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January 17, 2015
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. How have you found your Australian Open prep so far? Happy with it? Not happy with it?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It's okay. I'm not very happy with it, but I'm never really happy about my practice or preparation. So maybe that's a good sign. Yeah, I'm just still every day going out there, working really hard.
Q. Do you feel better now than you did a couple weeks ago?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I definitely feel better now than I did a couple weeks ago. But I still want to improve some things. I feel like I should be doing some things better. But every day I can see something coming through, so... There's a little light at the end of the tunnel.
Q. If you had to pick one name, would it be possible to pinpoint someone who is the fittest on tour?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, probably Caroline. She's so fit. Anyone that can run a marathon is automatically the fittest on tour.
Q. Do you think that translates onto the tennis court?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think it has for her, and it definitely will. Yeah, for sure.
Q. You were doing quite a few runs. Does that help you and your personal fitness on court?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I definitely think it helps a lot. I do a lot of sprints. I need to keep my speed up. I do distance to keep fit, keep my body, so...
Q. Is running something you hate or a necessary evil that you have to do?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I absolutely hate running, but I do it because I hate the way I look if I don't run (smiling).
Q. Is Sascha coming here?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No. I keep forgetting to tweet about it. He's away on injury reserve right now. He texts me almost every day. Like, I wish I were better. What are you doing? Who is there? I'm like, Gosh, leave me alone already. He sends me videos. Yeah, he's super bummed out. We all are, so...
Q. Did he hurt himself in practice?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, he just got injured. There's been a lot of stories on how he hurt himself. I'm not sure which one I should tell today. I jumped on his back and broke it (laughter).
Q. How much at all does that change your routine because he's such an entrenched part of your every day at a slam?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It definitely changes it a lot. I'm working with Jonathan now, forgot his last name. We started together in Florida so I could get used to him, kind of get used to each other. So that has been good.
Q. What do you know about your first opponent? Do you know her at all? Her name is Alison.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know who I play. I never look at the draw. I guess her name is Alison. I always try to keep really focused, yeah.
Q. She's Belgian.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Okay.
Q. What makes the first round of a Grand Slam tournament difficult for you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, on a first round, no one wants to lose. So I think a lot of the top players, that's when they're looked at the most. People are like, What are you doing? What are they doing? What's new? Especially at the Australian Open, it's the very first one of the year. Did they do anything different in the off-season? That's when the pressure is on, cameras are on, everyone is looking. For me, I get really nervous every single match, especially first-round matches, so...
Q. For Alison, it's the first main draw here at the Australian Open. What do you remember from your first main draw here?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It was my first main draw and my first Grand Slam, was Australia. I just remember I knew I wanted to win. I wanted to keep doing well. I had to play Venus in the second round. I remember that was a real bummer for me.
Q. Do you feel any different going into Melbourne this year than you did last year, both mentally and physically?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Last year? You guys know I have a terrible memory. After you reach a certain age, your memory banks get full of different things, so...
Q. Do you consider yourself confident and fit going into this one?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I remember last year I felt really good, was playing well. I was feeling amazing on the court. So, yeah, I remember that now. So, yeah, this year I feel a little off. But I feel off in every Grand Slam, so... Except for last year, that didn't work out for me, so maybe this is different.
Q. You talked about opponents doing something different in the off-season. Have you done anything different in your off-season preparing for this year?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Sometimes I try to add that volley aspect to my game, but it keeps slipping through my fingers every year, so... We'll see how it goes this year.
Q. We've seen Lindsay Davenport and Martina Navratilova, great women champions, now coaching. What is your point of view on that? Would you ever consider bringing in a coach like them?
SERENA WILLIAMS: The only thing I know is I never say never. I never thought I would play this long. So who knows. Anything is possible. Any and everything is possible. I'm a big fan of Martina and especially Lindsay. I think it would be really good to see them on the tour, bringing their expertise and their knowledge back to tennis.
Q. You mentioned Caroline. How has the camaraderie changed among the top players over the years? Do you think it's better now, more so than it was?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I definitely think people talk a little bit more now than back in the '90s. So, yeah, I remember Steffi and Martina, they never spoke. No, not Martina. Oh, my God, that is a false memory. I mean Monica. When you're young, you really idolize those people. I wanted to do what they did. I was like really quiet. I did my own thing. You noticed all the top players had like their own little thing that they did. I tried to just copy them and do what they did. I noticed a lot of the ladies now just kind of play their matches. It's like a big family now. We travel 10, 11 months out of the year together. So you just know everyone.
Q. Is that a good thing? Do you like that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I do because you get to know the ladies. If someone gets hurt, you hear about it and you feel for them. You want to reach out to them. Yeah, it's like a big family, I think.
Q. You already have five titles here, the most successful in the Open era. What is so special about this place and winning number six?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It would be really great. I've been going for number six for a number of years now. It would be really special for me. I would be really happy. I want it I think more than anyone else here. But that doesn't mean I'm going to get it, so I'll have to fight hard to get it.
Q. You played against Justine, Kim, so on. Now there is another Belgian. Do you know something special in tennis in Belgium?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, having great champions like Justine and Kim, obviously there's going to be a lot of players to follow. So, yeah, I'm sure. Yanina does well. There's a lot of Belgian players. If I lived there, I was a lady, I saw these wonderful women playing, I'd be like, Wow, I would like to play tennis, too. Be exciting for Belgian tennis.
Q. Any excitement in trying to reach Steffi's 22 slams?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, of course. But 22 is so far away from 18. When you're 18 years old, you look at someone that's 21, you think they're old. So it's a really big distance to get to 22. I can't think that far ahead. I just have to think about 2015 at the Australian Open in particular.
Q. You mentioned Jonathan. He's your hitting partner?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yes.
Q. How did you find him?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Through Patrick. He brought in the Team French. It helps because everyone is French now. I have to speak a lot of French.
Q. Do you know his last name?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I knew you were going to ask that. Gosh, why? You know, I do know his last name, but don't ask me it (laughter).
Q. Check back with you later.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Okay, thank you.
Q. The last name of your opponent, can you say it?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't look at the draw. Yeah, I don't look at the draw. I heard her name was Alison.
Q. The last name is Van Uytvanck?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I never knew anything. I never look at the draw, so...
Q. You played so many great matches here on Rod Laver. Describe what makes this court special, how impressive it is.
SERENA WILLIAMS: It's a wonderful place to be. It's a wonderful stadium. I think what makes it really amazing is the crowd is so enthused, so into the games. They really come here for the history of tennis. They love sport and love tennis. They love being here. That makes it also fun.
Q. Could it also be frightening to be on a court like that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It definitely can be very scary. It was for me on my first time. Standing out on Rod Laver, it was like, Wow, I'm here. Is this really happening? Definitely some special moments.
Q. What do you remember about the time you played Karsten Braasch, you and Venus?
SERENA WILLIAMS: To be honest, I completely forgot about it until someone reminded me a few years ago. That's basically my memory.
Q. You have no memory at all?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No.
Q. Can you tell us if you and Venus are going to play Fed Cup in Argentina after the Open?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Are you from Argentina?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yes, I will be there (smiling).
Q. Can we hear a little French from you.
SERENA WILLIAMS: What do you want me to say?
Q. Talk about the tournament in French, the verbs.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I speak French all day and I struggle all day. I'm just learning the word (in French) because I think it's fun.
Q. You need a break?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I need a break. Please speak English to me. My English is suffering.
Q. What's the best practical heat advice you've ever been given?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Stay out of it (laughter). Sorry, I lost it. I think that's a wrap. Thank you.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports