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March 29, 2007

Serena Williams


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Serena, how is your knee? Are you okay? Are you all right?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I'm fine.

Q. What is your game plan as far as how you're going to get past Justine?
SERENA WILLIAMS: She's going to be playing really well. She probably watched my match tonight. We've had some tough matches in the past, so hopefully we'll just play a great, honest match.

Q. It was like a war out there tonight, wasn't it, Serena? That first set, so intense. You just gutted it out, you weren't playing your best?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I definitely wasn't playing anywhere near my best. But last time I checked, I had 25 unforced errors, and I just stopped looking after that because it was climbing and climbing and climbing. I definitely wasn't at my best.
But I'm glad I was able to come through because I know I can play a lot better than what I played tonight.

Q. Your dad was writing notes for most of the first sets, And he only had two minutes to deliver his sermon. What did he say to you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I mean, you guys heard him, right? I don't know. He was just like -- he said I was playing the crowd because she had a lot of people on her side. He said that I looked nervous.
Yes, I remember him saying that, so it was like, just stay relaxed, don't play the crowd, play the game.

Q. Were you nervous?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I wasn't nervous, I was just tight. I don't know why. I just couldn't get the balls in. I don't know what attributed to that. But I just kept making a lot of errors.

Q. Serena that 2003 French Open seemed to engender some bad feelings with Justine. But when did that coolness thaw? Or what changed?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Justine and I, we are just competitors in the locker room. We don't sneer at each other or growl. We get along, we say hi. We ask how are you doing and how have you been. It's good to see her on tour again.
I hope she's excited to see me back out again.
We're both here to play and compete, but at the end of the day it's just a game.

Q. But you also want it to be fair, right?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Want what to be fair?

Q. Well, you want the competition fair?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm a fair competitor. I'm here to compete. I'm always fair. Whatever happened in the past is the past. I've moved -- I mean, I don't think about that anymore. I've totally moved on.

Q. Justine did mention that it was good to see you making such a strong comeback as you are. She also mentioned that she doesn't like on-court coaching, she doesn't need it. She's been coached for 11 years and all she has to do is look at him, and with a body language or gesture, she knows what to do. Will you as a result -- how will that affect what you use for on-court coaching Saturday?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Is that classified as coaching? I think that is on-court coaching to me. I mean if you're making a gesture like -- or -- to me (laughing) that's pretty much coaching. So I think maybe she does like on-court coaching. I don't know. To me, that's coaching.
When I look at my parents and my coach, first I only look when I'm really upset with myself. Then I go from there. Like I don't like on-court coaching; the only reason I use it is because just because the other person does. If they weren't calling their coach out, I probably wouldn't call mine out.
But understand my coach is coming back tomorrow. I'm really excited. Hopefully she'll be at the match on Saturday.

Q. Right. Okay, the bottom line is will you call her out to the court?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I'll definitely be calling my coach out. I love my coach. My dad's a great coach, too. But my other coach is coming tomorrow.

Q. Serena, Shahar seems to have given you a better match than any other opponent. Is there anything about her particular game that is struggling? I also wanted to comment that she's a good omen for you. Every opponent she lost to in the last two months has gone on to win the championship.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Wow, so hopefully it will keep up. You know, knock on wood.
She's a good player. She's a good fighter. She's a solid player. She's one of those players that you have to beat to get to the next round. They won't give you the match, you have to go out there and beat them.

Q. You beat Sharapova and Vaidisova in Australia. All three of them got another shot. How much pride do you take in solidifying their wins here?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I take a lot of pride in the wins. Not only that, this is the last time on the hard court for a little while, so it will be good to play them again on a different surface, change things up a little bit.

Q. Are you surprised that like in Australia, that you saw so many Israeli flags, that Shahar seems to have so many supporters, like you have your supporters, wherever she goes around the world?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, not at all. I'm not surprised. Actually, I was in L.A. this particular deli I always go to, the guy said, "Well, why did you beat Shahar? I stayed up all night in Israel to watch her play." And I was like, "I'm sorry. I'm trying to win. Do you want me to come back?" (Laughing)
She has a lot of fans, obviously. There's a lot of Israelis in the United States, so it's good to see it.

Q. Have you ever had a chance to visit Israel? I know you're Jehovah's witness. From what I've been reading about it, there's a lot of significance about going to Israel and visiting. I know you mentioned you feel a spiritual thing for people in Africa. Would you ever feel spiritual when you go to Israel?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I would love to go to Israel. I've heard great things about it. I've heard unbelievable things, that it was beautiful, it was a great city. I'd love to see the city of Jerusalem, and all the old ancient cities that you read about in the Bible.
I think it would be amazing to see all of that history. It would be cool. I think it would be a real kind of like, I mean, you just take a moment and think about all the things you read about in Genesis and Exodus and Deuteronomy, and just kind of look and see what you feel from that.

Q. Serena, it seems on the big points especially, it's so important to keep emotions out of it. Or if a point goes poorly, to be able to move on. Was that hard for you? Is that ever still hard for you? How did you -- you seem to be an ebullient player, but how do you keep your emotions under control?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't think I did a good job today. I think I was pretty emotional out there. Normally I just tell myself to calm down and just go with it. You know. Just I don't know. Just do it. Like Nike says, "just do it."

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