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August 20, 2009

Serena Williams


S. WILLIAMS/A. Bondarenko
6-1, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Looked like you were really on your game in the first set and really kind of struggled in the middle. Do you know yourself why you can be so powerful for the first set and then kind of hit those little bumps?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I just was trying to be perfect, and then I just couldn't get my serve in and got frustrated. I've been practicing a lot on my serve. It just hasn't been well. I mean, I think in any case that can be frustrating.

Q. Is that something you kind of have to manage as you go along to your own expectations?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah. You know, I get really emotional on the court at times and, you know, sometimes I just am really into the game maybe too much and I've got to try to be more sangfroid. I think it means remain calm.

Q. Is that when you kind of go like that sometimes?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah. I can't help myself when I do that. I think it's just something natural, and hopefully it helps me. I think towards the end I was able to relax and just calm down and then just try to stay positive more than anything.

Q. You have a good chance of closing the gap in the rankings. I'm just wondering, the season-ending rankings, are they important for you this year or are you still very much looking towards the US Open as the No. 1 priority?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I mean, I just -- I'm just trying to play well, and there's a huge gap, so I'm just trying to do what I can and stay alive here and this is my first focus.

Q. Dogs stay away from the breakfast this morning?
SERENA WILLIAMS: They did. I had a long talk with them yesterday. (laughter.)
The little one waited patiently today to receive some chicken. She was so cute. I couldn't resist.

Q. As a fan of the doubles game and particularly how you and Venus play well together, some of us were disappointed that the two of you did not elect to be a doubles team. I just want to know do you only play doubles in Grand Slam events?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, we would have wanted to play here, but it was too close to the Open, and we love playing doubles more than anything. We played in Stanford earlier, just a couple weeks ago. We just decided that we'll be playing at the Open, so we're really excited to play.

Q. You mentioned earlier maybe needing to better control your emotions a little more. That aside, how else do you feel about your performance so far in the tournament?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I thought I played pretty well yesterday. I was just a little disappointed in myself today after playing so well yesterday. I thought that if I could keep up that form, I'm on my way to glory. Today I didn't play as well, so hopefully I can get it back.

Q. You mentioned you weren't very happy with your serve, but compared to some of the problems the other players have been having, your serve has been very solid over the years. Do you have any feelings for why that is?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Um, no, I just think the other players, makes me respect them more to continue to keep going, and it makes me think -- you know, I'm not hitting as many double faults, but I'm not getting first serves, 0% with first serves, which is just as frustrating. I can kind of sympathize and like, you know, what's wrong with our serves?

Q. But you never seem to have had as much of a crisis with confidence.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, no, and I don't now. I've been working really hard at it, and hopefully it will come together in a couple of days.

Q. With all the playing obligations you have with all the different tournaments, can you give us a sense as to how much fatigue is playing a role at this time of the season and if you maybe have to hold back in favor of saving yourself for a Grand Slam?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, well, there's a lot of commitments now, and it's really difficult to show up every week and perform, but that's what makes all women's players and every athlete that's at this event a champion that we are.
Everyone shows up, and you know, whether they win or they lose, I think everyone gives 100% every time.

Q. I want to ask again about Twitter. You and your sister Venus Twitter a lot back and forth as if you're texting each other, but hundreds of thousands of people are reading that. Can you tell us why you like to basically have kind of sister conversations in front of hundreds of thousands of people?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It's no reason in particular, like Venus will say something funny and I must reply because it's so funny. She'll hear something.
It is like a text. I feel like I am texting her. I don't know why. I just think -- I don't try to do it on purpose. It's just that when she writes something, I always want to reply straightaway to what she writes.

Q. Do you text each other as well, or is that your main way of fast communication?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, no, no, that is not our main way of communication. We text each other and talk to each other all the time, but sometimes she'll write something funny or I'll write something and she'll call me or she'll write back, so it depends.

