August 23, 2008
NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, everyone for joining us. Before we have our US
Open press conference, Venus and Serena would like to make a very
SERENA WILLIAMS: As you can see, my sister and I are always really
excited and really happy, but we have a very important announcement we'd
like to make today.
VENUS WILLIAMS: My sister and I have decided to become two-sport
athletes, and we've joined a new league.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Oreos Double Stuff Racing League.
VENUS WILLIAMS: It puts a new spin on the classic twist, lick, and dunk.
People compete to see who can eat a Double Stuffed Oreo cookie the
fastest, so Serena and I have joined the league. We've become very fast,
SERENA WILLIAMS: We're the fastest ever. You know we love to have a lot
of fun and be competitive at whatever we do. Since we have been young
we've been enjoying Oreos, and decided to take it to a new level and get
involved with DSRL as adults.
VENUS WILLIAMS: And you've probably heard of another pair of siblings...
SERENA WILLIAMS: Not so famous as us, of course.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Not so famous who have always been involved with the
DSRL, the Manning brothers, and we have started a friendly competition,
a very competitive competition.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Very competitive competition.
VENUS WILLIAMS: They helped kick off the Double Dunk League in January,
and we have been competing throughout the summer. I'm sure you'll see in
the commercial the intense competition that goes on between us.
SERENA WILLIAMS: It is an honor to answer the Manning brothers
challenge, and we hopefully will always end up on top like we like to
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, but we've just been practicing, and we just have a
friendly competition going with the Manning brothers. I'm sure you enjoy
Serena and I have been excited to join the DSRL. We hope that you will
join the DSRL, also. Go online at DSRL.com.
SERENA WILLIAMS: We're looking forward to a great DSRL season.
THE MODERATOR: We'll open it up to questions now.
Q. Are you going to show us your moves?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Our double stuff moves? Yeah, actually, I actually had a
problem with my partner in the racing league. Okay, it's very important
that your cookie is set at a certain way.
So if it's set the wrong way, then you get a late start. So my partner
sabotaged me and set my cookie wrong. If I looked this way for one
second, the cookie was reset by Serena Williams.
SERENA WILLIAMS: That's not true.
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think she was also competing with me along with the
SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm very competitive.
VENUS WILLIAMS: We had a great time, actually, with the Mannings. We
filmed the commercial with them. We were actually very competitive. It
was pretty -- we had a lot of fun with it.
Q. I think this is the second food company you've been associated
with. You do a lot of work with McDonald's, and now with Oreos. Can you
talk about what it's like for an athlete to be working with these
different food organizations, and do you actually eat Oreos?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, of course we eat Oreos, since we were younger.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Since we were young, it's an American family classic.
We associate ourselves with great products like Kraft, which is, you
know, the mother, so to say, of Oreo, ans as well as McDonald's.
We like to involve ourselves in companies that mean things not only that
has a lot to do with family, because me and my sister, we are really
close with family and things that have to do with charities off court,
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think it's good. I think when you see the double stuff
racing commercials you see the little girl with the grandma and they're
racing. Everyone has done that growing up, and probably still now.
So when we had the opportunity to be a part of this, that kind of was
the epitome of Serena and I being a family and doing everything
SERENA WILLIAMS: And being competitive and then leaving it and being a
VENUS WILLIAMS: It all just made so much sense for us.
Q. Could you guys just talk about your feelings when the draw was
released, your first-round opponents and that you guys were in the same
section of the draw?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I mean, we were just on the whirlwind from the
Olympics, to be honest. We found out I guess it was yesterday, so
obviously we had an unbelievable summer. We were trying to make sure
that one of us ends the summer off with a bang. That's just what it is.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I feel the same way. Definitely feel like we've had a
great summer, and hopefully right now I'm just focused on my first-round
match and going from there.
Q. For both of you, how do you think the toll of going over to
Beijing and then coming back will affect you and all the other players
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I think we have a week to adjust, and hopefully
it will be enough time. We knew what we were doing when we went to
Beijing. We knew it was going to be hard work and wasn't going to be
We were willing to accept that challenge because we both wanted to
compete for our country. It was definitely worth it.
Q. When did you get back in the States?
VENUS WILLIAMS: We got back on Monday, Monday night. We made the best of
Q. Are you adjusted?
VENUS WILLIAMS: We're doing good.
Q. Can you talk about the significance of playing in the Olympics
relative to playing in a major and how your feelings might differ?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, growing up, as a tennis player you always dream
of winning Grand Slams and competing in Grand Slams. But then when I was
younger I used to watch all the Olympic greats and people, you know,
only the best of the best get to go to the Olympics.
So to have that experience and to win gold is really amazing. Like it's
-- it's totally different. Like I expect to win Grand Slams. I expect to
do well. But I never can say that I expected to, even when I was young,
to have a gold medal.
So it makes it just that much better and more satisfying.
