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June 28, 2003

Serena Williams


MODERATOR: Serena Williams for you.

Q. You must have been grateful, pleased with the reception you got.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I've been getting pretty good reception here all week. And it was a good match, so yeah.

Q. They seemed to appreciate the quality of what you've been doing.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, been doing a lot. At least I've been trying. I really can't say how much I've been doing. I don't know. I'm just doing the best I can.

Q. What did you think of her game, Serena? She extended you a little bit?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah. 6-3, 6-1. Laura played very well. I got a chance to see her play once before against Venus. But she hits the ball very solid. I think every time I see her, she plays better. She's serving well, she moves very well. She hits a very solid ball. I knew before I was going to have to be very ready.

Q. Was that your best performance of the week so far then?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Definitely, for sure. I think if I played the way I did in my first or second round, then maybe it would have been a bit tougher, for sure.

Q. Sharapova is 16. Do you remember being 16 years old, all that long ago, what it was like to be taking on the world, even when you were 18?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah. When I was 16, I don't think I played much. I think I played that one tournament in Chicago when I was 16. That was so exciting. I had a couple big wins against tough players, I mean still tough to beat. You know, it was definitely really exciting. I definitely know what she's going through.

Q. Was there any particular aspect of your game that pleased you today?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think I'm serving very well. I haven't hit a double-fault today. I don't like to hit double-faults. I hate giving away a point like that. So I try not to hit them. Still, my serve was pretty fast on the second. I'm pleased with my serving, and the way I moved. I was moving a bit better.

Q. Do you approach the second week almost like it is the start of a new tournament at a Slam? Is it a follow-through?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I never really approach it as the start of a new tournament. I never even really thought about it that way. I just go out and play whoever I have to play, just stay extremely focused because this is when it gets really serious. Definitely I'm going to have to pick up my game.

Q. You have Dementieva next. I don't think you've ever played her, but I'm sure you've seen her play a good amount. Talk about her game, what you're going to have to do there.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I've never played Dementieva. But she plays -- I've seen her play a lot. I know her game very well. Venus played her several times. Venus plays everybody. She's played her several times. I definitely know her game.

Q. Her return is the strongest part of her game. So serving is obviously going to be big.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, she has a great return. She stays low, she moves forward. She has a really good game in that aspect. I remember one thing about her is her return. I'm going to have to make sure I'm serving well.

Q. After what happened to Lleyton, are you glad to have gotten through to the second week?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I'm not just glad to get through. I like to be proud of my results and be proud of the way I play, be proud that my game is going up as each match and each day progresses. I'm just not happy; I'm just going to keep fighting.

Q. What is your approach to not only being a dominant and physical athlete, but also at the same time having aims at being a glamorous, pop culture star?


Q. What is your approach to being both? On the one side being a dominant and physical athlete, and on the other hand being a glamorous, pop culture star?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, it's not easy because you're on the court and you're sweating. You know, most times people see you, it's when you're sweating and you're all beat up and have these grimaces on your faces. But, I don't know, I like to play "dress up," make different things, design different things, things of that nature. It's fun. I like to go to different events where I get to do the red carpet, mostly because I like to wear my own designs now.

Q. Do you have a sense that a few years ago that type of dual role in society was not possible; you're a new breed of athlete?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I can't really answer that. I don't know. I think -- it wasn't really popular years and years ago. Now people are trying to be athletic as well as very feminine at the same time. So it's definitely a part of this new generation, so yeah.

Q. When you say wear your own designs, does that mean you're cutting the pattern, sewing it?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Actually, I would be proud to say I've started my own company. I don't do sportswear. But eventually I would like to branch out to that. I don't cut patterns. I could, but I don't really have time. What I do is I design everything. I don't make it. I pick the fabrics. I go fabric shopping. I have all kinds of samples of fabrics. I draw the sketches, the technical drawings, and I send them into a lady that I have make everything for me. Eventually we're looking to open a factory in Italy, because it's going to be a higher-end line.

Q. Did Diane von Furstenberg design the dress you wear on court?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, she designed the dress Venus wore on court.

