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January 15, 2007

Serena Williams


THE MODERATOR: First question for Serena.

Q. What pleased you most about tonight's match?
SERENA WILLIAMS: What I'm happy most about I think is my serve. I was really struggling with my serve before and, you know, it was hard. But I was determined to hold serve.

Q. Where do you think any improvement can come from looking forward to the next couple of matches?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I think there's so much I can do to improve. I actually wasn't a hundred percent happy with the way I played. You know, my mom said I did a little better at some things. I just thought that there were some things I could do a lot better.
But, you know, as long as I'm moving forward, uhm, figuratively and literally, I should be fine.

Q. Fitness okay?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah. Fitness is fine, yeah.

Q. You're saying your fitness is fine. Can you win a third title?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I can definitely win a third title, for sure. My mom and my dad always taught me to think positive. For me to sit here and say no now, I just can't do that.
Now whether I win, lose or draw, that's, you know, up to me. But I'm not going to sit here and say no. I just can't do that.

Q. Are you approaching the season looking at it, Yes, I have to win titles, or do you think it's going to be a long process, you'll have to work your way back month after month, week after week?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm definitely looking at working my way back more than anything. Also I'm looking at, you know, I feel just like a bird, and I feel free. I feel, you know, really loose.
Sometimes I get, you know, a little tight. But I think about the opportunity that I have. I mean, after Australia, you know, third-round points to defend. After this, I mean, I have absolutely no points coming off for two more Grand Slams, you know, which I'm bound to do well at. And also all the tournaments in between.
I look at it that way. It looks good. You know, it can only move up.

Q. Can you play loose and free, or is your game not at the point yet where you feel like, I've got all my shots now?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think I'm not the type of person who can play loose and free because like I just want to do it so well and I want to be perfect. I just realize that you can't do that.
Even out there tonight I had to tell myself a couple times, you know, Serena, relax. I just think it's a personality trait.

Q. Did you consider playing last fall after the Open? Did you want to?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I did consider playing. You know, I just decided it was best. I knew I had a long time I was going to have to not play due to some court procedures, so I thought it was best for me just to train as much as I can. It was a hard decision. But I figured I should just, you know, train, go from there.

Q. When you're in a match, how match tough do you feel compared to when you were playing more often?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I feel cool. You know, I feel like I played -- I think Hobart really helped me. I played some girls I think that thought they were No. 1, so that really helped me out a lot.

Q. What do you mean?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I played some girls that really thought they were No. 1. I mean, they were playing like they were No. 1 on the men's tour. It was just incredible. At the end of the day it was tough, but I think it helped me out. It was an eye-opener. Everyone's out to beat me still, no matter what.

Q. How long did it take you to get over the knee operation, both in terms of healing and that you could train properly? Seemed like for a year after it hung around.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I got over it. I came back. I won a Slam. I won some big tournaments. Then, you know, I had a relapse. It took a while. Yeah, it took a while.

Q. Are you confident now that it's not going to come back?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I think anything can come back. But I think what's most important for me is to just keep it trained. Like I had a problem, like when I injured my ankle, I twisted my ankle, I didn't know that I should continue to do things for my knee. I didn't know that my knee would get weak again. It was just I didn't know that.
There was a little bit of ignorance going into that injury. I think that was a major setback.

Q. The dress tonight you wore, is that one of your own creations?

Q. Is it one you've worn before?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I've never worn that one before, no.

Q. There was some suggestions it would be interesting to see how your opponent coped because of the color of the dress compared to the ball. Was that something you factored into your thinking?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I thought about that the whole time I was designing the dress. "I can't beat these girls; I've got to think of every way to cheat."

Q. Do you think it could be a factor with that color?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Actually, a lot of people are wearing a similar color, I've noticed. I'm wearing a dress. A lot of the girls are wearing like a top and a skirt, different things. Yeah, I never thought about that, to be honest with you. It wouldn't affect me. That's the attitude I take.

Q. Could you talk a little about Lindsay, the fact she's moving on, having a baby.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I've always liked Lindsay. Lindsay and I always got along really well. I miss her. I was watching TV. They were showing some highlights. I noticed they had just like a picture of Lindsay returning serve. I was like, Oh.
You know, I know she's happy. She's had a fabulous career. She was so consistent. I like Lindsay a lot. She will be missed, for sure, especially by me.

Q. The handbag you carried out on your left arm, is that a fashion accessory or a practical thing?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It has like my water -- not my water, but like my Gatorade, my wristbands and stuff in it. It wasn't a fashion accessory. But I like the bag. I thought it was really cute. I was like, you know, this is a really hot Nike bag.
I used to carry my purse out, but I didn't bring a purse out here, so I carry my fabulous Nike bag. And it kind of matches my outfit, too.

Q. Without Venus and Lindsay, a number of other ex-American stars here, you're pretty much the only game in town. Do you feel that at all?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I haven't thought about it, to be honest with you. I'm just here to compete. Like I said, I'm here to do whatever I can do. That's the only thing I'm here to do. I have to focus on me, you know, just staying relaxed, being content and being happy.

Q. What do you think Lindsay's legacy will be in terms of her game and the way she played it?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Like I said, Lindsay was extremely consistent - a little more consistent than I was or, geez, am, was, whatever. She was extremely consistent. She was always in the top five-ish. We've had some great matches.
I think she'll just have a great legacy. She was a great American player. Obviously won several Grand Slams, singles and doubles. A lot of people don't play doubles any more.
It was awesome. She did good.

Q. What's the second biggest thing after tennis in your life?
SERENA WILLIAMS: My dogs. I miss them so much.

Q. When you won here in 2005, you fought your way back. You were down in the semis and the finals. Does that feel like a long time ago to you at this point?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It does feel like a long time ago. But, you know, it seems like it was like in 2003. I guess it was '05.
It wasn't that long ago. It was only a couple years ago.

Q. How concerned are you about Venus' health? She hasn't played since Wimbledon.
SERENA WILLIAMS: She played a tournament after. She played in, I believe, Luxembourg.

Q. And got hurt.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, so. I'm really not concerned. No offense, but I was practicing with her in Florida, and she was just killing me. I'm kind of glad she didn't make it, for my sake (laughter). You can't sleep on her because she's playing unbelievable. I got to take my chance now while she's out because when she's coming back, she's really playing like she's playing with no fear and she's practicing really hard. Yeah, she's playing unbelievable.

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