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May 12, 2016

Serena Williams

Rome, Italy


7-6, 6-1

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. It was a tight first set. How are you feeling getting through that one?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I feel good, because I feel like she hits a lot of balls back. I wanted to get a match in like that where she gets a lot of balls back and see how I was able to do against that and see how I was physically after that, too.

Q. We saw that you post pictures for yesterday evening maybe with the photo of your dog?

Q. Everything true or it was a joke? Because we are not sure.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah. Unfortunately it was true. I mean, I'm not the most serious person off the court. On the court I am, but off the court I don't have a serious bone in my body.

In fact, I have been told I need to grow up a lot (smiling). I don't know. It's just -- it looks like food. It was human food. So I just wanted to try it.

Q. Did you ever find out why it made you sick? It did look like real salmon and rice. It looked normal.
SERENA WILLIAMS: It looked like salmon and rice. I was talking to Caroline, and she said that she thinks that it's the leftover food from, like (laughing). I'm like, That's so smart, Caroline. Why didn't I think about that?

So I think I ate someone's -- it was just a spoonful.

Q. Are you still feeling any ill effects from it?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, thank God. But I don't know how my dog eats that. I guess he's okay with it.

Q. First question is how do you feel? And if you think to have solved your physical problem generally. Second question is who do you think could be the next No. 1. We see Muguruza playing very good tennis, if she could be, or another one.
SERENA WILLIAMS: The first question was?

Q. Physically, physical problems.
SERENA WILLIAMS: So I think physically, you know, every day -- every day is a new day for me, and I just try to see when I wake up. I just go from there.

And the next No. 1? Right now it could be -- I think Victoria is playing well. I think she's the obvious, you know, choice. But Muguruza is younger, and she's has such a bright future.

There are so many players. Madison is doing well. Sloane has won two or three tournaments this year. Three.

You never know. It's really a packed crowd that has the opportunity to be the next No. 1.

Q. Will it spoil your draw if I tell you who you play next?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I know I play Svetlana next.

Q. What do you make of that matchup? You know her very well on clay. She's someone who likes these conditions and heavy conditions on clay.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think it's great. I think right now she's probably one of the best clay-court players. I couldn't ask for a better match going into Roland Garros, so this is a perfect opportunity for me, win or lose, to see where I am and get ready for what I'm ready for, which is the main event.

Q. You have been around through a lot of different eras of the WTA at this point in your career. Just wondering what you make of the current Open. Like you said, it's a ton of people all vying. There is not a real clear, a clear top group where there was maybe before. A lot of different players have won titles. Seeds are losing all the time. Wondering what you make of this current status of the women's game.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Honestly, I don't know. I'm just trying to stay afloat myself. I just think it's a lot of depth. You never know. Anyone can win on any day, and everyone's going and gunning. No one is coming out and saying, Oh, I play a seed so I'm going to lose. They are saying, Oh, I play a seed so I'm going to win this match. And I think that's what we need in tennis.

Q. Do you feel undercooked matches-wise with how few tournaments you have played in the last nine months or so?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I feel good. I feel like -- I feel, if anything, I'll be refreshed. My focus is just to do well at the Slams. Obviously I want to do well at the other tournaments, too, because if you don't do well like in Rome or all the other tournaments then you're not going to do well at the Slams. So those are all important.

Q. How important is it to keep the No. 1 ranking in terms of looking at your schedule going forward? Because you haven't played that much so you have fewer points. People are catching up.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. In my mind I'm always No. 1, and I think I have always thought that since I have turned pro. And in everyone else's mind, even when I was injured they are like, You're No. 1. I'm like, Yeah, sure. So everyone else thinks it.

I think my main goal now is I have done it, I have been No. 1, I have held the position. Now my main goal is just to focus on winning tournaments and the ranking, I guess, will come.

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