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January 21, 2007

Serena Williams



Q. Was that more pleasing than the Petrova win because you played so well?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Tough to say. I think they're definitely both just as pleasing. The Petrova win was awesome because I was down and out. This win was good because I was playing a lot better.

Q. She said that you were a bit too steady for her.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah. I've gotten way more consistent than I have been in the past. That was, you know, something that I've been working on. Just not missing as many shots as I used to miss. Just blast the ball out. I've got over that.

Q. Explain how have you done this? Do you have an explanation for how you've managed to do this, play so well? Not a whole a lot of matches in the last four or five months really.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I have it in me. I believe in my game, and more than anything I believe in me. It doesn't matter what people say or people write, at the end of the day I'm my biggest fan. Maybe my dad.
But other than that you have to always be your biggest fan. I'm just working on staying positive.

Q. When you played in Hobart and then too here, was there a time when it sort of clicked? I'm back playing the way I want to play? Was there a moment?
SERENA WILLIAMS: In Hobart it was good for me to play because I played some tough players there. They played so hard. It really got me ready. It made my say, You have to be ready Serena, because everyone is out still to beat me no matter what. Everyone comes out to play me really hard. Nothing has changed, and they're going to go after me.
After that wake up call I was like, You know what? I have to be ready for every single match and point.

Q. Last time you played Jelena she was yanking you around pretty good and today you were dictating. Today you were more aggressive, especially with your return. Talk about that a little bit.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, last time I played her she played well. I think she beat me. She's been playing really well, so I knew coming into this that I had to be a little more aggressive and be sure of my shots. Like she said, I have to be steady and like that.
So I knew that going into this match. It's always good to play an opponent that you've played before or you kind of know their game. For me it works well.

Q. Fourth game of the second set you made two tremendous shots. Pirouetting to make a half volley and then a 17-stroke volley with a backhand cross-court. I have seen you hit a lot of great shots, but those stand out.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I was excited about that half volley. I've been working on my volleys. I keep telling myself, Serena, you've got great volleys. You've got several Grand Slam titles to prove it. Come into the net. Why aren't you there?
So that was exciting. I love hitting backhands cross-court. That's a given. I do those all the time in practices. It's about time I start doing that in a match.

Q. There was a lot of carnage today in the bottom part of draw. Have you looked at it, and how does that make you feel about your chances the rest of the tournament?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I like that word, carnage I take it it means upsets or --

Q. Well, it usually means something worse than that, people dying.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, my I'm going to look that one up. I've never heard that word. Yeah, a lot of people died today. But I guess I think -- is Vaidisova the top seed now left?

Q. Vaidisova, yes.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Hey, I'm one of them. I just came through too unseeded and I'm happy to keep going.

Q. Did you hear the birds? They were really crying. They were trapped and --
SERENA WILLIAMS: They were really loud and upset. I definitely heard the birds. They were really upset about something.

Q. That didn't throw your concentration off obviously.
SERENA WILLIAMS: No. My dog chases birds. She hunts them.

Q. Did you have a chance to talk to Margaret Court since you picked up the trophy?
SERENA WILLIAMS: The Margaret Court?

Q. Yeah.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I have never had the pleasure to have a conversation with her.

Q. Have you picked up a bit of the cold Serena?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I somehow managed to get sick. I have a lot of odds against me. It's just one more that I need to get through.

Q. How close are you sort of having to push things with not having the match practice to test your fitness? Obviously you're getting rundown.
SERENA WILLIAMS: It's going to take a lot more to get me down. Like I said, I got to keep fighting, and I'm here to play tennis and enjoy myself. I'm having fun.

Q. How would you compare the level of enjoyment you're having out there to other time in your career?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm definitely having way more fun than I've had in a couple tournaments. I've had a lot have fun in the past. I'm really enjoying the battle. Every day I wake up and I can't wait play, I can't wait to get out there. That's always a good attitude to have. That's always a good sign, a good feeling.

Q. How long has it been since you had that attitude?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. I've had that attitude a lot, but I can't right now think of the last time.

Q. Serena, how good does it feel just to have your body respond to what you want it to do?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Awesome. I had a long talk with my body, and we agreed that if you get through these tournaments I'll give them surprises.

Q. What?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. Dresses or something, shoes.

Q. You play your own game and you play it so well. Seemed like today you made a lot of conscious choices, for example hitting to her forehand and keeping away from her backhand. Was that part of the game plan going in?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Actually, it wasn't part of the game plan at all. It just think I subconsciously did it. I know she has a great backhand down the line. I know she prefers it. But when I go out to play I like to go to the person's stronger side. I guess it makes me feel macho or something that if I beat them going to their backhand or whatever, their stronger side, it makes me feel extra awesome.
But I guess I just wanted to get the match over with and not have, you know, to show off too much.

Q. Is that maturity?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think it is. I definitely think it is. I think that's definitely something that I was excited about. I know her backhand is better, but let me not go there all the time. Let me mix it up a bit.

Q. You've continued to improve right along. If you keep it up at this rate, do you think you can go all the way?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Like I said from the beginning, I'm taking one match at a time. I'm not trying to peak too soon. Hopefully I can peak in the finals if I get there. But I'm just taking Shahar Peer next, and that's it.

Q. When is the last time you felt nervous in a match, legitimately nervous?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't get nervous. Like I've described my nerves as not being able to eat before a match, and still to this day I still cannot eat before my match. I think that's nervous. But other than that, I don't get too nervous.
I just go out there and hit the balls. But I think me not being able to eat is me being nervous, and I have that every match.

Q. Stage fright?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Maybe. I just think that's what it is. Every match I have that feeling.

Q. Talk about playing Shahar and what kind of game she has.
SERENA WILLIAMS: She plays a lot like Jankovic. She's a great runner. I've played her before and she played really tough and real hard. She is ready to go another round, another match just like I am. She's young and agile and fit so I have to really be ready.

Q. You were saying that your dad is your next biggest fan next to you. Has your mom been very supportive this week? Is she taking it easy on you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: My mom is the greatest person. She's really calm and she's an awesome coach. She knows what to tell me and how to do it, and, you know, she let's me kind of do my own thing as well.
But she's really tough on the practice court, so she's definitely...
Hope I answered your question.

Q. You had a really tough match with Safarova Hobart.

Q. Did you see had this one coming today that she might beat Mauresmo?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I knew that if she could play the way she played me against me against Mauresmo surely she had a chance to win. She's lefty and there's not too many on the tour. So it always poses some type of problem.

Q. Did you get ahold of your dad?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No. The time difference is so crazy. I'm going try to call him tonight. My time will be morning his time. I e-mail him, but I want to talk and hear his voice.

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