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January 22, 2015

Serena Williams


S. WILLIAMS/V. Zvonareva
7-5, 6-0
An interview with:

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Things really clicked halfway through?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, things really clicked. I had no other option but for things to click. Yeah, I just had to start playing better.

Q. How important is luck of the draw for you, even as No. 1 seed? You can get somebody who hasn't done much in their career for the first few rounds and get somebody like her.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I mean, it depends. That's one thing about the Grand Slams. You have to be ready for anyone at any stage. Playing Vera is like, I had to get my mind like, Serena, this girl has been ranked as high as No. 2 in the world, she's been on the tour and she's a very quality player, she knows what to do. She knows how to win. I had to kind of snap into that.

Q. When you look at your sister at this point in her career, what do you see from her?
SERENA WILLIAMS: She is really motivating. She is playing so well, she's doing so good right now. Yeah, it's like makes me look behind my shoulders and like I have to play better and I want to do better. I always want to be able to stay ahead as much as I can. So I think that's been, for our whole careers, we've kind of motivated each other. We hopefully continue to do that.

Q. She also seems just really happy.

Q. And in a good place.
SERENA WILLIAMS: She's in a good place. She talks about how she feels and like, Wow, it was a good match today. She's like, Yeah, if I win it'll be great. If not, I'm not going to worry about it. I think that's a great attitude because it takes a lot of pressure off of you. She's done so much in her career. She doesn't have to win another match. The same thing for me. As long as we can kind of look at it that way, then we both will do really well.

Q. When she came in and things were pretty intense; wasn't easy to have success on the tour. She's gone through all these different phases. Talk about how she's grown from basically a girl to an incredibly mature woman.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, she came in as a new face, a black woman that was shaking up the world. She had all the pressure on her shoulders. I kind of came in behind her. You know, just snuck in there. There was no pressure on me at all. She dealt with it so amazing. She had a lot of confidence and she had so much class and still does throughout everything. You can see that her personality is pretty much the same. She's definitely grown but she's always been very mature and very regal.

Q. Was there a public moment in public when you were most proud of your sister?
SERENA WILLIAMS: So many things. I mean, her sticking up for equal rights in Dubai when they wouldn't let certain players play, her sticking up for equal prize money for the WTA in Wimbledon. So many different things that she's done for the tour that's made it a better place not just for me but for all the female players.

Q. What was the thinking behind pulling out of doubles this year?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think we were just here. I don't think we have to give a reason. I think Venus answered that already.

Q. Just affects on singles for both of you.

Q. Speaking of luck of the draw, what do you make of Victoria and Caroline having to play each other second round? You know both of them pretty well.
SERENA WILLIAMS: That is not good luck. Those girls are really sweet to me and I really like them both obviously. So it's definitely a tough draw, but I think no matter what, just got to go out there and play.

Q. I don't know if you saw any of the Nadal's match last night. He had 6-5 in the fifth.

Q. You didn't know about that?

Q. Smyczek let Rafa rehit a first serve after a fan shouted out. What do you think of those gestures, especially with what happened at the French Open with Henin and the hand and everything?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I didn't see that, so I can't comment on that. I was proud to see another American player do so well. I went to sleep at the start of the fifth set, and -- actually, the fourth. After Smyczek won the fourth I thought, Wow, this is crazy. I went to sleep. I'm a big Rafa fan, but obviously anyone that's American, especially on the men's side, I'm always proud of and always rooting for. So it was good to see both.

Q. How are you feeling generally? Energy levels and general health?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm feeling better every day. I think in the beginning of the tournament every player feels a little sluggish; at least I do. Now I'm feeling like I'm starting to hopefully feel better.

Q. Last night, I don't know if you saw this as well, Bouchard was asked to do a twirl. There was a bit of a reaction on social media about that saying it's sexist. What are your thoughts on that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. I twirl all the time in dance class. It's called a Chaines Spin. I've been working on it. I have to really work on my spotting. My coach tells me to whip my head around. As a dancer, we do lots of turns and have soft of hands.

Q. I guess the reaction has been you wouldn't ask a male athlete after a match to twirl. Do you think it's sexist for a commentator to ask her to twirl?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, a commentator asked me to twirl. I wouldn't ask Rafa or Roger to twirl. Whether it's sexist or not, I don't know. I don't know. I can't answer that.

Q. Were you bothered when you were asked to do it?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I didn't really want to twirl because I was just like, you know, I don't need all the extra attention. But, yeah, it was fine. I don't think and look that deep into it. Life is far too short to focus on that. We have so many other problems we want to deal with that we should focus on. Whether I twirl or not, it's not the end of the world. It's about being positive and just moving forward.

Q. In general though, you obviously do a lot of press and you've seen what Roger and Rafa get asked. Do you feel like the women get asked different categories of questions because they're women?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Contrary to that, I don't watch press conferences, so I don't know what the men get asked. I do know that I'm often asked about my age. Maybe Roger is too, I'm not sure. So I can't answer that fairly. Sorry.

Q. It's one thing to talk about sort of fashion dustups, but you're also a pretty serious person. You sent out a pretty serious or interesting tweet after the situation in Ferguson where I think you said it's shameful; what will it take. Long way from home, but could you reflect on what your thoughts were.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think a lot of Americans were affected by the decision. You have to look at both sides of the picture. I wasn't in that jury room. I wasn't in the area. But we just all come a long way. In retrospect, my shoes are Black History Month shoes, so I'm starting Black History Month a little bit earlier. It's been a great opportunity with Martin Luther King's birthday just passing and all the stuff that's going on with that over in the States as well. I'm really honored and proud to represent Black History Month by wearing my special Black History Month shoes that Nike made for me. And also just to support African Americans in the United States. I always try to have a voice of reason and be positive and try to look at both sides of everything. You know, things definitely, you know, may or may not be a good decision, but it's hard to say when you're not there and you're not experiencing it.

Q. When you use the phrase, What will it take? What are your thoughts on that? Do you think it's a long process?
SERENA WILLIAMS: What will it take? That's just the question. What will it take?

Q. A lot of news back home is on Deflate Gate with the Patriots.

Q. The Patriots supposedly deflated the football for their game, the AFC Championship, which is apparently easier to use.

Q. It's true.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Allegedly or for real?

Q. I think it's pretty close to for real.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, we at the Dolphins, we don't do that, so...

Q. What was reaction in Madrid when Medina Garrigues was fluffing the ball in your match?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I didn't realize it. I was just trying to play and get out of that match and get a win. At the end of the day, whether the ball was fluffy or slow or fast, I think really depended on what I was able to do and how I was able to play. I don't know about football. That's a totally different sport. I don't play it. I can throw the ball well. You can ask Peyton. I threw it really, really well. But I don't know anything about deflating or anything.

Q. How much does the ball affect your play?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Ask Caroline tonight when she comes in here. She's asking me, How are the court? I don't know. How are the balls? I don't know. She has to ask Aggie. She's like, I can't ask you. I grew up in Compton. This is amazing situations for me. The ball is great, you know. Wow. We used to hit with dead balls. What am I going to complain about?

Q. Patriots or Seahawks?
SERENA WILLIAMS: That's a tough one. I mean, I do love Tom Brady. I do love Russell Wilson. It's gonna be a great match to match. Flip a coin.

Q. Maria Sharapova said she loves her own outfit yesterday. She didn't say much about others. Just wondering, do you like her design for her outfit? I'm sure you love yours, but how about hers?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think it's great. I think it's kind of cool we're both wearing a little cutout in the back. It's amazing. It's cool. I think the whole -- Nike did a wonderful job making the bright colors. All the Nike athletes look unified. I really love that about it. Everyone looks great in their outfits. It's amazing. So I think it's the first time all Nike athletes can take one big picture together and all look really great.
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