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July 3, 2015

Serena Williams


6‑2, 4‑6, 7‑5

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  How would you describe how you were able to pull through this match?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Uhm, I don't know.  I honestly didn't think I, one, was going to win.  How I pulled through, I really don't know.  I just was like, listen, if I'm going to go lose, I'm going to lose trying to do the right things.

Q.  When you're down Love‑3, are you thinking about losing this match or are you thinking about losing the whole Grand Slam, the Serena Slam?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I'm not answering any more questions about the Grand Slam or the alleged Serena Slam.
No, I don't think that.  I'm actually more negative than one would think.  I'm like, Well, I guess I'm going to do this tomorrow.  I'm not really thinking about the match.  Next thing know, I'm playing a point.  Maybe it takes my mind off of things.

Q.  What are you going to do tomorrow?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I was thinking, Well, going to find a dance class, hang around to watch Venus play.  That was kind of going through my mind.

Q.  That indicates you were playing psychologically with yourself, but you thought you were going to lose at that point?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  It's not that I thought I was going to lose.  I just felt like she was playing really well.  She just did everything so well.  I wasn't able to keep up.  You know, sometimes you just don't have your day.  I thought maybe today just wasn't my day.
Obviously I keep fighting and I keep thinking, Well, just let me keep trying to do the best that I can.

Q.  How would you rate Heather's performance today in terms of a first‑week opponent at a Grand Slam?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah, I think she played unbelievable.  She really went out there with a mindset of winning this match.  That was how she went out there.
She did her best today.  I thought she played unbelievable.  I thought she served well.  I think she did everything great.  She kept her unforced errors really, really low.
Yeah, it was pretty impressive.

Q.  0‑3 to 3‑3, you were showing emotion.  Then it seemed you became quieter toward the end.  Any mindset change?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I was trying to get myself pumped up.  I felt like I was a little flat when I got down Love‑3.  Once I evened out, it was like, Okay, let me try to stay more calm.  Then I got down again, so...

Q.  That was the first time you played a British player in this country on Centre Court in any capacity.  What was it like for you playing, in a way, against the crowd?  Did that fuel you at all?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah, it was really intense today.  I don't think I've ever played with a crowd here like that.  They were really vocal, in between points, during points, so...
But, you know, at the end of the day they were rooting for their champion to do well.  You know, you can't blame them 'cause, like I said, if I were here, I would probably be rooting for Heather, too.  Being a local, you want to see your girl do really, really well.
That's kind of how you have to look at it.

Q.  You played in France once, people being a little too much versus you.  Did you have the same feeling today in a way?  Normally British are quieter.  I've been in Wimbledon 42 years in a row and I never saw a crowd like today.  I want to know if you expected it or you're a little bit surprised?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I agree, I never saw a crowd like this either.  I think they were really into it.  They really, I guess, wanted Heather.  Heather has a tremendous fan base here apparently.
Yeah, I've never seen them so vocal.  I've never heard boos here, so that was new for me.
Hey, I've been through it all.

Q.  Althea Gibson won here twice in the '50s.  Do you see yourself as her successor and could you reflect on her achievement?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I think Althea Gibson had a wonderful career, being the first African American, period, to win a Grand Slam.
I don't see myself as her successor because she went through so much.  I read a lot about her, how she had to sleep in cars because she wasn't allowed to stay in hotels.  I've never had to go through those trials or tribulations.
I think, if anything, she was able to pave the way for me to have an opportunity to play and do the best that I can.

Q.  It's never fun having to play Venus in a Grand Slam.  What is your ritual?  Do you separate?  Do you talk?  When you have to play each other, what is the ritual going to be for the next couple of days?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Well, you know, it's unfortunate that it's so soon.  But we're going to do the best that we can.  I mean, she's my sister today.  She's my sister next week.  She's my sister next year.  I think that's a little more important than a match.
We'll leave everything out on the court.  When it's done, you know, we'll go back to regular life.

