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July 1, 2018

Serena Williams

Wimbledon, London, England

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. I saw that you posted a picture of you with your daughter on Centre Court earlier this week. What was it like to show her where you work? Have you changed your approach to how accessible you are with fans when it comes to social media and why?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, you know, I did take her to Centre Court early on this week when I was here. I don't know. I got a little emotional when I was telling her a story about a girl who had a big dream. I started getting choked up. It was on my Instagram Live story.

I never felt that before, you know. Just taking all that moment and having the opportunity to share it with my daughter and my future. It was more than I expected. I didn't expect to suddenly get emotional. So that was really, really nice. We'll always have that. We'll always have that memory. We'll always have that footage of her.

I've been to the other Grand Slam, but I never actually brought her on-site. This was the first one. Obviously it was really special for me. I wanted it to be special for her, too.

In terms of social media, I feel like there's definitely a different side. I love having this family and having opportunity in the world of social, we live in the age of social media. I like sharing, but I also draw a line as to what I'll share and what memories we keep for ourselves and what moments we want to keep for ourselves so...

At the same time I feel so proud, you know, and it's so amazing that there's also lots of things I want to share, as well.

Q. Being at the French, being back here, how would you describe your competitive desire now that you're a mom?
SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, my competitive desire is definitely the same. I don't know if you saw the Being Serena on HBO, it was hilarious. I was in the hospital. I said something about Olympia playing. I said, Not if I'm still playing, I'm going to win. It was totally ridiculous. I was still on medication.

I don't think I ever actually lost that competitive side. In fact, I feel like it's stronger because I've been through so much. I put so much on the back burner, I feel like even more so I'm even more competitive.

Q. To what degree does that surprise you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, it definitely surprises me a little because I thought, you know, it would be different. I thought, you know, Hey, I have this amazing child, I have all these Grand Slams, this is all super bonus, and it is. I definitely feel a lot less pressure out there, but I am a little bit shocked at how much I almost want that pressure. You know, I almost want to feel the need to go out there and be the best that I can be.

It's weird, you know. I think it just speaks to who I am as an athlete and who Serena is.

Q. The decision on seeding players, they chose to move your seed from your ranking to No. 25. What are your thoughts on that decision? 25 too low, too high?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think I would be very ungrateful if I sat here and said it was too low, to be honest. So not at all. I don't at all feel that way. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised.

I came in here expecting that maybe I wouldn't get a seed. I do know Wimbledon tends to kind of beat to their own drum. That's kind of one thing that's been able to set them apart.

It was a little bit in the back of my mind, that I would have a chance, but I didn't put that on it. You know, I'm here to do the best that I can do. I thought it was very, very noble and honest and cool. Maybe not honest, but cool (smiling). I don't know where 'honest' came from.

Q. Have you had a chance to practice in the heat this week? How comfortable are you feeling on court?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I have had a chance. I think I got here early on last Sunday. It was really, really hot. Like, those few days were super hot.

I hit a little bit in Florida. It was sweltering. For whatever reason it felt more hot here. But I'm definitely used to the heat. I'm always playing in the heat. It's kind of nice. Everyone feels it. But it's beautiful. I've never seen such beautiful weather in all my time here.

Q. There was the story in Deadspin this week about the tester who came to visit you in June. Firstly, is it frustrating that that became released into the public domain by somebody talking about it in a public airport? How long do you feel you've been disproportionately targeted by testing?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, it's unfortunate how it, you know... I guess when you're in my position, you mention my name, maybe people hear things, overhear stuff, they want to tell the press. It is what it is. It's something that I've been learning to deal with and I've dealt with for a long time in my life.

Like, sometimes people like me just don't have that privacy. That's okay. That's something I've dealt with. I'm in that situation, and I'm okay to deal with it.

I actually thought the article was interesting, to be honest, because I never knew that I was tested so much more than everyone else. When I saw it, I actually learned from it. I thought, Wow. I literally didn't know that.

I do know I'm always tested, I'm always getting tested, all the time. No matter where I'm ranked. Until I read that article, I didn't realize it was such a discrepancy with me as well as against the other players that they listed, at least with the American players, both male and female.

It will be impossible for me not to feel some kind of way about that. I found it quite interesting.

Q. 20 years ago that you first played at Wimbledon. Can you give us your memories of that first time.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Was it 20 years ago? Wow, shh (smiling).

Q. Did you expect to be playing here 20 years later?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Absolutely not. 20 years ago I can't say, I'll be here 20 years later. When you're so young, you just think about, This is great, I'm going to be here, everyone retires at 26, 27, 28, maybe 30.

But I don't know. Things have changed. I think technology really plays a big part in that, education, people knowing how to feed their body, take care of their body, make their body better and greater for a longer period of time. We see athletes across all sports playing a lot longer.

So, yeah, I definitely can't say that I expected that. But 20 years ago. Did I win the mixed that year?

Q. The singles you won in straight sets. Laura or something like that. Do you remember anything about it?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I can't say I do. I'm definitely going to try to YouTube that. I remember playing here a few times. Oh, wow. Actually, I think I remember. It's crazy. It's just such great memories that I have here, which is why I wanted to bring Olympia here. It was just something special.

