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August 26, 2014

Serena Williams


S. WILLIAMS/T. Townsend
6-3, 6-1
An interview with:

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Was it easier than you thought?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, not at all. I think it was an interesting match. I thought she played really well. She started out super strong. She did a good job.

Q. It was getting tight in the first game. Did it throw you off a little bit?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, it didn't throw me off. I just was getting, you know, first match, last match of the day, just getting myself in there.

Q. You watched Taylor play before, but playing against her, what are your impressions of her?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think Taylor is a really great player. I believe she does everything well. She's one of the few players that can come to the net and volley, as well as she has unbelievable hand speed with her racquet. She's really unbelievable.

Q. She shared you did a little texting with each other last time you were together, you talked about nails and hair.
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, her nails are beautiful today. I loved it. Her hair is always great. Yeah, we're really close. I mean, like I said on the court, I really love her. She's such a great girl. It's good to see her doing so well.

Q. Will you remain close?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, of course. You know, I always support her. I'm a big fan of hers. I feel like she has such amazing potential, so it will be good.

Q. You talked about how it might be hard to be a mentor while you're competing. What makes it different with Taylor?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, Taylor is easy to talk to and she's so open and she's so honest and she's so raw. She's just easy. When people are like that, it's just so easy to talk to. And you want to help them 'cause you really want to see them do well.

Q. What are your thoughts on your next opponent, Vania King, the style of her game versus yours?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm not sure if I played her before, but I've always liked her game. She gets a lot of balls back. She likes to hit lots of rallies. She's another American. So it's a shame that Americans have to keep playing each other. But, hey, at least an American can go to the third round.

Q. How much harder on your body would it be over time if you had to play five sets?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I have never thought about that. I don't know. I really don't know. I can't answer that fairly I don't think.

Q. Do you think it's funny that the guys play five and women play three? Would you want it to be equal?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, it's definitely not funny. We actually offered to play five sets many times. They don't want the women to play five sets. They prefer we play three sets. We've given that offer many, many, many occasions, but it's not what the tournaments in general desire.

Q. Do you talk to the WTA or the tournaments themselves?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm on the Player Council for a hundred years. We've had this discussion. Yeah, we women are strong, ready, willing and able. All the players have agreed to it but it's not what they want right at this time.

Q. If you were in charge of the whole sport and could change any rule about play, enact a new rule, what one thing would you like to do?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I think I love tennis the way it is. I think it's a great game. As for changing the rules, yeah, I don't know. It would be something more technical. Nothing that I can think of in terms of tennis play.

Q. What is so special about playing here in New York as opposed to playing any of the other tournaments or slams?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, playing in New York is great because I'm American, it's the only Grand Slam in the USA, so it's always good. When you're young, you always dream of winning the Open. It's a good feeling.

Q. One of the things Taylor was saying, the great thing about playing against you is she would like to play till she's 30 years old. What does it take to stand the test of time?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I think you just have to have a real love for the sport. That's the only reason I'm still here. I enjoy my job. It's fabulous. I get to travel the world, get to do what I really love to do. I think that's what everyone ultimately dreams of.

Q. Could you expand on how you felt you played tonight.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I think my game was good for tonight. There's always a little nerves going into the first round, especially as a defending champion. So I feel like I served well. I served the way I wanted to serve. Hopefully I can just build from this. I think in the early rounds, if I can get through them this year in this Grand Slam, I just want to continue to build on that.

Q. Given the setbacks in the previous Grand Slams, have you changed your preparation at all?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I've decided I'm not going to overthink it. I think I've overthought every Grand Slam so far this year. It didn't really work out great for me. So worst-case scenario, I'm just going to stay positive and do the best I can. That's all I can do.

Q. Taylor told a story about being here seven years ago and watching you and your sister play. How does that make you feel? What does that say about your longevity?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, that's kind of awesome. When you're so young, you get to see people, then you play on the tour with them, you're competing at the same level as well as them, it's really just those, if anything, a desire for her to be 10 years old, and then all of a sudden to be one of the elite few that actually can make it in a Grand Slam. If anything, I think it speaks more to her.

Q. Would you like to see more tournaments come back to New York?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think there was always just this.

Q. Virginia Slims used to be here.
SERENA WILLIAMS: That's even before my time (smiling).
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