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January 21, 2019

Serena Williams

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia


6-1, 4-6, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. I'm going to ask you not about your game but about a comment by Lindsay Davenport and Martina Navratilova. We had the Legends media encounter. Both expressed a lot of concern about the fact that the Fed Cup has not had the same attention as the Davis Cup. You know, there is a new format. Everything is happening for the men and not for the women. You have been an advocate for gender equity. What are your thoughts about that? How do you feel about that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I would like to see some change to the format of Fed Cup, personally. I like the format, but it's also exciting to see some different things. What is that change? I don't know. I don't know what that means or what it would be.

But, yeah, we definitely want to keep, because Fed Cup is such a great thing to play for the country and to play other people and to just to go out there. It's one of the few times we have to be a team, you know. It's fun. It's actually really fun.

So it would be nice, but I don't know what that change is, and I don't know what it would look like. It's something definitely to talk about and to start discussing to see if it's even plausible and go from there.

Q. The match seemed to turn there with those break points you faced at 3-All in the third set. Did it feel, in that moment, that that was pivotal to the outcome?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I can't say it did in that moment, but I was just at that point trying to win every point.

Q. Talk a little bit about how things kind of shifted from you were up a set and 2-1 and second set kind of went a little different.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I mean, that's why she's No. 1. She literally lifted her game to a new level. I didn't. I kind of stayed at the same level, and I should have looked at my game, as well.

But it's a part of this journey on my way back. You know, like I was saying, it's 10 months, so I can't be too upset at myself. I felt like I did have an opportunity to win that in straight sets, but then I'm playing the No. 1 player in the world.

So I'm still learning, which is, at my age and my point in my career, I think admirable and exciting that I still have things I can learn from.

Q. How do you feel about your overall play today and playing overall going into the next round? What specifically would you like to be better in the next match?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think overall I'm hanging in there. I think overall I'm solid. I can definitely go to a new level. I have to if I want to stay in the tournament.

Q. Inquiring minds want to know, but do you and Roger Federer have to share custody of Anna Wintour as your box fan?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, fortunately enough we were playing on opposite days. I can only speak for me, but I know he was excited and I know we both wanted her to come to this event in particular, because she's never been to Australia. We were trying to get her to get here and she finally made it. So it was good.

It's always good to see her. She's such a big fan of tennis. It was a pity that she hadn't made it all the way over here yet, so I'm glad she did.

Q. Can you just tell us what happened with the walkout? It was a funny move.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, I think, I don't know really.

Q. You thought you were going first, and then that wasn't the case, or...
SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, the walkout? Yeah, I thought, because I walked out -- they told me to go first in the walkout, and then they called Simona's name first, so I was, like, taking a step back (smiling). It was, like, I'm sorry.

Q. You were talking about being on a journey, that this is all part of a journey. What are the things you have really learned in this phase of your journey?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. I feel like each day, each match, and each tournament I'm learning something, and I think today I'm just learning that I can, I have to fight for titles. I have to fight for matches. Actually, I don't have any titles yet, but I'm just fighting for matches is really important.

Q. Patrick was in Stefanos's box yesterday for his match against Roger. Is Stefanos someone you have seen around the academy? What did you make of his win over Roger yesterday?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, we trained together like a couple weeks ago now, and I see him at the academy, at Mouratoglou's academy, so it's always nice.

I thought it was an incredibly high-level match. I mean, I couldn't keep up. The balls were flying so fast. I just was wildly impressed with Stefanos.

At the same time, you just don't root against Roger. It's kind of like a thing. So you always want to see him to do well no matter what. But it was a fantastic match to see. It's a shame there couldn't have been two winners.

Q. It seems like there are cameras everywhere to the point where we could see you stretching with the band before you came out before your first-round match. We could see you talking with Patrick after one of your matches. Are you aware of those cameras? How do you feel about that? It seems like there is just nowhere for you guys to hide anymore.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, where I warm up there really isn't a camera there so much. I notice that there is one, a physical camera they had to actually bring there.

But it's interesting, I actually didn't notice it, until I assume it's you that's been asking everyone?

Q. No.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I was wrong to assume that.

But, yeah, I didn't realize that until I heard someone asking everyone about the cameras. And then I was, like, Oh, there is a camera there. Oh, there is one there. They are everywhere, which I actually didn't realize. Good to know.

Q. That first set after you dropped the first game there, is that the best tennis you have played since you have been back? You were impressive for the next string of games.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I played really good in that. I don't know if that's the best I have played. I honestly can't remember the matches, but probably. But that goes to show you that you have to play well for two sets. You can't just play well for one set or six games. You have to bring it every single point, every single game, until the match is literally over.

Q. What's it say about you as a competitor and what's it say about the standard of women's tennis that you can have four games since September and still reach a Grand Slam quarterfinal and beat the world's best player on paper?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. I think it says that -- I think it says more about me than women's tennis. I think it says women's tennis is amazing. It's at the highest level it's ever been. Of course I'm the biggest advocate of women's tennis but I really do believe in my heart that everyone is playing well, and it's tough out here.

But I have been working really hard, and I haven't played that many tournaments on my road back, but I'm just trying to do the best that I can do, and I think I will get there. I don't know when, but I know I will get there. That's what I'm going to do.

Q. It's been what, 22 years now that you have been playing. So when you go on court, do you get satisfied when you're playing?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I do. I think more so now, actually, than the beginning or the middle of my career. Way more now.

Q. I think it's Karolina Pliskova next. A little bit about that match.
SERENA WILLIAMS: We have had good matches. She's beaten me on an occasion or two or three.

She's always someone that comes out and serves big and plays well. I've got to return a little bit better the next day that we play, but I will be ready. I'm ready. She's ready, I'm ready, and let's do it.

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