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August 31, 2006

Serena Williams

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Serena, please.

Q. Serena, you changed racquets after being down 2 5. That seemed to be when you turned things around. Was it as simple as getting a racquet and a different feel?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, it was more or less new balls. New balls, I always try to get a new racquet.

Q. Did she help you out a bit when she served for the set at 5 3? In that game she seemed to get tight.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, she seemed to be a little nervous. It was definitely a big game. At the same time, I hit some pretty big shots. Then she hit a double fault which was really able to open the doors for me.

Q. Would you comment on your progress to this point now from the tune of prior tournaments to this one?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, my progress is definitely a little better, which is awesome. Just keeps getting more better and better.

Q. Physically?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Physically, I'm feeling solid. Very solid.

Q. Are you pleased with where your game is at right now?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I'm satisfied. I would rather, you know I'm never overly satisfied. I'm always trying to make improvements.

Q. What's going through your mind when someone is kind of fumbling or losing seven games in a row? What's going through your mind? Are you sort of seeing that she's getting vulnerable at that point?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, it's really important to stay really focused at that point because it's like, you know, you won so many games and they're coming easier and easier. It's really important to stay really focused so you can keep winning.

Q. What were you thinking when you were down 5 2?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Uhm, I don't even remember being down 5 2. I just remember thinking all I have to do is just I was just down one break. All I had to do was break her and we'd be back on serve.

Q. When you're out there now, do you feel like an unseeded player, or do you feel like you're the old Serena? Do you feel any different?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't really feel like an unseeded player 'cause I don't think about it. Obviously, I am. But I just feel like I am who I am and I'm out there to perform. I don't know too many people that see Serena Williams next to their name and they're like, Yes!

Q. How close would you say you are to before, before the injuries?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I'm just I'm pretty close. I just got to make sure I keep working on the right techniques and doing the right techniques.

Q. Do you notice any difference in the way the crowd reacts to you now as opposed to when you were on top?

SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, when you're on top, everyone wants the underdog to win, so, you know. I don't see right now I don't see that much difference. I have to wait till it's a little bigger match.

Q. Does the increased crowd support make any difference? I mean, you were winning majors before when they were rooting for the underdog. Now they root for you. I'm sure you feel like you can still win majors. Does it make a difference now?

SERENA WILLIAMS: It definitely does make a difference, you know. I always feel better. But, you know, it just makes me mentally tougher when they are just wanting other people to win.

Either way, you know, I'm just gonna have to fight through it.

Q. Is there any player out there who you're worried about beating in your current condition, who scares you at all?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I don't yeah, Roger Federer.

Q. What bracket is he in?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Fortunately enough, I don't have to play him.

Q. Do you get tired of people constantly addressing the issue of what you're wearing on and off the court?

SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, it comes with the territory, you know, so I'm kind of used to it. Actually, no, it doesn't bother me. It just like, it just

Q. Do you dress to please yourself, or do you dress to attract these kind of questions?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Definitely not the latter.

Q. Will you watch Andre's match tonight? What do you think about him?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Of course. You know, I love Andre. He's a great player. He reminds me a lot of me... no, the other way around (smiling).
Yeah, other way around.

Q. How do you remind

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, you know, he has a sense of fashion. He's a showman. At the same time he has a tremendous amount of class. He's very nice. You know, he's always working really hard. You know, that's just, you know he's, you know, someone that I've admired all my life, my whole career. I'll definitely be tuned in.

Q. Would you like to have children like he does?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, they have great genes going on. I just have to find someone who can compete with their kids.

Q. So that's a prerequisite?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah (smiling).

Q. Do you remember when you first met Andre?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I don't. I wish I did. I don't remember.

Q. How are you feeling in some of those longer points? She was making you run.

SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm feeling fine. I'm feeling just like I can keep going. Some points were long, but I was obviously, I was okay.

Q. Looked like you were a little winded, breathing heavily.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Actually, I wasn't breathing heavily at all, so...

Q. On December 5th you and your sister are going to do the fundraiser in New Orleans. Could you talk about that situation and what it means to you.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, we feel really honored and really blessed to be a part of it. It was an idea of ours that we wanted to bring the Williams Sisters Tour, something we do every year, to New Orleans, because it's obviously been going through so much.

You know, there hasn't been any to me, it hasn't been enough effort and no rebuilding things going on. So we wanted to take our tennis to that city and just let people have fun and just raise money for them in a whole, and just hopefully be able to help them out in the best way we can.

Q. Does it sadden you to see the photography of all the housing that's still in a problematic situation?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, absolutely. It's a disgrace. There's nothing more that can be said of it. It's really sad. It's horrible, yeah.

Q. Finally, does your dad talk to you at all about the family's Louisiana roots?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, my dad is from Louisiana, Shreveport area. You know, I've visited family there when I was young all the time. We used to go every year there. You know, we have some kind of ties to Louisiana and, you know, we just want to definitely go there and show our support in the best way we can.

Q. I'm doing a documentary on the history of Argentinian tennis. Do you remember Gabriela Sabatini? What do you remember of her?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Gabriela Sabatini I remember, of course. She was a player I've always wanted to play. I just didn't come out on the tour young enough.

But she was fun to watch. I remember she used to do the Sabatweeni, which was really cool. I don't think any lady has done it before or after, thus far.

She was gorgeous, obviously. I just remember her winning this tournament here, the US Open. I was so excited. I was a big fan of hers.

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