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July 9, 2015

Serena Williams


S. WILLIAMS/M. Sharapova
6‑2, 6‑4

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  How do you beat an elite player like that 17 straight times?  How would you describe that?  Also being one win away from a very special personal goal as well.
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Well, it's never easy to beat such a great player who's had such a wonderful career.  So, you know, I don't know.  Whenever you play someone that you know, has beaten you before, you really get really focused, I think.  That's what I do.
Whenever I know I have to play Maria, I know I have to be focused because she wasn't the best in the world for no reason.

Q.  You now play a player who has never been on this stage before, but who has played well against you.  What are your thoughts on the mental side of this matchup on Saturday?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah, well, it's definitely not an easy matchup.  She actually has a win against me.  We had a tough match the last time we played.  And she's given me problems in the past.
So this time I have to just, you know, go in it like have fun and do the best that I can, just try to stay positive and stay focused.

Q.  What do you remember, though, about when you were first on this stage and what you need to overcome that she might be going through now?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Uhm, well, she's been on the stage a little bit.  I mean, she's done well at the French Open a few times.  She's played really big there.
I don't think she's intimidated at all.  She's not that kind of person.  So she'll be fine.

Q.  When you're kind of starting off like that, you don't have a lot to lose when you're out there.  You've been in that position a million times before.  Is that almost dangerous when someone can come at you like that?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Uhm, no.  I mean, she has Wimbledon to lose.  I think we both have Wimbledon to lose, so I think that's something to lose.
And, yeah, she's beaten me before, so she knows how to win.  She knows what to do.
It's a different situation.  So I think it puts her in a unique position where she has an opportunity to become Wimbledon champ.

Q.  When you were in baseline rallies with Maria, do you feel physically stronger?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  You know, I never thought about it.  I don't think about that.  I feel good when I'm in a baseline rally, because that's my game.  I love rallying, running, hitting, so...
That's kind of like my strength.

Q.  When you made the decision early in the tournament not to talk about the Grand Slam, was that a moment of exultation?  What did that feel like for you to say, I'm not going to talk about this anymore?  Did that feel good?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  It felt good.  You know, I don't what the pressure of that, and I'm not thinking of that.  When you talk about it every time, you can't help but think about it.  It's been okay just to free my brain from that.

Q.  Is the man sitting behind you a lucky mascot?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  It's all about luck.  You got to keep your luck around.
We've been friends for like so many years, just like family.

Q.  It has to be there for fun, I take it now?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Oh, I hope so.  Kind of like we're on a streak right now.  We got to do this.

Q.  You talked about the mental aspect of the opponent tomorrow.  After the match today, your coach was saying about tactical difficulties.  Mentioned her serve.  He said it's going to be a difficult matchup.  What has made her game difficult for you in the past?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Difficult for me?

Q.  Specifically.
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Oh, uhm, well, I mean, it's always not easy to play someone that you have to fight for every point, you know, to the very end.  It's always something that's not very comfortable to play, yeah.

Q.  You're going for your sixth Wimbledon title.  You have this wider objective.  You talk about having fun.  What constitutes fun for you at this moment?  If it were me, I wouldn't be able to have fun.
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Well, you know, I think you would because I've been here.  I've been in this stage.  I've won so many Grand Slam titles.  And, you know, I'm at a position where I don't need to win another Wimbledon.  I could lose tomorrow.  Sure, I won't be happy.  But I don't need another Wimbledon title.  I don't need another US Open.  I don't need any titles to make it.
Every time I step out on court, the practice court, the match court, I do look at it as a more fun time because it's not as much stressful as it was.  Like getting to 18 was super stressful for me.  It was fun, but I was so stressed out.
After that, I've just been really enjoying myself.

Q.  If I win five Wimbledons, I could smile?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Believe me, if you won five Wimbledons, you would be smiling (smiling).

