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July 12, 2018
Wimbledon, London, England
S. WILLIAMS/J. Goerges
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Since 1975, Margaret Court has held the record for Grand Slam titles won in all of tennis. Seems like it would be an impossible record to be broken. How does it feel to be on the cusp of tying it? What would it mean to you and your family, all the people that helped you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: To be perfectly honest, I haven't thought about that this tournament. Not even once actually. In fact, I've probably forget about it, yeah.
I think that's a good thing because, you know, I put so much pressure on myself when I was trying to get to 18, then the rest, it was so much. But as I said in the past couple years, I don't want to limit myself. I think that's what I was doing in the past, I was limiting myself.
It's just a number. I want to get as many as I can, starting with -- I still have a match to win, so I'm not even there yet.
Q. Can you elaborate on something you said to the BBC after the match. You said you nearly didn't make it. Does that make getting into the final any more emotional?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, it does. It's no secret I had a super tough delivery. I lost count after, like, four surgeries because I was in so many surgeries. It was just routine every day, I had to have a new surgery.
Because of all the blood issues I have, I was really touch-and-go for a minute. I didn't actually know until after my agent, Jill, who is actually more of a friend, but she was saying how much stress it was. I'm glad no one told me at the time I was going through that. Yeah, it was tough. There was a time I could barely walk to my mailbox.
A lot of people were saying, Oh, she should be in the final. For me it's such a pleasure and a joy because, you know, less than a year ago I was going through so much stuff.
Q. You've been through a lot during the years, different problems like this, when you hurt your foot one year. I imagine this one has been the toughest, most trying one. Is that so? And how come?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It's interesting. I don't know if it's been the toughest because I have Olympia. For me, I only see joy out of it. In a way, it's by far the toughest, but in a way it's by far the best.
Q. It's your 30th Grand Slam final. Is this the one you're most proud of since where you come from? Do you want to share some of your thoughts and emotions if that's the case?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I can't say it's the one I'm most proud of. I can't say it's not. I'm so in a zone in terms of just wanting to keep playing. Being here and having an opportunity to play is super great for me.
But I don't know. I can't really say because I'm still in the moment. Hopefully I can answer that better after the final. Win or lose, it will be nice to answer that better.
Q. Does it feel a little bit more like business as usual? Your thoughts on facing Angelique again here? You faced her the last time you won.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I told you to ask one at a time. I have the worst mom brain (laughter).
Facing Angelique, I'll do that one.
Yeah, it's good. I feel like she's been playing really well. A lot of people haven't been, I don't think in beginning of the tournament, looking at her. I think grass is her best surface. She plays so well here. She knows how to play on this court. She does it well.
It's her second final in three years, is that right? That's wildly impressive. Believe me, I know she wants to go out there and win. So do I. I think it will be just like the last final, it will be a really good final. Hopefully it will be a good result.
Q. Because it was the last final here, does it feel like you have a chance to pick up where you left off before you took a break from the sport?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. I didn't think about that. It's all so fast. But I guess in a way it kind of is. Just last Wimbledon I won was against her.
But this is a different one. She's playing so well. I think she's incredibly confident. Yeah, I have to be ready for the match of my life.
Q. I think you've worked with Patrick for over six years. Through all that time he's been very chatty with us. This week he said you asked him not to talk to media any more. What made that decision for you now?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. We're just trying something new.
Q. You talked about the fact that it wasn't as easy as some might think to get to the final. Can you talk about how hard the past 10 months are? In the past you've talked about your pride of being a role model. How proud are you to be a player and a parent at the same time?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, it's been a crazy 10 months. I was still pregnant at this time last year. That's something I have to keep reminding myself. Also, you know, going out there, being a mom, is super cool. Knowing that no matter what happens, I have amazing support and unconditional love. It's such a great feeling. I really can't describe it, to be honest.
I never knew it until it happened. So, yeah, I feel like it's great. I feel really proud to be a role model. Like I said earlier, I've embraced it. I've always embraced it, but I feel like even more so I embrace it and wanting to do more, trying actually to be even more of a role model. I think it's so important for me. It's one of my life goals.
Q. It's no secret you've struck up a bit of friendship with members of our Royal family over here. Is there any chance you think that the Duchess of Sussex comes to see you on Saturday? You're so loved here. Do you ever kind of feel like Wimbledon royalty yourself?
SERENA WILLIAMS: If there was a royalty, I probably would be. If there was a Wimbledon royalty, I would like to believe I would be Wimbledon royalty because I've done pretty well here in the past. I am a member, so that kind of counts.
I don't know. There's word on the street.
Q. It came from the palace that she is coming on Saturday.
SERENA WILLIAMS: There you go. It came from the palace that she is coming on Saturday (smiling).
Q. Do you feel like royalty here? You're so revered and respected for everything you've achieved on grass, you're up there.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, wow. I never thought about that. There's a lot I haven't thought about today. That's pretty cool. Honestly, I'm just me. I don't feel any different. I know that sounds weird, but I don't. That's an attitude I always want to keep, something I want to teach my daughter to always just have this humility. We're all human. That's kind of how I think.
Q. Over the last 10 months, whose footwork has improved more, yours or Olympia? It's a real question.
SERENA WILLIAMS: That's actually a really good question. I'm going to say hers because she's moving those feet now, she's walking, maybe a little too fast. She's trying to go faster than her body will allow her to go. She's moving those feet. She kicks really hard. She, like, kicks her little feet really hard. I've been learning a lot from her.
