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January 26, 2009

Serena Williams


S. WILLIAMS/V. Azarenka
3-6, 4-2 (ret.)

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. I understand you had a hit after the match. Is that a good substitute for on-court play?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Uhm, yeah. I just was clearly disappointed in my serve, so just wanted to work on that a little bit. Wanted to hit a few more balls. Had planned on trying to obviously stay out there for three sets. So I just felt like I just needed to get that extra workout and motivation that I felt like I was going to have anyway.

Q. Right after the match, you said to Brad that you wanted to check on Victoria to see how she was doing. Did you have a chance to do that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I didn't, because she went back to the doctor. Hopefully she'll be okay. She's young, so will have plenty of opportunity to do better.

Q. What was your sense as to what happened?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Honestly, I got worried. I was like, Oh, my goodness, because she started like walking really slow. The last thing she would want to do, to me, would be fall. It was just weird.
I was actually really worried.

Q. Did you have any injury concerns yourself during the match?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I was fine. I just wanted to get my ankle -- because she took some time off, I wanted to get my ankle retaped.

Q. Did you retape your right ankle yourself?

Q. The trainer retaped one.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Right. I did the left.

Q. Self-service.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I can do it all. I cook, I clean, I write, I make jokes, I tape (smiling). You know, I just pretty much do everything.

Q. You were real frustrated with your serve, obviously, at the end of the first set. You got the code violation. What was going on with the rhythm there?
SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, I didn't hit enough serves coming into this. In Florida I was training a lot, but I remember thinking I need to hit more serves. But I wasn't able to hit as much as I wanted to.
I felt like this tournament my serve hasn't been anywhere near where it normally is so I just got a little frustrated with my first-serve percentage. It seemed to be low today.

Q. Did you feel you were turning it around or were you fortunate?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I never give up. I mean, first set, if I lose it, automatic three sets. There's nothing else. I'm thinking, Okay, this is what I'm going to do in the third. I automatically try to assume I'm going to win the second.

Q. Did your mom or Dave or someone say in the first set you weren't moving your feet like you normally do? Seemed you were a little lethargic off the ground.
SERENA WILLIAMS: No. I actually thought I was moving way better than I had in my other match, to be honest. I hadn't gotten that feedback. Venus said I was moving fast. I think actually I was moving better.

Q. A question broader than the match itself. You joke about being able to do it all. What are the benefits of not being solely focused upon tennis all the time and exploring other things the way you have? What are the benefits of that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I think the benefits are just being able to just broaden your horizons. I can't hit a ball in a box for the rest of my life. You know, I have to pretty much -- you only have so long that you can do that.
I've always tried to do other things that I really enjoy, that I have a passion for. For me that makes me enjoy tennis more because I'm really, really good at tennis. Maybe I'm not so good at, you know, designing and drawing. I mean, I try to be as good as I can at it, but it makes me appreciate my tennis game a little bit more.

Q. Svetlana Kuznetsova in the next round. Thoughts on that matchup?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, uhm, I haven't played her that much in my career, but we've played a couple times. She's a good player, obviously. Gets a ton of balls back. She's extremely strong. I think we have a similar game. I think it will obviously be a great match.

Q. Do you feel like she's someone that can go toe-to-toe with you at times?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, because she's extremely powerful. You know, she just can get a lot of things back, kind of like me. Like I said, I think we have a very similar game.
It will be just who can do whatever.

Q. Do you feel like a natural at tennis or do you think that you become good or great based on hard work?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Hmm. I never thought about that. I don't know if I'm a natural. I wasn't that good when I was younger. I was small and I just hit a lot of lobs, so...
I think Venus is a natural.

Q. Comparing to what you were saying about design or drawing or other things where you have to work harder.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, uhm, I think I did a lot of hard work to get where I am in tennis. I know when I wasn't doing that great, I put in extra effort. And also I think that with anything, if you want to be great at it, you have to put a lot of effort in it and have the time to put a lot of effort into it.

Q. Obviously good early on beating Andy Roddick when he was 10 years old. Any hopes of a charity rematch?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't think it's necessary to have a rematch. You know, I won. I was clearly the better player. I beat Roddick, you know. Andy Roddick, yeah (smiling).
There's really no need to have a rematch. It's unimportant [sic] now.

