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June 26, 2009
S. WILLIAMS/R. Vinci
THE MODERATOR: Serena Williams for you.
Q. What did Michael Jackson mean to you personally? Would you think about dedicating today's victory perhaps?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I mean, he was a great guy, a complete icon. Words can't express my shock and horror, you know, just thoughts and prayers that go out to him and his family and just everything. It's just terrible, terrible, terrible thing.
Q. Did you listen to his music much? Were you a fan?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I think Michael Jackson, everyone listens to his music. It's like you think of the Beatles, you think of Elvis Presley, you think of Michael Jackson, those are just lifetime icons that I've never forgotten.
The things that he did was beyond iconic.
Q. Do you have any remembrances of Farrah Fawcett? Did you watch Charlie's Angels?
SERENA WILLIAMS: She played in a couple shows I watched. She was struggling for a while. I know her husband -- well, not her husband, but the guy she was with forever, and her son, you know, I pray for them in the situation, too.
She, again, was an icon, like a style icon when you think of her hair. I know I've done Farrah Fawcett hair before. What a great loss.
Q. Did you know Michael Jackson at all? Ever meet him?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I've met him a few times. I was honored to meet him. You know, everything. He had such a great heart and wonderful kids. You know, it's just really a shame.
Q. It happened quite late last night. Did you get the news last night or was it this morning?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I mean, I'm always online. I'm always looking at the latest news up until I fall asleep, so I saw it fairly early.
Q. You were about six minutes late out to the court today. Something go wrong? Couldn't get out there?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I thought someone was gonna come get me. Then I figured, Well, maybe I just have to report. I didn't know what to do. So I was waiting, warming up. I was waiting and waiting.
Finally I was like, Okay, I think I'm just going to go out. I'm used to someone coming and saying, Okay, let's go.
Q. So you walked out there all on your own?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah. I mean, security met me, but usually there's a person to escort the player. But I wasn't used to that, so...
Q. Michael Jackson obviously is one of the greatest celebrities in the world culture. Can you talk about the whole phenomena of celebrity, living your life as a celebrity? Is it all upside and glamour? Are there downsides? How do you deal with that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I think he was an ultimate celebrity. I think any celebrity who met Michael Jackson was completely awe. I know I was. I kept thinking, Oh, my God, oh, my God. It's him, it's him. So for me he was the celebrity of all celebrities.
To be in that position, I can't imagine. Since he was a child, he has always been Michael Jackson. He's always been famous and he's always been, you know, a celebrity. And he's never really had a different life.
Q. Are there parallels between that and you and your sister at all, in the fact that you started so young?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, uhm, I wouldn't even mention my name and his in the same sentence at all.
Q. Your sister is scheduled to play doubles today. I'm wondering if she's healthy enough to do so?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah. She played two matches yesterday. She's definitely ready for today.
Q. Can you moonwalk?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, not at all.
Q. And two, one or two of the top players, such as yourself, who complained about being put on outside courts. Are you happy with your scheduling?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I'm happy to have gotten my match over. I'm happy to have won. You know, I always play on Court No. 2. You know, it's not a court for Roger, but it's definitely a court for me. But I haven't won Wimbledon five times.
Q. You won it two times.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Hey, I guess it's not enough.
But I really enjoyed the court. It had the challenge system. It worked for me. I actually really liked it. It was nice.
Q. Is it nice to be with the more common fans? There's a big difference in ticket prices.
SERENA WILLIAMS: It is a really big difference, you know. The fans are more involved in the match, it seems, more verbal. And it's fun. I enjoy it.
Q. Can you describe your thoughts on the many players that have been No. 1 since Justine Henin retired, how that has affected the game?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. I just think it shows in women's tennis, there's a lot of depth in the game. I mean, you have lots of players with lots of talent. And you never know who's gonna be No. 1, because there's that much talent on the ladies tour.
