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For Release: 10 February, 2011
Contact: Chris Dwyer
Tel: (852) 3128 3536
Email: chris.dwyer@turner.com

SERENA WILLIAMS TELLS CNN'S OPEN COURT


Open Court
in February comes from the Australian Open in Melbourne Park. CNN's Candy Reid chats with Grand Slam winner Serena Williams following her recent foot injury, on a range of topics including the player's comeback and future in the game and the promotion of her fashion and jewelry range.

Full transcript from the interview on Open Court and an image for your use are below:

For a preview of the interview online, please go to http://edition.cnn.com/video/?/video/sports/2011/01/27/reid.s.williams.foot.injury.sot.cnn

Please note that CNN's OPEN COURT must be credited when using any quotes from this interview 

Serena Williams' interview airs on CNN's OPEN COURT on Feb 10 at 2030, Feb 11 at 0230, Feb 12 at 1530, Feb 13 at 0000, 0730, 1230, 1630 and Feb 14 at 0330 HKT. For more information, please go to www.cnn.com/opencourt 


Note:  This is a rush transcript.  This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

CANDY REID, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: Serena - Thank you so much for giving up your time to us. I just saw you on set there; two hours in a row. You're selling your own products what is it like?

SERENA WILLIAMS, GRAND SLAM WINNER TENNIS PLAYER: Well it's really cool. I love fashion; I went to fashion school and so I love designing things and my whole thing is seeing something on paper and then picking out fabrics and seeing colours and then seeing the end product. It's amazing. It's like a little baby.

REID: Well, you look really passionate out there; you're not just there as a Serena Williams. You really look like you're behind it all. And this is something that you've always wanted to do?

WILLIAMS: Yeah this is something I've always wanted to do. Even when I was younger I remember sewing clothes for my dolls. I always knew how to sew and all that other stuff, so obviously when I went to school and I was able to perfect it and do a little bit better it made a big difference that I already had kind of a background as I was already doing things that were in fashion world

REID: And your mum is your inspiration?

WILLIAMS: Yeah, my mom taught me how to sew and I picked it up easy and it was really easy and I just went forward with it and its fun. I like it.

REID: Now obviously with your career you've had a lot of exposure to the camera, but you're like a seasoned pro out there; you're on for two straight hours. How difficult is it?

WILLIAMS: Sometimes it gets difficult towards the end, but normally it's fine. That was a really exciting segment for me this time because it was all new stuff and all stuff that I love and I really put my heart into and I was really enjoying it, so I really liked it. And I have to go on again, so the more it's another two hours every time it gets a little more tough, but other than that it's good.

REID: The response was worth it.

WILLIAMS: Yeah, the response is worth it. I always try to make things that my fans can enjoy and wear. I have a real body so I know what it's like not to be able to wear clothes or to be able to wear clothes as well, so for me it's fun and I just enjoy making everyone happy.

REID: Is there any thought for the future to make a tennis range?

WILLIAMS: I design now for Nike, so it's pretty cool I live in the best of both worlds; I can design what I wear on the court, I've done that since I actually turned pro so it's been really fulfilling. And in the tennis range I get to do my own thing there.  It's like I have two, three, four different jobs.

REID: You do have a lot of different jobs and a lot of off-court activity. You have a school in Africa, or I believe two now.

WILLIAMS: I have two schools in Africa.

REID: So tell us the inspiration for that and tell us what it's all about.

WILLIAMS: Well obviously I'm from Africa; and being African American I don't know exactly where I'm from and I always wanted to find my roots and find out where I came from. So I had a trip in Africa back in 2006 and I really enjoyed it. And then you go over there and you see the mother country and see all the natural resources and the beauty and the people and you just want to help. And so, eventually I was able to team up with HP and they donated computers to the school. We opened two schools in Kenya, which was great, I just opened the second one this year in March, or I did it in March of 2010, so I was really excited about that and it was a wonderful experience because of everything I've done - out of making clothes, winning Grand Slams, winning Championships, winning all four in a row - nothing compared to me opening those schools for those kids that had less than nothing and cutting that ribbon. It was the best moment of my whole career.

REID: And education's a lot of the motivation for that.

