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June 3, 2015

Serena Williams


6‑1, 6‑3

THE MODERATOR:  Questions in English.

Q.  We were talking about how that last match against Sara Errani last month was such a tough one.  What was the difference for you today?  You really took it to her.
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I think the difference was being able to play that match.  I feel if I had not played that match I probably would still be out there fighting right now.  She changed her game against me, and I knew what to expect this time.
It was really good that I had an opportunity to play that match in Fed Cup.

Q.  Do you feel back to yourself now?  I mean, after the three previous matches dropping first set each time, not sort of feeling comfortable from the get go; today, 6‑1, first set, you looked a lot more comfortable out there.
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah, I felt really comfortable out there.  But then, you know, playing her I had to get out to a really fast start.  The tougher it gets, the harder I have to play.

Q.  We talk about how you're such a tough opponent to play in the second week of a major for anyone you face.  Do you feel that?  Do you feel a new gear for yourself once you get deep into a tournament that you're on lockdown and you're focused on winning the title?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah.  I feel like I'm a little bit ‑‑I try to get really focused on winning, and also I try not to get too ahead of myself, you know.
I'm focused, but at the same time I'm like, Okay, I still have to beat some good players.  It's never easy.  It never is.

Q.  What has she changed up or what did she change up at the Fed Cup and today?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Well, I don't think she changed much between those two matches, but I think that...

Q.  Or before Fed Cup.
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Well, she became a little more aggressive.  Her groundstrokes I feel like she's improved.  I felt like she overall improved her game, which is a good sign.
You don't want to kind of stay in the same place.  You want to be able to improve.  She's definitely done that.

Q.  Is this your fourth semifinal here now.  Fewer than the other Grand Slams.  Is that of some significance for you, getting this far in this tournament, considering how tough it's been?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah, definitely it's pretty awesome for me.  I haven't had a great clay court season, so pretty excited to have gotten this far.
Hopefully I can keep going.  Nothing's guaranteed, you know, but just at this point I'm just fighting to just stay in the tournament.

Q.  You have been like the player to beat for so long.  How do you handle that pressure when you've been the person to beat for more than like 10, 12 years now?  How do you handle that pressure?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah, it's not so easy.  Some days are better than others.  Some days I'm like, I feel it; some days the pressure gets to you.  It's kind of hard when you go to every single match and you're the favorite to win and it's bigger news when you lose than when you win.
So that is not really easy.  But, you know, one thing that I learned when I was really young is I had an opportunity to work with Billie Jean King.  I've said this a number of times, she said, Pressure is a privilege.  I'm in a position of privilege to be able to feel that pressure.

Q.  You'll be the favorite again in the semifinal against Bacsinszky, who you played in Indian Wells.  What are your memories of that match, and what do you expect from her coming up?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  She's a good player.  I think most of all about her is she's a major fighter.  You can have a match point, be up a set, and she's not going to give up.
You know, she's had a really good year.  It's not going to be an easy match at all for me.  So I have to come out ‑‑I need to come out strong again.  Most of all, I need to relax.  If I win, great.  If I lose, I want to be able to do the best that I can do.
I'm not putting too much pressure on myself.  I'm just here to ‑‑I'm surprised I'm still in the tournament, so this is really cool for me.

Q.  Earlier in the tournament you were talking about how you try not to look ahead in the draw, who you play next, etcetera.  At this point, are you aware of what else is happening in the tournament overall by people you're seeing in the locker room and that kind of thing?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah, by the quarterfinals I pretty much know what's happening, you know, what's going on, and probably a little bit before that.
Yeah, then I have fun.  I go back and look at the draw and see what happened and stuff.  Yeah, pretty aware now.

Q.  After Monday's match you said that you needed to get off the edge.  Did you feel off that today, back more in control?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I definitely felt more in control, and I felt I had to be again going up a player that plays well on this surface in particular.  I had only one option, and that was to kind of gain control of myself, my emotions, and my game.

Q.  Bacsinszky stepped away from tennis for a couple of years and went to hotel management school and wasn't sure tennis was for her anymore.  Was there ever a moment you thought about walking away from tennis?  Obviously it's been an intense part of your life.  Was there ever a moment where you came close to saying, No more?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I mean, there is times where you don't want to go practice, but I kind of always push kind of always push through that.  I have been unfortunate to have some bad injuries that kind of gave me breaks that I probably needed at the time, so fortunately enough I have been able to be okay with continuing to play tennis for 60, 70 years.  (Smiling.)

Q.  To that point, do you feel like those breaks, whether it be personal or when you've had those injuries or illnesses, do you feel like those have prolonged your career and made you hungry at 33 to still win these majors?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah.  It's interesting, I was thinking about that.  I definitely think it made me hungry, made me want to do well.
I was thinking I could have had 20‑some Grand Slam titles, but then maybe I wouldn't have because maybe I would have been tired and wouldn't have wanted to play.
You never really know.  But I feel like definitely having some time off, forced or not, has really helped me out.

Q.  Thoughts on the match going on right now, Nadal and Djokovic?  What do you expect?  It's 5‑All in the first.
SERENA WILLIAMS:  It's a battle.  I mean, it's hard to root against Nadal and it's hard to root against Novak.
Those guys you always want to see do well, so it's tough.

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