Q. Do you think it's good for the game that there is this turnover at the top spot?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think it is, because it brings excitement to the game. It's not just, you know, one consistent player. But it's just like, you know, so many. You never know what's gonna happen in a tournament. I think that raises the level of excitement.
Q. A question about your twitter account. What made you do that? Do you update it yourself? Do you have fun doing it?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, uhm, I do twitter because I want people to, you know, get to know me, my fans, or my fans to get to know me, you know, just see what type of person I am. You know, hopefully be more on an intimate level with me as opposed to a distant level.
Q. Can you talk about the one game in the second set, the sixth game that you lost. You kind of struggled there, double-faulted the game point.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, you know, I don't think I played great today at all. But I'm just glad to have gotten through it and go on to the next match.
Q. Are you a little bit in shock of the news?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I mean, like I said, I'm always online. I've been following him. He's really not been well from what I read. He's been in and out of the hospital. So I wasn't super shocked.
But, I mean, it's Michael Jackson. He's just the greatest entertainer for me of all time.
Q. What do you think the one quality he had that just projected him to this great stardom?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Innovation. He did things that no one else did. Like Thriller is the best video ever made still to this day. The videos that he did for his songs, no one had ever even went that far.
And he started a whole new trend with that. Dances, singing, beats, you know, everything.
Q. It's also an incredibly sad day for his fans. So many people idolize you, as well. I know through your website, your blogs, you do twitter, so you are in touch with your fans. Really how important are your fans to you? How much do you appreciate the people that sleep out all night to get to see you for a few minutes?
SERENA WILLIAMS: There's no words for my appreciation. I feel like I'm honored. I feel amazing there's even one person out there who feels that way. I still feel kind of weird like, Wow, people really feel that way?
Because I'm pretty much down-to-earth. I don't consider myself, you know, Serena Williams. I'm just Serena.
Q. You were late on court. Jelena Jankovic was late for her match yesterday. Both of you look pretty perfect on court, your hair, you outfits. Does it take time you a long time to get ready? Does that affect how late you are on court sometimes?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Not at all. I mean, I gave that lifestyle up. I just put my hair in a headband and go out. I just didn't know I was supposed to walk out on my own.
Q. Your father said yesterday that British tennis is in a perilous state because we don't go to the British ghettos and nurture raw talent. Do you think that's true?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I don't know. I'm not really involved in British tennis. You know, obviously want to see an English-speaking country do very well. So I don't know.
Q. Have you ever played your sister in any other game or sport and who won?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. I mean, we play ping-pong.
Q. Who won?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm terrible at ping-pong. I hit too hard. Court's too small.
Q. People who saw you play in Paris, you weren't exactly at your best there, and here you've played maybe not today quite as well, but played impressively. How would you explain to them the Serena that was there and the Serena that's here?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I didn't play many matches going up to Paris. I was really struggling, but I thought I played well in Paris. I thought I actually lifted up my game each match. I started out on rock bottom.
By the time I got to, you know, the fourth and quarterfinals, I felt like I was playing better. Just I didn't play the big points as well as I needed to.
Q. When you were talking about Michael Jackson, his iconic status, is that a status within the black community, or is that beyond that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, I mean, Michael Jackson goes way beyond the black community. I mean, everyone of every color, every nation, every race, you know, is Michael Jackson fans. The guy literally couldn't walk the streets.
Even though I met him, knew him, if I would have saw him on the streets, I still would have been like, AHHH. He is just iconic on all levels.
Q. Have you got one favorite song?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I do. I don't remember the name of it, though. It's a slower one. It's a slower one. It's a duet with someone. I don't remember.
Q. Nobody asked a question about facing Daniela. What are your thoughts about that match, and what is the biggest challenge for you against her?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, she's such a smooth player and she takes her time on the court. You know, I have to make sure I don't rush myself 'cause she is, you know, playing well and I think she's moving well. So I'm gonna have to really bring a tough game.
End of FastScripts