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August 26, 2006

Serena Williams

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. If you were in a tournament in which coaching was involved and you could designate your father, mother, even Venus to come down and confer with you during a match, is that something you'd want to take advantage of?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm not really that excited about coaching on the court because I think it takes -- I think tennis has always had, uhm -- it's been a self game. It's always just been you on the court, and that's it.

I mean, I probably will take advantage of it, for sure, but initially it wasn't something that I would really go for.

Q. In the times you've played Fed Cup, Zina or some other coach, of course they're allowed to coach you. How has that worked out for you?

SERENA WILLIAMS: It worked out well. They're on the court the whole time, so it's a different situation. They're out the whole time. Mostly Zina and Billie Jean didn't say too much. Just every now and then they'll be like, Oh, you did this, or Try this. There really wasn't too much to be said.

Q. Are you encouraged enough after Cincinnati and LA to believe you could get through and win this tournament once again?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I'm really excited. I've had two solid tournaments. I was able to get some solid results under my belt. I'm really looking forward to this week - two weeks.

Q. Do you think you can again reach the level you were when you were at your best and dominating on the court?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. I am hitting well. As long as I stay healthy, I'll be fine.

Q. The quarter you're in has a lot of seeded players - Hantuchova and Ivanovic. Have you looked at that? Do you think you could make a run through there?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I haven't looked at the draw. That's not me. But, you know, at the end of the day you're gonna have to play everybody. And, you know, I knew going in here I wouldn't be seeded, so I was fine with that. You know, I have no worries. I mean, I don't care. It doesn't matter.

Q. Is the lack of matches a concern, though? You only played 12 matches this year.

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, it's not a concern. I would have obviously been awesome if I would have played more, but I had time to relax and get better and work on some things that could be really helpful to me.

Q. Obviously, this is Andre Agassi's last tournament. What has he meant to the sport for all?

SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, Andre Agassi has meant so much to tennis. He's had that charisma. He's had that, you know, great attitude, great personality. He's had just an amazing spirit. Most of all, he's really professional, and he's really, uhm -- you know, he doesn't go too crazy on the court and lose his mind. He's had just such a positive influence I think on players' attitudes. He's also had a great style. He's just been so much. I think the game is gonna miss him more than probably they miss anyone.

Q. How does your knee feel? Has that fully recovered? How do you feel with that?

SERENA WILLIAMS: My knee feels really good. You know, I can't complain right now.

Q. What do you make of how poorly the women have done in challenging calls with the instant replay?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I've done pretty well, so (smiling)...

I don't know. I didn't know there were the "women," so to say, were doing poorly in challenging calls.

Q. Does that surprise you they're getting 35% or so of calls they challenge overturned?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I wouldn't be surprised if, like, a lot of the players, both men and women, got it wrong because sometimes you would think the ball's in and it's not, and then sometimes you have to challenge just because they now have the challenge and now it's like, Okay, it's set point, it would be a good chance to challenge. So sometimes you have nothing to lose.

Q. You've said in interviews in the past that you not only wanted to be like Venus, you wanted to be Venus. I'm curious, being back here at the US Open where you won in '99, the first in the family to win a major, was that an event that made you more assertive, let everyone see who you were and you didn't really want to be like her anymore?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I definitely think so. I was able to kind of get into my own space and become my own person. I was able, you know, just to grow up a lot. I mean, just throughout the years, I've been able to kind of be my own person in general.

Q. They call this the toughest test in tennis. Can you talk about what it demands to win a US Open?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Uhm, I don't know if it's the toughest test in tennis. I can't agree with that statement. I think it's probably the biggest prize for sure, but it may be one of the most satisfying prizes. It's awesome to be US Open champ.

Q. What does it mean for Billie Jean King's name to be on a tennis center? What does it mean to you? What does it mean to women's tennis?

SERENA WILLIAMS: It's awesome. I mean, I am so happy for her, that she's getting recognized and her name is going to be added to this facility, which is really amazing. She's done so much not only for women's tennis, but she's done even more for women's sports. Just, I mean, just the sheer -- the things she's done just in general just for all of women's sports have been amazing. She's been one of the main speakers on Title IX when that first came out and, you know, she just really was into it. I can't think of anyone else who would deserve it more.

Q. What does it mean that the center now is named after BJK? What does that mean? What kind of a statement is that?

SERENA WILLIAMS: It's a great statement. I mean, obviously, having Arthur Ashe Stadium is awesome. You know, this facility named after Billie Jean King is awesome, as well. They both have done so much in the sport.

Q. Talk about your involvement with the community event in the park.

SERENA WILLIAMS: It was cool, you know. I loved the kids. I love trying to go to community events and just show my face. A lot of people never are able to make it there. I think it's important to do that.

Q. Could you give some more comments about Kids' Day and what it does for the kids? Do you think it encourages more kids into tennis?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Absolutely. If I lived here or I was able to attend Kids' Day and I saw some of the celebrities and tennis people come out and play and then you have the great performers, I would be really, really excited. I would be just -- I would want to be on that stage somehow, whether it was an act or a tennis player. I think that definitely has a positive influence on young kids.

Q. Could you talk about your new cosmetics line.

SERENA WILLIAMS: It's with Flirt, which is through Estee Lauder. Right now -- last season we did a necklace which is actually something you could wear, it was a lip gloss and also came with different blushes and stuff.

This season we're doing a key chain. I don't have it with me. You can just put it on your keys. They have two lip glosses that go on the keys and you can choose your colors. It's at Kohl's. I'm really excited about it.

Q. It's out already?


Q. How about your fashion line, what's coming up? Anything new?

SERENA WILLIAMS: We're making samples now. The next step after samples is product. So I have to see the samples after this tournament.

Q. If this isn't the toughest test in tennis, what do you think is, and why?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think one of the toughest tests in tennis is probably the French Open just because it's so -- the matches are so gruesome. It gets cold there. It's really difficult. Not that this isn't, I think any Grand Slam is very -- is definitely a tough test. But I think that one's pretty -- you have to be really fit and you have to be really ready to just be out there all night if necessary.

Q. Can you share with us a special Billie Jean King moment when she wowed you.

SERENA WILLIAMS: There isn't exactly one moment that I can say because I've had so many wonderful times with Billie. I know for a fact that no one out there loves tennis - I don't think - more than Billie Jean King or knows the game better than her. It has been my honor to have a chance to work with her and, you know, to have tips from her. I mean, whenever I'm thinking about -- I'm on the court, I always hear Billie in my head saying, Contact point or I hear her saying, Your wrist firm, things that never die with me and that will be with me until the end of my career.

Q. How do you think you can make the kids today more aware of who Arthur Ashe is? There's a lot of speculation about kids not knowing who he is. Do you have suggestions or ideas on how we can make more kids today aware of who Arthur Ashe is?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, well, Arthur Ashe obviously was a great, you know -- I mean, the first African American male tennis player to do so many things in the sport. But, I mean, the best way nowadays is to do a movie about him (smiling).

End of FastScripts...

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