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May 22, 2015

Serena Williams


THE MODERATOR: Questions in English, please.

Q. Just tell us how you're feeling and what's been going on with your recovery from Rome.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm feeling better today. I'm just feeling more physically a lot better. Had a tougher time to get ready than I thought, but I have been doing a lot of cardio and getting myself ready in that aspect. Then I was able to play a little better today in practice. So I felt like, Oh, it's better finally.

Q. How worrisome is that? Obviously the wrist is something that's pretty vital to the process here. How worried are you about it?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, elbow but it's the same. I was worried about it, but lately I have been really getting some really good treatment that has been able to alleviate it and make the symptoms go down substantially. So I feel a lot better going forward in the tournament and just getting through it.

Q. Is it still painful? Do you feel pain in it when you're hitting?
SERENA WILLIAMS: For sure a little bit, but it's much, much better. The good thing is every day it's getting better. I'm just starting to serve harder, so I'm like, Yes.

Q. You were saying in Rome that it was important for you to look towards Paris and make sure that you had the rest compared to last year. You felt a little bit tired.

Q. Talk us through that. Do you feel rested at this point? Do you feel that was the right decision in Rome?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think it was definitely the right decision. Last year, you know, I almost didn't play Rome. I was like, Oh, I probably shouldn't play. Ended up playing and ended up winning. Came to Paris and I couldn't even really practice until like Friday-ish. That was really tough. I don't take anything away from losing. I think I played -- I didn't play great. My opponent played amazing. But, yeah, it's always good to have a little more practice time before the Grand Slam. Like in Australia I always get a good week; the US Open I always get a really good week; Wimbledon is always a good week to start. That's something that I really needed to have here.

Q. Aside from the elbow, I mean, energy-wise how are you feeling while you have been in Europe? Has it been difficult to kind of get up for the practices and matches, or have you been okay? It's just the elbow?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I have been okay energy-wise. The minute I step on the court, and especially during a match, I just become a different person. I just feel -- and I always say this -- I always feel really special that I'm out there and people are out there to watch me and my opponent play. It's a really almost humbling experience for me. I'm always super up for that. In practice as well I'm such a perfectionist that I feel like I even often stay out longer after or try to do more. I try to just make sure I do everything right.

Q. A bunch of the guys were saying that the courts are playing exceptionally slow or a lot slower than the conditions you have had in the other tournaments in the buildup. Do you get that sense?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I thought they were playing fast, so maybe -- I'm the worst with that. I don't know. Slow is good for me, actually. So I hope so.

Q. I'm writing a story about travel and tennis. Can you think of stories that you have had, travel stories, something that might be humorous or just a nightmare that you went through?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I traveled from Moscow to I think Chicago right after I had food poisoning, so I was on the plane for like a 13-hour flight. I don't think I have ever been more sick. That was after a tournament in Moscow. Of course that was back in the 1800s, but all the same, I will never forget that. I was so young and I was just so sick. It was just a disaster. I learned you probably shouldn't eat chili in Moscow. You know, you live and you learn.

Q. Were you in the bathroom quite a bit on that flight?
SERENA WILLIAMS: The whole flight. It was just a disaster. It was a disaster.

Q. A lot of the questions that Rafa Nadal has faced here is about his form and his "fallen form" in a sense, but how have you, who has had so much success in your career when you have had dips in form that you haven't necessarily wanted. How have you faced that adversity, or does it give you more motivation if you're not doing well to come and try to prove everyone wrong, in a sense?
SERENA WILLIAMS: For me, it definitely is an opportunity to prove everyone wrong. For every reason I like to do that. And also, at the same time, it takes a ton of pressure off you because it's like, Oh, we might think this person will win and you are kind of in the background more than you would normally be. So every match you win it's like, Oh, okay, they are still in it. It's often a good place to be at. You don't have pressure on you. The media isn't putting pressure on you and you're not really putting too much pressure on yourself, sp it's a good position to be in.

Q. Does it get annoying in a sense, those same questions over and over again?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, always. It always definitely does, but it comes with the territory. You know, you have to be ready to answer those. Yeah.

Q. Maria was talking today about how she's proud of herself, of her transformation on clay, and how it was a weakness and now it's a strength. Do you have something in your career that you're particularly proud of, a weakness that you have managed to turn around?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah. I don't know. I mean, just my whole career just being more consistent, you know, has been really good. You know, I have been up and down a lot in my career. Yeah, I think the past few years I have been really consistent. I think since 2011 when I first started back I have been like doing the best that I can. That is something I actually have never done in my career. That's a good start for me.

Q. Rafa is going for No. 10. What would be a cooler number, 10 or 20?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Wow. Both. I can live with both.

Q. What do you think about 10, just as a concept, at one tournament?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It's amazing. I mean, in sport, it's never been done before. I mean, I think Martina Navratilova did 9 at Wimbledon, which is amazing. And then now he has opportunity to do 10 at Roland Garros; nonetheless, just makes it that much more difficult. Honestly, I feel like he can do it. If he doesn't do it this year, he can do it next year. He's young enough to have an opportunity to get to that number, and it's just -- I think tennis and for sport in general, it's iconic. I don't know if it can be done again.

Q. You just said something that struck me, and that was Rafa being young enough to reach that number.
SERENA WILLIAMS: He's in his 20s still, right?

Q. Yeah. Is that something when you look in a mirror do you feel the same way, that whatever numbers are out there that you may desire, do you look and say, I can still reach that number?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Do you know what's good about tennis? Unlike basketball and the football, you have four times a year to get to the Grand Slams to try and win one. You have four chances. That gives us a little bit more opportunity to try to get there, even though the competition every year is harder and harder and harder. But, yeah, with that, I feel like there is still plenty of time. Honestly, if I get to 20, that would be great. If I get past that, that would be great. I think 19 is pretty awesome, too. You know, I never thought I would be at 19. I never thought I would make it this far. Every day I feel like I'm living a dream. I don't want to wake up from it because it's been really good. So, yeah.

Q. It's been a while since anyone has defended a title here on the women's side, since Justine did it like seven years ago. Why do you think that is? Is it tougher to defend the title here than other slams?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I don't know. I think Francesca, when she got to the finals. Maria won; she was in the finals. I think for three years in a row she was in the finals. She's come pretty close. She has an opportunity this year to do it, too. You know, it's just a matter of time. Someone's going to do it sooner or later.
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