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January 31, 2009
S. WILLIAMS/D. Safina
THE MODERATOR: Questions for your champion.
Q. How would you rate this win with your nine other Grand Slams?
SERENA WILLIAMS: This one's right up there with all the rest of the other Grand Slams. I just feel like -- I'm so excited to win, because I wanted to win, and I feel like I needed to win.
I don't know, I just really needed it.
Q. Why were you so dominant?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I definitely had a plan coming out there. I feel like if I play that way, traditionally I always am able to do well. You know, if I don't win, I at least put the people -- give them a lot of pressure.
Q. Why did you feel like you needed to win? What made you need the win?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I wanted to get to 10. And then I felt like, "Okay, well, I really needed that, and I wanted that for me. You never know what happens in life. I feel like, you know, opportunities sometimes don't present themselves twice.
I think obviously I'll have that opportunity again, if I didn't win, to get a chance to get to 10. But I felt like this was my chance to take it and run with it.
Q. Dinara said the prospect of the No. 1 ranking was too much for her, caused her to be very nervous. How did it affect you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I actually forgot until the end when I was saying hi to my box. They're like, Hey, you're No. 1. I was like, Oh, yeah.
So kind of like the US Open, I mean, No. 1 isn't -- like I said, I always believe I'm the best, whether I'm No. 1 or whether I'm a hundred. Just having that extra bonus is pretty cool.
Q. You're now halfway to another Serena slam. Is that a realistic goal for you, and have you thought of another name for it?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I hadn't even thought about that, 'cause I did win the US Open. So, uhm, hmm. You know, it would be great to win more than one -- two, more than two Grand Slams this year, more than three.
So that would be awesome. Obviously my sights are on doing well in Paris. I didn't do well at all last year. So when I get there, I won't have that much to lose and I'll just be really relaxed.
Q. Would you say that was one of your most dominant performances of your career?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Uhm, I definitely think it was definitely one of my most dominant performances, especially considering it was a final. I was able to just lift the level of my game in the final.
Q. Was it as good as your 2007 win?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Hmm. I think I played better in -- I don't know. I think '07 and '09 are really close. I don't know which one was really better. I was really playing well in '07, the final.
Q. How do you explain the difference between your form tonight? How did you get up for the final?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I've been playing better throughout the weeks. I think doubles was really able to help me out. And also I went out and hit a few balls this morning. I had a really good practice.
Watching some of the men's tennis, they were playing really well. I was really inspired like that. Especially last night's match. It was just crazy.
I thought, you know, I could do a little better. Just all the inspirations kind of added. And then I felt like, you know, going into today I didn't really have much to lose. Just go out there and do my best.
Q. Should we be surprised or maybe worried a little bit when a set in a Grand Slam final could be won at love?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Uhm, hmm. I don't know. I don't know how you should feel. You should never be surprised by anything that I do, though (smiling).
Q. We've been waiting for you a little bit. The way you're dressed, you look like someone else is waiting for you. Where are you going?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I wish someone else was waiting for me. Unfortunately, gosh, there's no one waiting for me.
No, I was doing drug testing and stuff, so it always takes a little longer to get ready. I always bring an outfit for the championships. I always try to think positive, and I think it helps me be able to win.
Q. Did you feel like you were in control of the match from the very first point?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Uhm, I felt like I was in control from the third game. I felt like I was in control from my serve. I always try to hold serve when I start out.
You know, when she lost serve in her opening game after having a few chances to hold, I got a little more confident off that a lot.
Q. Did you sense she was struggling with the occasion straightaway?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I didn't sense that. I thought she was really doing pretty good, hanging in there. She never gives up. That's one thing. I mean, she's always fighting till the last point.
Q. Did you work on return of serve a lot this morning in practice?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I did. I hadn't been returning well this tournament, and then today in practice, and even yesterday, I worked a lot on returning serves. I figure I don't even need to work that much on the forehands, because I play doubles on that side. So I was working a lot on the ad side.
Then, you know, with all the doubles that I'm playing, I figure that hopefully the forehand side should be okay.
Q. How many tournaments are you planning to play this year? The full schedule?
SERENA WILLIAMS: If I catch tomorrow's match, I'll definitely try to watch it.
I don't know how many tournaments. I'm committed to the WTA Tour. There's a couple mandatory tournaments. I don't remember exactly offhand how many we have to play. So I'll be in those events, though, for sure.
Q. You're somebody who puts emphasis on particular events, Grand Slams, a few others. What is the next event for you that you put an asterisk at?
SERENA WILLIAMS: My next event, I think I'm going to focus on, is Paris. I'm planning on going there in a week really. I love Paris, so...
I just can't wait to get there.
Q. Ten slams in, the highest-earning female sportsperson in the world. Do you have any kind of benchmarks that, you yourself, are trying to make?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Absolutely. No, I feel like I can go forever. I mean, I always talk to Venus, and we're always like, We're going to play forever.
So, uhm, you know, I definitely feel like I have so many years to play. Obviously I think I'm playing pretty well, so...
You know, I think that I can definitely do it.
Q. And is the key to that this balance in life?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Absolutely. I'm always happy, you know, nowadays. If I'm not excited about going to an event, I don't pressure myself. Or if I'm injured, I don't pressure myself to get in there.
I focus on, you know, keeping God first and foremost in my life, and everything else will fall in place.
Q. What is going to be your schedule after this tournament? Are you going to be in Rome also?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yes, I'm going to Rome. Then I'm going to Madrid and obviously Paris. I definitely have a tough schedule. I'm just trying to keep it.
Q. What does it mean to you to be the highest earner not only in tennis but overall?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I thought it was just in tennis, and then I realized it was really overall in women's sports. I thought that was really cool, because you look at people like Billie Jean King, then you look at things in the United States called Title IX, which gave women an opportunity to play sports. You really appreciate that.
You really appreciate the people, the pioneers, the work they've done to get me in a position to have an opportunity to be called even the highest-earning female tennis player.
I just feel so honored that I had so many wonderful pioneers doing things to open doors - not only me, but you think five years from now or ten years from now, say, there will probably be people earning more money than I am, because the prize money on the WTA Tour has already gone completely out of the roof from this year and last year.
So it's gonna be even better.
Q. You're talking about hanging around for a while. Do you suppose you could hang around long enough to equal Margaret Court's record of 24 Grand Slam championships?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Is that in singles?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No (laughter). That's a long time. And, uhm, unless I could just win like all the time, then that could definitely happen if I stay focused. But I never look, you know, for reaching her, 'cause she's like the ultimate, winning all the Grand Slams.
I focus on me. Even if I won two Grand Slams, I just focus on winning those.
Q. You have been around for a long time, one of the elder stateswomen of the game. What do you think are the lessons of this tournament, the Australian Open, what are the issues as far as treatment of injuries on court, roof policy, heat policy? Anything you'd like to see changed?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I really enjoyed it. I clearly enjoyed the way things went this year. I won. So I wouldn't like to see anything changed.
Q. How do you see the men's final?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. I mean, I'm really big fans of both Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. So I don't know. I don't know. I don't know who to say and who to pick.
I would love to see Rafa do well because I just -- I don't think he's won this tournament. But, uhm, you know, I just -- you know, I'm just a big fan of both of them.
I think I want their autographs.
Q. Would you ever want to play a 5 hour, 14 minute match?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I was trying to think of who would beat me worse, either Roger or Rafa, and how long, like a five-minute set. They'd probably take me out in five minutes, so...
Q. Would you want to play 5 hours and 14 minutes ever?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, uhm, if it came down to it and I had to, I could. I mean, would I want to? If it meant the win, I would have to, yeah.
End of FastScripts