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August 8, 2014

Serena Williams


S. WILLIAMS/C. Wozniacki
4‑6, 7‑5, 7‑5

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  You said yesterday that Caroline would be your biggest test of the tournament so far.  Obviously she was.  What did she do that gave you trouble?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Well, she just does everything well.  She's really fast, gets a lot of balls back, she makes you hit that extra shot.  She kept her unforced errors down super low today.  That was a good job, I think.

Q.  Yesterday you said this match would give you a good idea of where your game is at right now.  After a win like that, a comeback win like that, where do you see your game is at now?
SERENA WILLIAMS:¬† Well, I'm definitely fit.¬† I feel like I'm really ready to go the long haul.¬† That's good for me.¬† I definitely needed to feel that and get some three‑set wins under my belt.

Q.  You were a little inconsistent in the first set, talking to yourself.  How do you get back into the groove?  What do you say to yourself to become mentally stronger?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Well, yeah, I think I was making a lot of unforced errors in general.
But for me, I just thought, Just keep fighting.  Hopefully I can just hold on and hold on, try to break, keep going for each shot.  I just never wanted to stop and try to do the best that I could.

Q.  Looking ahead, the possibility of playing your sister.  Are you looking forward to that if it happens?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah, if it happens, it will be great.  She's been playing really well.  She's in really good form.
It would be a really good match for me.  She is playing really well.

Q.  Do you feel good when you see your sister playing like that after all the problems she's had?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I definitely feel great when I see her playing so well.  Obviously not when it's time for me to play her, but other than that it always is really good to see her playing really well (smiling).

Q.  Are you going to watch the match?  After that, are you going to spend the evening together even though you could play tomorrow?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I think I should watch a little bit of the match, yeah, just to see what I need to do.
I don't know if we're going to spend the evening together.  It would be nice to hang out.  Doesn't really matter.  We leave everything on the court.  That's it.

Q.  You and your sister have made a big impact on women's tennis.  Stacey Allaster was speaking about that the other day.  You had your own schedule.  Looking back, what are you most proud of?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  We've had such a great impact.  I think having been, you know, pretty much one of the first African Americans to do well, then to see all the African Americans, even some Canadians here playing really well, it makes me feel really good.  I'm really excited to see that, to be honest.  It's just really, really great.
Yeah, we just had an opportunity to do something really special.¬† Sometimes I get chill bumps when I think about it because we're just so normal and so down‑to‑earth.¬† We just feel like we want to help everyone to do the best that they can.¬† We're really excited.

Q.  Is it exciting to have to play her or are you seeing this more as, I don't really want to play her?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I definitely don't like playing her.  I think I've lost to her more than anyone on the tour, so...  Definitely not a fun match.
But she's tough.  She has a great serve.  She runs every ball down.  She has a great backhand.  She hits winners off the forehand.  She does everything well, so it's not an ideal matchup for anyone, to be honest.

Q.  Early in your career your father said that you and Venus would probably play for a few years and then move on to other things.  Obviously, you have done other things outside the court.  Are you surprised you're still playing now, playing at this level?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah, I definitely didn't see myself playing tennis at my age.  I just thought I would have been gone doing other things.  But it just so happens that I love to play, I love to compete.  I'm having fun.  I enjoy it.  I just can't give it up.  I just really can't let it go.

Q.  You hadn't had a long match like this since the US Open last year.  Is it hard to go two and a half hours?  How do you feel right now?  You're used to short matches like we saw in your first match here.
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah, no, it's definitely difficult, I guess.  I feel good.  You have to be ready for that.  Especially when you play someone like Caroline or other opponents, you know your match might be a little longer than normal.  You go in there thinking, This is not going to be routine.  You're ready.

Q.  Can you describe a little bit about how difficult it is to be on top and stay on top, someone we expect should win every single Grand Slam, mentally how hard that is over so many years?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah, it's definitely not easy.  It definitely takes its toll on you when you're a favorite, no matter what you're ranked.  Even when I came back after the whole situation, I think it was in 2011, I was still a favorite to win the Open.  I got to the final.  But who would have thought after all that I would still be a favorite?
Yeah, it's okay.  Like, you know, I always lean on Billie Jean King's words when she says that pressure is a privilege.  I'd much rather have people look at me that way than any other way.

Q.  I wanted to ask you about the state of American tennis.  Once yourself and Venus move into the next phase, do you believe the women who are succeeding you have the ability to reach your level?  What can America do to bring tennis back to the '70s and '80s?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Well, '70s and '80s sounds like a great theme party (laughter).  But I don't know.  I think women's tennis is doing really well on the American side.
Yeah, suggestions?  It's kind of hard.  You have to pour a lot of money into players.  It's very difficult on the men because there's so many other American sports that men want to do, that you can be so successful in.  Then you have tennis, which is definitely more an international sport.
I don't know.  It's really interesting.  But I think the state of women's tennis right now for the U.S. is really excellent and I'm really excited about it.  So many great players.

Q.  Why do you think Europe is doing so well, the eastern countries, when you look at the top 50 with women?  When you say 'pour more money into it,' there's more money in the U.S. than those other countries.
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Well, tennis I think is a premiere sport for women in general.  I'm actually not from those countries so I can't comment on that.  But I just think when you see players, you see opportunities that you can have by playing tennis, oh, my gosh, I would totally put my kids in tennis.  It's such a great opportunity.
So maybe that's why.

Q.  Back to what you were saying about still having fun playing tennis.  We've seen many athletes as they get older, they have fun but they have a deeper appreciation for the game, for the life of a pro athlete.  Is that your case?  Do you have that, as well?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  For sure.  There's definitely a deeper understanding.  There's more appreciation.  You just grow to love what you do more.  Then you get to a point where you don't want to let go, like me.  I don't want to let go.  I won't let go.  That's why I'm still here (laughter).
THE MODERATOR:  Question in French.

Q.  Were you surprised or not that Caroline made it so difficult for you today?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I'm not surprised because she has been the No.1 player in the past.  It was very tough because she played very well.  Also she is very strong mentally.  This is why I'm very happy that I was able to win that match.

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