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August 25, 2018

Serena Williams

New York, NY, USA

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. What is your reaction to the French Federation's decision regarding the cat suit?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think that obviously the Grand Slams have a right to do what they want to do. I feel like if and when, or if they know that some things are for health reasons, then there's no way that they wouldn't be okay with it. So I think it's fine.

Q. Does that mean there's a negotiation of what happened between you and them? Should there be an outcome not favorable to you, would you consider not going?
SERENA WILLIAMS: The president of the French Federation, he's been really amazing. He's been so easy to talk to. My whole team is basically French, so, yeah, we have a wonderful relationship.

So, yeah, I'm sure we would come to an understanding and everything will be okay. Yeah, so it wouldn't be a big deal. He's a really great guy, yeah.

Q. Do you understand their perspective about the outfit? He seemed to say it was disrespectful.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know exactly what he seemed to say or what he didn't seem to say or what. We already talked. Like I said, we have a great relationship. We talked yesterday, yeah. Everything's fine, guys (laughter).

Q. Will you wear the outfit at the US Open? And can you explain about the circulation, health issues?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I've since found other methods. When it comes to fashion, you don't want to be a repeat offender (laughter). It will be a while before this even has to come up again.

Q. What are the other solutions?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I wear tights that keep everything going with my blood, make sure that I'm staying pretty healthy out there.

Q. You didn't wear the cat suit at Wimbledon, but you wore compression tights. Did you have a conversation with Wimbledon beforehand?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I did not have a conversation with them because I wasn't wearing that same cat suit. So, yeah, I just figured -- and by then I found a new solution which I've been working on for months to find something. We finally were able to figure something out.

Q. You got a pretty difficult draw. I don't know how far down the road you've looked. Well, how far down the road have you looked?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I haven't looked.

Q. So we shouldn't tell you anything. But you know you have a tough draw, right?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I do now (laughter).

Q. What are your thoughts as you step onto the grounds here knowing how different your life is from the last time you played at the US Open?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I feel like everything is just different in terms of I'm living a different life, I'm playing the US Open as a mom. It's just new and it's fresh.

Q. What does having your daughter in your life do to change everything about your approach to playing a tournament, even the US Open?
SERENA WILLIAMS: If anything, I have more fire in my belly. It's very hard to describe. It's very difficult to describe. I thought after having a child I would be more relaxed. I think I've said this before, but I'm not. I work just as hard if not harder actually. I just feel like I take it just as serious if not more. That's been really surprising for me.

Q. This is a lengthy comeback, you're taking your time. At the same time you're such a competitor, you always want to win. Where is the tipping point where you say to yourself, This is the time, I got to do it?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I've been saying that to myself every week. It hasn't quite happened. It's been just really a few months into me playing after having a baby, so...

I feel like I have to be nice to myself. I feel like I have to just be happy, you know, continue to work hard. I've been working incredibly hard. I feel like it will for sure pay off eventually.

Q. Are you the type of personality that never really can relax maybe whatever it is in life?

Q. Are you the type of personality that you can never relax in life, whether it's tennis or home or whatever?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I definitely am more of a high-strung person where everything is dramatic for me. But I've been working on just taking things more easy and being more light. Most of all, just being nicer to myself, trying to take moments where I can relax and I can just take different things and I can be easier.

Q. You took your daughter on Centre Court at Wimbledon. Have you done anything similar here?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It's a very long drive and Olympia is not very good in the car. Yeah, that's one of the toughest things we work on. She's not good if we're more than a five-minute ride.

We'll have time next year.

Q. (Question regarding her being a favorite.)
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. That I would be the favorite at this point, almost a year after having a baby, is quite interesting.

You know, I don't know my draw, but I feel like I'm going to have to play -- if I want to be the best, I'm going to have to start beating these people anyway.

You know, it doesn't matter to me. If anything, I can just continue to strive. That's the message I've been preaching to women and people, that we face obstacles. You have to face those obstacles. Whether you get through them or not, there's always another chance to get through them. You have to continue to work hard and believe in yourself. Things don't always go your way, but continue to climb that mountain.

Q. Is there a birthday party planned? Have you thought about how you'll celebrate on the day?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Olympia doesn't celebrate birthdays. We're Jehovah's Witnesses, so we don't do that.

Q. Is there anything about this tournament or this place that you think would elevate and give you special momentum or impetus?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. I think some of the memories I have have been really amazing. Hopefully I can keep making those memories.

Q. You've become known for your strength of character, your power, resiliency. Can you speak to who instilled those characteristics into you when you were younger and what traits Olympia will inherit from you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, definitely something that I've learned from my parents. That's what I try to do. Every day I am very positive with Olympia. We just continue to always have positive things. I tell her that she's great, that she's good, she's doing well. If she falls, she gets up, I tell her she did well.

I think it starts at a really young age. Apparently my parents did it to me, as well. I'm glad that I can continue to do that to her.

Q. Back to the cat suit. It spawned a million comments. You're used to it by now, but whatever you want to call it, does that get tiring when you see a quote, you know there's going to be a million articles written about that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, no, I'm pretty used to it. It's been happening for a while. Even if I tweet something, it can go viral, just a small tweet. For me it's something that I've gotten used to. Yeah, I just roll with it.

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