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June 20, 2009

Serena Williams


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Serena.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Hey, guys, what's up?

Q. How do you feel going into Wimbledon 2009?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I feel good. I feel confident and relaxed, and I think that the what I need to feel. No matter what happens, I feel happy.

Q. Last year you were a finalist against your sister. Is she your big worry again this time around?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I think she's everyone's worry. You know, I think she has proven herself to be the best grass court player in our generation, so... Yeah.

Q. What has made her so successful? Why is she so good at this tournament?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, she has an amazing serve, and I think that helps a lot. She has an amazing return and she's really fast. She has long arms, so she just gets everything back.
It's hard playing a player like that, especially on the grass when it's, you know, a faster surface and have you that much less time to react (snapping fingers).
She's an extremely smart player as well, so she's always thinking and knowing what to do.

Q. You just did a great job of breaking down her game. How about yours? What's different from hers on the grass?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Uhm, I think mine is more gritty, you know. I'm obviously smaller. Well, shorter than she is (laughter). So, uhm, you know, I'm more quicker as opposed to faster. But we make a great doubles team (smiling).

Q. What was your reaction when you heard Nadal was out?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Uhm, I was sad. I'm a huge Nadal fan. I'm sure there's a lot of guys on the men's tour who were probably celebrating and partying.

Q. I think screeching is probably going to be an issue at this year's tournament. What is your position on the noise that players make?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, you know, I just play my game. I grunt sometimes; sometimes I don't.
But, uhm, you know, I've never been one that was out there for the loudest grunt.

Q. You say sometimes you do; sometimes you don't. Is that a conscious thing at all? Does it just turn on and turn off? When points are more intense, it tends to happen? What?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It's definitely not conscious. It's more just -- I guess it's effort level. I think I always give a hundred percent, but sometimes I'm so zoned I don't grunt. Sometimes I'm so zoned that I do grunt.
Whatever way it is, I just don't know when it's coming.

Q. You talk about being in the zone. Does that also mean you're conscious when your opponent is making a lot of noise, as well?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Uhm, not really. I hope not. That wouldn't be a good thing. I just try to focus mainly on what I'm doing on the side of the court that I'm on.

Q. A young British girl, Laura Robson, is making Wimbledon debut. She's only 15. She's playing Hantuchova. Do you have any advice for her?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I think she won the juniors last year and she's playing really well. Uhm, you know, I think that she's done so well in the junior Australia and stuff, so she'll have a really good chance.

Q. Michael Stich did an interview today criticizing some women for overplaying their sex appeal. What do you feel when former players criticize female players like that?

Q. So you think it's just a normal part of the game, yeah?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Sex sells. I don't know. I just know that. That's what everyone says, so...

Q. And is it good or bad?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think Angelina Jolie is great. She's hot. She's super sexy. Everyone wants to see her, male or female.

Q. And tennis players, should it be the sport or the sex?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It's across the board.

Q. You were quite prolific on twitter. Is that something you could do this tournament, send some tweets from your phone mid-match?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Maybe I'll send a tweet from my chair when I'm playing. Gosh, I shouldn't have lost that game! But I think the umpire will probably stop me thinking I'm getting coached.
But, you know, I'm really, you know, into that. Mostly because I want my fans to be able to relate to me. You know, actually I love people going to my website 'cause it's so fun and so interactive. You know, there's just another way to get the traffic there. So my fans can know exactly what to expect.

Q. And will you be doing a lot of updating, not during matches, but over the course of the two weeks?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, absolutely. I was gonna actually go after this and write some little notes.

Q. Have you had a chance to play on Centre Court yet with the roof shut, or have you seen it?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I never play on Centre Court until I'm scheduled there. I love to leave that moment fresh in my mind every time just walking out.

Q. Do you have any sort of expectations how it going to have changed, the feel of it?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I would imagine maybe it will be fast if the roof is closed, so...
But you never know. You know, just have to continue to do what I need to do on the court.

Q. How do you feel about the fact that the roof is now there?
SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, I think it's exciting. I think it calls for, you know, just great things. So I think it's really exciting.

Q. How have you prepared for the switch to grass? Why do you not usually - or maybe ever - play any of the grass court tournaments?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, you know, I've been just training on the hard court in the United States and, you know, doing lots of training.
But, you know, it's what I've done in the past, the past eight, nine years, so I think it works for me.

Q. Did you ever consider playing a grass court tune-up?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I did a long time ago, and I think I didn't play. It rained like twelve out of the five days I was there, so it didn't make sense to me to continue to play.
And by the time I got on the court it was soggy. It wasn't even grass court tennis anymore, so...

Q. How many matches does it normally take you to get that feel back on the grass? A couple of rounds?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I've been here a while. I've been training on the grass for a while. I've been doing this, and Venus does the same thing, for a long time. So, you know, I think we pretty much are trying to get the feel already.

Q. You mentioned before your thoughts on Nadal dropping out. What are your thoughts about Federer going for the major's record?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, I mean, that is amazing. Fifteen, you know, it's incredible.

Q. What do you like most when you watch him play?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I mean, what is there not to like about Roger? I mean, he's so smooth. And, you know, what I like about him even more now is, like, he has so much passion and so much, you know, desire to win. I love to see that in him.

Q. Do you consider him the greatest male player that you've seen?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I definitely think when you speak of the greatest, you have to include Roger Federer. I mean, he's tied Pete Sampras' record right now, and he's going for -- he's extremely active. He has a lot of years left. He's going for, you know, a record that hasn't been done in men's tennis ever.

Q. When did you get here and when did you first get out on a court here?
SERENA WILLIAMS: You're really concerned about me, huh (smiling)? You really want me to do well here. I appreciate it.
But I promise you, I've had a lot of time to prepare. I got here in plenty of time. The same time I get here every year, so...
I'll be all right. I'll try. I'll try just for you (smiling).

Q. You don't want to say when you got here?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't remember. It feels like forever. Don't you worry.

Q. Thanks.

Q. I wanted to ask you about Rafael Nadal's decision of quitting the tournament. I don't know what you think about that.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, you know, I think it sad, but he's extremely young, and he has plenty more Wimbledons. And I think that, uhm, he'll totally be fine. Health is most important. It's number one.

End of FastScripts

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