Q. What are your thoughts on Kim Clijsters' comeback?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm really happy for her. Like I said, I think she's a great athlete beyond being a good person, and I just can -- I don't think it could happen to a better person. She's doing so well, and she's playing so well. Looks like she never left the tour.

Q. What do you think is better for women's tennis, to have a dominant No. 1 player like Roger on the men's side or to have a lot of different people that reach that No. 1 position?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I don't know really the answer. I think a lot of people are interested in women's tennis right now. So who knows? Maybe this is the best. I don't know. I'm not an outsider looking in.

Q. You and your sister have been on the tour for some time now and I'm sure inspired a lot of young American girls to pick up a tennis racquet. That being said, how come in your opinion we haven't seen more emerging American talent on the tour in recent years such as other countries like Russia, for example?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I think there is a lot of emerging American talent that's coming up and we just haven't seen them maybe just yet. But I know there are a lot of girls that are doing really well. I think within this year or next year I think will be a lot of people coming.

Q. Anyone in particular you want to give us a heads-up on?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I mean, you look at Melanie Oudin who did really well at Wimbledon. She beat Jankovic. She's been playing so solid, and she really helped the Fed Cup get to the final. I mean, she's one name, and there are lots of other girls, too.

Q. I couldn't help but noticing that you have the blue on today. Does that having have anything to do with the Dolphin situation? There has been a lot of talk about you and Venus getting into the Miami Dolphins. I know you talked about it last night, but could you maybe just expand on it a little bit?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Do the Dolphins wear blue?

Q. Teal blue, sort of, yeah.
SERENA WILLIAMS: It's not blue. (laughter.)
I think you're thinking of the Cowboys.

Q. That's like a teal blue; white, orange, blue.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Ah. It's not blue.

Q. Can you just talk a little bit about that, though? There is a lot of talk...
SERENA WILLIAMS: I discussed it yesterday. You know, we'll see.

Q. Do you have a preference playing in the afternoon or at night? Were you a little surprised that you were playing in the afternoon draw and not again at night?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I like to play during the afternoon because it's hot. I feel like I can burn more calories. (laughter.)
I want to take off like five more pounds, so, you know, I'm like, Okay, great. And then I have the rest of the day to relax, so it worked out perfect.

Q. Do you understand maybe why they had Clijsters and Sharapova on tonight? Kind of a good story, I guess.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Um, usually you don't play too many, you know, two night matches in a row. So usually they try and mix it up. I think I burned some extra cals, so I'm feeling great.

Q. Good for you.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Thanks. I'm keeping it up.

Q. Burning calories aside, when you go deep in a tournament like this up against a Grand Slam, is there concern about fatigue?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, not at all. I've been trying to get really fit and not get fit but stay fit throughout the year. I think I should be fine.

Q. I mean, what is it about taking off some pounds? Are you serious about that? Do you feel like you need to take off pounds before the US Open?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Every girl wants to lose weight.

Q. Come on.
SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, I've always -- you can read about it in my book more, but you know, I've never been 100% comfortable with my body. I'm always trying to lose weight. It is what it is.

Q. With Safina out, is it somewhat disappointing the No. 1 and No. 2 won't meet in the final?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I guess. I don't really think about it. I have to just -- I have to get to the final, so yeah, I gotta get there myself.

Q. The WTA president was in on Tuesday. The issue about players making noise when they're hitting shots came up again. Obviously it was a big topic at the French Open. Can you maybe just address what it's like playing against somebody who, you know, when they hit, they hit, and they're loud as opposed to, say, like today it was very quiet out there?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Um, well, I grunt, so I don't know. Maybe you can ask someone -- I don't have a problem with it. Like I'm focused on the ball and not necessarily the grunt.
And I think grunting is in. Everybody's doing it. Guys are doing it. It's hot. It's what's now, and it's popular and everyone should do it. You know, it's the to-do thing.

End of FastScripts

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