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BNP PARIBAS OPEN


March 8, 2019


Serena Williams


Indian Wells, California

S. WILLIAMS/V. Azarenka

7-5, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Earlier, Victoria was talking about this being an emotional night, playing you again. At the end of the match in the on-court interview you seemed also pretty emotional. What were the emotions like?
SERENA WILLIAMS: She's a very good friend. I would say we're pretty close. We're both moms, and we know how hard it is and how hard it's been for us to come back, you know, and starting literally from scratch and fighting our way back.

It's been an arduous road, and I think we both really appreciate both of our efforts to do the best that we can do.

Q. Was this a symbolic victory for you, based on the way you played, competed tonight, the level that you hit, maybe something that could really help you down the road, get you where you want to go?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I thought about that and that kept me going. It was really good for me to kind of fight through that, because literally I had to fight for every point.

Q. The U.S. women's soccer team today filed a lawsuit over wage discrimination. As someone who has been passionate about issues like that, what's your message to them as they start this process?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I don't follow soccer as much. I do know that the pay discrepancy is ludicrous.

It's a battle. It's a fight. You know, we have had some incredible pioneers in our sport that stood up in the '70s and said, with this dollar, those 13 women said we're going to get paid what the men paid. They stood up way back then.

I think at some point, in every sport, you have to have those pioneers, and maybe it's the time for soccer. Like, I'm playing because someone else stood up, and so what they are doing right now is hopefully for the future of women's soccer.

Q. When you have not played for six weeks, which is the case here, and you have such a tough first-round match, what's the secret to playing so well so quickly? Because we have seen you do this in Grand Slams, as well, when you have had a very tough first-round draw.
SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, just being prepared, prepared for this tournament and just going for everything and every point.

I think preparation is key.

Q. Your relationship with Vika, how common is that on the tour to have those kind of friendships?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It's not super common with a lot of top players, but recently, I think in the past few years, it's been more common than it was when I first came on tour. I'm close with a lot of the ladies on tour. So I think it's getting more common, and it's great because a lot of us travel. We see each other more than sometimes we see our own family members.

I feel like we, in the group in the locker room, have gotten more supportive than it was when I first came on tour and just grinding every week. You know, these are not only -- we play against them, but they are also our colleagues, and I feel like that's how I try to look at it.

Q. You have played two tournaments this year, and you played three former No. 1's already. What does it say...
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't have very good -- I always have the toughest draw, so...

Q. What's that say about the current women's game, you think?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. It means I have just been on tour a long time to play a lot of former No. 1's.

Q. That was an extraordinary match to watch, and there was a great atmosphere. But when you are in the middle of a battle like that, are you able to enjoy a match like that, or is it just too difficult? One, because it is the heat of the battle; and, two, it's someone you are very friendly with across the net?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think that it's -- you can't really enjoy it, because then you'll lose focus. So it's like you've got to kind of stay in the moment, you know. And it's important to -- like, sometimes you realize, Oh, my God, this is going to be a classic. But you can't let your mind go there, because you wouldn't want to watch it in the future (smiling).

Q. Today your serve, very fast. I believe the fastest serve tonight is, like, 113 miles per hour, and then right after that you had a 107, like, ace. How do you keep that speed so consistent? And also, are you aware how much, like, how fast you serve during the match? Do you look at it?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I see every single time how fast I serve. I look at the speed clock, if there is one, every single serve. Or after the point is over, if it's still up, I'll try to see what my speed was.

I didn't serve hard tonight or good, so I'm not sure what you're talking about. (Laughter.)

Q. You said on court afterwards, you talked about being from California and how you connect to California. As you're thinking about settling down with your family, are you thinking Florida, California, or are you thinking about it not at all?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I'm still on tour and very much involved in tennis, so not really thinking about that yet. You know, I'm just...

Q. Pre-K is sneaking up on you.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I know. I actually feel ashamed I haven't really thought about that. Yeah, I thought about that I didn't think about that a couple weeks ago. And I was getting nervous because I understand a lot of these schools are filled up, like, when your baby is in your belly.

I'm like, Oh, my God, what am I going to do? I don't know what I'm going to do. I really am kind of nervous that I'm not nervous more about it.

Q. You spoke beautifully about how you wouldn't be where you are if it weren't for, basically, the courage and actions of others in the past. Billie Jean King speaks glowingly about the work of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Are you familiar with her work?
SERENA WILLIAMS: With who?

Q. With Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg who was a women's advocate before she was on the Bench.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm actually not, so I need to do a little homework. Yeah.

Q. Obviously not getting any easier with GarbiƱe Muguruza in the next round. What are your thoughts there?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It will be good. I haven't played her in a while. I think tonight was a good match to get me ready for that, and I'm ready.

I feel like, you know, this is, you know, what -- this is what I want, so I'm ready for the next round.

Q. In the match tonight, there was a few moments where especially in the second set you were obviously already playing very well, but then you'd each dig a little bit deeper and raise your level further. What are some of the triggers happening in the match in your mind to make you decide to elevate the game even further?
SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, just being professional more than anything and just wanting to be out there and continuing to be out there. I think really, literally, that's what it boiled down to today.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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