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January 20, 2015

Serena Williams


S. WILLIAMS/A. Van Uytvanck
6-0, 6-4
An interview with:

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. What did you make of her game, her serve, her potential?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I thought she played really well. She has a good serve and a good first stroke, which is really what everyone's doing, a lot of the younger players are doing now. So I thought she did that really well.

Q. How did you feel about your game?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I felt okay. As always, I had the jitters going out in the first match of a Grand Slam. So, yeah, it's never super easy to be the one that everyone wants to beat. So I always have to be a little bit above. But, yeah, I felt okay. I definitely think I can improve a tremendous amount.

Q. The jitters, you talk about being nervous before the first round. You win the first set 6-Love. How does that play into it?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I just focus on holding serve in general, and I focus on breaking. So I don't focus on necessarily my nerves. I just think, Okay, I want to hold serve and I want to break. That's all I do. That kind of helps me to get over it.

Q. Do the jitters get more as there's more pressure being No. 1 or less because you've had so much experience?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I think overall it stays the same. But I just am more open to talking about it. Before I was very quiet about it. But even today I told Patrick, I'm a little nervous. He's like, It's okay. Just make sure you keep your feet moving. I'm more open about it now.

Q. Can you compare the nervousness you feel in the first round of a Grand Slam versus a final?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, usually when you get to a final, you want to win. I just want to do the best I can. Yeah, I think it's different because at least when you're in a final, you have a little momentum. When you're in a first round, you don't have momentum. Usually the nerves aren't as bad in general for me in a final. There's been finals where I've been really, really tight.

Q. Can you think of one or two where you were really tight?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah. I was really, really tight at Wimbledon 2004. I was the most tight last year at US Open. But I think it was because I was going for 18. I had never been that tight in a match, period, so...

Q. You talked about concentrating on breaking and holding, moving your feet. Anything else you do in terms of calming yourself down? Breathing, meditation, anything else you do?
SERENA WILLIAMS: There's a lot of things I do. A lot of mental things that I do. A lot of little tricks that I have in my mind that I just roll around for years and years, always try to stick to 'em. I notice the more I do 'em, the better I play. Things that help keep me focused.

Q. You've been well-known to have a lot of off-court activities in your career. Do you think all of that has helped you with your success in tennis or is that a whole other part of your life?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It's definitely a different part of my life. I've always been different and I've always liked to plan for my future. I've always enjoyed different things. Even when I was younger, I just did so many different things. Inevitably it helps me appreciate what I love to do most, which is play tennis.

Q. Your outfit today was pretty awesome.

Q. Did you want to do something more adventurous compared to when you were a teenager? Sort of a bold look?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I've been more focused on different parts of the body. Throughout the years we went for a more conservative look. This year we really wanted to bring out a powerful woman and a strong woman, like I said. You can be beautiful and powerful at the same time. So what we at Nike wanted to do was to focus on beautiful back. So kind of a lot of my outfits this year are really based on the beauty of and the shape of the back, which a lot of people don't think about. But it's so beautiful and powerful on ladies, so we just wanted to focus on that.

Q. Do you feel different when you wear something on court more revealing?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I definitely feel really different. First of all, I feel like I don't want to eat too much (smiling). One peanut and I'm going to break the dress, so I try not to eat that much. Other than that, yeah, it depends. Sometimes I'm a little nervous. Yeah, but this one I think is really good. It's really trendy and young, but at the same time it also has a great message and it's also really nice. It goes really well. So, yeah.

Q. Your next opponent is Zvonareva. What do you think about meeting her?
SERENA WILLIAMS: To meet such a high-ranked player in the second round is not going to be easy for me. It's going to be tough. She does so many things well. She's on the way back. I know she's been fighting and playing really hard. I have to be ready. I have to come out of the gates ready to go and be the best I can be.

Q. Caroline and Victoria Azarenka will play in the second round. How hard is it early in a slam to play someone who is such a top player, highly regarded player?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It's definitely not easy. She has to play Victoria. I have to play Zvonareva. We have both pretty intense second-round matches, players who have been to the finals and one who has won Grand Slams. It's going to be tricky for her and for me as well just to stay focused. I think we all come out even more focused when we're playing someone really good.

Q. After having ordered the coffee, what are you allowed to order on court and what would you like to order beyond espresso?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Depends. If I'm down, I might want to call my buddy Jack. Maybe that wouldn't be good (smiling). Yeah, no, I don't know what's allowed. A hamburger, French fries.

Q. Pizza?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I love eating pizza. I can't have it this fortnight. I don't want to break my dress (smiling).

Q. Do they ever instruct the players that these are the things you can do?
SERENA WILLIAMS: That's why I asked. I want to be completely honest. Is it okay? I have no idea. I think that might be a new rule in the rule book. We'll see.

Q. Already twice this evening you talked about the beauty of the game. Reflect on what you feel the beauty of tennis is? What players outside your family do you find particularly beautiful and graceful?
SERENA WILLIAMS: When you mention graceful, the first person that comes to mind is Roger Federer. Everything he does is really so smooth and so amazing. He's just been playing forever. It's just so wonderful to watch a player like that. So it can go either way with a lot of women, as well.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
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