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June 1, 2015
S. WILLIAMS/S. Stephens
1‑6, 7‑5, 6‑3
THE MODERATOR:¬† Questions in English.
Q.¬† It's just the second time in your career that you have come back from a set down three times in a row in a major.¬† What do you attribute that to, those slow starts, and also, what do you attribute the fight to come back in each of those three matches?
SERENA WILLIAMS:¬† In 1999?
Q.¬† Yes, it was.¬† Do you know which tournament?
SERENA WILLIAMS:¬† US Open.
Q.¬† Well done.
SERENA WILLIAMS:¬† Those are the days, the glory days.
I'm sorry, your question?
Q.¬† I'm curious what you think the slow starts are attributed to, and then also, you have been able to flip the switch really right when you've needed to in those matches.
SERENA WILLIAMS:¬† Yeah.¬† I think the first one I started out slow against ‑‑ in my second‑round match, and then I thought I started out pretty well against Victoria.¬† I just think that I didn't make my shots, but I was really off the gun.¬† I felt like I was going for it and I was really pumped up.¬† And unfortunately, I didn't do what I needed to do.
I felt like if I had made a shot here or made a shot there, then maybe the first set could have been different.
But today, I started out slow and I was really warmed and I was really ready.¬† I'm not sure why.¬† But, you know, it's not how you start; I guess it's how you finish.¬† That's kind of how I'm looking at it.
Obviously I'm disappointed.¬† Usually I'm winning in straight sets, and I'm business on and off the court.
Now I'm just winning, and that's a good thing, too.¬† There's always room for improvement.
Q.¬† One fight after the other.¬† Is it taking a lot out of you or are you gaining confidence?
SERENA WILLIAMS:¬† I'm definitely gaining confidence.¬† I have been practicing a lot.¬† So I probably won't practice as much as I have been because my matches have been so long.
But I think that kind of helps me out too because that match play really works.
Q.¬† Not only in Roland Garros you lose the first set and then you win at the end, also in Fed Cup versus Sara Errani, which is your next opponent.¬† What do you remember of that match?¬† Because you had two points from defeat and you came back at the end.¬† Is it going to happen again the same?
SERENA WILLIAMS:¬† You know, I just remember she played really well.¬† I'm glad I played that match, because now I kind of know what to expect.¬† She played different than what she had played me in the past.¬† And, you know, I also think playing Sloane today really prepared me for playing Sara Errani, because they both get a lot of balls back.
So, yeah, I'm going to be ready for that, and I look forward to it.¬† Yeah, it was really good for me to play that one.
Q.¬† In general terms, what changed in her game?¬† That was obviously a tough match but you have had some not so tough matches against her in the past also.
SERENA WILLIAMS:¬† Yeah, she just was ‑‑she played a little different and I saw it.¬† Once I was able to recognize it ‑‑ Mary Joe was with me out there.¬† So we kind of discussed it.¬† And I was like, Okay, I just need to do better.¬† Then I tried to do better and I kept trying, but it wasn't working, it wasn't working, wasn't working, and finally it started clicking.¬† That's what I needed.
Q.¬† Is the elbow playing at 100% or are you at a point where you're maintaining whatever ache it is?
SERENA WILLIAMS:¬† I'm maintaining.¬† Definitely a lot better, though.¬† I'm serving where I'm not worried if I can serve or not.¬† So I'm definitely serving a lot better, and that helps me out a lot, too.
It's not 100%, but it's definitely so much better than it was in Rome and the week before and earlier.
Q.¬† When you fell behind, how much do you think mentally is them feeling the pressure of trying to beat the No. 1 player and how much of it might be just you are really tough when it comes down to it?
SERENA WILLIAMS:¬† You know, I just ‑‑I don't know.¬† I just feel like ‑‑ you know, I think like today, Sloane played well.¬† I don't think she gave away anything.¬† I think I just had to play better.¬† And I know I can play better.¬† I know like, Okay, I need to maybe attack more, I need to use more spin or I need to change this up.
Fortunately enough, my father built a game where I could change.¬† I don't just have one option.¬† I have five, six, seven different options.
I have a really good foundation.¬† So I think that really is able to help me be able to grow and continue to hopefully be a good player.
Q.¬† More general question.¬† Obviously this year a little different because there will be three weeks between here and Wimbledon.¬† I'm just wondering, your general impressions of that, and what are positives and maybe some of the negatives of that?
SERENA WILLIAMS:¬† I can only see positives.¬† Well, I do see some negatives.¬† But the positive is that, you know, last time I won Roland Garros I was still in clay mode and by the time I got to grass, it was just all so fast.
Clearly I didn't have that problem back in 2002, or whatever year that was.¬† But I just feel like that's going to help out a lot for whoever does well here, whether it's me or someone else.¬† I feel like it's going to give us more time to adjust to the grass and adjust to different pace and different speed.