Q. What did it mean to you when you heard that Roger was asked who the greatest of all time is, and he said you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Honestly, I was surprised. I feel the same way about him. I think he's clearly, you know, the greatest player. I mean, if you go by numbers, it's men's and women's, it's different. But I always try to get rid of those, the stigma of men and women.

I just feel like he's such a great player and also an incredible, humble human being, which obviously shows. It continues to show throughout the years.

Q. At the French Open, you had to stop playing because of that injury. How long did it take you to feel recovered from that? When were you able to start training the way you like to? How are you feeling as you come in here?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Uhm, I was really down about that, to be honest. I was really, really, really down. But physically I was fine. I was working out every day. I just didn't serve, so...

I didn't serve actually till I got here, to be honest. Still I'm debating if I should go 120 or whatever. I haven't yet. But it's been good. You know, I often find the less I serve, the better I serve, which is totally weird.

But, yeah, so I got to Europe a little bit early. I served one day in Europe. Once I got here, I started serving more consistently. Just a little a day. For me, it was mostly just about the serve. So I took almost, what was it, three weeks from serving completely, just doing an incredible amount of rehabilitation for my shoulder, like twice a day, so much work. I don't think I've ever done that much, like, consistently back-to-back rehabilitation for something.

I think it worked because so far so good. I'll see how it goes.

Q. In Being Serena, we saw you made a lot of decisions, like when Patrick told you you had to give up breast-feeding. Can you talk about how you balanced those decisions? Also in the Deadspin article, it said you didn't take the test. If you didn't, can you confirm that, and why did you choose not to?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Okay, so you might have to remind me. I have that mommy brain now (laughter). At least that's my excuse.

So, oh, gosh, the first part again? I told you.

Q. You had make decisions.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, yeah, the decision.

So, uhm, yeah, that was interesting. Like, you know, I had planned on stopping in January. Then January became March. March became April. I was still breast-feeding. For me, it was really important to make it through three months, then it was important to make it to four months. I was like, Okay, I can do six months. I was training and everything.

Then I feel like for my body to recover, because I feel like everyone says, You're so thin when you breast-feed. I'm going to be totally frank.

Q. That's a lie.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Isn't it? Thank you.

I was vegan. I didn't eat sugar. I literally have my chef total vegan. Not French fry-eating vegan. Totally eating completely healthy. I wasn't at the weight that I would have been had I not.

So for me, it was interesting because all these articles, over pop culture, you hear, When you breast-feed, you lose weight, you're so thin. That wasn't happening to me. I didn't hear that from you so I didn't know that it wasn't true.

What I've learned through the experience: Every body is different, every person is different, every physical body is different. For my body it didn't work. No matter how much I worked out, no matter how much I did, it didn't work for me.

Once I got to six months, I felt good about it. Then it was just emotionally letting go. That was a different thing. I literally sat Olympia in my arms, I talked to her, we prayed about it. I told her, Look, I'm going to stop. Mommy has to do this. I cried a little bit, not as much as I thought I was. She was fine. She was totally fine. It was the strangest thing. I just learned from that experience, every physical body is different.

After that, like literally I lost 10 pounds in a week. It was crazy. I just kept dropping. I was like, that's when I learned that everything was different. Sorry to go on about that.

I wanted to say that so women out there know that's not true. Everyone takes things different. I think it's important for us to share that message.

Re the Deadspin article, in the article it also says I have a testing time. So every day, every player gives a time for testing. My time was actually 12 hours later. For some reason they showed up in the morning, which they are allowed to do. And if I'm not there, then they just leave. For whatever 12 and a half hours later. For some reason they showed up in the morning, which they are allowed to do. If I'm not there, then they just leave. For whatever reason they didn't leave. They said, I can come back.

I was like, I'm totally not in the area because my hour is actually a long time from now. I'm completely so far away.

I guess they decided it was a missed test, which really doesn't make sense. If you think about it, anyone would logically think about it that I would otherwise have to be home 24 hours a day, or I get a missed test. You only get three missed tests.

For me it's a little frustrating. How can I have a missed test when it's nowhere near the time I should be there? It's really disappointing, shocking. I was just like, That's just weird.

I'm still trying to figure out why and how that happened. We're in that together.

Q. Just to clarify, have you had a conversation with the relevant authorities to get an explanation why there's this discrepancy, why this happened?
SERENA WILLIAMS: A discrepancy as to how many times I'm getting tested or the missed test?

Q. How many times.
SERENA WILLIAMS: So I did have a conversation before I knew the information about all the other players. I had a conversation with the lead guy with USADA. I think he was mentioned, as well.

I sat on player council for 12 plus years. Normally it goes on ranking. I get it even if I'm No. 1. It goes on that number for ranking for 12 months. In January that 12 months for me would have been over. How is it I'm getting tested five times in June? It's only June, I've been tested five times.

I'm okay with that. Literally verbatim I said, I'm going with that, as long as everyone is being treated equally. That's all I care about. I despise having people in our sport that aren't being honest. I'm totally okay with testing and I encourage it. I'm okay for it. What I want to know is everyone is getting tested, that we are really working to keep this sport clean.

Tennis has given me so much. It's such an amazing sport. I feel like equality, that's all I've been preaching, it's all about equality. If that's testing everyone five times, let's do it. Let's be a part of it. It's just about being equal and not centering one person out. Just due to the numbers, it looks like I'm being pushed out. Just test everyone equally.

Thank you.

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