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February 10, 2009

Serena Williams


Q. What does it feel like to be back in Paris what does it represent for you to be here?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm excited to be here it's been a while since I've played here. This is my first tournament that I've ever won. So it always holds a special meaning for me.

Q. You said that you really want to win the French Open this year, and I would like to know why you want it so badly this year?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, if I said that I don't recall. If I won the French Open, that would be great. If not, it's not the end of the world. I said what I really want to do is better than I did last year. I didn't do so well last year.

Q. Is that true that your results at the French Open last year really hurt you, and that's why you want to do better this year?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I was disappointed in myself. I put a lot of pressure on my self. I'm not putting any pressure on my self this year, And at Roland Garros. If I win, great. If I don't, there's always next year and the year after. So it is what it is.

Q. You won four straight Grand Slam tournaments in 2002-2003, is that on the back of your mind to complete a Grand Slam this year since you won the Australian Open?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I mean, I've had this opportunity for four years to complete the Grand Slam, and I haven't done it. So this year I'm just totally free, and no emotions, just so relaxed.

Q. You could do the Serena Grand Slam, are you interested by this?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I guess. You know, that would be really cool. I guess I'd have to win the next two Grand Slams to get the Serena Slam, which would be fun. But right now I'm really focused on this tournament. I'm here, and I'm going to enjoy my moment here.

Q. Do you buy a flat here to feel at home during the French Open?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I live -- well, I say that I live here in Paris, because I absolutely adore Paris. I don't know what it is. I love the city. I actually love the cold weather. Maybe because I live in Florida, so I know it's weird, but I love the weather.
I love my flat. It's perfect. And every morning I wake up and I can walk outside and buy croissants and, you know. It's just, oh, I love it. I could totally live here full-time.

Q. It's because it is a fashion town?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It's because of the fashion? Yeah, I think so. For me, this is the fashion capital of the world. It's like, Bam, Paris. I think it has the best couture shows, and stuff you don't get in the United States with the whole real avant garde couture. And I just love the streets, I love the city. I have friends here now, so it's like a second home to me.

Q. Besides fashion and buying some croissant, what do you like to do while in Paris?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I just stay at any flat, and I love the area that I live in because it's like this market and I can walk to the market and shop for fresh food and stuff. So that's kind of cool, because I can't do that where I live in the states.
Also I like to go to the American book store. I'm like to learn to read French, but as for now I still have to go to the American book store here. It's on Rue De Reveley, which is really nice.

Q. Going into this tournament as world No. 1, and not only having just beaten the world No. 2 in very convincing fashion in the Australian Open final. Does that give you more confidence? Do you feel like there's a big gap between you and the rest of the chasing pack, if you like?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I feel like there's not a big gap in the points, so I got to stay focused and stay on the plan and just my goal is to play the tournaments that I'm entered in and I'm doing really well with that.

Q. With Venus you won the last three Grand Slams, do you consider that you are over the limit?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, we're trying to complete a Williams slam. We only have one more to go. One of us has to win the French, and then it will be like a family slam, which isn't bad.

Q. This is your third time at the No. 1. Do you feel something special for this third time?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I definitely feel more confident here than I was in September. In September I wasn't trying to be No. 1, I just wanted to win the US Open. I didn't even know I had a chance to be No.1. .I had been ranked so low for so long. So that was more of a cool thing. It was like a bonus. Now it's more like I've worked harder than I have in the past, and it's more earned.

Q. In December Billie Jean King said that she was trying to convince you to play Indian Wells. Did she talk to you since?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, no. I haven't had a chance to talk to her since. Actually, I don't even recall that conversation.

Q. So I guess you're not --
SERENA WILLIAMS: I guess I really blocked it out. Indian Wells -- what's Indian Wells?

Q. I guess you're still not playing in this tournament?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, yeah, I'm not entered in there. I haven't played that tournament in almost a decade. Oh, my God.