Q.  The competitors at this level are all great.  Again today, it was another crisis match following the tough matches you had at Roland Garros.  Can you talk about these many matches recently where you had to dig down deep, why you think you got behind?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I think this is a match I would have lost last year or the year before.  Sometimes you play tough matches.  Sometimes you play a lot of tough matches.  Sometimes you don't.
I probably should have won the second set, and I didn't.  I kind of let that one get away from me.  I mean, she just started playing really well.  I can't take anything away from her.  She just started playing unbelievably.
But I was just really happy to get through that and pull through it.

Q.  It's a strong statement to say you would have lost it last year.  How are you better now?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Uhm, yeah, no, I just feel like mentally, if it's possible, so much stronger.  That's always my strength, is my mental.
The older I get, I think the tougher I get upstairs.  Yeah, I think every year, maybe this time next year I'll be probably even stronger.

Q.  You said after your match you thought Venus was in better form than you here.  You lost last time you played.  What do you think of Wimbledon having relegated her to the outer courts for her first three rounds, despite her being a five‑time champion here?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah, I think it will be a really good match.  Yeah, I don't know.  She's playing so well.  I'm practicing next to her every day and I'm in awe of how she's doing.  It's a little frustrating because I know I have to play her.  I just don't know how I'm going to do, to be honest.
Worst‑case scenario, I don't do well.  I'll just try to keep moving ahead.  Did better than last year.  So I guess it's a step in the right discussion.
I don't really have a comment on the other part.

Q.  You spoke about how mental toughness is so important to your success.  What is the difference in the emotional challenge when you play against Venus?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Nothing.  I mean, in the beginning it was hard because I was younger.  Playing Venus Williams was very difficult.
But now it's absolutely nothing.  Only thing for me is I'm playing the toughest player I've played in women's tennis.  That's never fun.

Q.  How did that change for you?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I don't know.  I just focus on, you know, winning.  I don't focus on anything else.  So, yeah.

Q.  You've had such great success with Patrick coaching you.  What was the key things that he said to you today after the match?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I tend to get down on myself when I don't win easy.  So he's like, You know, you should be happy.  You got through that.  I don't know how you got through that.
Yeah, he was really positive about that part.  Pretty much everyone in my camp was, so...

Q.  It's been 17 years since you first played Venus at a slam.  That's a longer distance than Navratilova and Evert.  You have the longest rivalry now.  Do you ever think how crazy your journey has been?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  No, I never really think about it, to be perfectly honest with you.  But that's pretty crazy.  It's ridiculous.

Q.  I guess one day four, five years from now, do you think you will reflect on it and appreciate how amazing your rivalry will be?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Absolutely.  I'll reflect on a lot of things in four or five years (smiling).

Q.  What do you think Venus' most important legacy is in the sport?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Oh, my gosh, where do I begin?  She is a pioneer for not only tennis, but for women's rights, as well.  Not only the Grand Slam titles she has, but she's done so much for this sport.  It's just been amazing for me to follow in her footsteps in terms of getting equal prize money here, just stepping up to the plate and being that person.  It's good for everyone's morale.

Q.  What's the toughest away match to play?  A French player in Roland Garros or Australia?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I don't know.  I'm going to have to go with playing Heather Watson in Great Britain, for sure.

Q.  Did the boos irritate you?  Is that too much?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  You know, I'm here.  I work really hard.  I come here to compete, like hundreds of other players here.  That's all I do.  I'm happy to be here.  I want to bring my skills to the greatest tournament on the planet.  I'm happy to do it.
So I just think people have to realize that that's what it's all about.  It's not about jeering.  I would never do that.

Q.  I guess you're looking forward to a more neutral or maybe 50/50 crowd when you play Venus?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I expect more people to be rooting for Venus.

Q.  Really?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I would be rooting for Venus, so...

Q.  How come?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I mean, she's been through so much.  She's had a wonderful story.  She's been so inspiring to me.  You know, she's just an incredible individual.  She's just so amazing.  She's been so inspiring to a lot of people with the same things that she goes through, too.

Q.  You and Venus haven't played here or any Grand Slam for six years.  How special will it be to even have this chance to walk out on court and play her on Monday?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  So that's a question you have to ask me in four or five years, I think (smiling).
Thank you.

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