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January 22, 2009

Serena Williams


6-3, 7-5

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How would you sum up today's game?
SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, I was able to get through it not playing my best. So I guess that's how I would sum it up.

Q. Plenty of room for improvement?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, my God, lots and lots and lots of room for improvement.

Q. Tell us what was going through your head in that game in the second set, the 12 deuces?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, I just thought that I should have won, you know, the game already. You know, I just kept thinking -- I was pretty relaxed in that game actually. I just thought, Wow, hit a winner or just try to stay focused.

Q. Were you surprised how she tried to take it to you because she's known as a defensive player?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, she definitely isn't known for the game she played today. But I'm used to people really playing and taking it to me now.

Q. Do you like having those battles early on in the tournament? Makes you match tough maybe.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Sure, it definitely helps you to get match tough and be ready for the next person that's, you know, obviously going to take it to me, as well.
So I think it's always good to know that, against me at least, these girls are bringing their A-game.

Q. How far away from what you would consider winning-form are you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, today I was at like a D minus at best (smiling). That's pretty far away.
But it's good that I was able to win, too, when I wasn't playing my best. I definitely will try to do better.

Q. You were spotted on the practice court straight after. Did you go straight there?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah. Like I said, I wasn't playing that great today. I felt like I needed to just hit some balls and try to, you know, work on things and do a little better.

Q. Were the conditions out there difficult with the humidity and the wind, or does that court sort of protect you from it?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It wasn't that windy on that particular court, I didn't think. When I was practicing after, it was really windy. So the conditions were fine.
I thought it was much better than my first-round match.

Q. What's happening with your foot?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I just taped my ankles, preventive. It was really humid out there, so they got super loose. I was just sliding around, like I was on a clay court. I had to take them off.

Q. Was that because of sweating excessively in the feet?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yes, because it's really humid out there. My feet got really wet.

Q. What do you think about Mary Joe as your new Fed Cup captain, what qualities she brings to it? Do you plan on making yourself available at all this year to play?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, you know, first of all, it was good for her to be able to get that opportunity. She's obviously done a lot. Growing up I watched her so many times coming back from behind and winning, you know, doing so well in her career. I had an opportunity to play with her once actually in Fed Cup, I believe back in '99. So that was a great opportunity, as well.
I think she would offer a lot of good advice for me and things that I can probably do to help my game. And, you know, I would love to play in the future. This year with the new schedule, the new commitments, I don't think it's the best time for me. But I can't wait to have that opportunity.

Q. Has she talked to you about it?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, we talked about it actually at the US Open. Yeah, so we talked about it.

Q. Could you list just a couple of your greatest matches, most dramatic. I don't mean when you're crushing someone, playing at an A-plus level, but maybe where you felt the excitement of the crowd against Venus, Justine or Jennifer.
SERENA WILLIAMS: My greatest match, I have it on my website, was when I was younger and I beat Andy Roddick. He'll hate me for saying that (laughter). So indirectly, you know, I've beaten a lot of people on the men's tour.

Q. That was a practice match in Florida somewhere?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Practice, it was. He always says he's ready for a rematch, but there's no need for a rematch (laughter).

Q. How old were you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, might have been 11. Doesn't matter. Age doesn't matter (smiling).

Q. How badly did you beat him?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, there's an argument about the score. I think I beat him like 6-1. He says it was 6-4. But I believe it was 6-1.

Q. So that means you indirectly have wins over Federer and Nadal?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Indirectly I have wins over Federer, Nadal. Just so exciting (laughter).

Q. Can you talk about some of your on-tour matches, maybe Venus, Jennifer?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think a great match was against Venus at the Open.

Q. Last year?
SERENA WILLIAMS: In 2008. I felt like it was a great match in general. Also I think in 2001 at the Open against Venus in the Final because it was so historic and also just because I thought that was a good match, as well.

Q. You're kind of a fashion diva. Can you tell us your opinion on Michelle Obama's two outfits?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I loved them. I thought the green outfit was fabulous. I really liked the necklace that went with it. The kids, I thought the kids were just so cute in their little outfits, as well. Then her white dress, the one shoulder piece, I liked it a lot. I wish I could have designed a dress for her. I should have submitted a design. I wouldn't have been able to make it or get it done.

Q. What would you have designed?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I kind of liked the way the one shoulder piece she picked was going. I definitely would have tried to do something for the ball as opposed to the inauguration because I like -- I do more or less evening gowns as my specialty.

Q. What color do you think favors her?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I would have done cream, like she wore, because I love her skin color. It looks wonderful in creams.

Q. Back to Fed Cup. Any chance you're going to play this year or do you think it's too taxing on you? Without you and Venus, it's going to be a young, inexperienced team.
SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, I can't make that decision right now. I know it's going to be impossible for me to play after Australia. Like I said, because of the new schedule this year, being something new with the WTA, it's just kind of, you know, sort of getting my feet wet to get used to it before I can extend myself in the other positions.
I definitely see myself playing, you know, obviously in the future, but just not probably -- definitely not after Australia.

Q. How do you think you go about unseating the Russians? They seem to own that title pretty much. What would you think is the way to go about it?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, there's a lot of things that jumped in my mind. I don't think any of them are appropriate to say (smiling). But just hard work, getting the money in the right places in the United States.

Q. Do you ever think when your career is over how many Grand Slam titles you would like to have beside your name?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I obviously think that, you know -- I obviously think about that. I think it's natural.

Q. Do you have a figure you would like to achieve?
SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, I don't really have a figure. I probably should get a figure, though. I know it's more than nine, though.

Q. Is it too much to ask for 15, 14?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I never think about it, because I don't want to put too much pressure on myself.
But I do count singles, doubles and mixed. And I've lost count of how many I have.

Q. You were part of the "Looking for a Hero" campaign. Can you tell us what that experience was like, how you think of how the women's tour is promoted at the moment?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I thought it was a great experience. I think it was the first campaign that the women's tour put together on such a high level like that, to get people globally excited about female tennis. I think it was great. I think that it's just the start of -- for females the leading sport in all the female athletes.

Q. Is it the right mix, the tennis player versus the sex appeal, for lack of a better word?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think it was more or less a Super Hero campaign that I participated in. I thought it was a great mix because you can see, you know, the female players as tennis players and then just kind of alter ego, which was more of a Super Hero.

Q. Venus says she's been driving around here. Have you been driving, too?
SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, I had some bad experiences with driving on the wrong side of the road.

Q. Such as?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I can't talk about them (laughter). I don't want any past things to come up. But I only drive in the United States. I only drive vehicles that I'm used to.

End of FastScripts

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