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February 11, 2018

Kathy Rinaldi

Venus Williams

Serena Williams

Coco Vandeweghe

Lauren Davis

Asheville, North Carolina


6-1, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Kathy, you said the goal of this year was to keep the Cup on American soil. Is this the perfect way to start?
KATHY RINALDI: Absolutely. We started off with a win this weekend. We're on our way. We'll play France next. We just take one match at a time. We're very excited and blessed to be in this opportunity, to have this opportunity.

Q. Kathy, can you look ahead a little bit more to France and obviously traveling. They want to know.
KATHY RINALDI: Well, right now we're just celebrating today. I haven't really thought about it. I just know that they won. Yeah, we'll be traveling over there. We're looking forward to it.

Q. Venus, could you talk a bit about what securing the victory meant to you, how you felt you played over the course of the week after what happened in Australia, how you see the overall picture.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, obviously this is an important moment, when you're playing not just for yourself but your other team members and your captain, for your country. It's definitely a different kind of pressure.

I'm really happy with how the team played through tough moments, a new surface, against players we've never seen before. Those were all factors. Yeah, I think we're all just looking forward to the next tie.

Q. Serena, can you talk about how it felt to get back on the court today. How long will it take for you to get back to where you need to be?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It felt really good to be back on the court. I've been training. It's just exciting to be out there. A lot of not nerves, but anticipation for myself. That's good. I think that's normal.

Q. Serena, how hard is it to come back after more than a year, to balance your expectations from knowing you're probably not going to be in the same position because you haven't played?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I don't know. I think if I walk out there with low expectations, then I need to stop doing what I do. So that's never going to happen for me. I'm always going to have the best and highest expectations for myself. I'm okay with that because that's just who I am.

Q. Were you surprised with your emotions after you had your baby? Did you expect you would be overwhelmed by the experience? Was it more than you even anticipated?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It was definitely more than I expected. I didn't expect to have such emotions and such feelings, even though you hear about it all the time. But I definitely felt way more emotions, just a connection that I never thought I would ever feel.

Q. You said earlier this weekend you would take stock of where you were at. What did you learn about your process, how this weekend went?
SERENA WILLIAMS: First of all, I think I was just really happy with the team, especially Venus and Coco really playing well, getting those matches, getting those wins. Really just listening to Kathy, who also has done a great job with the team.

I don't know. I honestly feel better than I thought I was going to feel. I feel like I didn't expect to play, you know, like that for me. I feel like I'm on the right track.

Q. How was this tournament different managing your time with baby in tow, your husband here?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It's an incredible learning experience. I didn't manage my time well, but I was thinking about it in the future how to manage it better. This is literally my first time traveling with the baby and everything. I'm going to try to do better. It was hard. It was the first time for me.

Q. Coco, a big win for you yesterday, big win for the team today. What does the team have to do going forward to retain the title?
COCO VANDEWEGHE: Win three matches. I mean, I don't have a magic ball, so I can't predict the future. Simply put: just win three matches.

Yeah, Fed Cup is a great environment to show what team spirit is, what we're able to do when we come together as a team for Team USA.

Q. Serena, are there any particular aspects of your game which you feel like were highlighted for you that you would like to work on?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I definitely think -- you know me, I'm always a 360 kind of person. I always want to improve on everything. In particular this time I definitely want to focus on probably my serves and returns. I think it's just really important in general.

So, yeah, I'll be doing a little bit more of that.

Q. You said you feel you're on the right track, you did better than what you expected. What were your expectations going into the weekend in terms of your progress, where you are in your game?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I really don't know. I didn't know what to expect. Maybe that's why I felt like I did better. I didn't expect to, I don't know, have that much power on my serves, even though they didn't go in. It's just a start. I feel like that's a very good step in the right direction.

Q. Kathy, can you speak to the week as a whole, the atmosphere, the venue, team camaraderie.
KATHY RINALDI: Well, the venue was incredible. The atmosphere was amazing. Playing in front of a sold-out crowd for these players is always fun for them. That's what they play for. The camaraderie was just on point. It was amazing.

I've had Lauren and Coco obviously on my teams. But having Venus and Serena, they were just wonderful. I mean, the camaraderie was great. We had a lot of fun. We worked hard. We came out with the win. That was the goal.

Q. Kathy, can you give us a little bit of indication, obviously the next round in April, when do you start talking to the players about it, trying to pick your team, seeing who's available? Take us through that process.
KATHY RINALDI: Well, I always communicate with all the players. We have open and honest conversations. We see who wants to play, who's interested, who's available. There's no rush to pick the team.

I try to be fair throughout the whole process, be up front and honest, transparent, which I think the players appreciate.

So yeah, we'll start soon. Obviously there's a lot of big tournaments coming up. We'll start thinking about it.

Q. Venus and Serena, what are the chances you might be available to play in the semifinals in April? A quick word about the doubles match today, if you wouldn't mind, how you felt you played, whether it was disappointing.
VENUS WILLIAMS: We actually definitely give credit to the other team. They just couldn't miss. I think they had not too much pressure, because the tie had been won, so... In that case, you got to give them credit for that. Sometimes it happens. I think most thankfully we had won the tie and done our job. That was icing on the cake for us.

For the next tie, I think we all are excited about playing. I mean, I know Coco has like this streak going, so I think she'll be the first one to say, Let me in.

The great part is that there's so much depth in American tennis now. All the ladies are playing amazing under the flag, which is not easy to do. It's great to have options.

Q. Serena?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think ultimately it's up to Kathy. She has a plethora of players to choose from, so many American players that are doing great. Hopefully I'll be able to be an option, to be able to do better by then.

Yeah, it's going to be great no matter what happens.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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