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January 17, 2009

Serena Williams


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Are you happy with your preparation going into the tournament that starts Monday?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I actually am pretty happy about my preparation. I felt like I got some really good matches under me in Sydney and still with plenty of time to rest and get ready for this event.

Q. When you come to Melbourne, what do you liked to for fun when you're not playing tennis?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I love to watch TV. I've gotten into iTunes. And I'm terrible four the whole music industry and movie industry because I download movies and music and TV shows. I'm obsessed with Desperate Housewives, so I'm waiting for Monday so I can download the next episode. (Laughter.)
That's kind of what I do. I just watch TV on my computer.

Q. So just relaxes you before getting ready for the tournament on Monday?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It definitely is. It relaxes me. You know, my mom is here, a friend's here, so that's -- last year I went to the movies, but I'm not going to do that this year because I lost.
So I'm just going to stay in my room.

Q. Are you super superstitious?
SERENA WILLIAMS: What athlete isn't superstitious? I try not to be, but I can't help it.

Q. How many more years do you think you'll be a threat? You seem to have such longevity in your career. We've seen others come and go, Hingis, Davenport, the list goes on and on. How many more years do you think we'll continue see you as a top seed and a real threat?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, hopefully a really long time. I feel like I'm trying to improve on my game and get better. You know, I feel like I just want to continue to get better, so haven't reached my best yet.

Q. What do you think it take to get to you best? What do you think you can improve on?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, just my consistency both on and off the court and just staying super ready and fit and things like that.

Q. You're looking in great condition. Obviously you've been training very hard and working out.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I've just been -- you know, off-season was really tough, so I tried to, you know, work a little bit. Not too much and not too little. But just that, yeah.

Q. You didn't play Hopman Cup can. Did you follow Meghann and James' results there?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I wasn't able to play, and I saw, unfortunately, that the Americans didn't win. So, you know, I was a little disappointed. But who knows? Maybe next time.

Q. How do you look at your form today as compared to when you were really dominating the game? Are you playing as well and other women have sort of caught up, or are you even playing better?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I think that I'm -- I don't know. I have to watch old films. I think that I'm on that level, if not better. I hope I'm better than what I was five years ago. I would say that I am.
But, you know, a lot of the girls now, especially when they play against me, and probably Venus too, they went to beat the best players and say that, you know, I was able to beat them, or me.
So I feel like sometimes when people play me they play extremely hard, which actually makes me a better player.

Q. Would you say the standard of the tour has lifted though from five years ago when you were No. 1?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, absolutely. I think everyone is playing better. And like I said, I think I am too. I would hope I have improved after five years.

Q. What about your schedule for this year? Are you confining yourself just to Grand Slams again, or are you expecting to play more tournaments to get the No. 1 ranking back?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I'm definitely aiming myself at Grand Slams. I want to play my best tennis in the majors. I also want to play good tennis -- you know, the tour kind of restructured itself with so many big tournaments like in Madrid and the Asia/Pacific area.
So with the new exciting tennis, I think I would want to play well at those tournaments, too.

Q. There's been some discussion, I think Roger and Rafa as well have said they prefer this tournament to run a little bit later, start maybe in February, and have a longer lead-in. What's your feeling on that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well -- sorry, my phone rings twice a day, and of course this is one of them.
All my life I've played the Australian Open in January, so I'm okay with it being in January. I mean, it would be nice for it to be in February, I guess, but I don't know how that would work with all the other tournaments.
Tennis is a vigorous schedule, so...

Q. Do you think it's an advantage to prepare hard through the off-season and don't take anything away from the Christmas holidays?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It works for me. I don't celebrate Christmas, so it's actually perfect for people like me and Venus too, because she doesn't celebrate either.

Q. (Indiscernible.)
SERENA WILLIAMS: Honestly, I'm just taking it every match at a time personally. Whoever I play I'm just looking at that as a threat.

Q. Do you think you'll do well then?
SERENA WILLIAMS: You never know. I mean, sometimes you have someone, especially at this tournament, that seems to just go really far. So it will be interesting to see.

Q. Is there any particular player that you would especially like to perhaps if you were to make the final to beat them? I know the issue of rankings came up yesterday. We were talking about how Jankovic is actually officially No. 1. You said you feel like you're the best player. Is there any extra motivation perhaps to beat Jelena? Would it be particularly nice it knock her off?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Just on that statement, I said that I feel like I'm the best player, because I would feel weird sitting here saying I'm not the best. Even if I'm ranked 100 in the world, I would sit here and say I'm the best player.
Nothing against Jankovic. She went out in the fall and worked hard and got the No. 1 ranking, so just saying -- just on that situation, I feel like I'm the best just because I'm not going to sit here and say anyone is better than me. I shouldn't be in tennis if I felt that way.
I don't remember the rest of the question.

Q. Just perhaps would it be sweeter to knock someone like her or Dementieva off?
SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, I don't really care who I beat, as long as I'm there, I think, and along as the win -- it doesn't really matter, I think, you know.

Q. Have you tried to get some information about players who you're gonna play in the next round? Like do you know the player for your first round? Angelique Kerber from Germany?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I didn't know that, but I hit with a German guy, so I'll probably know her game pretty well.

Q. Have you been affected picked by the global financial crisis?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Have I? My bag I'm carrying now is from American Apparel. It's only like $12. I'm really... (laughter.)
I really cut back, you know. I don't know. (Laughter) I don't know if it's because it's everywhere in the media, you know, the financial, global, but I am -- it's low tide for me. I'm not out there buying crazy things.
You know, you can't keep your money in the banks either, but I'm just trying to earn the little interest that I can.

Q. Will we see a slightly blinged-down girl?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, you know, just I just always kind of been conservative, but we'll see. It's never going to be too much toned down, but I'm not going out there just throwing my dollar bills everywhere. I kind of just relax.

Q. How would your describe your look in 2009 for you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I would describe it as daring patterns and chic.

Q. We have been watching the Hopman Cup. With Lindsay having a baby and Monica Seles just being introduced to the Hall of Fame, why do you think it's such a gap behind you and your sister and the others in American tennis?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, that's definitely a question I think that the USTA is trying to answer right now and trying to get more -- maybe put more money in lower communities and just develop kids from there.
You know, I don't -- it's tough to say, but I know there are a few players that are playing. Hopefully there will be more.

End of FastScripts

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