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September 2, 2007

Serena Williams


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. What caused you to lose focus on the first two points?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't think I lost focus. I don't think I lost focus because it was in the beginning of the match.

Q. For you what was the key of this match?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think the key was definitely being able to hold serve. She has a good return and she was actually serving better, I thought today, than she had in maybe some Wimbledons, because I saw her play in Wimbledon. I thought her serves were much faster.

Q. Can you talk about possibly playing Justine. Third time you guys have played in a Slam this year. How do you feel you're going into that match against her?
SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, I'm going in feeling like I don't have anything to lose. I just feel different now. Excited about the prospect of meeting her again.

Q. If you do play Justine, do you think this surface is the best surface for that matchup for you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't really care what surface I play on. So I mean, US Open now, so I don't -- I don't think about it that way.

Q. Where would you put your level at now after four matches?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm definitely better than I was in my first match. Each match I feel like that I've gotten better. I'm still not where I want to be or near. But I feel like I'm doing better, which is important.

Q. Just talk about the thumb and the effect on a two-handed backhand? Any residual?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No. I don't have any pain when I hit a backhand at all. Not at all. I've been really, really excited that I don't have anything.

Q. When did the pain finally go away and how much of a relief was it?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think it went away probably right during the tournament or when the tournament started, because I don't remember having much pain in my first round, or I don't remember. Maybe a little bit but not much. Just it's been really good, and I've been really, really happy about that.

Q. Have you lost your voice a little bit? You sound a little hoarse.

Q. Yeah.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know why. I didn't scream too much today.

Q. Is there anything else that might be physically affecting you right now? The thumb is okay, but is there something that we're not seeing that might be affecting your focus?
SERENA WILLIAMS: There are a lot things that I think affects everyone. I would be the last person to tell you just in case Justine or Safina reads it, and they're like, Oh, I know what to do.

Q. You're very good at coming back and playing great after not playing for a long time. What advice would you give as the secret to do that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. I think it's important for players to have match play. I would have preferred to have Pilot Pen or L.A. or at least one tournament under my belt going into this because I think it just makes it a little bit easier.
Just fight. That's the only thing I can say.

Q. Your serve in Australia was really key to your win there. Did you start to feel that kind of rhythm in your match today on your serve?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I definitely felt a lot better on my serve today, especially against her because she's actually a really good returner. So I felt that my serve was actually a lot better today than had been in my previous matches. It's on track. I want it to just keep getting better with each round, especially now with the quarterfinals.

Q. You said before you feel different now, is that just physically or is there an emotional component to that, too?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I don't know when I said "I feel different now."

Q. Just at the start of this interview.

Q. As opposed to the other times you were getting ready to play Justine.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh. I can't keep up with what I say on a daily basis. I might have been just jabbering at my lips. Might have just been filling space.

Q. I guess maybe are you more confident now or something like that? Do you feel better about your game going into this match with Justine?
SERENA WILLIAMS: At Wimbledon I couldn't hit a backhand, so I'm very confident in that fact that I'll be able to do that. I was really proud of myself to get that far because I had to take six weeks after, so I was thinking how in the world did I even play? Just having that confidence is always positive.
She played well at the French. I don't think I played well, but I think she did and she was really focused. It's just a new start for me.

Q. Did you ever get an explanation or were you offered an explanation about the other official's concerns about the notebook or is that just a closed issue?
SERENA WILLIAMS: The guy apparently he's an officially for the ATP Tour and he got confused because I was playing so well. He thought I was playing on the ATP Tour, and so he got that confused. So he got that confused.
On that tour I guess you're not allowed to have notes. I don't know. I don't play on that tour. I'm assuming that's what the rule is. I think he got confused. He was really impressed with my serve.

Q. Do you then have an understanding it if it's okay that you do some reading in the match now?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, it's definitely okay. I mean, it's something I've done my whole career. I'm not one to -- I never got signals or any of that stuff. Pretty much when I'm out there, even when they have the coaching, I hate to call out coach when they have them.
Sometimes I do, but I never really want to. So I'm always out there by myself and that helps me to stay focused.

Q. Outside of Venus Justine's played you tougher than any other player of your generation. Talk about that and why the rivalry has become so special.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, she's playing well and she's fighting for everything. She kind of believes that she can win, and maybe that's what makes that special.

Q. What was it like playing with that thumb against her at Wimbledon?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know how I played. Like I wasn't going to play, and then like the doctors were like, Oh -- when I injured my calf they're like, You shouldn't play. Then when I injured the thumb they were like, You can play. They had it was vice versa, so I probably shouldn't have played.
They were like, Okay, well, you can play. We don't see anything wrong. I'm like, Okay. I'll play. And with the calf they were like, Don't go back out, and I totally could have. Are you guys following me? Okay.
So honestly I really -- my slice is a lot better than it was at Wimbledon. I had a terrible slice back then. I don't know. Again, I just don't know how I was able to compete on any level being how -- seeing how bad it was when I went to see a hand specialist in the U.S. Like seeing the degree and the level of it I was really shocked, and impressed.

Q. What exactly what was medical diagnosis?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I had a really bad sprain in my ligament. It's common with football players for like safeties or whatever position. They kind of grab the helmet and the thumb kind of goes back. They never see this injury like outside of football players, so it was really strange.
Like I said, I went to a specialist and he was able to diagnose it well.

Q. Is that the guy in L.A.?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No. It was a different guy. And I just had to be like in a splint without moving it. Always had my thumb up, so it was weird.

Q. You're bringing football injuries to the sport of tennis.

Q. How hard it was being out all of six weeks? I think you came to watch James at a tournament. Was that hard watching, or do you get inspired watching him again?
SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, it was really difficult because I was on a roll and I felt like I was going to win Wimbledon. I felt like I was just going to do big things in the summer. I wanted to win the thing where you can double your money here.
I was really ready to play, and I felt like, you know, when I final dedicate myself this happens. So it was actually frustrating and I had to get over -- mentally I just had to like just pull myself back and be like it's going to be okay, because it was really hard.
I felt like I was working so hard, and to have another setback was frustrating to say the least.

Q. In the locker room of the quarterfinal of Wimbledon, Venus said that you talked to her and kind of gave her a pep talk. Like, Do it for me because I don't know if I'm going to be able to do it. Do you guys talk about who's going to win semifinal the end-of-year Grand Slam titles, because you're each tied at one now.
SERENA WILLIAMS: No. Well, we don't talk about that. We're pretty focused on both of our matches. Obviously I want nothing but the best for her and she wants nothing but the best for me, unless of course we're playing each other. Then it's like, Okay I want to win. That's how we look at it.

Q. So Serena, level-wise you're saying you're going to have to get a lot better. How much better? If Justine plays her best, what do you have to go, 20, 30% from where you were today?
SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, I'm playing better each round. I'm not trying to peak until I can get to the finals, and that's when I really bring my A game out. I feel like I can do it if I'm there.

Q. But this could be a final. If your seeding was a little higher you're talking about you have the eight Slams and Justine has six. If you're at opposite ends of draw it's a potential final.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, V has six, too.

Q. Will you be able to attend the African-American parade held once a year in Harlem?
SERENA WILLIAMS: The African-American gay parade?

Q. The African-American parade in Harlem.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Because there is the other parade going on. No, I won't be able to attend any parades. I'm very focused on my tennis.

Q. Because the community miss you a lot.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I'm trying to stay out there and just do the best I can on the court.

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