Interview with Serena Williams after her win
over her match with Alexa Glatch at the 2009 US Open
Q. It's been 10 years since you
first came here. Is there an appreciation that you have
for this tournament that you gained over the years?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Ten years ago I definitely wasn't a
favorite. I felt like so like I had nothing to lose, and
that's kind of how I like that attitude. When you play
with that attitude, then you can go a really far way.
That's kind of how I would like to even approach it this
Q. Is that like a mental kind of
ambition of yours to try to just shut out expectations
and just play and kind of let it all hang out?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, absolutely. I just kind of shut
out every expectations and don't really read too much of
anything, what anyone's saying. You know, don't keep your
ear too low to the ground, but just kind of just relax.
I think that can be difficult for any player, but it's
Q. You mentioned 10 years ago,
but what do you think the little girl Serena Williams who
signed herself up for her own first tournament would
think of Serena Williams today with all the Slams, all
SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, my gosh.
Q. What do you think she would
think of all this?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think when I first signed up with
that tournament, what you read about in my book, I think
that I would just be really I would think that this
Serena Williams today is super cool. I would love to get
I think she would have been my idol, because it would
have been like growing up there weren't too many black
people. I loved Zina Garrison and Lori McNeil. I would
have had a little favorite toward myself and Venus.
Q. Was it something special that
most parents sort of had to be in the game of tennis and
know the game and culture of tennis to start teaching
their kids. Did your father do something outside the box
by doing it a different way and in the inner city?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, absolutely. I think he did
something totally different by starting us and, you know,
he never played tennis before. Knowing no one in his
family ever did. He was a good athlete. My mom was a
great athlete. I think that was all that was needed.
Q. The state of your game is
good right now. I hope it continues. What do you
attribute your success to? Training, fitness? You look
really good. Are you really 100% ready to take this
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't think about success. I just
think about playing a match and just staying focused. You
know, I just take it one day at a time.
Q. You have this tennis thing
down pretty well. I was at Yankee Stadium Friday night.
Were you working on your pitching?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I thought I was doing fine. I thought
the goal was to get it to home base, but apparently it's
not. I thought you know, I thought it was just at least
get it there. Apparently I have to hit it lower. No one
told me that. I didn't know.
They kept saying, I hope you can get it there. I thought,
I can get it there easy. I think I got the sports mixed
up. Maybe I thought it was football or something.
Q. That would have been a good
SERENA WILLIAMS: Would it? Maybe I have to do a first
down pass or something. I got confused.
Q. Mets are next week. Maybe you
can work on it again.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah.
Q. What compelled you to want to
write an autobiography right now? How do you think it
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, it's not a complete
autobiography about my whole life. It's definitely a
memoir, however. It actually is a motivational piece. All
the people that read it are kind of motivated through my
I thought it was necessary, because I never really talked
too much about my personal life. I think having so many
wonderful fans and having, you know, being blessed that
people follow me, just get to know a little bit more
about the person. Hopefully they can be motivated to do
better themselves and to, you know, just be better
people, as well.
You know, I felt honored that I even had a chance to
Q. Was it a difficult process?
Was it a lot of work?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Actually, no. I actually wrote it a
long time ago. Just did a couple final touches last year.
Just probably added only two more chapters. It kind of
just all came together, and it was really pretty much
about the right time. I love writing, so it was a no
Q. One of the most moving parts
of the book I think to most people was really when you
were kind of down, you said all the competitive bones in
my body were broken, feeling kind of out of it. Well,
depressed. You didn't have sort of the strength of
character to face it at that particular time. What were
your feelings then? How did you turn that around?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It was just that's another reason I
wrote it, because I felt that what makes a champion isn't
how well they do. It's about how well they can recover
when they fall, or if they fall.
