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June 29, 2015

Serena Williams


S. WILLIAMS/M. Gasparyan
6‑4, 6‑1

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  You told us before the match that it's also tough for you to play someone you don't know.  What made it difficult for you in the beginning with her game?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Well, I think she played really well.  She also had a few matches under her belt, so she was really ready for the grass.  Also she got off to a really fast start.
She was playing really well.

Q.  Last time you played here was a really tough time for you, the way things ended.  How do you look back on last year and think about all that's happened in your tennis career in that one year since?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah, I've had such an amazing year, I ended up winning the Open, the Championships, the Australian and France.  I couldn't have dreamt of a better 12 months.  So it's been really great.  Yeah, I'm just excited about that and really focusing on that.
I always focus on the moment.  You know, I don't live too far in the future, and I don't live in the past, I just live in the present.

Q.  Do you prefer a tough start like that or would you prefer it to be everything easy at the beginning?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I would be lying if I said I want a hard match.  But I think it's good for me.  At the end of the day, I think it's definitely good for me.  But no one really wants to be in any sort of difficult match.

Q.  Serena, you like to live in the moment.  As you know, the draw sets up that you could end up meeting Venus in the fourth round here.  How would you describe what her endurance and her high level of continued play has meant to you?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah, I mean, I didn't know that.  Okay, so, yeah.
Uhm, well, she's been really tough.  Last time we played, she actually beat me.  That's not going to be an easy match.
You know what, I'm going to just focus on right now.  You got me (smiling).

Q.  What was it about her game that caught you early out today?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I think she was just hitting a lot of winners.  When the first set was over, she actually hit more winners than I did.  Usually I'm really quick and I get to those shots.  They were just so cleanly hit that I wasn't able to get to them as fast as I wanted to.
You know, they were just really good shots.  There was nothing I could do about them.

Q.  Were you happy to be scheduled away from Centre Court for the first match?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I don't really think about it.  I just wanted to get that under my belt.  I think for me playing in the first round has always been super nervous for me.
Yeah, it's kind of a relief not to have to be on Centre for your first match, but I would have been okay, I guess.

Q.  With your code violation, was that a case of nerves coming out or frustration?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah, I was really nervous (laughter).

Q.  Each day thousands of people queue for tickets here.  Pretty unique compared to the rest of the Grand Slams.  What do you think that says about Wimbledon, that these people stand for hours, sometimes days, to come watch the show courts?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I always say Wimbledon is a really unique experience.  It's like no other tournament, with the rules, with everything that they have.  It's just a wonderful experience.
I think as a player, a spectator, it's one of the Grand Slams you really want to attend and be a part of.
That also being a tradition, lining up, being able to get tickets, is really unique.  It's a wonderful experience.
I think it's pretty cool.

Q.  Would you be good at queuing?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I would be.  I would be, yeah.

Q.  I know you always say you play match by match.  There's a lot at stake actually at this tournament.  What is the trick for you not to keep that in your mind?  It's a human emotion to kind of think about it.
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Well, honestly I don't think about it.  But every time I come into press, you guys talk about it.  So naturally it's definitely getting more on my mind than I want it to be, than what it has been.
So, you know, it's definitely historic, I guess.  But it's also six matches away.  It's definitely not guaranteed.  I'm just going to try to enjoy holding three right now, and enjoy that moment.

Q.  So I should stop asking?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Hint, hint (smiling).

Q.  You're back on Wednesday, should be 34, 35 degrees.  That's going to be very testing for you, isn't it?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah, it is going to be very hot.  But I don't think I've ever played in 34, 35 here.  Maybe, I don't think so.
But I do in other countries.  I just was training in Florida.  It was like 42 degrees.  I mean, this will be okay.

Q.  Your opponent today sort of had an unusual habit, I wondered if you noticed it or whether it bothered you.  She tended to scream after her shot.  She would hit the shot and then there was a delay, then she would screech.  Did you notice that?  Did it bother you at all?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I didn't notice that, thank God.  So, no, I didn't.

Q.  When you were asked about the queue, you mentioned all the rules here at this tournament.  What is your take on the all‑white rule for players?  Do you think it's too restrictive?  Do you like it?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  That's another thing that I think makes Wimbledon really unique, they have a rule about your attire.  The Open, you can imagine them in New York them saying, You can't wear this.  It would be kind of weird.
It works well here.  It's part of tradition.  As a club member, when you come here to play, you have to wear white.  They want everyone else to, too.
I think it's unique.  I think it's beautiful to see white against the grass.  I think it makes for great photos.