Q. The score speaks for itself. What was the score?
SERENA WILLIAMS: 6-1. The score absolutely speaks for itself. He always jokes, Rematch, rematch. But I don't even have time for a rematch (smiling).

Q. What was Andy like as a 10-year-old kid? Was he a brat or a good kid?
SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, he was a sweetheart. He was so sweet and he was so small. His older brother played really good tennis, John Roddick. He was always John Roddick's younger brother. I was kind of Venus' younger sister.
I just remember he was a really sweet kid. You know, he could never really beat me (laughter).

Q. The latest chapter in the Dokic drama unfolded last night. Did you see it?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Of course, I did. Like I said, I am really so happy for her. I'm really rooting for her to go far. Obviously, if I make it, I don't want her to win. But I really am rooting for her to go as far as she can in this tournament because I really think she has a chance to do extremely well.
Hopefully she can be motivated by what I did when I was ranked in the 80s. I think it's just an amazing story. I'm so happy for her.

Q. How do you see the Safina matchup?
SERENA WILLIAMS: She has nothing to lose. That's when people are so dangerous, when they have nothing to lose. That's a great position to be in.

Q. You saw Jelena during her so-called "prime years." Looks like now she hasn't lost her ball-striking ability.
SERENA WILLIAMS: No. She looks just like the player she was back whenever it was. I just remember her, she always had a decent serve and more or less two first serves. I was noticing when she was playing, looks like the same Jelena. That's really good to see, that she didn't lose any of her game or her fighting spirit. It's awesome.

Q. We've seen when you haven't felt that comfortable off the ground, your serve has carried you through majors. Can the reverse happen?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Absolutely. And I decided today that I wasn't losing serve anymore. You know, I was down 40-15 a few times, I was able to come back. So I had made up my mind that I was going to be able to win with or without a serve, even if I had to just not serve, I was going to have to just do better.

Q. If you don't want to play Andy in a charity match, maybe a dump-truck-pressing contest?

Q. Did you hear about the dump-truck-pressing comment he made?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Andy's always exaggerating. I was so small for my age. He was small, too. But he just got jealous because my body was more fit and that my biceps are probably still bigger than his (laughter).
Andy is incredibly jealous of me. You know, I just don't know why. I can't blame him really (smiling).

Q. His exact comment was that, at the time he had to run around in the shower to get wet while you were bench pressing dump trucks.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Again, I'll have to talk to him, because he clearly didn't have to run around. He wasn't that thin. Andy's a fit guy.
Like I said, he was always trying to get muscles like mine, get more developed. I guess it still hasn't happened yet (laughter).

Q. Can you imagine Jim Morrison from the Doors is still alive, would you like to sing a song with him?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I can play a guitar.

Q. Bass guitar?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, six string. I'm really good at playing the guitar. See, there's a lot of stuff that I do.

Q. Do you do windows?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm an HP girl, Hewlett Packard.

Q. Washing windows.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, windows (laughter)? I thought it was a trick question.
No. I was a Green Day fanatic. I kind of stifled my learning because I wanted to play power chords, like really hardcore rock. So I wasn't as good at playing like Led Zeppelin. I did start playing some Jimi Hendricks. But I was a power chord punk rock. I was really into punk rock.

Q. What kind of guitar do you have?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I have a Gibson Stratocast, baby blue. Baby blue because Billie Joe Armstrong had a baby blue one. He was my role model.

Q. Andy Roddick has been in the top 10 for seven straight years. I know you can appreciate that consistency. Can you talk about him as a competitor.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, he's clearly a great competitor. You know, Andy influenced me. I think a couple years ago he wasn't playing his best tennis. The guy never gave up. He was at every event, playing every tournament. He never lost confidence. That actually motivated me at that point to do well. I was able to win some tournaments after watching his spirit and competitiveness.
I never told him that, but he definitely did influence me to do better and to work harder. So I think he's a great competitor. Too bad he can't beat some women players, but nonetheless he's pretty good (smiling).

Q. Will you watch his match against Djokovic? Or because he's your friend, does he get too emotionally draining?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I always watch. I'm always rooting as hard as I can for Andy. I think he's playing well, so hopefully he'll be able to pull through.

Q. Would you like to play mixed doubles with him?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, that would be great. All I would have to do is stand and he serves every time.

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