's a lot going on. I think that's what it boils down to maybe.

Q. Do you think Americans that are into football and basketball, all that, are really going to get to know the personalities of the European men players?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, if they come out like Goran Ivanisevic, you know, obviously they will. There's not too many people out there like that. I think it all boils down to who can really make it exciting to watch. You're flipping the channel, you see something exciting, you're going to want to watch it.

Q. There's a fact now that the Top 3 prize money leaders in women's tennis have earned more than Juan Carlos Ferrero, the top man. What's the message and the explanation behind that?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, we've been winning a little more than Juan Carlos Ferrero. If he had trust and belief, he would have won more, due to -- we don't make that much money. All my money goes to Uncle Sam.

Q. About the singles, you know Els Callens pretty well. Did she give you a fright in the second set?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, not at all. She started playing a lot -- no. She started playing better. I just was staying at the same level. She didn't give me a fright because I knew what to expect, and I expected her to keep doing well.

Q. Does the fact that she's Belgian add a touch at all?


Q. Conchita Martinez is a former champion like you, but she seems like she's the one former champion in this whole tournament who sort of is under everybody's radar. Have you had a chance to get to know her much? Is she one to keep to herself?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, she's not one to keep to herself at all. At the same time, she isn't one that's over-talkative - gregarious, I should say. She's really nice. She's very polite and fun. You know, she's a nice person. But I don't know her personality. From what I can tell - I don't know her personality as well as the next person. She's always been nice to me. I talk with her and her trainer. We all get along.

Q. Why do you think she's so overlooked?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. I never thought she was overlooked, so I'm not sure.

Q. Any anxiety about Venus' match against Petrova?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No. One of us used to always play Petrova. She knows our game pretty well. Petrova is doing great. I've played her on the grass a couple times. Venus has, as well, I believe, played her on the grass. If not, she's played her several times off the grass. Petrova is playing well. But I think Venus is doing well at this tournament. It's definitely going to be a very good match and very interesting. I'll be there.

Q. Do you feel your hunger level has increased because of the loss at Roland Garros?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think my mental has increased. My anger has increased. I think with that, naturally the hunger increases.

Q. So if the anger has increased, we're going to see some big explosions on the court then?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Not too much fireworks.

Q. Talk about that anger. Do you want to prove a point? Do you feel you were wronged?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, when I say "anger," I just mean with myself. Just a little disappointed in me, in not being able to pull through some tough moments. I just want that opportunity to start over and do again, what I know I can do.

Q. You were so resistant to crowd reactions in places like Indian Wells and Australia. Is that what you're angry about, that you let the reaction get to you?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I think I was resistant. From the first point, the crowd was psycho. I was resistant pretty much the whole match. I think I did a pretty good job.

Q. Outside of the crowd reaction, are you still a little upset with Justine about the hand signal?

SERENA WILLIAMS: What do you mean?

Q. Are you still upset that she put up the hand and the point wasn't replayed?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, that's on her, you know. She knows what she did. I know what she did. The TV knows what she did. In the end, she won the match. She didn't win the match because of that point. Really it was probably me hitting in the net or hitting out, going nuts. But that's not why she won the match, so it doesn't really matter. It matters, but it doesn't really. It's just one point. That one point's not going to win the match. You've got to keep fighting.

Q. How much are you looking forward to getting another chance in the semis?

SERENA WILLIAMS: She's playing well here. With her hand issues -- I mean, I'm not saying I'm looking forward to playing her because I have vengeance out against her or anything. I'm looking forward right now to playing Laura Granville. I can't look that far ahead.

Q. In the past people have sort of asked you, "How do you feel playing Venus in a final?" Since you didn't get to do that last time, if you did, would it be kind of cool to get to do it again or not any more exciting?

SERENA WILLIAMS: It would definitely be great to get to do it again. We just really would be back in the Grand Slam final. It's only been one Grand Slam, so... It definitely would be very exciting and I'd be very happy.

Q. Do you think you'll grow as a result of what happened in Paris?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think I've grown, definitely. I've learned a lot, moved on a lot, just really realized that when -- something Billie Jean shared with me a long time ago just sticks in my head at night, I can't sleep.

Q. What did she say?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I can't tell you just in case someone wants to read my transcript and decide that they're going to do that, too.

Q. The tradition of tennis is to have very staid crowds. That clearly is changing. I was wondering if you think there's room for crowds like other sports, NBA, football, not so much maybe rooting against players, but maybe being more rowdy for players?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think there is room. I think the only problem with that, tennis players now, is that we are trained every day, "Be quiet, you can't talk." But I think if someone in the new generation comes along and they're trained to play with noise, they're trained to go with matches with a lot of noise, it's okay. I think it just depends on what you're talking about. I think in our generation right now we're not trained for that.

Q. You and Venus, probably more than anyone else, your dad prepared you for things you were bound to face for reasons that were not entirely fair. Do you think that's helped? Do you think tennis players in the future should be trained the same way? Should we accept noise or the kind of cat calls and such that we're hearing more and more?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I can't answer that. I really can't. I'm on both sides of the fence with that. It's definitely fun to go to an NBA event and make a lot of noise. But at the same time, you have five people on your team, and it's different. It's just a totally different environment. It does make for exciting one. But tennis is different. We're not that other sport.

Q. When you've gone to other sporting events and a team is playing that you've liked, have you ever yelled out, "Oh, you stink, drop the ball"? Bet you have.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Maybe, "Drop the ball," but they don't hear me. "Drop it. Fumble. Fumble." Of course, yeah. But that's under totally different circumstances. It's completely different circumstances.

End of FastScripts….

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