Q.  I think you said earlier to TV that when you lost to Muguruza last time, it was an incentive to improve.  Could you talk about that.
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah, I lost to her last year, I believe.  It was an eye‑opening loss for me.  Some losses you're angry about, and some losses you learn from.  That loss I think I learned the most from in a long time.
I got so much better after that loss.  I was able to improve a lot.  I worked on things.
I didn't see the results straightaway.  But months later I started seeing the results more and more.  I learned so much from that.  You know, sometimes as much as you don't want it or as bad timing as it could be, I don't want to lose to anyone at a Grand Slam.  But unfortunately, I did.
But it was really an experience that helped me say, Okay, Serena, you want to be the best, you're going to have to do certain things and you're going to have to improve certain things.

Q.  What did you learn from your finals in '04 against Maria here?  Similar situation with Muguruza coming up.
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I did play Maria once before that final.  But I don't think it's the same situation.  Garbine has been around a while.  She's 20.  I think Maria was a teenager.
I think it's comparing apples to oranges.

Q.  How would you describe how much more satisfying the last couple of runs are at the French and here?  You were sick, then you had a few matches where you had to come from behind in desperation.  Is it a little more satisfying the way this run has gone the last month or so?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Uhm, I guess.  You know, it's made me know that I can come back from pretty much anything.  Or at least I know that I can really try and give 100%.
Of course, I would love to win easy matches.  Those are always the best wins.  They definitely don't shorten your life, you know.  But you got to take what you can get.

Q.  What are the images and emotions that you experience when you walk out on Centre Court for a championship final here?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  It's been a minute, so...
But, you know, I'm just going to think, I can't think about images at that point.  I just think, This is another match, I want to do well.  I want to end up winning this particular match, which just so happens to be the championship match.

Q.  Another young American Jordan Spieth is going for a nice record this year.  If you could sit down and talk with him, what would you advise him early in his career on how he should approach it?  Do you follow golf at all?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Well, I would definitely tell him, maybe he should read this, Definitely in the press conference don't ask no questions about no Grand Slam.  That will help him out (laughter).
The British Open is around the corner?

Q.  Next week.
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah, tell him that straightaway and he'll be good.

Q.  Was that your idea or someone else's idea, to shut down the questions?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  No, that was just me.  I was just fed up.

Q.  Do you get frustrated when baseball broadcasters don't talk about what's happening when a pitcher hasn't given up any hits in the ninth inning?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I don't watch baseball so you're just speaking Chinese right now.

Q.  Patrick said it's all about X's and O's, about focusing on one or two or three things when you step out on court.  What will those few things be on Saturday?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  You know, I haven't decided yet.  Usually I know the day before.  I usually think about, Okay, what do I want to do before this match?  What do I want to focus on?
I'll have a think about it and go from there.

Q.  You used to bring out that piece of paper.  Do you do that even in private?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  No, I don't do that anymore.

Q.  Prior to the tournament you were talking about the last couple years you hadn't played as well as you would have liked here.  You're now into the final.  Is it anything more than you played better this year?  Was there a difference in preparation?  The draw hasn't been easy for you and you're peaking at the right moment.
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah, I just think that this year, I don't know, I feel like winning the French Open and winning a lot of tough, close matches has helped me just be able to really focus and buckle down.
Yeah, I'm really all about focusing from the first match to the last match and all the matches in between.

Q.  How important were the tough matches against Heather and Victoria in preparing you for today and for the final?  Do you need matches like that to bring you to a certain pitch?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I think sometimes you definitely need them or you're not feeling your game, or you feel like you're not necessarily playing your best tennis.  You need them.
I think sometimes they're important to know that, Okay, I can last two hours, I can last two and a half hours if I need to.  Just mentally it's like, Okay, I know I can do that.
Sometimes they're important.  I think pretty much everyone, like I always say, would prefer to have an easier match.  But, you know, when you have a tough match and you're able to come through, obviously that really helps.

Q.  Has there been anything, physically or mentally, that it's come easier as you've gotten older?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Uhm, you know what, I don't know.  I don't think it's gotten easier.  I just think I don't feel as desperate to win.  I don't know.  It's just different.  It's just different.

Q.  Do you remember a time in your career where you've had to hit the mute button on a certain topic like you have this one?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  No, never.  That was a first.  I like that mute button, though (smiling).

