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May 13, 2019

Serena Williams

Rome, Italy

S. WILLIAMS/R. Peterson

6-4, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. In the second round, you could play your sister. In Rome it happened another time. Do you remember something? It was 20 years ago.
SERENA WILLIAMS: That's crazy (laughter).

I mean, it was like the semifinals or the finals.

Q. Quarterfinals.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Quarterfinals.

I vaguely remember that, so I don't really remember. But, yeah, it could happen. We play each other a lot. Seems like every tournament nowadays we meet early. Yeah, it is what it is.

We'll see. She has a really tough first round. I'm really hoping she'll get through that, then we'll go from there.

Q. Can you give an assessment as to your first match, how it felt out there. How did it feel going from a while of practicing back into match play?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, it felt good to be back in the match. It's been a while. I haven't played a ton of matches this year. Not my choice, just by force. I really, really actually desperately wanted to be on the tour and to be playing, but it hasn't been able to work out.

It felt good to finally be back out. Hopefully I'll be able to keep it up.

Q. When did you actually start playing on clay? Do you have a court that is comparable to here and Roland Garros?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Obviously the United States, we have a Har-Tru, it's not really the same as the European clay.

I got to Rome pretty early for me. I got here, like, on Wednesday. I wanted to get here early to get used to the conditions and get used to the 'real clay'. It was good that I did that.

Q. How are you feeling physically? How long were you out after that left knee injury in Miami? How much have you been able to practice and train since then?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I actually haven't been able to train or practice a lot. I was out much longer than I expected.

But I, you know, did everything I could to stay fit and to keep my cardio up. I knew that I love the clay season and I wanted to be a part of it. I literally did everything that I could, and I'm here.

Q. Obviously you love Rome as a city. Is this the first time that your daughter has been able to be here with you? What's the excitement level in terms of being able to take her around the city and stuff?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It's great. She's actually been here before. I was briefly here last year, but she was so small.

It's really fun because I took her to the Coliseum, then I took her to the fountain. It was really cool to share my favorite city with her, some of my favorite things to see. Obviously the pasta and the food... It's just been really great.

Now when I go to tournaments, I really kind of want to get there early so I can have these different experiences and photos and videos and memories with Olympia. She might not remember it, but at least we'll be able to see it in the future.

Q. Does being a mother change your perspective of facing Venus in the next round?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It doesn't change at all. We're just as fierce, Venus is just as fierce. We both really want to get some match play. We'll both do the best that we can.

Q. In terms of the injuries, sorry to harp on it, but after Miami, what happened at the earlier tournaments, how have you learned to manage the body after coming back since the pregnancy, stay fresh for the big tournaments?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Honestly, I've just been on this diet basically. It's been awful. When you're sedentary, it becomes hard to manage your body. So it's just basically you have to eat grass. That's kind of what I did. It was a nightmare.

But it worked and it paid off. I didn't get to train too much. It's more of a process. I feel like I'm taking it one day at a time. I've been really putting in the hours in terms of, like, keeping my cardio as much as I could with a knee injury, which is really impressive how I've been able to do it. I called Mackie in. We worked really hard, worked really well together. We just did what we could.

So it's not about today or tomorrow. For me obviously it's about playing well at all the big moments, including this tournament because it is a big moment. Obviously the slams, et cetera, just getting ready for those events.

Q. There are eight million people at the Trevi Fountain. Everybody knows you. How enjoyable is it for you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It's okay. I just smile and take pictures. I don't mind so much. It's it is totally fine. Yeah, I was okay with it.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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