Q.  Could I ask, please, your thoughts on the speed at which you were given that code violation.  You weren't cut much slack out there, were you?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I guess not.  I mean, you know, I know the rules.

Q.  You're content you broke them, so you accept the code violation?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  You know, I don't know.

Q.  Is there any way to take advantage of an opponent knowing that they're young and inexperienced, it's their first match here in the main draw?  Anything strategically that you can sort of take advantage of, make her any more nervous?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Well, when I'm out there, I don't necessarily think, How can I make this person more nervous or do I have an advantage?  If anything, I kind of feel like they could have an advantage because they have nothing to lose.  When you're young, you really have nothing to lose.  You just kind of go out there and start swinging.
That's kind of how she played.  She did a wonderful job.  So I just felt like it was a real well‑contested match.

Q.  Obviously a very dramatic moment for you last year on that court in the doubles.  Did that kind of feature in your mind at all in the buildup to this game?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Not at all.  I thought about my third‑round match.  I forget that I played Cornet here last year.  But, yeah, the other...

Q.  In 1967, Billie Jean King claimed a Triple Crown here at the championships.  Have you ever thought of going for that here at Wimbledon?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah.  I have a Triple Crown here, but just not in the same year.  Yeah, I would have went for it in my teens.  But I'm vintage right now, so I don't think I can do a Triple Crown.

Q.  Who would be your ideal male partner for that?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Uhm, maybe Stan.

Q.  15 years ago you joined with many others who were calling for the removal of the Confederate flag.  You chose not to play at a tournament at that time.  You obviously know Charleston well.  What were your thoughts when you heard the news of what happened?  What are your thoughts about the removal of that flag?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Well, I wouldn't go to Charleston until the flag was removed.  Once it was, I went there, and only after the Confederate flag was removed.
Obviously what happened in Charleston is a tragedy yet again to our country, the United States.  You know, it's really unspeakable of how sad it is and how much of a toll it can have.
But you just have to continue to have faith, continue to believe, continue to be positive, continue to help people to the best of your ability.
That's what they were doing, they were just trying to help a young man that needed help.  Hopefully everyone can learn from them and continue to help no matter, just continue to have good faith.

Q.  You were proud of how the community reacted after the tragedy?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah, everyone kind of was so positive and a lot of people went there.  Obviously Obama.  It was a very emotional time for many people of all races in the United States, and outside the United States.

Q.  You're used to playing in front of thousands of people.  The other day you walked on stage with Taylor Swift with so many people.  How do you compare the rush?  Were you nervous walking out in front of all these people?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah, I really was really nervous.  I didn't really want to do it.  Taylor was like, Oh, you have to come out.  All the other girls were like, Oh, you have to do it.
I was hoping I didn't break my neck, just disappear in the crowd.

Q.  Do you remember what it was like at the end of 2002 when you had three Grand Slams and you were going for fourth?  Was it you were thinking about it a lot or...
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I remember I almost lost in the first round.  I remember I had a very intense final against Venus.  Yeah, I don't remember much in between.  Maybe I had a tough semi, I think against Kim.
I don't remember mentally where I was at this moment, whether I was thinking about getting the Serena Slam.  I don't know, we'll see.

Q.  Is there anything like that journey underground from Court1 in tennis without the public around, the thoughts you have on your way to that court?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yes, there's definitely nothing like that.  It's the only experience that we have in tennis like that.
It's nice, because you can stay in your zone.  You don't have to worry about anything.

Q.  Coming back to Taylor Swift, is it something you would consider doing after tennis?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yes.  But the problem is I don't have a voice, so I don't have a choice.

Q.  You can train.
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah, I know.  Just missing the major part of it.

Q.  A moment ago you were talking about when you accomplished the Serena Slam.  How would you compare yourself as a player physically and mentally today with the player who won that Serena Slam?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah, I have to think about that.  Obviously, that was over a decade ago, you know.
I think I was a good player back then.  I was really aggressive.  Obviously I was doing something right because there were great players on the tour like Davenport, Clijsters, Venus.  There were so many great players, so obviously I had to be consistent.
Yeah, that's pretty much all I remember about that.

Q.  Today, do you consider yourself a superior player to the one who did that?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I'm just a player doing the best I can, being the best I can.  Whether I'm superior or not, I'm just here to play tennis and win as many matches as I can.

Q.  How has Patrick made you a better player?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Well, he really is able to help me focus before the match.  Just in general, I always know everything that I need to know going out there, pretty much making tennis a real intense part, yeah.

Q.  Why pick Stan as your mixed doubles partner?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Because we're really good friends.  He won the French Open.  We both wear Audemars.  I don't know.  I've known him for years.  We're just cool.

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