And you look at someone like I love Muhammad Ali, and he
went to jail for a period of time and he came back on top
of the world. You know, I just thought what it would be
like. You know, I was on top of the world, and then
things came crashing down. You get to see people who are
really your friends and you get to see people that really
stick by your side and how you can recover from that and
I just think anyone can do it. You just have to have a
kind of guide sometimes and just getting there.
Q. Were you pleased with the
guidance you got at the time?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I mean, I definitely think
that spiritual guide is the best thing for me, and I
wouldn't want it to be any other way.
Q. You also talked about talk
therapy as a guide.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah.
Q. You talked openly about that,
which is a pretty brave thing to do.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, it wasn't very easy. But however
you get there, whatever way you take to get there is very
interesting. That's one of the routes I take, because I
didn't know where else to go. I felt I didn't have
anywhere else to turn.
Obviously I did, because I did have my family. And
looking back on that, I realized that I could have done
things different. But, you know, whatever it took to get
there, I thought was just to get me motivated. I think
ultimately my trip to Africa helped out, as well.
Q. Do you find it ironic that
the state of tennis in America rests in the hands of two
African American sisters?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't really think about it. I
think that there is a lot like the girl I played today,
she's American and she's actually a really good player.
She can be really good.
Q. Anything special about the
jewelry you're wearing for this tournament?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I'm wearing my whole
collection from the Serena Williams, Signature Statement,
which is available on HSN, which I'm really (laughter.)
I'm sorry, but he asked, so...
I'm really excited about it because I love jewelry, and I
think people really know me for jewelry. It will be
available starting September 19.
Q. The earrings are part of it?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, everything, earrings, necklace,
lucky ring. I have a bracelet, but I didn't wear it
Q. We'll be seeing you on Home
Shopping Network? You have appearances?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I've been on the Home Shopping
Network a few times. You know, there's fashions and all
kinds I just feel really honored. I love fashion and love
designing. It's just great.
Q. Who is your publisher. Will
you be doing any signings?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I'm doing some signings. But not
now. Right now I am I have another job right now that's
Q. What's the name of the book?
Who is the publisher?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Called On the Line, and it's
published by Grand Central Publishing.
Q. Serena mentions the address
1117 East Stockton. What kind of images? What kind of
thoughts come to your mind?
SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, I just think of I think of
the front yard and the porch that we used to sit on, the
stoop that we used to always sit on. I just think of a
rose bush which was in my front yard.
I just smile whenever I think of 1117, so it just brings
wonderful memories. That's where I grew up, and it will
always mean something special in my life.
Q. What was it like to cuddle up
on the bunk bed of your older sister at night?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, you never know where I was
going to sleep, so... It was fun, though. Like I said in
the book, I got to get to know each of them in a special
way, and I don't think any of my sisters had that
relationship with any of them the way I've been able to
because of that.
You know, I still like to sleep with the teddy bear and
dog to this day. That's why I always have my dogs with
Q. Finally, what did it feel
like when six of you in that van sort of went down and
sort of descended on the park and sort of took it over as
SERENA WILLIAMS: It was great. I love going to trunk
tournaments. We used to travel in the bus, Volkswagen
buses, really old. Sometimes we'd barely get there. We
would get there, and I remember I used to always go watch
play Venus play and I desperately wanted to be on the
When I finally got my chance, I knew that's where I
belonged. I still belong there, so I'm glad to still be
Q. I know fashion is hot for you
right now, but are you still pursuing acting?
SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, I'm into writing. I would
love to do acting, but I haven't been able to get a job.
I figure if I write my own script then I can star in it.
That's what I'm trying now. I can't be I haven't been
cast recently. It's tough out there.
Q. If you were writing the story
about the 2009 US Open women's draw, what would be your
SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, what would be my lead? Are you
trying to get this for your story? (laughter.)
Just making sure. Well, Serena's back where she belongs.
Other Serena News
Interview with Serena Williams
after her win over her match with Alexa Glatch at the 2009 US Open
Interview with Serena Williams
before her match with Alexa Glatch at the 2009 US Open