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July 6, 2018

Serena Williams

Wimbledon, London, England

S. WILLIAMS/K. Mladenovic

7-5, 7-6

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. I saw that your average first serve speed has increased just a little bit each match. Wondering if that's an indication you're feeling better, more comfortable with your body and the serve this week?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I'm feeling pretty good. I haven't had any problems yet. I think taking those three weeks of just doing absolutely no serving, just a ton of rehab for my shoulder, really helped.

Q. I know you've already touched on this, but the latest seed to go is your sister Venus. With the top 10 being so short in the second week, only two remain now, is this your best chance for a comeback win, do you feel?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. I think a lot of the top players are losing, but they're losing to girls that are playing outstanding. I think, if anything, it shows me every moment that I can't underestimate any of these ladies. They are just going out there swinging and playing for broke.

Q. Have you heard from Venus at all?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I saw her in the locker room. She's in good spirits. She's so professional, so amazing.

Q. In the next round you'll face a fellow mom, which would have been a real rarity 10 years ago. Rodina talked about how it's been such a godsend to have the daycare here this week. Is that something that you would use for Olympia in the future? Is that the next step also for the WTA, to look into having something like that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I definitely think it's important for the WTA to add that. I know Vika spoke up on that a lot. She's really been leading that charge, into having the daycares on the women's tour, which we definitely need to have, so...

Olympia is really young. I'm not sure if she's ready to be around.

Q. As she gets older...
SERENA WILLIAMS: Obviously when she gets older, it will be great. She can be there and hang out close to mommy.

Q. With your concern about fashion and interest in it, what are your thoughts about the Wimbledon tradition of the all-white outfits?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I love it. I think it's unique. I think against the green grass it's just so pristine. It's great because the other four Grand Slams, we can pretty much wear whatever we want. You come here, it's just white. When you're designing, you have to design something that's white, which isn't always easy.

It's cool.

Q. What is that challenge like, to come up with an innovative outfit with those guidelines?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It's definitely challenging because also when it's white, you don't see a lot of the work and the craftsmanship that's actually on the outfits. You kind of miss a lot of those really important details.

But it's also, you know, just bringing some fashion into it. So I think it's kind of cool.

Q. Madison Keys said earlier when she was 5-2 up she lost concentration because her mind drifted towards the last match against Serena Williams. It's really difficult because everybody has to up their game every single time they play her. Have you just got used to that, being the one to beat?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm glad someone admitted that. Of course, Madison does. She's just so smart and so on it.

But, yeah, every single match I play, whether I'm coming back from a baby or surgery, it doesn't matter, these young ladies, they bring a game that I've never seen before.

It's interesting because I don't even scout as much because when I watch them play, it's a totally different game than when they play me. That's what makes me great: I always play everyone at their greatest, so I have to be greater.

Q. She said it must suck to be you.
SERENA WILLIAMS: At first it did. But I like it because, you know, it kind of backfires because everyone comes out and they play me so hard. Now my level is so much higher because of it, from years and years of being played like that.

So it's, like, you know what, my level, if it wasn't high, I wouldn't be who I am. So I had to raise my level to unknown because they're playing me at a level that's unknown.

Yeah, so now I'm used to it.

Q. When you came off the court, you spoke on the TV interview a little bit about this is only your fourth tournament back, but only your second serious tournament back. Elaborate on that a little bit more.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, the first two were just really just getting back out there, getting back in the competition, which I think was super, super important. Then after Miami, I just pulled out of everything, just really focused on getting right, you know, letting go of a lot of stuff, as in the Being Serena documentary. Just, you know, being that tennis player again.

So it's definitely been a long road, but so far it's been worth it. I mean, just getting to the round of 16 twice is not bad. Hopefully I can do a little bit better.

Q. You fought from a break down in the first set. At the same time your sister on Court 1, she was a set and a break down, lasted so long. Where did you develop that fight? You're famous for it.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. I just feel like, okay, I have nothing to lose at this point. I want to try harder. I think to myself, Is this the best that I can do? Can I do more? Lot of things go through my brain. Sometimes other things go through my brain. So yeah, I just keep going.

Q. Who developed it first, you or Venus?
SERENA WILLIAMS: She says that I did, and it was something she admired in me. We kind of just feed off each other with it now.

Q. You said a lot of things go through your brain. Tell us a little bit about your self-talk out there. Do you ever get sick of your own voice?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It's interesting. I'm trying to find that groove. When I'm in that groove, I always say certain things to myself. Haven't played in a while, so I'm trying to get back in that groove of what I say and what I do, how I think, how I approach the game.

So, yeah, I'm still actually trying to find it.

Q. Interesting process.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yes, it is an interesting process.

Q. Back to the Madison Keys point, that people think about you more than most players. Is there maybe a flipside there that you have an aura you can use when you go on court? Do you think about body language, holding the space?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, there's definitely that aura, that kind of thing of playing Serena. At the same time these women are proud. They don't go out there and say, I'm going to lose because I'm playing Serena. They go out there and say, I'm going to play hard because I'm playing Serena.

