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July 10, 2018

Serena Williams

Wimbledon, London, England


3-6, 6-3, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Looked like a pretty emotional moment for you. Describe how you felt.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I felt good to get through it because it was a tough match. That's probably why. But that was pretty much it.

Q. You lost only 14 points in 14 games of serve.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Throughout the three sets?

Q. Yes. You served 14 times, and you lost only 14 points, including the break you had in the first set. Do you think this was just because you served very well or also because she was trying to hit every time a winning return? She was not patient enough in returning?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Honestly, probably both. I knew I had to serve really well today because she was really aggressive on the returns. But I kind of return the same way. I'm not really patient. I pretty much go for almost all my returns, so...

It's not necessarily a bad thing.

Q. You've been known at times throughout your career as the comeback queen. Today was there a point you thought, I'm in real danger of losing this one?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No. It's weird. Sometimes I feel, Man, I'm in trouble. Sometimes I feel, I can fight. For whatever reason, today I was so calm. Even when I was down the first set, I thought, Well, she's playing great. I'm doing a lot of the right things. It is what it is.

Q. You spoke earlier about some of the surprises in your comeback since you had a baby. What has surprised you in the way you've played and felt on the court during this tournament?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. I think everything right now is a little bit of a surprise. To be here, to be in the semifinals. I mean, I always say I plan on it, I would like to be there, have these goals. But when it actually happens, it still is, like, Wow, this is really happening.

Q. I'd like to ask you about two German players that have made the semifinals. Julia, you come up against next. You played her in France. What did you take from that? And Angie, have you missed that competitiveness you had with her previously?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, they're both really great players, clearly. Really professional and nice girls more than anything. So, yeah, I played Julia in the French. That was four or five weeks ago. That doesn't matter. This is a whole new match, it's a new surface, it's everything. We're starting from zero.

I'm going to go out there and just do what I can, do my best, see what happens.

Q. Angie? Have you missed that rivalry with her?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, we've had a lot of tough matches together. She's playing really well here. I think she did everything she needed to do today to win. She's very, very, very good here.

Yeah, I have missed it.

Q. You've worked hard this year to get to this point, played a lot on court already. How much is fatigue a factor?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I'm not tired at all. In fact, when I was out there today, I think that was one thing that was surprising, was how well I felt. Not once was I out of breath. Surely there wasn't a lot of long points, maybe that's why I wasn't out of breath. Felt good (smiling).

But, hey, got to look at the positives, right?

Q. You've been in this exact position countless times. Obviously your life has changed. What feels different about each phase of this, if at all?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It's different now obviously because I have the baby. Being a mom is totally different. Still have to think, Wow, I'm a mom. Every day it's different for me.

Just having an opportunity to win, win matches, just matches in general, with a daughter at home.

Q. You've spoken eloquently about the challenges of motherhood. Do you feel more comfortable as a role model generally as you've gone on in your career, the responsibilities that go with it? Has being a mother helped that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I've always embraced being a role model. I think for me I just fell into that perfectly. Now that I'm a mom, I just want to even be more of that role model for my daughter, for lots of kids out there that want -- people out there that just want to be inspired.

Here is some good news. Right now there's so much bad news in the world. We just need a good story.

Q. Who are the role models you followed growing up on and off the court?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, on the court I think everyone in my generation loved Monica Seles. I was definitely a Monica Seles fan. I also liked Zina because she looked like me. We didn't see a lot of black players out there. I really liked her.

Off the court, like my sister, even though she was on the court. My mom, because she was always so amazing.

Q. It's the 20-year anniversary of Jana Novotna winning. She won the first year you played here. She passed away last year from cancer. Do you have memories of her?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, it's incredibly sad and heartbreaking for not just the tennis world, but for just the world. She was so sweet. Every year in the locker room she was always there every single match just talking to me, telling me, Congratulations. We just would chat.

I was devastated to hear about that. I actually never knew she was battling with cancer. But, yeah, she's definitely missed for me because usually after the matches, I see her there. But I know that her legacy and legend will live on. She did a lot for tennis. I feel honored that I had a chance to get to know her.

