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January 30, 2009

Serena Williams


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Serena.

Q. Does Venus pick up on things and tell you in the locker room afterwards, little tiny things, or do you leave that to your mother as your coach?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Absolutely. In the break in my quarterfinal match, she came in and broke it down what I needed to do, what she thought I should do. I think that propelled me to the win, for sure.

Q. You seemed to be locked in a pretty good conversation today. What were you talking about for some time there after the win?
SERENA WILLIAMS: We were just talking about how some of the points, I started volleying like crazy in the end. We were talking about that, just what my practice schedule tomorrow is. We were already focused on the next match.

Q. Do you talk to her about what sort of opportunity lies ahead for you, now that she's not in it?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, we don't. First of all, we were so happy to win the doubles. We come away with one trophy so far. I obviously want to do well. She says she's going to be there tomorrow to cheer me for the whole way.

Q. The energy you expend physically in your doubles match, is it compensated for by the emotional energy you get from the win?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I'm totally fine. I think definitely I do get a lot of energy emotional-wise. I'm glad the final tomorrow is at night. I have over 24 hours to rest, so that's going to help me out a lot.
You know, overall I think that either way, I'm excited to be playing really consistent tennis. You know, I'm just happy to have gotten this far, at the level I was playing in the beginning of the week.

Q. Does the doubles serve as a bit of practice?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Uhm, it definitely does serve as practice. Although when I'm practicing, like today I was practicing singles instead of doubles, for my match. So, uhm, I'm having a lot of practices and a lot of workouts, but it's fine. I just look at it like I'm burning lots of calories.

Q. How important is the experience factor tomorrow, the fact you've been there so many times before, Dinara has only played in one Grand Slam final?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I don't know if that factors in too much. Once you make it to one Grand Slam final, you pretty much know what to expect. So if she hadn't made it to the final before, then I would say, yeah, I'd be more experienced. Seeing as she's already been there, I think if anything she's going to be way more hungry for it and want it even more. That's going to be definitely going for her.

Q. That special club you talked about with the 10 Grand Slams, can that outweigh the fact she's going for her first?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. We'll have to see tomorrow. Obviously I desperately want to win, and she does, too. You know, I feel like whether I get 10 today or whenever, it's gonna happen sooner or later.

Q. You were on the tour five years before Dinara came along. Can you tell us how you looked at her when she first came on and how you've seen her develop.
SERENA WILLIAMS: She's developed a lot. She's gotten a lot more confident. When she first came, she was so young and so sweet. I mean, she's still sweet now. You can just see she's more focused now, more intense, and you can just totally see the change.

Q. What about from a game perspective?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, her game has just developed. It's improved leaps and bounds.

Q. She obviously said earlier in the week she still had some mental issues with concentration, that sort of stuff. Will you need to come out aggressive and try to exploit that a little bit tomorrow?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Sure. I mean, I have mental issues, too, so... I think everyone has mental issues.

Q. When you woke up on the morning of your very first Grand Slam final, I presume there might have been a few butterflies. Will there be any tomorrow?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Maybe a little bit during. But I feel like I have nothing to lose. I'm just going out there and trying to win another Grand Slam. If I win, that would be great. If I lose, I'll just leave with the confidence that I can get far in a tournament when I'm not playing my best and go home and work even harder for the next time.

Q. Can you elaborate on your mental issues.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I get really angry and I'm a perfectionist. I have a slight case of OCD. Yeah, those are my issues.

Q. What aspects of your game do you think will match up favorably against Safina tomorrow?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. I don't think about that, the whole analogies, favorably, and all that other stuff. I usually look at that when I look at the match tape.

Q. Dinara spoke about idolizing Marat when she grew up. You and Venus were so close in age...
SERENA WILLIAMS: I idolized Marat, too (smiling). I can totally understand.
So, yeah, I mean, obviously I looked up to Venus as well. When she was in her final in '97, I remember I was in the stands and I wanted her to win I think even more than she wanted to win 'cause I wanted it so bad for her. That just motivated me to play well.
Actually, I experienced some of her losses. I was able to learn, so I didn't make the same mistakes she made. It was like I was playing the match and I got experience from that. So it was just double the fun.

Q. Is that OCD self-diagnosed?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, it's definitely self-diagnosed. But I think I can pick it out - maybe.

Q. What do you try to do to fight it?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, not too much. I think it's good to have it. I mean, you have a lot of order in your life. I like to be really order -- I like order. I'm not necessarily the neatest person in the world, but I do like to have that order.
I'm obsessed with my nails, too. I have to do them like every day. That's another OCD thing I have.

Q. When you look back to the first match you played against Venus, what comes to mind? How have those matches developed?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, my first match, the things that come to mind immediately is, I was really young. I didn't even think I could beat her. But I wanted to win, and I lost. I just lost a lot after that. I don't even remember the first time I beat her.

Q. It's taken a little while to get going here in Australia. If you had it to do over, would you have done something different in terms of your preparation?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No. I mean, I was really prepared. I practiced more than I've ever practiced. So maybe, if anything, I would practice less and drink more - water (smiling).

Q. Do you think her best is good enough to match your best?
SERENA WILLIAMS: If I'm playing my best, I mean, it's tough to say. You know, I hardly think I've ever gotten to my best. Maybe a few times in my career.
So I hope tomorrow I'll get there. That would be really exciting.

End of FastScripts

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