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August 27, 2018

Serena Williams

New York, NY, USA

S. WILLIAMS/M. Linette

6-4, 6-0

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How are you feeling first match here?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I feel pretty good. First match of a Grand Slam is always good to get through. Yeah, feels good.

Q. You know what the draw is: you and Venus one victory away from playing each other. How do you avoid not thinking about that when so many people anticipate it?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Just got to play, hopefully get there. There's still several matches to play before you're there.

Q. How does it feel to play with the one sleeve, the tutu? Did you have any say in design?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It's easy to play in. Kind of aerodynamic with the one arm free. It feels really good. Yeah, the tutu is easy to play in because I practiced in it before. That was fun.

Q. The Nike spot featuring you as a little girl is getting a lot of attention. Do you remember that practice? Why was it filmed?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I can't say I remember that practice actually, but I definitely remember a lot of those moments, a lot of that time. It's just a really special, special spot, so... It's a really good spot.

Q. You're often a very tough critic of yourself. What has it been like to get to this point, and how do you rate your game right now versus the highs and lows you've experienced in the last several months?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It's not easy to get to any point in my career. That hasn't been that easy either. The highs have been great, the lows have been, you know, like your normal lows. That's kind of how it is. You have to get through all those moments to live the next.

Q. How would you compare where you are right now with what you've experienced the last several months?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Hmm... Right now I just feel like I'm on the road to getting better. I'm just going to be on that road till I get there.

Q. 11 years ago Aretha Franklin came to the stadium to celebrate Althea Gibson. Did you meet Aretha? Can you express what she meant to you and our country.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Wow, she was such a great person. Obviously I met her. She influenced pop culture, regular culture, black culture, so much. She was a part of so much.

It was such a tough loss for the world, to be honest. She is the epitome of an icon and will always be that.

Q. You've alluded a couple times, including today, on the court how the dynamics of this tournament, being so far from the city, makes it a little complicated in the mother role. Can you address that? You said Olympia is not great in the car. How much more difficult is it here than like at Wimbledon where you're five minutes away?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It's different because it's a much further ride away obviously. I have to take an extra two hours in transit that I'm not going to see her.

It's okay, though. I'm enjoying -- I'm still learning to put my mask on myself. I think this is almost in a weird way helping me.

Last question. They promised me I didn't have to stay long tonight. Anyone?

Q. At Roland Garros they told in an interview today they wanted to implement a dress code in Roland Garros, not as strict as Wimbledon.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't want to talk about that. Do we have any other questions?

Q. Talk about the match, how you played out there.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I thought it was a good match. It was a great first round match. Magda, she's such a fighter. She's a very hard worker. I've seen her at Patrick's academy a few times, so I kind of knew what to expect tonight. It was a little bit of a relief to know what to expect.

I think overall I had a little shaky start, but I got into it.

All right, I'm going to go to bed. Thank you. Good day.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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