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May 26, 2015

Serena Williams


S. WILLIAMS/A. Hlavackova
6-2, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions in English, please.

Q. Obviously you pulled out of Rome with your injuries. How are you feeling with your first match under your belt now?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I felt good. Defended my points, so I'm excited about that (laughter). That's always exciting. Yeah, I was really happy to get through that and see how my elbow was going to do. Not 100%, but I was able to serve okay, I didn't serve as many aces as I normally do. The good thing is it gets better every day. Another day off tomorrow and hopefully if I can win another round it would be better.

Q. Just talk us through getting hit by a ball on court. Are you okay? I mean, it ended up being a funny moment, obviously.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I'm allegedly a professional tennis player, you know, and I was thinking, I'm going to hit a backhand, I will hit a forehand, and I will run around and hit a backhand. No, no, no, run around and hit a forehand. Next thing I know, it hit me in the back. So I was, like, embarrassed, at the same time I thought it was really funny. It happens to the best of us. Maybe not, but to me.

Q. Maybe you could talk a little bit about what it's like coming back to Paris for you. I know New York is technically your home slam, but you also have a home here. You've got lots of French connections. What was the experience like coming back for you and playing in a slam in that way?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It's fun. You know, coming back here is great. I love playing here. It's almost homey, because I don't have to -- I know people, I know where to go, I recommend places, and all that other stuff. It's really relaxing to be able to come here and feel like you're semi-home, I feel like I'm kind of home, and you don't have to feel so stressed out. Like when you're on the road other times you really feel, Oh, I'm away. But here I kind of feel like it's my second home.

Q. Is this the tournament where you have to pay attention to the conditions each day the most in the sense that if it's going to be cold and damp the court is going to play very heavy compared to a hot and dry day it's going to play completely different or not?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I mean, I didn't know that. But okay. I'm not good at that stuff. I keep telling you guys, I don't pay attention to that. So that's good to know. I'm still learning. Every day I'm still learning. So today was slower?

Q. That was my question.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I felt today was slow.

Q. Can I ask you when you were growing up and beginning to think about becoming a professional tennis player, did you have someone who was a particular inspiration to you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, of course. I loved Monica Seles. I thought she was just super cool. I loved her grunt. I loved her fight. And I loved, you know, when -- I loved Zina Garrison, because she was the only black player -- there was Lori McNeil, too, who was doing well. It was just so fun to watch her go so far at Wimbledon that one year. It was so inspiring to me. Yeah, it was really fun to watch them.

Q. And you've become an inspiration, haven't you, to others? That transition from being someone who wanted to become a great player and then became a great player, and you've been through so much on and off the court.

Q. It's a big wheel that's turned for you.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I guess you can say so. I mean, it's gone full circle for me. Yeah, I guess I have become the person that people can look up to, but not on purpose. I just go out there and do the best I can. I'm myself, and people can learn from my mistakes and learn from what I do right, too. You know, I'm not someone that just is picture perfect, and I think that could be inspiring, as well.

Q. I should know this by now, but why don't you look at draws?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I get stressed out, and then if I figure out who I'm going to play in the first round, then I'm like, I focus my game too much without even trying. I'm like, Oh, her forehand is bigger or her backhand is bigger, and I will just hit every shot there. Next thing you know in round 5 or round 3 I'm like I practiced too much to cater to that one person. So I just -- I feel like for me I can play anyone as long as I'm focused on myself, and I just go for that.

Q. How do you handle stuff like the draw ceremony the other day when you have to go pull the names? Like last year when you were here and did the defending champion thing, how do you handle those situations?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't handle that well. I pulled the men's names, and I left after that. So I didn't see. You know, I have only done that once. I have handled it by losing every year at the French Open (laughter). That's how much I hate draws.

Q. I'm not sure if you're aware of New York Times article about Guillermo Vilas being No. 1 40 years ago but denied by the ATP because it wasn't on a weekly basis but just in different periods. Are you aware of the article?

Q. I will explain a bit more.

Q. Back in the '70s, the ATP used to publish the rankings 8 to 13 times a year, and during those gaps Guillermo Vilas was No. 1 for seven weeks.

Q. There were no rankings to prove that. It's been 40 years ago, but do you have any thoughts on that? How do you feel if it was you and...
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I believe that happened also with, in an Australian female, Yvonne Goolagong; is that correct? I mean, it's hard if you're No. 1 at that time and no one knows it, it really is annoying. So, yeah, fortunately enough, the ATP changed the system, I think. I can't speak for them at all. But I'm sure they have changed that system, but yeah, obviously that's happened before, too.

Q. Would you say there is one guy on tour who seems to be a fan of women's tennis, whether it be on social media or coming up to you or talking about matches congratulating you, is there someone that stands out among the guys?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I mean, obviously Andy Murray goes out of his way. He's so positive with women players. He doesn't play favorites. And then he's always watching women's tennis. He watches more than I do and makes me feel bad. I'm like, gosh. I think that's inspiring. And also, yeah, I just feel like he goes -- he really is pro-woman. He goes all out for Amélie Mauresmo. Hiring her I thought was really awesome. You have to say Andy Murray.

Q. It wasn't a great first round for the U.S. women. What do you attribute that to, some of the draws or just the way things go?
SERENA WILLIAMS: That's kind of the way things go sometimes. I was a casualty once.

Q. What do you think about your next opponent?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know about her. And if you could do me a favor, you don't have to tell me about her. Thank you.
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