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ESPYS Interview Series: Serena Williams

6/18/2012
AP Photo/Dan Steinberg

NEW YORK -- Between Serena Williams' numerous business ventures, her clothing line "Aneres" and her tennis career, she's always on the move.

We spoke about her most memorable moment from the ESPY awards, her relationship with the Dolphins, Title IX and what else she'd like to accomplish in her life.

What are your favorite ESPY memories?

"Obviously, the Jamie Foxx 'Can I be your tennis ball?' song really sticks out to me. And then I got to meet Tom Cruise one year. Tom Cruise is amazing and I was really excited to meet him."

Why does Cruise stick out? Is he your favorite actor?

"He's Tom Cruise. Do I need to say any more? He's one of those guys you'd never think you could see. Oh my God, is that Tom Cruise? I'm totally going to meet Tom Cruise."

You probably towered over him.

"Actually, I don't remember that. I don't think he's as small as everyone thinks he is. I remember being so excited and he was telling me how much he loved tennis and blah, blah, blah. I was just sitting there thinking this is so cool."

What did it mean for you to win Best Female Athlete in 2004?

"It's cool. I'm always happy to win something at the ESPYS. You're not guaranteed to win because there are so many great female athletes. Especially in an Olympic year, you're pretty much guaranteed not to win."

We're approaching the 40th anniversary of Title IX. How has Title IX affected you?

"It's opened so many doors for people like me. Obviously, I think Billie Jean King had a big role in Title IX, especially given the colleges involved. Everyone that got involved in allowing women to have the same amount of scholarships as men, it's cool. All of those girls who had dreams of going to school and never could, now have that opportunity. My niece is trying to go to college now and she has that opportunity because we have equal opportunity and that's really important. I definitely see more females playing sports as compared to when I was younger. Sports are cool, they help you get confident and it helps you with a lot of things."

You have so many business ventures, a fashion line, and oh yeah, a tennis career. What's it like juggling it all?

"It's just been nonstop. Right now, I'm at a point in my life where I need to be busy. I don't want to stop. I'm glad I have this opportunity to keep going."

Is this attitude something new for you?

"I've done more in this past year than I've done in a long time. I've started several new companies. With Sleep Sheets I've been part of the whole company from the beginning, and before that Energy Sheets, and I have another company -- Mission -- and my clothing company, which I relaunched and I'm the full designer on it now because I didn't like the designs. I took care of everything and got rid of everything."

So you're that hands-on with it?

"Oh, yeah. I became the full designer. It's a lot, but I like it. I think it's cool."

You and your sister are part-owners of the Miami Dolphins. What'd you think of their first-round selection of Ryan Tannehill in the NFL draft?

"Obviously, I wanted RG3 or Andrew Luck, even though I knew they weren't coming to Miami, it wasn't done-done until they were gone. But we got a really good guy. I think he's going to be really good for the team. Just because you don't go first or second doesn't mean you're not going to be Tom Brady."

How much longer do you want to play tennis for?

"I don't know. I haven't thought about it. I don't feel tired. My body's really healthy. My therapist can't believe how good my knees are for as long as I've been playing. I'm doing good."

What else do you want to [do] in your life? What's on your bucket list?

"There's a lot of things I want to do. I would love to be a successful sister, whatever. Stuff like that. Successful friend -- I could be a better friend. Things like that I think are important."

So you're focused more on the intangible?

"Absolutely, but I'm nowhere near done on the tennis court. I feel so fresh and I feel totally revived this year and I feel really good. I don't feel anything."

Playing until your 40s?

"That'll probably be me. I have no life, and that would be sad. No life. Work, work, work and I love it."