Q. You spoke about feeling more calm, more at ease when you were struggling in the first set. Do you feel like since you've come back you're able to look at things more objectively, be kinder to yourself, see where an opponent is playing well?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, just to be clear, that was just today. I mean, I'm hoping this is like a new thing. Honestly, I highly doubt it. It was just the way I felt today. I never felt it was out of my hands. It's weird. I can't describe it. I just felt calm. Hoping I can channel that all the time, but one day at a time.

Q. Billie Jean King was watching you today. Talk about her as a role model.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, she's someone that I really look up to, especially starting out in my career. I had the honor and pleasure of playing with her on Fed Cup, which was super cool. I'll never forget that. I learned so much from her in that little time. I just learned so much.

I really think it helped my career. Again, she's someone else that I always talked to on the court, off the court, text message, call. She just is an incredible individual.

Q. It's too early to teach to your girl. Which is the biggest lesson you will tell her on sports and tennis which you can say to your girl, the first lesson?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think I learned the lesson of never giving in, always fighting. I feel like it's really important in life, no matter what you're going through, to never quit. It sounds totally touche [sic], but it's the truth. For me it's really a true saying.

Q. You were talking yesterday about the role you played in equal prize money and equality in tennis. Do you think after you're finished playing, whenever that is, do you think there's somebody in tennis at the moment on the women's side who will take that fight up? Who is leading that behind the scenes?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It's hard to say because I never assumed or knew I would be in this position. It's, like, when I first started out, I was playing tennis. It just became greater than me. Sometimes it takes a while to realize that.

I think Vika does a tremendous amount of speaking out, a tremendous amount. So I think she is poised to continue to do that. Pretty much a lot of people that sit on our council. Just sitting on it in itself means that you really care.

Q. You mentioned Fed Cup. It's quite a while away, but do you have any thoughts yet? Might you be interested in playing the final? You need to play a certain number of times to go to the Olympics.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I actually would love to play because I would love to see the USA keep it. It's in Czech, I don't think I've ever been there.

Yeah, we'll see. Hopefully I'll qualify because there's a lot of Americans right now that are doing really well, so... Yeah, I would love to see it stay in the United States.

Q. Have you had preliminary conversations with Kathy about it?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Not yet. That's, like, in November or October. So we have time. I have time to get my ranking up there.

Q. You said at the start of the tournament that you weren't sure if you were going to serve 120. At the beginning of the second set you did.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Was that the first time I did 120?

Q. Yes.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I went for it. I'm like, I'm going as hard as I can on this one. I saw it was 122.

It felt good. My arm is, like, amazing. That feels good, too.

Q. Have you been conservative in general just to make sure that it stays?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I've been totally conservative, believe it or not. Yeah, I don't know, been really conservative.

Q. On the ranking, you're up to No. 51 with the win today. How does that number sound to you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, it's better than 183, so... Whatever I am. Got to keep trekking on, though. Serena Williams, 51, eh. It doesn't have that same ring to it. The '1' part does, but not the '5'. Keep going.

Q. We talked a lot about you being an inspiration for women's tennis, but also you've inspired a lot of other worlds. Drake was here today. Mike Tyson at the French Open. What does that mean to you to inspire other artists?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It's so cool, especially artists like that, like Mike and Drake who are so successful, to come out. It feels like tennis is becoming part of pop culture. That's what I love about it. Just helping create that popularity, getting more young girls to play and be a part of such an exciting game.

Q. What role do the memories of your previous championships play in your motivation to get more?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm really good with letting go with wins. So for me, you're only as good as your last win. It's been a while since I've won a championship.

Q. Is it the losses that are more motivation? What is it?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I hate losing. I mean, that's no secret. But you got to lose. I feel like every time I lose, I get better. I think it's important for me to have the losses. Just the fewer the better for me.

Q. Are we any closer to seeing your friend, the Duchess of Sussex, making an appearance in the Royal Box?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Is that the last question (smiling)?

I don't know. Just stay tuned, right?

Q. Any conversations?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Stay tuned for the next episode, Serena Williams Centre Court.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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