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August 23, 2008
NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, everyone for joining us. Before we have our US Open press conference, Venus and Serena would like to make a very special announcement.
SERENA WILLIAMS: As you can see, my sister and I are always really excited and really happy, but we have a very important announcement we'd like to make today.
VENUS WILLIAMS: My sister and I have decided to become two-sport athletes, and we've joined a new league.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Oreos Double Stuff Racing League.
VENUS WILLIAMS: It puts a new spin on the classic twist, lick, and dunk. People compete to see who can eat a Double Stuffed Oreo cookie the fastest, so Serena and I have joined the league. We've become very fast, actually.
SERENA WILLIAMS: We're the fastest ever. You know we love to have a lot of fun and be competitive at whatever we do. Since we have been young we've been enjoying Oreos, and decided to take it to a new level and get involved with DSRL as adults.
VENUS WILLIAMS: And you've probably heard of another pair of siblings...
SERENA WILLIAMS: Not so famous as us, of course.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Not so famous who have always been involved with the DSRL, the Manning brothers, and we have started a friendly competition, a very competitive competition.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Very competitive competition.
VENUS WILLIAMS: They helped kick off the Double Dunk League in January, and we have been competing throughout the summer. I'm sure you'll see in the commercial the intense competition that goes on between us.
SERENA WILLIAMS: It is an honor to answer the Manning brothers challenge, and we hopefully will always end up on top like we like to do.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, but we've just been practicing, and we just have a friendly competition going with the Manning brothers. I'm sure you enjoy the commercial.
Serena and I have been excited to join the DSRL. We hope that you will join the DSRL, also. Go online at DSRL.com.
SERENA WILLIAMS: We're looking forward to a great DSRL season.
THE MODERATOR: We'll open it up to questions now.
Q. Are you going to show us your moves?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Our double stuff moves? Yeah, actually, I actually had a problem with my partner in the racing league. Okay, it's very important that your cookie is set at a certain way.
So if it's set the wrong way, then you get a late start. So my partner sabotaged me and set my cookie wrong. If I looked this way for one second, the cookie was reset by Serena Williams.
SERENA WILLIAMS: That's not true.
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think she was also competing with me along with the Mannings.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm very competitive.
VENUS WILLIAMS: We had a great time, actually, with the Mannings. We filmed the commercial with them. We were actually very competitive. It was pretty -- we had a lot of fun with it.
Q. I think this is the second food company you've been associated with. You do a lot of work with McDonald's, and now with Oreos. Can you talk about what it's like for an athlete to be working with these different food organizations, and do you actually eat Oreos?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, of course we eat Oreos, since we were younger.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Since we were young, it's an American family classic. We associate ourselves with great products like Kraft, which is, you know, the mother, so to say, of Oreo, ans as well as McDonald's.
We like to involve ourselves in companies that mean things not only that has a lot to do with family, because me and my sister, we are really close with family and things that have to do with charities off court, as well.
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think it's good. I think when you see the double stuff racing commercials you see the little girl with the grandma and they're racing. Everyone has done that growing up, and probably still now.
So when we had the opportunity to be a part of this, that kind of was the epitome of Serena and I being a family and doing everything together.
SERENA WILLIAMS: And being competitive and then leaving it and being a family again.
VENUS WILLIAMS: It all just made so much sense for us.
Q. Could you guys just talk about your feelings when the draw was released, your first-round opponents and that you guys were in the same section of the draw?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I mean, we were just on the whirlwind from the Olympics, to be honest. We found out I guess it was yesterday, so obviously we had an unbelievable summer. We were trying to make sure that one of us ends the summer off with a bang. That's just what it is.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I feel the same way. Definitely feel like we've had a great summer, and hopefully right now I'm just focused on my first-round match and going from there.
Q. For both of you, how do you think the toll of going over to Beijing and then coming back will affect you and all the other players that went?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I think we have a week to adjust, and hopefully it will be enough time. We knew what we were doing when we went to Beijing. We knew it was going to be hard work and wasn't going to be easy.
We were willing to accept that challenge because we both wanted to compete for our country. It was definitely worth it.
Q. When did you get back in the States?
VENUS WILLIAMS: We got back on Monday, Monday night. We made the best of it.
Q. Are you adjusted?
VENUS WILLIAMS: We're doing good.
Q. Can you talk about the significance of playing in the Olympics relative to playing in a major and how your feelings might differ?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, growing up, as a tennis player you always dream of winning Grand Slams and competing in Grand Slams. But then when I was younger I used to watch all the Olympic greats and people, you know, only the best of the best get to go to the Olympics.
So to have that experience and to win gold is really amazing. Like it's -- it's totally different. Like I expect to win Grand Slams. I expect to do well. But I never can say that I expected to, even when I was young, to have a gold medal.
So it makes it just that much better and more satisfying.
Q. How much of an issue was jet lag, or does it continue to be, and what did you have to try to do to deal with that during the past week?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I'm still trying to get over the jet lag. Venus seems like she isn't having a problem, but I don't handle jet lag as well as she does. Hopefully it won't be an issue.
Q. Don't think it will be an issue come Monday?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I have a few more days. I think I'll play on Tuesday, so I'll be fine.
Q. Can you take us through your week? You said you flew back. Did you fly back to Palm Beach? What have you been doing all week to get over this jet lag?
VENUS WILLIAMS: We flew back. We couldn't go to Palm Beach because of the storm, but we flew back on Monday night, and by 7:00 I was up on Tuesday. I went for a run and to the gym and to practice and rehab and all the stuff you've got to do when you're not at home. Try to go to the dentist, things like that. We've been busy.
Q. Did you come here or go to Florida?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Went to California.
Q. When did you arrive here?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Thursday.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Thursday. I really don't know what day it is anymore. I thought today was Friday. I don't know. But I'm here at the right time.
Q. You say you're here at the right time. What does it mean to you when you come out on these grounds every year? Both of you, if you could reflect for the first time, what does it mean to be back here?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It's a special feeling. I love this tournament and love to have a Grand Slam in New York. It's the last one, so it means that I really, really want to give it my all and my best.
Q. And Venus?
VENUS WILLIAMS: For me, this is where the big things happened for Serena and I first: me having the final here, her winning the Slam and us winning the doubles the same year. So there has been a lot of firsts for us. We wish we were playing the doubles, but next year.
Q. Compared to the other Grand Slams, does this one - you're both Americans - is this one a little more special to you?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, being at home, you can't beat it. I mean, obviously I've had a lot of good success at Wimbledon, and that's pretty special to me, too. But this is at home.
Q. You too, Serena?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Sure.
Q. CBS 2 is going to be airing a one-hour breast cancer awareness special right before the women's finals this year. What do you do, as role models, to inspire young kids, and especially young girls, to get involved in the sport? And why is it important to do that?
VENUS WILLIAMS: To get involved in the sport?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I think we're always doing the kids clinics, visiting schools, we're in local tournaments and things like that that are so important. We do the best that we can.
Q. There have been studies released that actually show vigorous sports, like tennis, actually reduce a young woman's risk for getting certain cancers, so this is very important. What would you tell young kids or especially young girls if they wanted to get involved?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think it's important for them to get involved in sports. I think sports gives you a sense of direction, self-esteem, accomplishing your goals. I think also with young people also seeing us on DSRL, they associate us with tennis and something fun, and they say, Hey, I want to get involved. I think that's great, too.
Q. Can you guys talk a little bit about the year in women's tennis? It's been a odd year with Justine going out, Lindsay coming back and being injured, the two Serbians? What's going to happen here at the US Open? What should we look for?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm definitely not into predicting. I can't predict. But I can only say that we've been working hard, and hopefully our hard work will pay off.
VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm all about my results and wish everyone else the best of luck. But I'm really down with me winning this tournament, so... (laughter.)
Q. Serena or Venus, how many years you going to be playing?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I don't know. I don't see an end right now. I'm -- I just see myself -- I don't know.
VENUS WILLIAMS: We're playing too well to think about the end.
SERENA WILLIAMS: That doesn't cross our minds.
VENUS WILLIAMS: We keep getting better.
Q. Are you both feeling well? Bodies holding up and feeling strong?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm feeling well.
VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm feeling well.
Q. Tired, jet lag, but otherwise...
VENUS WILLIAMS: That's it. Otherwise we're doing great.
Q. I've heard sports psychologists talk about if you tell a young kid that they're really talented they might feel like they don't have to try. But you ladies have always been, it seems, very self-motivated, very eager to win, and you have such a competitive spirit. Do you feel that was nurtured from the beginning, or do you feel it's something that you're really just born with? Here you are on top of the world, but you always seem to still have that hunger to want to win and to try. Where does that come from?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think it's something that's definitely innate, you know, some things you're born with and some things you're not. I don't know what I was born with. I just do know that I enjoy competition and I enjoy, you know, my job more than anything. I have so much fun out there that it makes it easy for me.
Q. Do you think you can be No. 1 and No. 2 again?
VENUS WILLIAMS: That's the plan, but I don't think either one of us is aiming for 2. (laughter.)
Q. Venus got the better of the matchup at Wimbledon. Serena, what's your plan for trying to get back at Venus this time in the quarterfinals if you both make it?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I have to get there first, and maybe I'll just go study, see what went wrong at Wimbledon. Hopefully I can rectify it.
Thank you, guys.
VENUS WILLIAMS: We invite you guys to have cookies.
End of FastScripts