Q. We were expecting some baby steps from you, but your kid is the same way?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Exactly. Maybe that's where she gets it from. I was expecting a few more baby steps myself. But I still feel like I'm in that baby step place. Again, I've said it all week, this is only my fourth tournament back.
Every time I go out there, I want to I guess take a giant step forward, keep taking giant steps, but keep improving.
Q. You talked about the difficulty that you had the whole pregnancy, the pulmonary embolisms in particular. That can be a difficult thing, especially when you have them recurring. In terms of your treatment, how you have to incorporate that into your training, how challenging has that been like for you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: For me, having to deal with PEs, pulmonary embolisms, is more mentally challenging because I don't know if I have a pain in my leg, I automatically go to the worst-case scenario. That is not very easy. I mean, even this week, I had a pain in my leg, and I went to the worst-case scenario: Oh, my God, I have a PE in my leg.
It's mentally very, very difficult. I didn't know I would have such kind of traumatic thoughts, especially now that I have a daughter. I want to be around as long as I can to support her. It's interesting how that mental recovery is actually taking much longer than I ever expected.
Q. Before you returned to competition, what did you expect would be the hardest part for getting back to the game and to the top of the game? Were you right or what has been the hardest part?
SERENA WILLIAMS: To be honest, I honestly felt I would have done better in some of the earlier tournaments. That was the hardest part, was accepting that I didn't. I know that sounds weird, but I worked out a lot and I worked hard. It's kind of been ongoing and non-stop, so...
I think mostly the hardest part was mentally letting go of a lot of mommy things in order to fully be 100% onto tennis.
Q. Do you think your knowledge of medicine, your self-awareness, was really helpful during all the four surgeries? Do you think in any way it might have saved your life?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, absolutely. I'm so aware of my body. I know exactly what's going on. I know a lot of stuff in terms of medical. I'm really keen on it.
Yeah, it's interesting. I really understand how my body works.
Q. You said the Duchess of Sussex is attending on Saturday. What does her support mean to you? How has your friendship developed with both of your lives changing over the last year?
SERENA WILLIAMS: We've always had a wonderful friendship. Every year for a couple years she comes out to Wimbledon, has supported me. Now she's supporting me in a different role. But our friendship is still exactly the same. We always have supported each other, just been there for each other through a lot. I look forward to it.
Q. You just said you were expecting more from yourself in the previous tournaments. What did you expect from this tournament? You've lost only one set. That was with Camila Giorgi. Do you know how and why? Can you say that was the most difficult match for you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know what I expected from this tournament. I just expected to win a match, then win the next match. Whenever I go out there, I just try to win my match. That's literally all I do.
I don't know what my toughest match was. I mean, obviously against Camila, she played really, really well. She pushed me and won the first set against me. But today was tough, as well. Like, I think every match has its challenges. I don't think any of them have been easy. Each one I have to kind of adjust to.
Q. Is it frustrating that given everyone knows now what you went through after your birth, it's only 10 months since that, that people would in any way think it would be routine for you to be in another final?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It's not frustrating, but it's like, C'mon guys, this is pretty awesome. To hear people say, Oh, she's a favorite. Like, the last 16 months, I've played four tournaments, and was carrying another human half that time. It's interesting.
But when I wasn't a favorite, I was kind of upset about that. It's like, C'mon, what can make me happy? Have to figure out which I prefer.
Q. During your biggest matches, heat of the action, what does your inner monologue consist of?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I can't really share that. But I do think of a lot of things, if that's helpful at all. I just try to keep myself motivated.
Q. What are some of the messages you try to reinforce to yourself thematically? What are some of the emphases you have?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Honestly it depends. Sometimes I get angry if I'm down. I get energy, I channel strength through that. Sometimes I get calm when I get down. Or if it's in a tough match, not necessarily down, it really, really, really depends.
Q. Julia said she saw it as a compliment that you brought your A game today. Did you see that the same way?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I thought she played really well. I had to bring my A game. I've never seen her play this well, and I've seen her play a lot. I really like watching her play. I feel like all the hard work she's been doing, being consistent for the past, you know, 14 months or more, it really showed today. I feel like she really brought it.
Yeah, I was happy that I could play this way or else I wouldn't have been able to win.
Q. You said the first two tournaments back were hard to take. Do you consider Indian Wells and Miami a reality check for you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It was hard to take?
Q. You said when you came back, you weren't as good as you wanted to be, it was tough to swallow. That's what you said earlier.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I wouldn't say it was a reality check. I just felt like it was a steppingstone. Okay, on to the next one, go back and take a lot of time, training hard to get ready for the Grand Slams.
Q. Were you ever told by the doctors that you might not be able to come back because of the PE after the birth?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, they never said I couldn't come back. I had a lot of restrictions for a long time in terms of working out, things that I could do. But it kind of flew by, you know.
Q. Julia hit a lot of winners, very few unforced errors. It was a great game by her. She didn't get many chances till right at the end. How frustrating do you think it must be to play that well and to really not have a chance in a match?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Wow, I don't know. I thought she played great. Like I said earlier, I had to lift my level because I've seen her play a lot and she's never played like this, with such few unforced errors, so many winners, so aggressive, moving so well.
Like I said, I always play people at their greatest, you know. Always have to lift myself.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports