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January 16, 2016

Serena Williams

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. There were a couple of pictures going around that looked like you had some sort of injury in practice. Can you talk us through that.
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I'm a little tired today. I've been working so hard and doing so much work, so...

Maybe I had a bad attitude out there.

Q. Have you been training at 100% or are you still working up towards that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I'm at 120, 130 percent right now. You know, this week, the weeks leading up, has been a lot of work. I actually wanted to have an easy day today. But to me in my mind 'easy' is just two hours of really intense working out, yeah.

Q. Have you just accepted now there's never really going to be an ideal preparation or lead-up to an event like this?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I've had a really good preparation. I mean, I didn't have the match play that I've wanted to have. But after playing for so many years on tour, I should be able to, you know, focus on that and the fact that I have played a lot of matches. So that's what I'm trying to focus on now.

Q. The knee inflammation, is that something that you can play through?

Q. The inflammation of your knee. Is it something that will eventually require surgery or something more like a sprain? How would you describe it?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, it's actually really fine. I don't have any inflammation anymore. It's just that I just needed some time to get over that little hump.

Like I said, I've been doing a lot of, lot of, lot of training leading up to this. But, yeah, I'm totally -- I don't think I would need surgery at all.

Q. You have quite a tough draw here. How do you feel going into the tournament? You're going to have to hit the ground running straightaway.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I always seem to have a tough draw, so it's fine. Doesn't matter who I play. At some point you have to play everyone. You know, that's how it always works out. So that's what it is.

Q. Can you talk about your first-round opponent?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't really ever look at the draw, so I would appreciate it if you didn't mention it. Thank you.

Q. For the first time in I think five years, Venus is seeded in the top eight. What could you see as her evolution back into the top 10 in the women's game?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think she's played really well. I think it will be really good for her. It's really good for her to see her back so high.

I've been there the whole ride. I've seen her work extra hard. I've seen her right next to me just train, train, train. Now I'm finally starting to see some of the results of what she's been training for. So it's really good to see.

Q. Are there any extra nerves as you start this tournament just because you haven't been able to play since September and have been dealing with the injury? What's your attitude? How are you feeling?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I feel fine. Honestly, I don't have anything to prove. I have nothing to lose. I can only gain. That's kind of how I look at it right now.

Q. Were you very happy in October, November, December doing other things, playing a little bit of tennis, doing anything else?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, no, I started rather fast. Not every day in terms of tennis. But I definitely started soon, sooner than I normally would have if I'd have played the whole year.

But there's nothing else I would have pretty much done.

Q. What do you think would make a good tournament for you here? What are you hoping to get out of being in Melbourne?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I mean, we all know the answer to that, so... No need to even say it.

Q. Do you think you've got it in you this year to make that perfect Grand Slam season and win the calendar Grand Slam?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Uhm, I don't think about it. I never thought about it really. It was in front of me last year. But it still wasn't there, so...

I don't really think about it. I just think about each tournament as it comes, each player as it comes. Everyone here wants to win the tournament. I mean, I do probably more than anyone else, so...

But we'll see. I mean, I never really plan that far in advance. I just kind of focus on the task at hand, go from there.

Q. Looking back at what you were able to do last year, in the rearview mirror, how do you look back on 2015, how do you sum it up?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't look back.

Q. We saw the video that Azarenka put up. There were some words from you about her coming back. What do you think Azarenka brings to the field as a competitor against you? Do you see her maybe winning a slam this year?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I mean, I think Vika is such a great player. Not only that, she's such a good personality. She's really fun. She's super cool.

It's so good to see someone like her who has been through a lot of ups and downs, has seen the glory, then had to go down in her ranking, to be able to come back and just do so well. Just in general, she's the kind of person that you always just root for just because.

Q. Is the hope and focus for you and Venus to play doubles in Rio this year?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, we definitely want to play doubles there. So we're going to play some tournaments later in the year, get our doubles game back, see how it goes.

Q. You're not playing here?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, we're not playing here.

Q. Would you consider playing mixed as well in Rio?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I would love to. I don't know, though. That's a lot of matches. We'll see.

Q. Preferred mixed partner?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I play well with John. I didn't get to play with Jack. Yeah, anyone with a big serve, where I can just stand at the net and look good, that's all I need to do.

Q. We saw the outfit you're supposed to wear. Can you talk about that outfit.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Hence the extreme training for the last three months. It's been like, got to be able to fit into that without being embarrassed (laughter).

Q. Tennis players seem to decline a little faster than other players in their sports. Is it the individual, the wear and tear, or what?
SERENA WILLIAMS: They tend to decline faster?

Q. There are players in other sports who keep up at a higher level in their 40s and things.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, okay. I'm trying to think of an athlete in their 40s that's doing great.

I don't know. I don't know the reason for that. I think tennis is a sport that really beats your body. Then you start at such a young age, train for so many years. You're so consistent with that training for hours and hours a day. Then you do physical training.

It's actually a lot that goes into tennis. Whether there's a severe decline, I mean, I think most athletes in general at a certain age decline.

I think nowadays with a lot of technology, athletes are actually doing better after a certain age. We see that decline happening later on.

Q. You say you never look forward at a draw. Is that something you have always done or did you maybe have a bad experience looking at your future opponents in the draws?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I mean, I've always done that. I've had good experiences both ways. So, you know, I just kind of always have done that.

Q. Ronda Rousey was in Melbourne in November. She mentioned how she established some kind of relationship with you. You're perhaps one of a couple of people that could relate to her. Did you speak to her about her loss, similar to the US Open, the expectations that were there?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I mean -- I'm sorry. I mean, I don't know. I definitely reached out to her. I mean, whenever you see someone in sport that's doing really well, I love to see people do well, but, you know, I don't think -- the similarities I think were really different. She was going for something totally different than I was. I wouldn't necessarily say it was the same path.

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