Q.  Justine Henin has been doing analytic work.  Mauresmo is coaching.  A lot of your former rivals are dotted around the tour.  What is it like seeing them while you're here still winning?  A lot of them can't even compete at this level anymore.
SERENA WILLIAMS:  It's strange because a lot of the people I grew up with are now on the legends tour.  It's like, Should I play legends as well as the main?
I'm like, yeah, did I play that lady?  Yes, I did, so...
So it's actually kind of funny.  Me and Venus just laugh.  Oh, my gosh, we played her.  We kind of make a joke of everything.
We're just enjoying our time.  We're so fortunate to still be playing.  We feel just really overjoyed really.

Q.  I saw you after you won the French Open, you were interviewed by Henin.  Was that strange at all?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  No, because when I won the other time I was interviewed by her.

Q.  Do you still get nervous before a final?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I get nervous every time I walk out on the court.  I think that is a special feeling.  I'll be concerned if I wasn't nervous.  I'll be like, Ooh.  Maybe it's not the same for me and doesn't mean as much for me.  Every single match I have nerves.

Q.  What do you attribute the longevity for you in particular?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I don't know.  I keep reinventing myself, always try to improve something or get better.  I think technology has really helped not only my career, but there's a lot of players that are playing, like Roger and Venus, there's so many players that are older that are playing really well.
So, uhm, yeah, I just think it's a lot of those factors that really factor in.  Players are taking better care of their health.  I mean, I remember when I first started out on tour, I didn't do the things then that I do now.
If I'd have kept the other approach, I wouldn't still be here, so...

Q.  Is there anything you could point to, dropping the Doritos?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Those Doritos I had last night, so...
Yeah, no, I'm not going to drop those Doritos (smiling).

Q.  You mentioned Roger.  Anyone in particular you're pulling for on the men's side?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah, you know, seeing Roger play so well obviously is great.  I love Novak as well.  Who else is there?  Yeah, Murray and Gasquet.
Yeah, how can you root against Roger?  It's impossible.  You know, Novak, you always want someone to defend their title.  So one of those.

Q.  How would you describe what losing means to you now and what winning means to you?  The old 'hate to lose' versus 'love to win,' where do those rate for you at this moment?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Well, I don't like losing.  I really hate losing.  So I'm that kind of person that will work hard, work harder than anybody else to make sure I don't get that.  If I do, I learn from it better.  That way I don't have to do it in a long time.

Q.  The enjoyment of winning?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  As long as I don't lose, I'm okay.

Q.  In the Wimbledon job interview window, you talked about problem solving being one of your biggest assets.  Do you think people don't talk about that aspect of your tennis that much?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Probably, yeah.  When I'm down or if I'm losing, I'm like, Okay, why are you losing?  What are you not doing?  I actually in a way solve the problem, you know, come up with several different solutions to the problem.  I act on it.

Q.  You've had all these matches in Paris and here now where there have been crises.  What was the one or two greatest examples of your problem solving in coming back?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Uhm, gosh, I forgot half the matches I played.  I live in the present.
I'm thinking about Miss Watson.  I had to solve a lot of problems with that internally.  She was playing really well.  Then I had to solve the crowd.
Who else?

Q.  How did you do that internally?  How did you deal with the crowd?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  You know, I don't think I was playing bad.  I just think she was playing well.  The crowd was really for her.  I had to just figure out what is it that I could do to get her from just treeing basically and playing amazing.  Yeah, I think that was a pretty big moment for me.

Q.  You said you don't feel desperate to win anymore.  Has that become an asset for you, helps you to be more relaxed when you're playing?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yes, I think so.  I think it helps me be relaxed.  Like I was so desperate to get to 18, and ever since then, I've been totally relaxed.  It's just been going better for me.  So I'm not as desperate as before.

Q.  What, if anything, stands out in your memory from your match against Cornet here last year?  What sort of effect did that setback have on you moving forward?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Uhm, you know, not much.  I just realized that I just needed to run faster, I guess.  I don't want to talk about that.

Q.  Are you searching for different forms of motivation or is it the obvious we keep asking about?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I mean, right now, it's definitely the obvious.  It was never my goal.  But, you know, right now it's kind of cool.  So that completely gets me motivated to work harder and to try to reach my goals.

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