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March 30, 2008

Serena Williams


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. What turned things around for you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I really just started fighting. I didn't want to lose. I talked to my mom on the phone. You know, she has a way of talking to me. And I talked to my dad as well.
They pretty much both said the same thing. You know, mom was just like you need to do this, blah, blah, blah. And I was like, okay. Are you listening? Yes, I'm listening.

Q. Can you tell us what their advice was?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I just said blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Blah, blah, blah. No, she was just like, Don't think about the title. Just think about this match.
Don't put -- because they know that I put a lot of pressure on myself. She was just like, Don't put pressure on yourself. She knows my game really well. She was like, Stay up. Don't get behind the baseline. I'm like, Are you here? Are you watching on TV?
She's like, No, but I know you. So I was like, Okay. So I just tried to listen more than anything.

Q. So the rain delay helped you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I definitely think it helped me for sure. But regardless, I was ready to get in there and do whatever I could to just stage a comeback.

Q. Is that when you called her, during the rain delay, or they called you during the rain delay?
SERENA WILLIAMS: My mom called me, and my dad is here, obviously, so he talked to me.

Q. Is there one of them, your mom or your dad, that you sort of would prefer to talk to in a situation like that after the way that first set went, or equally the same temperament?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, my dad is so positive. And like I could be hitting a thousand errors and he'll be like, You're playing great. You know, all you have to do is this. Whereas my mom is more, You need to do this.
But she's just more -- I don't know. Everyone probably thinks it's opposite, but it's really not. But my mom's like more strict and tougher, but it's good. You know, you need that one person to be tough on you, and you need the one person to be, you know, you can go to them like oh, and really feel sorry for you.
So I think they kind of work really well with each other.

Q. Good cop, bad cop?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yes, good cop, bad cop. Believe it or not, my dad's the good cop, and my mom's the bad cop.

Q. When did you feel like you were on top of the situation? Did you still have real concerns in the third set even?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah. You know what? I never stopped. Like I didn't feel I was on top until the match was over. I didn't want to lose focus. I didn't think, I'm on top. I thought, Just stay focused and don't think anything else.

Q. What was happening? What did you find that you weren't doing?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I was making -- I went out there after the rain delay and I saw I had 44 unforced errors. I really had cut down on my errors in the last tournament, and even in my first round match. I just made too many errors. I haven't made 44 errors in the beginning of a second set in a while, and that's really what happened. I just made 44 errors.
I don't know what the final stat was, but that's a lot of errors to make in a match.

Q. I think it was 60.
SERENA WILLIAMS: See, that's incredible.

Q. When was the last time you made that many errors?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. I hope I don't remember. I hope it doesn't happen again.

Q. What do you think is the cause of the errors? You seemed to be moving really well. Was it a kink in your stroke?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah. You know what? I've been practicing really well. I just think I had a bad day today. Every time I went to connect it was like I didn't have my contact point. There were some technical things that my dad told me I wasn't doing, and I tried to correct that going into the third set.
So, you know, he said that's why I was making errors. So I just tried to do that.

Q. Kind of a strange schedule today. Had Justine and Venus and you, all on Grandstand and Court 1. How did you feel out there in that environment?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I haven't played on Grandstand in years. However, I did play on Court 1 or 2 last year. You know, it's a good environment. You see a lot more kids out there.
I remember when I came to this tournament probably four, five years ago when I was younger, you know, watching. I remember watching like Gabrielle Sabatini, (laughing) and it was always on Grandstand.
It was just a great experience. So it's good sometimes, I think, to get the top players out there and have all the kids be able to get so close and so up tight. Do I like playing on the Grandstand? Obviously I prefer playing on Center. But at the same time, I always try to look at the glass being half full. It's a great opportunity.

Q. You don't think that affects you, the surroundings being a little different?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It was cool. The crowd was really into it. You know, it was good. It was a good vibe.

Q. Four years ago that was, you said?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, you know, I was like 14 or 13, whatever. It might have been five. It might have been five years ago.

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