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September 14, 2009
NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK
TIM CURRY: Thanks for joining us for our press conference with our 2009 US Open women's doubles champions. We ask that any questions in today's press conference refer to events of today only.
With that, we'll open the floor.
Q. Congratulations Venus and Serena on your doubles championship. As it relates to events of today, you issued a statement as it relates to your actions the other night. Why did it take 48 hours for you to release the statement?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Actually, I wanted to start out with a statement, again, for those who didn't read it online. I issued a statement yesterday, as well, so that's not an accurate statement that you made.
But, again, for anyone that didn't get a chance to read it, I wanted to apologize first to the lineswoman, to the USTA, and my fans most of all, and to Kim Clijsters who ended up having such a wonderful tournament and winning the championship, and what an amazing feat that was.
But just I -- for a major emotional outburst that I had. I think I pretty much covered it. I just really wanted to apologize sincerely, because I'm a very prideful person and I'm a very intense person and a very emotional person. I think it all showed.
Most of all, I'm a very sincere person. I wanted to offer my sincere apologies to anyone that I may have offended. I would again like to thank the fans for all the support that I've gotten. I think it's awesome and cool that I've got so much support. I appreciate everything.
Q. Have you spoken directly with the linesperson, or have you attempt to speak directly with the linesperson?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I have not at all, because I have no information on her. That was definitely something that I really wanted to do.
With that being said, I am ready to move on. I think we all are.
Q. You talked today about how you want to grow from this, Serena. Do you feel that you have a problem with anger, and do you think that's something you need to work on?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Like I said, we are talking about the doubles from here on.
Q. Today you said that you wanted to grow from this. I want to ask about that.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Excuse me, I wanted you to ask...
Q. You said you wanted to grow and become a better person in the statement today.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I think personally...
Q. I was asking Serena.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Are you getting aggressive with me?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Because I was about to say something and you interrupted me. I let you say what you needed to say. Thank you.
What I have to say here is that, you know, I think we all obviously see that this sport is intense and we love what we do. You know, it's very emotional out there.
As people, all of us are growing each and every day, . So clearly we're gonna grow not only from this, but also anything else that happens in our lives.
Q. Isn't it strange that if this happened in baseball or any other sport, we wouldn't even be talking about this? If it happens with an umpire, everybody says, Hey, that's exciting. We want to see the guy get kicked out. It's only in this sport and maybe golf. It's sort of ironic? Sort of strange? Just the rules of the game?
SERENA WILLIAMS: : Rules are rules. I don't really follow too much baseball. I think everyone -- every athlete is really intense, and, yeah.
Q. Serena, what are your thoughts on having had the opportunity to play today, when if events might have been a little bit different as far as the timing of the incident the other night, you wouldn't have been given the opportunity to continue in the tournament?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I think that I was really excited to have an opportunity to even get this far in the tournament, be in the finals and play. But I don't, yeah.
Q. What do you think about the possibilities of even more sanctions against you as a result of what happened here?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I haven't had the time to think about that. I've been really kind of focused on just making sure all my fans were happy and making sure everyone else was happy.
On top of that, believe it or not, playing a doubles match, which wasn't a very easy feat today going against the No. 1 team. It hasn't been that easy, so, yeah.
Q. What led to your thinking that you released the statement today that's different from your statement yesterday and what you said at the press conference after the match?
SERENA WILLIAMS: The statement I released yesterday was just I didn't have -- I didn't put it on my website. If anyone knows me, I'm really -- I've always liked to just do a lot and always repeat myself, and I put things on my website. I didn't think maybe it reached enough people, so I wanted to do it again just to show how much I felt.
Q. The one today was more of an apology. The one yesterday was more of a statement to the fans. Is it just that with time, over the last 48 hours you've had time to think and you felt that was warranted?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I definitely think an apology was warranted. You know, I just felt like the other one was an apology, as well. This one I wanted to make sure that I also congratulated Kim on her job that she did, and also to just everyone else.
Q. Venus, why did you feel you needed to respond to Patrick when he asked a question of Serena out on the court?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, basically the crowd was booing Patrick, so I was trying to help him out. (Laughter.) Yeah.
Q. Venus, it's always been tough for you to be the older sister, and you always take care of Serena. How difficult has this been on you, and what kind of advice did you give to Serena?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I always tell -- I'm extremely proud of Serena, and she's a role model for me. I could have never accomplished anything in my career without her. It's been hand in hand.
You know, everyone is human. That's basically what this is: everyone is human. You know, we sometimes, you know, show our emotions. That's not the norm in tennis. Most people don't show emotions, and in a lot of other sports it is.
But like I said, I'm really proud of Serena and I'm really proud of how she's handled everything.
