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July 2, 2018
Wimbledon, London, England
S. WILLIAMS/A. Rus
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. How is it to play your first match at Wimbledon as a mother?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It's good, I guess. I didn't think about that actually. But it felt good to play, just to be back on the grass. Two years, over a year. It definitely felt good.
Q. Did that performance give you any confidence to think you can go deep in the tournament?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm just taking it one at a time. I don't think I was at my best today, but I'm practicing much better. I feel as long as I, you know, keep going, hopefully I'll be able to get there.
Q. How is your arm doing? I know there was a problem with that at the end of the French Open.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah.
Q. How are you feeling?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Like I said the other day, I took a lot of time off with serving. I didn't serve at all. I took some time off of tennis, as well. I just started serving when I got here.
But I think, as time will go on, it will get better. My arm is doing much better. My serve is a little playing catch-up, but it's doing better than I could have hoped, to be honest. It's all on the right track.
Q. Talking about your serve, are there any specific changes you have to make when serving on grass as opposed to other surfaces?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't think so. I've never made any changes. I feel like on grass my serve is always a little bit better. But I never do anything in particular for it.
Q. When you say 'better', is it faster, stronger?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It's faster usually. I think it's because of the grass, obviously, it kind of skids a little bit.
Q. There was a lot of talk on the TV broadcast about what you were wearing on your legs, if it was tights or panty hose or some type of compression.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, no, it's the same thing, I just got to keep compression on my legs for health reasons. Yeah, so it worked out great. I feel good.
Q. Can you tell us a little bit about your polo outing. I don't know if you've ever been before. What was it like? How did it all come about? I know you were supposed to come here. Also, did your friend tell you she might come and watch you play?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I enjoyed polo. It was really fun. It's an intense sport. I feel like they're going sometimes 45 miles an hour. I didn't know this at all. For me it's very scary. Wow, it's very respectable. I feel like every time I watch a new sport, I get so much new respect for it.
It was fun.
Q. It was your first time?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It was my first time at that place, yeah.
Q. You've been to polo before?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yes.
Q. Do you think Meghan is coming?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. We'll see. If I keep winning (smiling).
Q. It seemed like the wind was active today. I'm just wondering to what extent did that factor in your tactics or approach to the match, if at all?
SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, I haven't played a tremendous amount of tennis since I had the baby. And I haven't played in wind in a really long time. So I'm just not used to that yet.
It was really windy for me today. I just wasn't quite used to that level of wind. Something that I would normally be okay with, normally have, Oh, this is this. It's just getting all back to the hang of things, getting used to different circumstances.
Looking back I mean, at the time I wasn't happy. But looking back, I'm glad I had that win. In the future I'll be able to play a little bit better.
Q. You finished the match very well. Did you feel as though your play improved at all over the course of today's match? Did you feel closer to being where you would want to be?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I feel like definitely towards the end. More than anything, I just was trying to be more calm. I wanted to do so well. Sometimes that works against you sometimes. I feel like I maybe was just overly anxious and overly, like, overtrying, overdoing it.
But towards the end, I definitely was more calm, just making my shots, just playing a more serene game (smiling). I feel like it worked out.
Q. Do you feel as though you're here on this long winning streak, because you are, you just happened to take last year off, but winning the title in '15 and '16?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, I actually didn't think about it (laughter). So I guess not. Now that you mention it, I'll have it in my mind.
Q. Back to yesterday on the testing. You said you hoped for everything to be equal. Do you feel like you have been unfairly targeted by testing? If so, why do you think that is?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Like I said the other day, I had literally no idea until the article came out. It's one of the few articles I read. Like everyone else, I was surprised. I was like, I didn't know those numbers, I didn't know I was being tested three times more, in some cases five times more, than everyone else.
For me it was, like, I wanted to know why. So I'm in the same position as you guys. I really want answers. Like, then you hear people complaining about they don't get tested. I'm like, Well, you know...
Anyway, I think that's a question they have to answer, like why is it just one person as opposed to everyone. I'm just as curious as you guys are at this point.
Q. You don't feel like you have answers at this point?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't have any answers. I'm in the middle of Wimbledon. I think if it wasn't Wimbledon, I would pursue answers just to understand better. But, yeah, right now I'm just focused on this.
Q. You didn't seem very happy after either set. You said before that you're trying to be nicer to yourself. Does that go out the window when you're in the middle of Wimbledon Court No. 1?
SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, it's just hard to say. In the moment you want to do so well, you want to win. I have such high expectations of myself. I expect to go out there. I expected to win this match. I don't go out there expecting to do well, see what happens. That's just not me.
Not only do I expect to win, I expect to win emphatically. Sometimes, like I said, I put too much pressure on myself, I'm overanxious. It's really just about learning that balance for me still.
Q. Was the umpire calling you 'Mrs. Williams'? If so, did they ask you how you'd like to be addressed?
SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, it still doesn't register that I'm married actually. It's just crazy (laughter). So much has happened in the past 12 months.
Gosh, yeah. So I don't know. I clearly didn't -- I didn't think about it. I'll have to think about it next time. Well, I won't think about it, I'll just be out there, yeah.
Q. Vika said earlier today that the hardest thing about being a mom at these events is that you have to be selfish and carve out time for yourself when what you would really like to do is spend every waking moment with your child. Can you relate to that even though you're new at this? Does that resonate with you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm adjusting well. I spend so much time with her every single day. We, like, literally do everything. I really don't like being away from her. I also think it's healthy in a way for me to do what I need to do, be that working mom, then go back home and be the mom, so...
Q. On a day like today, are you spending any time with her in the morning? Is it all Serena time?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I wake up early, something I never said, to spend time with her. It's nice here because I had a later match. I spent all morning with her. Then she had her nap. Then I spent the rest of the time with her when she woke up.
But it's hard. I realized, like, at Roland Garros, if the days were long, like I was playing singles and doubles there, that was hard because I felt guilty. I was like, I haven't seen Olympia, like what am I doing. If it's the shorter days, now that I'm not playing doubles in this event, I have the day off, I think that will help.
Q. Do you think your little daughter notices somehow that her mom is very busy this week?
SERENA WILLIAMS: That's a good question. I don't know. She definitely notices when I'm away. I'm there every day of her life. So she does get super excited when I come back in. You guys are making me miss her (smiling).
Q. Your opponent, a tricky opponent to play on a day like today. Talk about her playing style.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I've never played her. Patrick, my coach, said she was a very tricky opponent after the match. Yeah, she did great, though. Like I said, I'm happy to get through it.
Q. As a prominent Nike athlete, how do you react to someone like Roger Federer leaving the company?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think both parties have to do what's best in their interest. I don't know the ins-and-outs and the details. I am still a Nike athlete. He's a Uniqlo athlete now. I'm sure he's happy. He's done so much for the Nike brand, the Nike everything, I'm sure it's all appreciated. I'm sure he'll do much for the new brand.
Q. Roger was telling us earlier on that he'd like to carry on playing long enough so his four-year-old twin boys can remember him playing tennis. Would you like to carry on playing long enough for your little girl to remember you playing here?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, I'm just playing until Roger stops (laughter), so... Gosh, how long? Did he put a time limit on it?
SERENA WILLIAMS: He said how many more years he's going?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, here I am. We in it. We in it together. As long as he's here, I'm going to try to be here.
Q. Do you think you'd be as comfortable in this role if you didn't have as big of a support system that travels with you so you can feel comfortable leaving Olympia? How much does that help?
SERENA WILLIAMS: That's helped a lot. I wouldn't leave her if I didn't have a good system and a good person. Grandma travels a lot now. Yeah, I would not feel comfortable with that.
Q. Why did Patrick wait till after the match to tell you you had a tricky opponent?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, he gave me every detail before the match about her, which was usual. He never used the word 'tricky'. He used that exact word after. Yeah, it was tricky. I was a little frustrated with my play. He said, Don't worry about it, it's a tricky opponent. I was like, okay.
Q. In the wind today, how much was that testing your patience? I was with you in Auckland. How do you keep your calm and cool?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I actually thought about that match. I said, You know what, just keep going, today.
Again, it's just me not used to playing in it. It's been a while since I've played in such wind. Then practice it's been so hot every day here. Today was, like, so windy. It was just totally different. I hadn't even had a chance to practice in it. For me, it was really different.
Q. What are your thoughts, if any, on LeBron's move to L.A.?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I just read about it today. I'm from L.A., so obviously I'm excited. My heart's in Florida. I still just love Miami. Yeah, I think it's great. I'm a big LeBron fan. It's great to see the Lakers have such a great player.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports