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September 4, 2018

Serena Williams

New York, NY, USA

S. WILLIAMS/K. Pliskova

6-4, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Could you talk about the challenge after being down 2-4 and how you responded to that challenge.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I just wanted to play better at that point. I was playing really not a good game. I felt like I just need to make less errors and see what happens.

Q. What were you telling yourself in order to get yourself out of that? It seemed quite frustrating through the first few games.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I just thought that I wasn't playing my best tennis. I was thinking, you know, I can play better. So that was the good news. Then I thought just try to make less errors, because at that point I was missing a lot of shots. I just had to figure out a way to just try to at least make one, and one at a time.

Q. You've said a lot that you're in the beginning stages of your return, but here you are just a couple of steps away from a special ending. What are your emotions about that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I'd been a couple steps away at the last Grand Slam, so I'm definitely not ahead of myself. I still know that no matter whether I'm in the semifinals or the finals, I have a really long way to go to win that. Again, that proved to be true at Wimbledon.

I'm just taking it one at a time literally.

Q. When you were being interviewed after the match, you talked about how much it meant to you to be compared to Ali, especially because of his impact beyond his sport. Can you talk about the role athletes have in social activism and where you see your role in that.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't think athletes have a role to play. I feel like they can choose or they can not choose. And it's their choice. I think that's one great thing God gave us, is the freedom of choice.

My choice is to choose to just be the best, try to be, I'm not always perfect. Actually I'm never perfect. Just try to be the best that I can be. Maybe I can just influence one person, and that makes a change already.

Q. (Question about Nike and Colin Kaepernick.)
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I mean, he's done a lot for the African American community, and it's cost him a lot. It's sad. But he continues to do the best that he can to support.

Having a huge company back him, you know, could be a controversial reason for this company, but they're not afraid. I feel like that was a really powerful statement to a lot of other companies.

Q. There aren't anthems generally played before tennis matches. You have talked about police issues, talked about your nephew. Those kind of protests, is that something you would have taken part in had you had the opportunity in your sport?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I talked about this in the Time magazine article, I think. I don't remember actually. But I think everyone has a choice to do what they choose to do. Whether they protest it, which is a peaceful protest actually, or not, that it's the choice of being American. It doesn't make them less American.

And I think that's also something that's really interesting, is the fact that we all make up this world, because we have different views and different views on different views things, but that doesn't mean we can't be loving toward each other.

Q. To change back to the tennis. Talk a little bit about Sevastova.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I've seen her play a lot. She's been playing really well for actually a long time. So obviously I know her game really well. She clearly knows mine. So she's definitely someone that gets a lot of balls back and something I have to be ready for.

Q. Seemed like you were moving terrifically well this evening. Do you feel like you're moving as well as you have since the comeback?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I feel so. I feel like that's one thing I really worked on was my moving because it was a little suspect right after my return. I know that I'm fast when I want to be. I can get any ball that I want to, if I want to. I still feel that way.

Q. I noticed you warming up for matches in the skirts this week. I don't know if that's a special preparation, the big skirt you're wearing on court, or is that something you've done before?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I pretty much always warm up in skirts.

Q. What has been most encouraging to you on the tennis court during this US Open? Before the tournament you said you have more fire in your belly than ever. What has fed that fire during this tournament?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm here to do my best. I don't have 10 more years, at least I don't think so (smiling). I said that 10 years ago.

I don't think I have another 10 years of having opportunities to be able to play and win championships. Every match really means a lot to me. I kind of go out there and I just do the best that I can.

Q. Karolina was the first top-10 player you've beaten since you've come back. You played a few others. How big a step is that for you in the progression?
SERENA WILLIAMS: That's a really big step for me. Shocking, my first top-10 win. I really felt like I was playing well in Cincinnati, even though I lost. I was just on the verge. If I could have just had one more match before I played a top-10 player, I think I would have done better.

I'm getting those matches now. Just was so light on the matches. So now I feel like I'm at a level where I can play and try to compete against these amazing women in the top 10.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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