The only negative is that the summer is kind of crammed a little bit, so we have to play ‑‑after Wimbledon it's pretty much back to back to back to back.
Q.¬† You said in French at the end that experience helps you get through these kind of things, and also the crowd was part of it, as well.¬† How do you reflect on the change, your relationship with the crowd over the past decade or so?¬† It has been a bit edgy in the past.
SERENA WILLIAMS:¬† Yeah, I think it was a little edgy in the past.¬† I don't know.¬† I think when you see someone a lot, you kind of get used to their face and every year you get used to seeing them, maybe.¬† I don't know.
I kind of have this affair with Paris where I spend some time here.¬† I have a place here.¬† I love coming to Paris. ¬†So it's like this‑‑ you know, it's like my love of the city and I think people know that and they realize that.¬† Speaking the language kind of helps a little bit, too.
People can see that genuinely this is a place, whether I'm playing Roland Garros or not, I love to be here, and I just love ‑‑I love the city.
Q.¬† A question on Errani.¬† For the fourth time in a row she's in the quarterfinals at Roland Garros, and everybody says that she probably has the weakest serve on the top 100 girls.¬† How do you explain that that can happen?¬† I mean, what is your reaction to that?¬† What are her strengths?¬† Finals in 2012, semifinals 2013, quarterfinals here 2014, and quarterfinals now.
SERENA WILLIAMS:¬† Well, clearly she's doing something right.¬† She almost beat me.¬† So I'm not ‑‑ no tea, no shade from me at all.
I was two points from losing to her.¬† Whatever she's doing, she's doing it good, and I'm going to have to be ready because she gave me the match of my life last time.
It was a long match, so I'm like, That girl is good.¬† I'm ready, and she's improved.¬† If anything, as other players who have bigger serves can learn from her spirit and her fight and her determination.
So, you know, she's doing her thing.
Q.¬† Tomorrow night you'll be named the ITF champion from last year, not the first time and everything, but what do those kind of awards mean to you, those kind of honors?
SERENA WILLIAMS:¬† It's cool.¬† I'm excited for that.¬† You know, I felt like last year I was really struggling a lot until the summer, and then kind of picked up some momentum in the summer.
So I was excited to be nominated, because it's not an easy win to win.¬† I haven't won it that many times.¬† I was excited for that.
Q.¬† Two things.¬† Do you feel like you're living dangerously in this tournament so far?¬† And secondly, there was a point at 2‑3 in the second set, a long point, and what were you thinking before and after that point?¬† Things seemed to shift in that moment.
SERENA WILLIAMS:¬† Yeah, I feel like I'm living on the edge.¬† But, you know, I've got to get off the edge.¬† I don't like to take chances, but at the same time this is also helping me, I guess, in terms of knowing that, Oh, I know can I play a two‑hour match, I can do that.
And my next opponent is going to be a grind.¬† I'm not just going to blow her off the court.¬† It's going to be a grind.¬† Hopefully I can play another three matches.
But, yeah, I don't really like to live like this.¬† Believe me, I'm thinking, Okay, Serena, pull yourself together, what do you do?¬† Maybe you should, you know, go for a 5K before you walk out there, you've got to do something to get your energy up in the first couple of points, first couple of games, first sets.
So I'm definitely trying to figure that out and I'm not really happy about my performance.¬† It's okay to go two tough sets, but to go three sets back to back to back is on the verge of unprofessionalism for me.
So I'm definitely trying to gauge and see what I can do to fix that problem.
I don't remember.¬† Was that the point that was super, super, super long and I won it?¬† I think she had like a forehand out?¬† I thought that was like at 5‑4 or something.
I think it was 30‑All after that, too.¬† I remember thinking, I thought I was up 40‑15.¬† I think the umpire said 30‑All.¬† I was like, All right, Serena, pull it back together.¬† Ace.
Q.¬† What do you think about the changes the Olympics made regarding Fed Cup play, affecting players who have a hectic schedule as it is?
SERENA WILLIAMS:¬† We have gone through this on player council a million times, you know, having to play in order to qualify.
A lot of players disagree with it, I think.¬† Probably 100% of the players disagree with it.¬† So ‑‑yeah.¬† We just have to figure something out.¬† I'm not sure how, but, yeah, probably something should be changed.
Q.¬† All these long matches, do they get you battle tested or are you worried about running out of gas at this point?¬† What's the tradeoff there?
SERENA WILLIAMS:¬† I'm not worried about running out of gas.¬† You know, I'm 33.¬† I'm not going to play another 10 years, so I better not run out of gas now.¬† I'm not going to quit.
You know, it's why stop now?¬† I'm going to keep going as hard as I can until I'm out.¬† And, you know, if that means I have to go another nine sets, then so be it.¬† But nothing's going to make me run out of gas in terms of that.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports