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March 26, 2007

Serena Williams


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Just talk about your level. How did you feel like the match went?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, my God, I felt so erratic out there. It was just horrible. I think she felt erratic, too. It was windy and we were just spraying balls. She had a volley that she totally should have made, and I hit some shots that I totally should have made. It was very strange, tough conditions.

Q. Is it harder with the wind here? A lot of people have been complaining or just saying that it's very difficult, even your sister yesterday.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't remember it being like this. I mean, I know it's always windy this time of year and during this tournament. We always seem to play in the wind, but usually it's a couple days when it lays out and then it smooths, but it's just been crazy. It is so windy out there.

Q. She's a tricky player, too.
SERENA WILLIAMS: She is. She just hits winners. Just outrageous, really good shots. She's a good player.

Q. You were talking to the chair umpire about somebody in the stands late in the match. Do you know who that is?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, there was this guy in the stands that was harassing me throughout the whole match, and I really should have said something sooner. And then even the people out there were pointing to who he was. The guy was saying things that shouldn't have been said, and it was totally unethical.
I wouldn't have done it to anyone, and I just wouldn't expect to be treated any less. It's always something with me (laughter).

Q. Was it vulgar?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It was derogatory. I mean, at some points he said something that was very derogatory. Then every time I missed a shot or a serve, he would say, "That's the way to do it." He was calling foot fault; he was saying, Hit in the net.
I mean, everything you could think of. It was outrageous. I couldn't believe what he said at first. It threw me off.

Q. Did they kick him out?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. I told him he was going to be removed. I asked him -- I didn't ask him anything, I just told the umpire what had happened. I should have told the umpire sooner, but I was in shock.
I mean, who does this? That's so elementary. You don't do this on a professional level.

Q. Was he doing it like during the point?
SERENA WILLIAMS: During the point, in between first and second serves, during the point and after the point.

Q. When did you finally complain? What game was it?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It was the last -- I think it was 4-3 -- no, I went up 5-4 and finally complained because I felt like the match should have been over. I shouldn't have let it bother me because growing up in Compton we had drive-bys, and I guess that's what my dad prepared me for, but I'm not going to stand for it.

Q. Was there anything racist?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, the guy said, "Hit the net like any negro would." I was shocked. I couldn't believe it. I had to do a double take. I think I hit a double fault on that point. I couldn't believe that. I think we should go --

Q. Let's roundup a posse.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Who says these things outside of first grade? At a professional venue you don't do that. It was shocking. I couldn't believe he would stoop to that level.

Q. Can I ask about the next match?

Q. Maria was in here last night or yesterday afternoon, and she said, you know, the last time I played Serena she played great and I wasn't there. Do you expect her to show up more this time?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think she was there 100 percent, I just played well. I'll tell you what, when I played Maria last time, it was two, three months ago, and this is a new day, this is a new match, and this is a whole new thing.
It's definitely going to be a good match. What's done has been done. This is a new day.

Q. Are you looking forward to proving that wasn't just a one-time domination?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, you know, I think we have the rest of our careers to play each other. I'm just taking it one day at a time, just playing her next. That's it.

Q. What is it about when you guys play each other, though? It's really intense. When we're watching on TV in the U.S. and you were in Australia, for both of you it just seemed like a very intense, personal match. What is it about your rivalry with her that makes it that much tension?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Honestly, I don't know. I just think that we both have similar personalities, like she seems like she wants to win a lot. She seems like she hates to lose. I know I love to win and I hate to lose. I think that like we kind of are the same in that way, maybe -- I read where she's like a perfectionist, and I know I am to a crazy degree. I guess in a lot of ways we're really similar, and maybe that's what makes it so intense out there, because we both have very similar personalities.

Q. Can you feel that big sort of personality sort of clashing when you come on the court against her?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Not really. You know, I'm out there and I'm just playing the ball. I'm just playing. Win, lose or draw, I'll move on.

Q. Did you get the feeling in Australia -- I mean, it seemed from almost the beginning of the match that you were in complete control of that match. That's how it appeared from the outside. Is that how it felt to you on the inside from the beginning?
SERENA WILLIAMS: When I'm playing well, I've said it 1,000 times, no one can beat me. It's just me getting to play well.
Sometimes I play awful like I did today and my first round. But when I'm playing well it's very difficult for anyone to -- unless they're on the ATP -- tour, to beat me.

Q. Roger maybe?
SERENA WILLIAMS: He would probably have an easy time (laughter) as well as everyone else over there.

Q. Is there a little extra motivation because she knocked off Venus in a tough match?
SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, that always is extra motivation, but at the end of the day I've got to try to win, as well. She's going to go for it. She's playing good. Hopefully we'll play good tomorrow.

Q. Do you feel like the winner of this match has a good chance of winning the tournament?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I definitely think so. I think this is a match-turner. But you never know. Justine is playing well.

Q. We noticed that on the sign-up sheets for coaches that Venus was down as your official coach.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, she left unfortunately, so my coach -- I'm going to have to get a new coach (laughter).

Q. Who would come on the court if you needed a coach on the court?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I didn't have my coach today. If she's not back tomorrow I'm going to sign up with my dad or something.

Q. We were kind of looking forward to seeing what advice she would give.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I know. She was a good coach the other night when I called her out, too. Darn it.

Q. Do you wish you were playing Maria later? It seems like you guys playing each other this early --
SERENA WILLIAMS: It seems weird, but I've just got to keep playing and keep working on my ranking and play in a few more tournaments so we can play more in the finals and semifinals.

Q. In Australia the key was you served great and you really came out and you were aggressive. Is that really how you're going to have to approach this match again?
SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, I'm going to have to play well because Maria is playing well, and I think we're both going to have to play well.

Q. Can you explain why you switched to that new racquet, the K Factor?
SERENA WILLIAMS: The K Factor is the ultimate factor. I think Roger Federer uses the K Factor; I'm using the K Factor. It's done wonders for my career, and there's no racquet like it.

Q. Strategically being aggressive is going to be the key?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I haven't decided yet. We'll see. We'll play it by ear.

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