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August 13, 2018

Serena Williams

Cincinnati, Ohio

S. WILLIAMS/D. Gavrilova

6-1, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You made it look easy. We know it never is. How are you feeling tonight? How much did it help you relax to get that first break?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm feeling pretty good tonight. It's never easy, no matter what the scoreline says. Definitely felt relaxed after the first break, but it's just the very beginning of the match. You know, you've got to keep going and try to go in for the whole thing.

Q. Obviously you have to play again right away tomorrow, and it's not an easy match at all. How do you feel about that back-to-back so early in the tournament?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It's fine. You know, you've got to be able to go back to back. I don't get byes anymore right now. I'm okay with it. Yeah, just keep playing.

Q. How are you getting used to traveling with Olympia? And has she been pretty adaptable to new places?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, it's been good. She's so adaptable. She's so good at being so strong, so I love it.

Q. I was speaking to Vika and Caroline today about how important the message you gave through your post about it's okay to be vulnerable, it's okay to admit struggles. Especially for athletes it's not common. So I just wanted to know for you how important was it for you to say something like that? And just personally, for you, did it make you feel better?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think it's really important to just, first of all, whether it's publicly or not, just to talk about it to someone. This is a whole new position that I'm in. This is like -- I have been through a lot of stuff in my life, but I have never been through this, having a baby and feeling with the emotions and the ups and downs and the fears and the excitement, quite frankly.

So, for me, it's just -- I just love talking about it, because I feel like a lot of people have those same emotions and they don't have the same platform as I have. And mostly I want women out there to know that if I'm going through it and, you know, I know you're going through it, then, you know, we're in this together. Everyone, no matter who we are, kind of always have the same feelings.

Q. Andy Murray has been a vocal supporter of women's tennis the past several years. What has it meant to you to have him speaking out, showing support? He's going through ups and downs in his career now. You have been on tour alongside him for a long time, but how different or special is that voice he's had towards WTA, women's athletes?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, yeah, he has been such a great supporter for women, especially women's tennis. I really think he's a great guy. He really just is connected and understands the future and the world and life.

He's really in sync with that. It's been really great to have his support.

Q. What excites you the most about this part of the journey?
SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, just climbing, you know. Every step is a climb, and sometimes you slip but you keep going.

Q. Shot clock is new right now. Your thoughts on the implementation of that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I'm not a fan of it at all, but, you know, it doesn't affect me at all. I'm just not a fan because I play so much faster than the shot clock that when I first played with it, I felt like I had to play faster and I don't, really. So I just need to still play at whatever pace I play at even if it says 20 seconds right before I'm about to serve.

Q. We talked about Petra Kvitova, but is that a matchup that you enjoy?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah. I mean, we have had a lot of tough matches, so, yeah, I enjoy it.

Q. Do you feel this is your greatest achievement, being a mom?
SERENA WILLIAMS: For sure (smiling). Definitely. I mean, yeah.

Q. And it seems like you're also a grandma now. You have a Qai Qai in your life.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah. Yeah, I'm kind of having to take care of Qai Qai now because Olympia is living her life. She's young. She wants to live her life. And, you know, she's just like, Mom, I'm going to be free.

It's all right. I love Qai Qai.

Q. I get it.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah (smiling).

Q. You're known for really having such high expectations of yourself and being a perfectionist in tennis. I'm sure that does translate into mom and life and everything else. How do you kind of give yourself a break and a breather to know that no one is perfect, something new, especially being a mom? It's got to be overwhelming.
SERENA WILLIAMS: It can be overwhelming, and I'm -- I tend to be a perfectionist, and I like to do things at the standard that is maybe unrealistic, and that includes being a mom. So it's hard. Every day is a struggle for me in just terms of being regular and letting go and realizing that I'm not going to be a perfectionist at this. I'm going to make mistakes and that's okay, because everyone makes mistakes. It's just something I'm still going and learning.

Q. You played, I think, Kim Clijsters when she came back and won the US Open for the first time as a mom. When you saw someone from a distance going through that, winning, coming back as a mom, did it make it look easier than reality teaches you that it is? Or I don't know if that example pertains to you at all.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah. She was a lot younger than me (smiling). I so admired that, you know. And especially after becoming a mom, it was even more so.

Q. We know you have had physical struggles with blood clots before and had issues. In terms of training and ramping up in intervals, is that something you really had to watch carefully, taking care of yourself?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It's definitely been something I have to watch. I have been doing that, and so so far, so good.

Q. With the baby and whatnot and your health, do you think you're going to play doubles with Venus in majors going forward?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think so, for sure. I can't say I'm not. I enjoy it way too much. And we have so much fun out there.

Q. I'm just wondering, because this week they're going to vote on the Davis Cup reform, were you surprised, considering how big the investment is that they are proposing for that event, that Fed Cup was not part of that conversation?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know anything about that. I have been under a rock, so I'll have to learn about it.

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