Q. Serena, can you speak on the fan support you've received in the last 48 hours?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I've had obviously so many people e-mailing me, and like I said fans supporting me. I have been able to enjoy this moment, because we're really excited to have won three Grand Slams. We were trying to get French, but it didn't happen for thus year. We're definitely going try next year to make it our goal.
Q. Serena, do you still not remember what you said the other night to the linesperson?
TIM CURRY: We're talking about today's events.
Q. She's apologizing for the events from the other day, so it does relate to today's events. Do you still not remember what you said to the linesperson the other night?
SERENA WILLIAMS: We are talking about today's events, so like I said I do not -- okay.
Q. You said in your statement, I need to make it clear to all young people that I handled myself inappropriately, that you need to admit when you're wrong. So just follow up on what said in your statement.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Can I talk now?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I was saying that I do not remember. I was in the heat of the moment. You can see it was a lot of action. I don't remember several points in the match today, let alone anything I might have said a couple days ago.
Q. Serena, does this little trophy in front of you now mean a little relief for you, or is it just a little bit of consolation? What about do think about the title now?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Um, I think I'm really excited to have a title here. I just really, you know, work hard to get any title. Obviously when you enter the singles and the doubles you want to, at least for us, we want to come home with maybe one.
Q. Venus, how is your knee, and what are your immediate plans to address it correctly?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm really happy to get the title with Serena. You know, I'm just going to try to get better. That's all I can say. I'm gonna try to get better and try to get ready for my next events.
Q. No surgery or rehab in the future?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, that's the life of an athlete, is constant rehab.
Q. If Serena happened to be suspended from any tournament, would you play in that tournament?
VENUS WILLIAMS: You know, it's hard for me to answer that question. I don't think we're even at that point.
Q. Serena, you mentioned that the call was unfair. Was it unfair because it was wrong or because of the timing of it?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know.
TIM CURRY: Again, we're talking about today's events.
Q. It's a main subject of conversation. I'm just asking her to clarify what she said about the call being unfair. It's something she said.
TIM CURRY: You have the right to ask. She may decline answering.
SERENA WILLIAMS: : I'm totally okay with answering any question.
Q. In the statement yesterday you said the unfair line call. I'm wondering if it was unfair because the timing of it or because your foot didn't go on the line and it was wrong?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Um, well, I mean, I don't think my foot touched the line in that call. Looking back on it, I think the lady did the best that she could. She was just doing her job. I guess at the time, she probably saw it as what it was. You know, she was just doing her best.
Q. What would you like to say to her if you do have the chance?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I would like to give her a big ole hug and let her know that I'm just -- just put it all behind us like I have and just move on from it. I mean, I have, and like I said, learn.
Q. When you stepped on the court today, were you distracted or just happy to be back on the court? What were you feeling when you went on the court today?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, like I said, I felt amazing, because everyone was saying, Go Serena. I didn't know what to expect. Just goes to show that I, again, wish I was really happy that -- I said I'm really thankful for the fans and how amazing they were and how everyone clearly was really rooting for me.
That made me feel really good. I guess they can see how much I enjoy the sport and how much I always want to do the best I can when I'm out there.
Q. Looking down the road a little bit to this year, have the two of you both committed to Mary Joe for Fed Cup? Are you hoping to go? Planning to go? Where do you both stand?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, we want to play. We just have to see where we are physically. We want to be additions to the team and at a 100%. We have to see how we feel, but we do want to play for sure.
Q. So if you're physically okay, you're both on?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, for sure.
Q. Venus, yesterday you spent on hour out watching wheelchair tennis. You seem to get into that.
VENUS WILLIAMS: It's my new favorite thing. I love wheelchair tennis. I was just amazed at the talent level and precision. I was blown away. It's extremely inspiring, and it's absolutely my new favorite thing. I want to see how I can get involved.
Q. For years they've been talking about putting John McEnroe in a chair and taking on a wheelchair player. Would you ever do that?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't think I could ge the skills down. I think I need years to learn how to play that way, just like anything else. I need a chance first to figure it out.
Q. Serena, would you feel comfortable in a future match if that women was a linesperson again?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Absolutely. Like I said, I think she was just trying to do her job. She did the best she could and I did the best I could. Yeah, so...
Q. Serena, has this been a humbling experience for you? Has it really made you sort of look inside and question yourself at all?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think I've definitely -- I think any experience can be really humbling, especially this one, per se.
I really think that it definitely is. I think that if it wasn't, then I would be not able to learn from the past. I think that's important, like I always say, to learn from the past, so you don't make the same mistakes in the future.
Q. How is it different for both of you winning a doubles Grand Slam title as opposed to a singles, and especially together?
