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September 2, 2018

Serena Williams

New York, NY, USA


6-0, 4-6, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You started so well in the first set. How tough was it after that great level to find a different gear after she started pushing you more?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It wasn't easy, obviously, but I feel like, you know, I think one thing she did well was change her strategy and started doing just completely different game and gave me a different look to her game.

Q. Is it tough when you start almost a perfect set to then have to come down from that a little bit and come down to earth?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It's not tough, but, you know, I feel like I did -- I made one or two crucial errors and that cost me the second set, or at least cost me the first game. Then she was holding pretty well at that point.

So it wasn't like my level went down tremendously. It was one or two points that made a huge difference in that second set.

Q. What is the key for you mentally to be at your best when there is a situation that has so much pressure?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I mean, fortunately I didn't feel pressure, and I don't really feel pressure, because I'm on this journey of getting back to where I was.

Yeah, I'm kind of enjoying that, to be honest.

Q. You have obviously broken many records throughout your career. Talking about your career longevity in particular, how much does that mean to you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, I think it's -- I don't know. I think it's great. I never thought I would have been playing this long. Now I think about it, and it's, like, hard to imagine life without tennis. It's just weird. When you're young, you're at a different mindset than when you get older.

Q. I'd like to ask you about the US Open championship trophy itself. How heavy is it? What do you do with it when you leave here?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, it's actually not heavy at all. It's pretty light. My first one, I gave to my dad, and I told him I'd get another one, so...

And the other ones are in random spots. I'm not a trophy hoarder, so to say. I remember one time winning and it was sitting at my house -- it comes in this massive box. It was sitting there for, like, a few months before I got to opening it.

Q. You have spoken so much about how you want to win these Grand Slam titles and everything a little bit more now since you have had your daughter. I'm wondering if you have been able to pinpoint that, whether it's to share the title with her and be able to share that experience or be an example for other people? You have kind of said a bunch of different reasons.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't think I want to win more. I don't think my desire to win could have been more five years ago or today. Like, that desire has not went down at all. And I don't think it was capable of going up, because if it was at a 10, I was at a 15 or a 20, and I'm still there.

I think I spoke to the fact that I'm surprised that it hasn't come down to a 10. It still remained at that incredibly high level to compete and to want to win.

It would be wonderful to win a Grand Slam while having a daughter, but it's a lot of work. You know, it takes a lot of work to win those tournaments. I'm only in my third one back. I'm going to continue to grind and see what happens.

Q. Can you please talk a bit more about motherhood has changed, how you handle that now with tennis.
SERENA WILLIAMS: It's great. I feel that motherhood is definitely the best thing that's happened to me. I enjoy every second of it. I didn't think I would enjoy it so much and be so involved to a point where, you know, I'm just overly -- you can't be overly, but if you could, that would be me. I'm one of those (smiling).

But for me, I just really have enjoyed having -- I have always had a lot in my life, but just having that bit of more.

Q. The scream that we all heard, was it a sigh of relief? What was going on there?
SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, it was just -- I don't know. It was a Serena scream (smiling). I don't try to do it. It just comes out, and it's just emotions and just -- you're out there. This is my job and this is what I do. This is how I earn a living. I'm going to do it the best I can.

Winning a big game and a very important game and a really tight game, I think it was just a relief.

Q. When you have a difficult mother, through the process, she thinks immediately if she would give you a brother or a sister to that boy or to that girl. Is that your case too or after what you went through all the troubles, you wouldn't like to right away? You would wait for the end of your career? Tennis-wise, it would be impossible to have two instead of one?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah. Maybe if I had two at one time that would have been a different thing (smiling). I probably still wouldn't have recovered from that.

I have obviously thought of having more kids, and it will happen, God willing, in time. I think everything is going to happen in time.

Right now it's not time yet because I'm thinking about playing tennis and enjoying this time with Olympia. And then I'll have plenty, plenty of time in the future to hopefully, I don't know, to see, to add to that.

Q. Sometimes the mother want to have the two sons or daughters close to each other. Some others say it doesn't matter. For you at the beginning was that the idea?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, actually I think it's good to have them close to each other. After Olympia, then maybe I'll do the next, God willing, two close to each other.

Q. What did you take from the last physical match that you would take into your upcoming match?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, you know, she came out strong and she came out very well. I have watched her a great deal since then. I have taken a lot from that match and I think we are in different positions now. It will be an interesting match.

Q. After your match against Venus, you said that that was more of an emotional test than anything else. It was a very emotional test for you. Was today's match more physical and tactical test for you? If so, how do you evaluate how you did?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I definitely think it was more tactical and, I don't know, physical, I guess. But I feel like just getting through it in general was all I'm looking at now and not looking back and just moving towards the next match.

Q. What are the best parts of Pliskova's game?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Obviously her serve. She has a really good forehand. In fact, she doesn't do a lot of things bad. You know, obviously I think she was No. 1 last year, so she got there for a reason.

Yeah, she has a lot of strong parts to her game.

Q. You said on court that physically it had been harder than you expected coming back from childbirth. I'm wondering what's been the hardest bit and what did you expect when you started the process?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think society puts it out there that you'll just kind of snap back and that's just a myth. I feel like it's important for women to know that it doesn't happen like that in the Instagram world. But in the real world, it takes a while for your body to come back. Especially after a C-section, I think it takes a little bit longer.

And not only that, like mentally and physically and dealing emotionally with providing for another child, it's a lot that goes into it. And I was just living in this world where I thought it would just automatically come together. Yeah, my dress, I kind of look like a magical fairy, but it's not happening. So I had to realize and live in reality.

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