Q. How much of an issue was jet lag, or does it continue to be, and
what did you have to try to do to deal with that during the past week?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I'm still trying to get over the jet lag. Venus
seems like she isn't having a problem, but I don't handle jet lag as
well as she does. Hopefully it won't be an issue.
Q. Don't think it will be an issue come Monday?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I have a few more days. I think I'll play on Tuesday,
so I'll be fine.
Q. Can you take us through your week? You said you flew back. Did you
fly back to Palm Beach? What have you been doing all week to get over
this jet lag?
VENUS WILLIAMS: We flew back. We couldn't go to Palm Beach because of
the storm, but we flew back on Monday night, and by 7:00 I was up on
Tuesday. I went for a run and to the gym and to practice and rehab and
all the stuff you've got to do when you're not at home. Try to go to the
dentist, things like that. We've been busy.
Q. Did you come here or go to Florida?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Went to California.
Q. When did you arrive here?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Thursday.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Thursday. I really don't know what day it is anymore. I
thought today was Friday. I don't know. But I'm here at the right time.
Q. You say you're here at the right time. What does it mean to you
when you come out on these grounds every year? Both of you, if you could
reflect for the first time, what does it mean to be back here?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It's a special feeling. I love this tournament and love
to have a Grand Slam in New York. It's the last one, so it means that I
really, really want to give it my all and my best.
Q. And Venus?
VENUS WILLIAMS: For me, this is where the big things happened for Serena
and I first: me having the final here, her winning the Slam and us
winning the doubles the same year. So there has been a lot of firsts for
us. We wish we were playing the doubles, but next year.
Q. Compared to the other Grand Slams, does this one - you're both
Americans - is this one a little more special to you?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, being at home, you can't beat it. I mean,
obviously I've had a lot of good success at Wimbledon, and that's pretty
special to me, too. But this is at home.
Q. You too, Serena?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Sure.
Q. CBS 2 is going to be airing a one-hour breast cancer awareness
special right before the women's finals this year. What do you do, as
role models, to inspire young kids, and especially young girls, to get
involved in the sport? And why is it important to do that?
VENUS WILLIAMS: To get involved in the sport?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I think we're always doing the kids clinics,
visiting schools, we're in local tournaments and things like that that
are so important. We do the best that we can.
Q. There have been studies released that actually show vigorous
sports, like tennis, actually reduce a young woman's risk for getting
certain cancers, so this is very important. What would you tell young
kids or especially young girls if they wanted to get involved?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think it's important for them to get involved in
sports. I think sports gives you a sense of direction, self-esteem,
accomplishing your goals. I think also with young people also seeing us
on DSRL, they associate us with tennis and something fun, and they say,
Hey, I want to get involved. I think that's great, too.
Q. Can you guys talk a little bit about the year in women's tennis?
It's been a odd year with Justine going out, Lindsay coming back and
being injured, the two Serbians? What's going to happen here at the US
Open? What should we look for?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm definitely not into predicting. I can't predict.
But I can only say that we've been working hard, and hopefully our hard
work will pay off.
VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm all about my results and wish everyone else the best
of luck. But I'm really down with me winning this tournament, so...
Q. Serena or Venus, how many years you going to be playing?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I don't know. I don't see an end right now. I'm
-- I just see myself -- I don't know.
VENUS WILLIAMS: We're playing too well to think about the end.
SERENA WILLIAMS: That doesn't cross our minds.
VENUS WILLIAMS: We keep getting better.
Q. Are you both feeling well? Bodies holding up and feeling strong?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm feeling well.
VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm feeling well.
Q. Tired, jet lag, but otherwise...
VENUS WILLIAMS: That's it. Otherwise we're doing great.
Q. I've heard sports psychologists talk about if you tell a young kid
that they're really talented they might feel like they don't have to
try. But you ladies have always been, it seems, very self-motivated,
very eager to win, and you have such a competitive spirit. Do you feel
that was nurtured from the beginning, or do you feel it's something that
you're really just born with? Here you are on top of the world, but you
always seem to still have that hunger to want to win and to try. Where
does that come from?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think it's something that's definitely innate, you
know, some things you're born with and some things you're not. I don't
know what I was born with. I just do know that I enjoy competition and I
enjoy, you know, my job more than anything. I have so much fun out there
that it makes it easy for me.
Q. Do you think you can be No. 1 and No. 2 again?
VENUS WILLIAMS: That's the plan, but I don't think either one of us is
aiming for 2. (laughter.)
Q. Venus got the better of the matchup at Wimbledon. Serena, what's
your plan for trying to get back at Venus this time in the quarterfinals
if you both make it?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I have to get there first, and maybe I'll just go
study, see what went wrong at Wimbledon. Hopefully I can rectify it.
Thank you, guys.
VENUS WILLIAMS: We invite you guys to have cookies.
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