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September 4, 2006

Serena Williams

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Serena, please.

Q. Second set went so well, but then you couldn't convert it to the third set, your momentum from the second set.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Uhm, yeah, I played more consistent in the second set basically, yeah. Pretty much.

Q. What happened in the third set after tying it up there in the second? What happened in the third?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, you know, I just got down an early break and, you know, just fell apart after that.
I, uhm, you know, just wasn't able to put balls away as much, and I guess the blocking just became more and more, more balls being blocked back. Just was a game I hadn't worked on in a long time.

Q. Does she seem like a different player to you now that she's won two Slams?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Uhm, I don't think she seems like a different player, no.

Q. Congratulations on the effort you put forth being you haven't played in a while. You look great. There's a phrase or saying that goes, "I beat myself." Do you feel like you actually beat yourself? To me, you were winning, but the errors kind of overshadowed a lot of what was going on out there.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, you know, I made a few errors today. I have to go back and watch the match. But I definitely, definitely think I took the loss.

Q. Do you feel your lack of extensive match play over a prolonged period was a factor?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't think it was a factor. I think I could have came out on top had I made a few more shots and had I just, uhm, been a little bit more consistent, maybe a little bit more fire or something.
But, no, I don't think lack of match play had anything to do too much.

Q. Why the diminished fire? We didn't see the fist pumps and quite the intensity.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Uhm, I don't know. I was just, you know, doing so well when I wasn't, just playing so consistent. I was just focused out there. Wasn't, you know, pumping and jumping and the whole nine.

Q. You had a very intense match yesterday. Was it a factor that you had to play again today? Did you feel not a hundred percent?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, no, I felt a hundred percent today going in. I was actually really excited about the match. I don't think yesterday had a factor at all today.

Q. Can you talk about that long I think it was 35 stroke rally. Talk about what was going through your mind there?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I was trying to win the point. I think I should have moved forward instead of blocking so much. I was playing, you know, I think a little too far behind the baseline. She just kept blocking. I guess she was like that Pong thing on that Andy Roddick commercial, so...

Q. Didn't you see her level significantly raise the last four games? Not only was she playing good defense, but her offense was pretty good, too?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think she just became a little bit more aggressive somewhat in the last few games. I don't think she picked up her game a thousand percent or even that much. I just think that she cut back on the errors. I think in the second set she made a lot of errors. I think going into the third, especially the last few games, she just didn't make as many errors.

Q. How do you evaluate your summer and where you go from here?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Uhm, I, at best, had a mediocre summer. From here I go to Europe.

Q. What events?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Uhm, I haven't quite nailed it down yet, but I'll play a few.

Q. What's the difference between the Serena Williams that lost tonight and the one who dominated not that long ago?
SERENA WILLIAMS: The only difference is I'm older. Other than that, I don't think there is a difference.
Actually, I think right now I'm more calm than I was. That's it.

Q. Can you completely dismiss lack of match play, because when you were a dominant player playing every couple weeks, there's a few of those shots that maybe you missed by an inch tonight that you might have been getting in?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I mean, probably. I just don't think I played well tonight. I think if I would have played, you know, the way I played yesterday or my first or second round match, the results would have been different. I think the bottom line boils down to me not playing well today. That's just whether that's a lack of match play, I'm not one to make excuses. I think it just boiled down to me not playing as well as I did in all my other matches. So that's, you know, just the bottom line.

Q. Mauresmo is also the No. 1, better at least on paper. Has shown this year that she's better player than anyone you've played before, too, no?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm sorry. I didn't hear the latter part.

Q. Mauresmo is a better player than anyone you've ever played before. Your level would obviously have to go up each match.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, she's No. 1 in the world, so...
I guess when you play the person, uhm, that's No. 1, you have to be ready to play hard.

Q. Does this send you back to the drawing board, or do you take this in stride and say, I'll figure out what I want to play next and go out there and do it again?
SERENA WILLIAMS: What do you mean "take me back to the drawing board"?

Q. Do you rethink your approach, motivation questions? I mean, any of that stuff, training, coaching, any of that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No. I just, uhm, you know, like I said, I'm just gonna go play some events in Europe and have fun and, you know, it's really just a matter of me just playing better in the big matches maybe. I don't know.
It's just a matter of time. It's not that big for me. You know, I don't see me in this position much longer.

Q. With all due respect, you haven't played in the fall much in the past in Europe, and you probably won't qualify for the championships. What's going to get you to go to Europe to play events when you know the next big event for you will probably be Australia?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I'm not gonna go to Europe and play a hundred tournaments or even five or six tournaments. I'm just gonna play a few to get my ranking a little higher. I think if anything, that will motivate me to get my goal now is to have a slightly higher ranking, that way I don't have to keep getting wildcards.
I think that's motivating in itself.

Q. So can you look at this tournament maybe just as a bump in the road for something else in the future?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Uhm, I guess. I don't I don't know. I'm a little disappointed.

Q. Was it a mental game or a power game? I didn't think it was a power game at all. I thought it was a good mental game. What did you think?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I second that.

Q. How was it a mental game?

Q. How was it a mental game, Serena?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Honestly, I was just agreeing (laughing).

Q. Does the press corp get on your nerves?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, you know. Not at all. I don't think so. Some days.

Q. I know you don't like losing, but can you take positives out of this tournament now that the last, whatever it is, six weeks since you came back again?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, absolutely. I'm definitely moving in the right direction. I'm more fit. I wasn't tired at all today. I mean, after long points, I was playing my game. I was ready to go back in without any worries.
I think that's the main focus for me, is just to make sure that I can play six, seven long points back to back without having any problems. And then, you know, I mean, that's like the number one thing I was able to take out of the tournament. You know, I think, yeah...
I just, you know, am moving forward. So right now I'm just focused on, you know, just getting ranked a little higher, little bit at a time.

Q. You said you might just play a few tournaments in the fall. Is there hope that this will become a full time career again for 2007?

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