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October 20, 2014

Serena Williams


S. WILLIAMS/A. Ivanovic
6‑4, 6‑4

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  You came into the match having had some injury troubles.  Did you have any trepidation, any worries coming in here that you would be able to perform at your best?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Good word.  I hardly hear that, even though you guys are writers.
No, I didn't have any fear at all.  I felt pretty good.  I really felt like I don't really have anything to lose at this point.  I just started practicing on Monday, so I feel like I just got to do what I got to do and do the best that I can.
I really can't do anymore, so that was just all I could do.

Q.  How did you feel out there on the knee and everything else?
SERENA WILLIAMS:¬† It felt okay.¬† I felt the knee a little bit, but compared to what it was in Beijing, it feels so much better.¬† I'm getting better, which is great.¬† Just have to keep doing my program so by the end of the week, hopefully ‑ if I'm here ‑ I'll still be getting better.

Q.  Is it hard to summon that sort of intensity for the first set of a tournament?  It got ratcheted up pretty quickly from both of you.
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah, well, playing against Ana, she's incredibly intense and I'm incredibly intense.  You know, she's a really good player and plays really fast and strong and hard and she just does everything so well.
So you got to get serious from the first point or she can win really fast.

Q.  Ana said that one of the keys to the match was the serve.  Yours was a lot better than hers.  What are your comments on that?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Well, I think I was able to serve a little better than I had in the past couple of weeks, so that was really good news for me.  You know, past week I worked really hard on my serve.
But, again, I worked hard on my serve all year, especially at Wimbledon, and it really didn't do well.
So I don't put any pressure on it anymore.

Q.  The first matches can always be a little tricky.  Just curious, what were you most pleased with about your game today?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I was pleased with my serve.  Ana is a very aggressive returner, and I went really hard at my second serve.  Didn't push them.  Playing against her she'll hit winner, so I had to go for a lot.
I hit a few double faults in the first few games, but after that I was pretty clean ‑ even though I was hitting some pretty aggressive second serves.

Q.  Can you remember the first time you decided to do the splits on the court?
SERENA WILLIAMS:¬† Hmm.¬† Well, I'm going to say‑ I don't know if this is true‑ I'm going to say Toronto in like, I don't know, 2000, I don't know, 7‑sh, 9.

Q.  Did you just randomly bust it out during the match?
SERENA WILLIAMS:¬† No.¬† It was the first time.¬† I was running for a forehand.¬† I remember this very well.¬† It was like even a set point, I think.¬† I managed to hit a winner up the line mid‑split, and it became legendary after that.

Q.  Caroline was watching ringside tonight.  Will you be coming for her match tomorrow, and how do you see her chances against Maria?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah, I didn't know she was playing Maria tomorrow.  Gosh, I definitely will be supporting and watching and doing everything I can, because we're really good friends.
So, yeah, I'm really ‑‑ yeah, I'll see.¬† I hadn't thought about tomorrow.¬† I live for the minute.¬† Literally I just try to get through each minute and not think too far in advance.

Q.  Going back to the match with Ana, your serve was obviously pivotal.  There were one or two moments were it was pretty delicately poised.  Do you put that down to your experience in this tournament?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Can you elaborate?  What do you mean delicately poised?

Q.  There were one or two moments where Ana was more in the match, I suppose, and it seemed like your experience was showing through.
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Well, yeah, I just try to remain calm, believe it or not, in my matches.  I have this intensity when I win a point or during the point, but in between I really try remain calm.  That way I can kind of think things through as opposed to being overly emotional as I have been in the past.

Q.  Obviously opening night; big ceremony.  How did you enjoy the crowd and the lights and everything and the noise that the crowd was making throughout the match?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I thought it was phenomenal.  My favorite was the fire.  No, maybe the fireworks.  I loved them both.  I thought it was great.
I feel like the WTA every year does something so special and unique.  They did it again just by making this a great experience.

Q.  Back to the splits.  You've played against Kim Clijsters who used to do that a lot.  Is that something you worked at in practice or for flexibility, or is it something that came out of nowhere?  You did it a few times today especially.
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah, I don't try to do it.  I never do it in practice.  I never run that hard in practice.  I save it for a match.  I do work on my flexibility, but not for tennis.  Because I dance.  It's not necessarily for that.  I guess it comes in handy.  Like knock two birds out with one stone.

Q.  When you walk onto the court and you've got the lights flashing and the fireworks, a dark arena, do you have to watch the way you're walking so you don't get lost or trip?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  No.  No.  I am old, if that's what hinting at, but I'm not that old.  (Laughter.)

Q.  Serena, you were joking on court that you're going hoarse because you shouted so many, C'mons.

Q.  Was that like an instinctual primal thing, or were you doing it more to get yourself into the match and intense?  Was it like a reflex intensional?
SERENA WILLIAMS:¬† It's definitely all reflex.¬† I never do it on purpose.¬† She was playing so well at one point. ¬†I was up 4‑1 in the first set and cruising, and she does what she does best.¬† She started playing really, really good tennis.
I felt like my energy got a little low, and then I just tried to do everything I can to bring my energy level up or just to fight, fight.
Because if I'm not playing well, I have to rely on other things.  So then I think at that point, that's when the match really turned and got super intense.

Q.  You had played Ana many times this year, but your next two opponents you haven't played this year.  Have you seen much of them, and how will you prepare for these matches?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah, I really don't like to watch the matches so much.  I think that's the job that my coach does.  So we usually have a talk.
I'm not blind, so I kind of know their games a little bit.  But for me, I just try to just play my game more than anything, and hopefully that works.

Q.  Does it still feel like you're a defending champion even though it's in a completely different city?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah, I guess.  I mean, well, it is definitely a different feeling for sure.  But when they keep saying defending champion, it kind of makes you feel that way.
Yeah, you're right.  It doesn't really, really feel like you're a defending champion.

Q.  Related to that, I think that's 16 straight wins at WTA Finals.  Are you aware of those streaks?  Do they matter or do they just happen?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  No, they just happen.  I'm aware of them because you guys make sure that I'm aware of them.
So I just found out last time that I was 15 matches and I was like, Oh, boy, not another streak.
So now I'm 16 and, Gosh, here we go again.  We'll see how it goes.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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