That's what makes these ladies so strong. It's admirable because they don't think, I have to lose. They think, I have a chance. That's what they do.

Q. Someone mentioned fight earlier. Venus showed some incredible fight earlier. Were you aware of her scoreline and if that had any impact on how you were playing?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, no, I wasn't aware at all until I walked in the locker room after my match.

Q. You said something earlier that was interesting. You said you have nothing to lose. That's something that a lot of the top players who have gone out have said about the young, unseeded players, why they're so tough to play. How do you get yourself into that mindset of having nothing to lose when it would seem you have everything to lose, you're Serena?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, yeah, I don't. I've won Wimbledon seven times. I don't even remember all the times I've won. I can't tell you what happened on match point, so...

I don't necessarily have to win another Wimbledon in my career, saying I won -- was it six times?

Q. It was seven.
SERENA WILLIAMS: It was seven, okay. See, I don't even remember (laughter).

I don't have anything to lose. I have absolutely nothing to prove. Yeah, everything is a bonus. Every time I step out there, I know what I'm capable of. I know every Grand Slam, I've won 'em, I'm capable of just going out there and enjoying it.

Now, that doesn't always happen, but that's how I try to think.

Q. How much more dangerous do you think that makes you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I mean, not many other people on the tour have won 23, so I'm in a unique position. I mean, Roger is very close. He's catching up. He's right there. I can see him (smiling).

But that's amazing, you know. There's only a handful of people that can say that they don't have to do anything else in their career. Honestly, most people can say that because every day that we're out here and we're healthy, doesn't matter if you won or if you didn't, what we do for a living is a real blessing.

Q. When will Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, get to see you win your number eight?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. I have to keep winning.

Q. Have you set a date when she's going to come see you play?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No. One day at a time. Like I said, I've got to keep winning.

Q. You mentioned how all women who go out there go out there with pride, believing they can beat you. There have been more upsets on the women's side than the men's. Is there something about female athletes that have a greater pride and belief and fight compared to some of the men, who get maybe easier rides in the earlier rounds?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I can't really speak on that because I'm not a dude, and I can't really say what they think.

But I can say that women are really strong. I mean, we are real fighters. We fight for absolutely everything we get, every opportunity we get, whether it's tennis, any other sport, a company, a CEO position, a board position. We fight really, really hard for that.

We don't take anything for granted. I think it's really special that maybe -- maybe the men can learn from that. I think they probably work really hard, too. But I know for a fact that the women do.

Q. You seem to be getting fitter, stronger, more you every week, every day, hourly maybe. When you had to pull out of those tournaments before the French Open, were you still walking in there thinking, I can win this? Clearly you could win this tournament. But how did you feel going into Roland Garros in a state that wasn't what it is right now?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I felt good going into Roland Garros. I had a long time of training. I mean, serious training every day, all the time. I felt really, really, really, really good going into that.

I also didn't have any pressure on me. Like, you know, almost felt weird. Like, Wait, you should be talking about me. Then I realized that I do like that position of having that pressure.

It was really disappointing. I think I took that one hard. I was really ready to play my fourth-round match. But I think I made the right decision. I don't think I've done that maybe ever, I don't know. I feel like it was definitely the right decision because it could have been bad for the rest of the year for me.

So here I am. Now I'm in a position again where I'm continuing to climb the ladder instead of falling completely off.

Q. What went into the thought process of having Olympia kind of out there? Some players want to be private, like Novak with his kids. Olympia has her own Instagram page. Did you give it thought or figure people want to see, it would be fun?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. I didn't even think. I mean, it's 2018. I'm so modern. I'm so, like, that girl that's social media. I didn't even think about it, so...

For me, it was so natural. She's so fun. I just want to share those moments with everyone. We don't share a lot on her page, but we do share enough. It's just so cool.

Q. You both do it?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, we both do it.

Q. The other day you said you were surprised by the level of your competitive desire, that it may be greater than it's ever been. How about your appreciation for what you're doing, being out there? How does that compare with other times in your career?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It's amazing for me to be out here. A year ago I was still pregnant. Then my delivery took a turn south fast, so that wasn't fun.

But it's that that makes me appreciate that I'm out here, that I'm alive, that I'm able to be here and do well and to play well. I've had other injuries, like my foot injury was really hard for me. I really came back and took a lot of pride on coming back with that one.

I think those two are kind of the same.

Q. Before you talked about how other players up their game, but you learn from them. Aside from Venus, which player do you think really forced you to bring it?
SERENA WILLIAMS: That's just unfair. I've literally played in the era of all the great players. I mean, I played Steffi, Monica, then Lindsay, Capriati, Clijsters, Henin, Venus, then Hingis. I mean, I don't know. I honestly can't answer that. Each of them brought so much, so much to tennis, so much to the game.

I was really young, so I was able to learn and feed off a lot of it. I'm really proud of that.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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