Day 10 - An interview with Serena Williams - Tuesday, June 5, 2007
Q. There seemed to be an enormous amount of frustration out there for you today?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, nothing worked today. Some days you just have days like that.
Q. I feel like the Parisian crowd was not completely with you, but not against you like they were four years ago. So that's got to be just a little satisfaction compared to what we've seen four years ago?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I think they were definitely for Justine. But it doesn't matter. That really doesn't bother me.
Q. Tenative starts to the two opening games. Can you explain that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Pardon me?
Q. Tenative starts. You opened the first, second set with tenative starts, led to you being broken. How impactful were those to your result?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I don't think it was tenative. I just think it was -- I don't know what it was. I don't know. There's really no explanation for it. Just bad starts more than anything.
Q. Just talk about your ground strokes. You were in the match at times, but then it seemed like you were making a little bit of a push, forehands into the net, and you were flying your backhands a little bit. What was going on there?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. Just everything was going wrong. Usually, I don't hit in the net, like I think I hit so many errors today. I hit in the net a lot. And it was very frustrating. It was like -- even the first set, I saw that she had won 30 points and I had won 29 on the stats, but it was just, like, I didn't win the right ones. And I was just making all the errors and just playing like a maniac.
Q. It was kind of a subdued tone to the whole match, you know, kind of an almost slow, quiet feeling to it all. Was it the weight of the occasion? You never seemed to pop with energy or anything?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, I don't know. I mean, I can't answer that.
Q. Did you have any sense before you went on the court that things were just a little off for you? Or you were not feeling good? What was your feeling in practice or whenever?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I don't think I had a great practice. My routine was off. I'm very superstitious, and things weren't right, so...
That's not why I lost, though. I mean, I've got to get it in my mind that I've got to stop being so superstitious. But, you know, nothing really went right for me this morning, and it just continued on through the match.
Q. The Serena fire and growl just weren't there. Where were they?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I mean, Serena kept hitting balls in the net and Serena kept making errors. And it wasn't that. It was just that I couldn't hit my shots the way, you know, I was hitting them earlier or whatever.
Q. What are your routines, Serena, in practice?
SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, I mean, I'm just a little more just -- I was hitting a little off in practice, as well, today. Well, I mean, for me, off. I'm always trying to do everything perfect. And then I just wanted different shots, and I just, you know, I just left my notebook in the locker room, so...
Q. Do you think Justine took a look?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I mean, there's nothing in there that would help her, so...
Q. Would you regard that this half of the draw is tougher?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think this half is always tougher. I'm always on the tougher half. So I mean, I think, you know, we had some good players on this half. We don't I don't really even know who is on the other half.
Q. How positive is it the way you and Justine left the court? I know you didn't like what happened during the match, but the fact that you clearly have this mutual respect and admiration now, how good is that for you, personally, and also for the women's game?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I have a respect for everyone that plays tennis. I'm a very professional individual, and I leave everything on the court. And that's all you can do. And I don't take too much of it off. You know, I leave everything I have on the court. And that's just me and that's my attitude.
Q. Beginning of the second set, she hits that backhand return that bounces off the top of the net; you lose the point. And then after the game, you smash your racquet to the ground. At that point, did you realize, Things are just not going my way today?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, at that point I hadn't even realized how many errors I was making. At that point -- I mean, I was still fighting. I mean, I was fighting until the end. But I just, I don't think I've ever played so bad in the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam. And it's not, you know, here I am always saying I want to peak at the right times, but I didn't have any peaks today. And I just -- I don't -- I've never played so hideous and horrendous, and all those other words I can use to describe my play today.
Q. But you in Australia before you peaked at the end, the last two matches, you had some real dicey matches when you weren't on your game, but you were still able to kind of gut it out, find a way to win. Why didn't that happen today?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I was -- I definitely think today was worse than anything I've played in Australia, for sure. It gives no comparison. I don't know why. I mean, there's just no comparison.
Q. Obviously, taking into account what you're saying, but can you address Justine's game? I mean, how you felt she played? How much of how she played was due to how you were playing, et cetera?
SERENA WILLIAMS: She played -- I think, all she had to do was show up. I mean, she didn't -- I thought that she did well, but I've played against her when she's played even better. I thought she played really well, though. She had her little tactics, and, you know, but I thought she hit decent.
Q. How did it feel when you threw your racquet to the court and the crowd kind of booed you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, it doesn't matter. I mean, I think -- I think it was just more of a reaction. I always throw my racquet. I try not to, you know, but my hands tend to get really slick, and it just tends to fall out of my hand all the time, so...
Maybe they just weren't used to seeing that side of me.
Q. You said you felt there were kind of signs that things were going wrong on practice this morning. Were there any other signs out of practice?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I just didn't have the practice that I generally would have liked. And I just felt like I was just, you know, trying to recover. I've always had bad practices, though, before a match. Very rarely, actually, do I have a great practice. That wasn't anything abnormal, to be honest with you.
Q. In the last couple of months, you spoke to the calendar year Grand Slam, and you thought it was conceivable for yourself or another women's player. Now that's off the board. Is it very disappointing for you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Obviously, yeah. But I was here to win the French Open. I wasn't here to think about a calendar Grand Slam. So, I mean, for me, it was all about winning here in Paris, and, you know, just doing it again.
Q. In the fifth game of the second set, you're up 40-15, then five of the next six points are unforced errors. When that's happening, I mean, you don't play like that as you said.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I never play like that.
Q. Is it like you can't believe it, sort of?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Sometimes, yeah. Then sometimes you've got to just step back and say, Okay, try this, try that, or try Plan B. But I think my Plan B was to make errors(laughing), so, obviously, that never works.
Q. How much, if any, impact did the fact that the match was played on clay have?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't think it had much impact, you know. I just think that maybe it was slower. I don't know. For me, it's the same. Obviously, it's different, but I don't mind the clay. I actually love it. I don't think it made that much of a difference today.
Q. Can you tell us what you'll be doing between now and Wimbledon?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, since I lost, unfortunately, I have to go back home to the very, very hot conditions in Florida. So this is a punishment for me to train. If I had won, then I would have been able to not endure the 200-degree weather that it's going to be.
So I can't -- it's going to be horrible, so I can't -- that's what I'm going to do, unfortunately.
Q. So when would you expect to arrive at Wimbledon?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I usually leave a week ahead of time, so...
I hate the heat there.
Q. It seemed like on a lot of the points that you got into rallies, she was dictating a lot of the time. Did you feel that, and if so, why do you think that was? Was she more aggressive than Miami? Was it that your shots weren't going through the court as much? What do you think the reason was?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I mean, I didn't take my opportunities, and I didn't, you know, do anything that I was supposed to do, like move up and things like that, and all of the other things I was supposed to do. I just pretty much stood back and let her take advantage of me. And I feel violated.