VENUS WILLIAMS: : Well, our life has been together, so it's great to be able to play with each other. It's really not possible to get a better partner than Serena. I hope she feels the same about me. Number ten for us. It was like our decade anniversary of winning ten years ago. Really exciting moment for us.
Q. Is it a different feeling than winning a singles because it's a team thing? How do you feel inside on that, both of you?
VENUS WILLIAMS: To be honest, it's really exciting. We don't want to get into the final and lose. It feels bad. It's very exciting to win.
Q. This is for both of you. There's obvious merit to making a Grand Slam final. Had you not made the final, the lasting image would have been the other night. Is there sort of added dividends? Did you think about that coming in, the fact that you had an opportunity to get back out on the same stage and show a championship moment as opposed to not having Saturday night be the lasting image?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think that that was a blessing that I had an opportunity to come back out and play. Maybe that was why we won that third set match in the semifinal, because, you know, whoever knows for whatever reason it was a great opportunity for me to come back and just show everyone what they really know about me already.
Just the amazing -- I hope -- tennis player. I don't like to sound like I'm full of myself, but hopefully amazing tennis player that I am and I can grow and enjoy to be.
Q. And Venus, for you to be a part of that with Serena out there?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think we all know moments don't define us. It's a lifetime of opportunities. That's what it is. Serena has done a lifetime of wonderful things. That's what defines her.
Q. In the past, you both have been kind of restrained at times when you felt calls were unfair. Now that this has happened, do you feel like you'll be more gun-shy if you feel there's an unfair call to say something? Or do you think you would still speak your mind?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think the whole point of learning from your mistakes is not to do the same thing. I definitely would, I think, have a more professional way of voicing my opinion. I think that's something that -- I want to get another bad line call so I can get some more practice and see how I do.
That would be awesome. Okay, this is my one moment here. Yeah, so I probably would even smile.
Q. Serena, you've always been very passionate and intense on court. Not really known for mangling a racquet. I don't remember you crushing it, and certainly not talking like that to a linesperson. Are you puzzled at all by how you were? It certainly was not typical.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Unfortunately, I have crashed a few racquets on the court in my time. Wish I could say that I hadn't, but that wouldn't be honest.
Yeah, I have had a temper. I think that's what made me so different from Venus. They always ask me, like what do you want from Venus? I'm like, I want her persona on court. Doesn't matter what happens, she's like, Okay, next point. Me, I'm like, Come on. No, smash a racquet. We're two totally different people.
Did I answer your question?
Q. Was there something about the match or about Kim and the way she was playing, not about her personally, but do you understand what got to you that point, I guess?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know, just was a lot of frustration, I guess. I don't really know exactly what got me to that point. I just think that I thought she played an amazing match. She definitely played a different game, which was interesting to see.
Q. Serena, obviously you're very aware of the number of young people who follow you. What would you tell young people who are still in the process of trying to figure out how to control their emotions and feelings on court? How should they respond or what would you say as they try to work through this if a call goes against them?
SERENA WILLIAMS: That's something I would love to search deeper into. I think it's important to be yourself. It's important to express who you are. I'm never gonna be like Venus. I'm never gonna not say, Come on, and never gonna not get angry no matter what I do, because this is how I am.
There are different ways that you can express your anger at a frustrating call or at a bad shot that I might hit. I think if you continue to be yourself and be positive, I think that's one of the ways that it can be done.
Q. This tournament will be remembered a lot because of this outburst. You both lost to Kim Clijsters in this, and she won the tournament last night. What does it say about her to go two years without playing tennis, have a child, come back couple tournaments ago, and then go through the field, including both you guys, and win?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, she played the best tennis at this tournament, and that's what it takes to win tournaments. You have to play the best no matter who you're playing against. That's what she did. Have to give her credit for playing really, really well every match. It's great to see that she still has it in her.
Q. But how incredible is it that until a few months ago she hadn't played in two years?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I think right now she wants to play tennis. That's where she wants to be. A few months ago she didn't want to play, and that's where she was. She's happy doing both, so I'm just glad she's happy in her life.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think it also shows how strong mentally she is. Playing against her, I could see how developed mentally she had become. She wanted every point. I think that was kind of encouraging to see and really motivating for me.
Like, Wow, I can be like that. She really went out there and worked really hard and had goals and was able to reach them. I think it's just amazing. It's really encouraging for someone like myself and Venus to have someone that can stay out for so long and come back and win. It's unbelievable. One of the greatest comebacks ever.
Q. Venus, Serena has mentioned she has a different personality than you on the court. You always talked about giving big sister advice. Have you ever talked to her about her emotions or she should try to keep them in check?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, even if we're on the doubles court she gets upset. I don't tell her how she should feel. It's impossible to tell someone how they should feel. I always just encourage her to be her best every step of the way.
End of FastScripts