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June 2, 2018

Serena Williams

Paris, France

S. WILLIAMS/J. Goerges

6-3, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions in English.

SERENA WILLIAMS: So if we could just go fast, I have to go. We'll keep this a little shorter than normal.

Q. Is anything wrong?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I need to get back to my baby, so she's still awake. I need to go home. Thanks.

Q. You said in Indian Wells on a scale of 1 to Serena you were somewhere in that first S. Have we moved further down the alphabet?
SERENA WILLIAMS: A little bit. I'm definitely off the S at least, but there is still a ways to go, but it's moving in the right direction. And I think that as long as it's moving in the right direction, I know I will get there, and I feel like every match I play I'm getting better and I'm playing tougher opponents and I'm hanging in there, and I feel like it's going to hopefully keep going.

Q. Today Mike Tyson was in the stands in Suzanne Lenglen. What sort of inspiration do you have from a champion like Mike Tyson?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I didn't know he was there until after the match. And, you know, just seeing him there is always pretty cool. He was obviously such a great champion. You know, I'm still a little, I think everyone, when they see someone like that, is always a bit of a fan, all the great stuff he did in the ring.

Q. I know you want to get back to Olympia, work with me here, please.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Work with me (smiling).

Q. We're in this together, baby.
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, we're not; you're not going home to a screaming baby.

Q. I have been waiting about 14 years to ask you this question. After the 2004 Wimbledon match with Maria, I had the opportunity to interview Donald Trump on his LA golf course, and he said that Maria's shoulders were incredibly alluring and then he came up with this incredible analysis: That you were intimidated by her super model good looks. My question is: Have you ever been intimidated by anyone on a tennis court, and what are your thoughts about that occurrence?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I honestly don't have any thoughts about that. I can't say I have been intimidated by anyone. That's all. That's it.

Q. You're playing her for the first time in a couple years. What are your thoughts on what this match will hold? And more generally, how do you describe the last two-and-a-quarter or so years since you two played in your own life? How it's been?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It's been different. We are both on a comeback for two totally different reasons, and she's been on her journey for over a year and I just started mine a couple months ago.

So, you know, it's just something new and different. I don't know what else to say.

Q. You started much better today than in your first couple of matches here. Did you feel stepping out on court like you were in a better place already than you had been?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I just feel like if I'm going to compete in any match, I need to kind of start a little bit better. So that was something that, you know, in I was doing before I had the baby, and I wanted to kind of definitely get back to that. It's just one of the many things I have been trying to work on.

Q. Why do you think you have been so utterly dominant against Maria? She said in her book the other year that she puts it down to her beating you in the 2004 Wimbledon final, and also she said it was because she heard you cry in the locker room afterwards. I wonder if you'd agree with that.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think the book was 100% hearsay, at least all the stuff I read and the quotes that I read, which was a little bit disappointing.

You know, I have cried in the locker room many times after a loss, and that's what I have seen a lot of people do. I think it's normal. I think if anything, it shows the passion and the desire and, you know, the will that you have to want to go out there and do the best.

It's a Wimbledon final, you know. So it's just, like, I think it would be more shocking if I wasn't in tears. And I am emotional and I do have emotions and I wear them on my sleeve.

You know, I'm human. So for me I think it's totally normal. I think what happens there should definitely maybe stay there and not necessarily talk about it in a not-so-positive way in a book.

But regardless, that's that, and...

Q. How much have you seen of Maria play recently, whether in this tournament or leading up to it? And do you think that this, the matchup itself, the tennis itself, might be different just because of the reasons you said that you guys are coming back?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, quite frankly, she's probably a favorite in this match (smiling), for sure. You know, she's been playing, like I said, for over a year now. I just started. So I'm just really trying to get my bearings and trying to feel out where I am and see where I can go.

But I think this will be another test. I think this is just one of her best surfaces, and she always does really, really well here. So this would be a good opportunity for me kind of to see where I am and just hopefully continue to go forward.

Q. Whatever your feelings are about each other, the two of you have this in common: You're both household names. You both have been very successful off the court. Is this match about something, does it mean something outside of tennis? Is it a measure, has it been a measure for you over the years every time you play her?
SERENA WILLIAMS: So I don't have any negative feelings towards her, which again, was a little disappointing to see in that hearsay book. So I have always, you know, and especially having a daughter, like, I feel like negativity is taught. One of the things I always say, I feel like women, especially, should bring each other up.

You know, a lot of people always assume that I feel a different way and it's not true. You know, if anything, I feel like we should encourage each other, and the success of one female should be the inspiration to another, and I have said that a thousand times. So for me, I always get inspired by other women that are doing well.

Before her incident of drugs or not, you know, I just feel like she was, you know, doing good before that. So I feel like now she's doing well again, and I have never had any hard feelings toward her.

So I feel like whenever I play her, obviously I go out there the way I play everyone else. I go extremely hard, and, you know, I don't play anyone different. I play everyone so hard because they play me really hard and I always have to be ready for it.

Q. Just to get back on the book, and I don't think you addressed it before today. Just wondering what you thought of being such a big part of the book. Because she did seem to be somewhat preoccupied with you as sort of a defining, almost obsessed character in her own life story.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, yeah, I mean, you know, as a fan, I wanted to read the book and I was really excited for it to come out and I was really happy for her.

And then the book was a lot about me. I was surprised about that, to be honest. You know, I was, like, Oh, okay. I didn't expect to be reading a book about me, that wasn't necessarily true.

So I was, like, this is really interesting, but, you know, I don't know. I think maybe -- I don't know. I think maybe she -- I didn't know she looked up to me that much or was so involved in my career.

Q. So you read her book?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, like I said, I was a fan -- not a fan -- as a person that just wants to just be involved in the sport. And I was one of the few people that, you know, said that she was, when her whole drug incident, I was, like, she was brave to say something. I didn't have anything negative to say about Maria. So of course I wanted to read it and just see what was going on.

Q. Is there any urgency, any thoughts about your baby while you're playing, or how do you, like, keep that at the back of your mind?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It keeps me inspired more than anything, because I think sometimes I'm like, okay, the sooner I get off, the sooner I can get to her.

But, you know, I can't necessarily think like that because then I start to rush a little bit. And then just, it's just great because I feel like no matter what happens, I have an amazing human being that I love so much that I can go home to, and I can just be joyful with.

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