Q. Yesterday you said that you have a punk rock attitude. Do you put your culture in your tennis when you play?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I try to. You know, I definitely just get inspired by a lot of different things. I try to just have the best attitude I can. Punk rock is like outgoing. And I think really aggressive.

Q. Besides tennis, you have other activities. I think you have a design clothing line as well as you're interested also in acting. Isn't there the danger that you could get a bit distracted or spread yourself too thin?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, there is a big danger of that, so I guess I better be really careful.

Q. Also, you said "Desperate Housewives" was one of your favorite TV series. How would you react if you were offered a part as a guest star?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know if I could still play tennis if I got on offered a part on "Desperate Housewives". This is my favorite show. I just downloaded the latest episodes, so I'm going to go home and watch it.
Oh, I can't wait. Yeah, obsessed with the show and all the characters. I feel like I know them personally.

Q. Do you get recognized much in Paris? Is that one of the advantages of being here, just being able to go out and live your own life?
SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, if I'm hanging out on the championship, I do get recognized. But where I live it's much easier than hanging out in the United States. So it's a little better.
So I like the fact that I can kind of be myself. I can do whatever I want to do and not have to worry about, you know, being recognized. I can just live more of a normal life and it's really cool.

Q. Wanted to ask you how the autobiography's going, are you still hard at work on that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I am, I'm finished with it now. So I'm waiting on the editor's comments, and you know how that goes. We start the next step. But I'm really excited. Every time I'm reading it I'm cracking out loud because it is so funny, actually. It's going to be good. I'm excited.

Q. Are you feeling good? Are you in good shape. And do you feel good the ball in your practice time?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I'm feeling pretty good with practice. Doing pretty good. So hopefully I'll be able to do well here, I hope.

Q. You said it's been more than ten years since you've played the tour. I wondered if you've seen any change in the way the media cares about women's tennis?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Absolutely. There's been so much change. Women's tennis has come such a long way with so many great stars in the game. You know, it's great to be a part of, I think, the best female athletic sport in the world.

Q. You won this tournament your first tournament here in 1999, what do you remember about this moment now with your fantastic career?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I was so happy when I won. I remember my mom was here and I was thinking about it today. I don't remember much, I just remember I played five matches. Out of the five matches I played four French girls. Yeah, my luck. And every time you know they would say, Allez Amelie, Allez Nathalie, Allez Sandrine, Allez Julie. It was just embedded in my mind. So that's what I remember most.

Q. This week there was the Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez admitting using performance enhancing drugs. Many were you surprised by that news and what is your stance on doping and have you heard or seen any tennis player using drugs in the locker room?
SERENA WILLIAMS: (Laughing) wow. I think we all know the answer to the latter part of that question. But, yeah, I guess I read about it online. I guess I don't know. I don't know that sport and I don't want to say anything negative, but kudos to him for admitting it. Maybe now he can put it behind him and move forward. I know there's a lot of players that are out there in baseball still denying.
But, you know, tennis is a great sport because we get drug tested all the time and we really try our best to keep the sport clean. That's what holds its honor. Everyone's playing with just sheer what they have inside, in them.

Q. So now you live in Paris, you're almost French. Can you tell us some words in French?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I get nervous. I get really shy, so, only in private do I speak French.

Q. You talked about how you've been in this situation before, at the beginning of the year, looking ahead. The one Grand Slam under your belt, the other three. The questions are already starting about can you do it this year, can you get all four. Earlier Jelena Jankovic said she didn't think it was impossible, but it's pretty close to impossible to get all four. How tough is it?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I definitely don't think it's impossible. I agree with her. I don't think anything is impossible. I've had all four as a matter of fact, so I know it's definitely possible.
But my goal is not the French Open, my goal is this tournament and the next tournament. When Roland Garros comes around, if I do well, that will be fantastic. If not, I'll be prepared for Wimbledon, which will be really exciting.

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