Q. Just Venus?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yes. But I was inspired by Diane. I love her dress.

Q. You have ideas on the dress you wear?


Q. Or did you design it? I'm confused.

SERENA WILLIAMS: I didn't design this one that I wore. I designed all my stuff last year.

Q. The cat suit included?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Actually, I didn't design the cat suit. Everything else. All the accessories. I didn't design the cat suit, but the other stuff, yeah. But all the other stuff I wore throughout the year, I designed. You know, if I don't like it, I tell them, "Look, this isn't going to work. We need to do different things." I went to school for it, so I completely understand how to manufacture the concepts.

Q. So you're a consultant?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Sometimes. Sometimes I'm a consultant, sometimes I'm designer. But, like I said, I don't do sportswear (smiling).

Q. What is the name of the company that you started?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I'm kind of not sure. I don't know if I should say because I'm in the process of getting it trademarked. I would hate for someone to come take it (laughter). But the trademark is going pretty successful. Hopefully by the US Open, I can reveal the name.

Q. Where is this woman who makes the clothes?

SERENA WILLIAMS: She works out of LA. I have things in LA. I have a guy in Miami also.

Q. When you look at vintage footage of Chris Evert or Martina Navratilova, what do you see in terms of style?

SERENA WILLIAMS: To be honest, I think the dresses back then, even going into the museum in Wimbledon, were just very well thought out. I can't remember the name right now, the lady --.

Q. Ted Tinling.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Used to do all the dresses.

Q. Just the overall look.

SERENA WILLIAMS: It was so feminine. On Martina, Chris, it was just this feminine look. It was really, really, really like ice skaters. Ice skaters look very feminine on the court (sic). Back then it was the same. A lot of times people are getting into the same motif, just a line here, a skirt and a top. Then it was like we were ice skaters back then or ballerinas. Still very feminine. Still played tough. Did things really, really tough.

Q. Are you more of a Martina or more of a Chris?


Q. Really?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm more of a Chris, but Martina was tough, so...

Q. Up until about 4-1 in the first set, you audibly were fairly quiet. As Laura started to press you, the pair of you were grunting. Was this evidence of the fact that she was pushing you as much as she did, that you were having to stretch and grunt a bit?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I think when times get a little tougher, I guess I start grunting. I don't really think about it.

Q. You're not aware of it?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm not really aware of it, no. I don't know. I just -- I have to watch the tape and see what was going on at that point. But I do know when I don't grunt, I tend to relax more.

Q. Maria Sharapova was talking about this week all of a sudden she's walking out and people are taking her picture and recognizing her. It's almost as though last week she was anonymous, this week she's famous. Did you have a period like that? Or because of Venus coming up before you, you always were sort of in that public eye. Can you remember that time where you went from being able to go anywhere unnoticed to being sort of people looking at you, taking notice?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah. I was thinking about this like two weeks ago when I could remember the last time I was able to walk around without being severely harassed. I just can't quite remember. It was a long, long time ago, for sure.

Q. Does that make you sad or do you just accept that's part of your job?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I look at it this way: i'd rather be recognized and stopped and harassed as opposed to not, because that means I'm doing well, I'm continuing to go on the right course of my career.

Q. Was it ever fun?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Was it ever fun?

Q. To have that kind of notice and attention?

SERENA WILLIAMS: It was fun. Of course, it was fun at one point. It's still fun. If you want to go to the amusement park, you don't want to wait in line. If you want a reservation and didn't call. It has its perks. I call them celebrity upgrades.

Q. What message does your popularity as an icon off the court send to young girls because you're at the same time a very physical, powerful figure? What message do you think your stature sends?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I think it sends that it's okay to not be 90 pounds. It's okay to have a shape to you and still be very feminine and physical, just very feminine and very sexy at the same time. I don't think you necessarily have to be really slim to be accepted. I think a lot of people are seeing that now more a days, especially in the pop culture.

Q. What are you doing the middle Sunday? Do you like the tournament's rest day here?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I relax the middle Sunday. It's relaxing to know you're going to get that Sunday off every Wimbledon. So it's okay.

End of FastScripts….

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