WILLIAMS: Yeah, because a lot of the time the rural areas are living like that because they're not properly educated or maybe they are properly educated, but they just don't have the resources or they don't have the teachers, or they don't have the this or that  to be able to get out of the area in order to better themselves. Or clear diseases like malaria, these are diseases that should be done with and it's simple like having a bed net or something like that, and so clear all these diseases. And if you give them education then they know and we know what to do with an education and it's good.

REID: Now some people would say that you've done brilliantly on the tennis circuit your bank balance is quite healthy, why do you need to do all this? What would you say?

WILLIAMS: I don't know. I don't know. I mean I can't stay still for ten minutes and I really enjoy it. And a) I really love giving it back, and I love fashion, I love everything. I'm crazy.

REID: Well talking about everything I hear a nail technician is the next thing on your mind.

WILLIAMS: Yeah I'm actually in school  to get my licence for my nails and I'm going to school a lot and it's kind of hard because of everything I do it's hard to go to school, but it's fun. I was doing acrylics the other day in class and I was really upset with myself because I couldn't get the smile right. I love doing, like, bling and I love doing the art stuff and I love doing the gel stuff. And I'm doing a collection now with OPI. We're doing a collection that comes out now in January and it's for the whole year; we're doing a Glam Slam collection.

REID: Oh very good. I like that. I've heard that you drink a bit of caffeine to keep you going. Is that true? And you have a certain coffee that you like.

WILLIAMS: Right do we have time? A like large a hazelnut, or vanilla or whatever flavour, soy, sugar-free cappuccino with a quad shot.

REID: So about six things?

WILLIAMS: Six things. It's really ridiculous

REID: Do they get it right?

WILLIAMS: They always get it right. They never even ask twice. I wish I could think of other things to trip people up.

REID: They obviously know you very well.

WILLIAMS: With a shot of espresso.

REID: You need the espresso. So you've got this boot on your foot; can you tell us when you might be back on court?

WILLIAMS: I'm going to be back sooner than later, I hope. This comes of very soon, so by the time this airs this'll probably be off. But I don't know. It's been a real bummer and it's been hard, but I've been trying to go out and do different things like fashion and focussing on my nail thing and focussing what else I can do with my charity work because I get involved with a lot of different charities and I'm trying to open yet another school, so I love giving back. So it definitely is hard being on top and being number one and then having this happen just really, really blows.

REID: It doesn't sound like you have a lot of time to yourself anyway despite this. Have you been watching the tennis? And how do you feel watching the girls?

WILLIAMS: I just feel like, "dang", I could be out there, but obviously I'm happy just to keep going and to be healthy again, so I'm really looking forward to that. And walking.

REID: And walking, that would be a good one. Many consider you to be the best women's tennis player ever. What would you say to that?

WILLIAMS: I can't say to that. It's such huge compliment and, for me, I'm still pretty young and I

just don't think about it. I think "ok, I don't want to think about that right now," cos there's so much more that I want to do in tennis.

REID: And what's that?

WILLIAMS: Just keep playing and keep winning. It's just something that I really enjoy.

REID: You haven't got a number: "I want to win this many majors."

WILLIAMS: I've never had a number. I never thought I'd have...I don't even know how many I have. So, anyway never thought I'd have that many. I just keep going and I enjoy it and I play... And most of all I want to get back to doubles. I really love playing doubles.

REID: With your sister, obviously.

WILLIAMS: We have so much fun on the court.

REID: And you've done so well together.

WILLIAMS: We really enjoy playing and we want to do a little better.

REID: Do you have a year where you just think I'm going to play until that year then I'll evaluate where I want to go from there?

WILLIAMS: No, I don't. I really just keep playing and going on how I feel and how I feel at that moment and just go on from there.

REID: Is there any tournament, finally, that you think "that's when I'm going to return"? I know you've got to miss the Australian Open because of your foot.

WILLIAMS: I'm missing the Australian Open, but I plan to be back in Spring which is a good time; you know, I'll blossom again in the Spring. It'll be fun.

REID: Serena Williams - thank you very much.

Serena Williams' interview airs on CNN's OPEN COURT on Feb 10 at 2030, Feb 11 at 0230, Feb 12 at 1530, Feb 13 at 0000, 0730, 1230, 1630 and Feb 14 at 0330 HKT. For more information, please go to www.cnn.com/opencourt 

 (** must include this when running the copy)

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