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May 30, 2019

Serena Williams

Paris, France


6-3, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How is the knee feeling?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It's okay. I'm still here, so it's doing okay.

Q. That's a good sign. 3-All in the first. She was playing very good tennis. What do you think was the difference when you started to win obviously three games in a row and win the first set?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think she was playing tennis the whole time, really good tennis the whole time. She was just playing really tactical tennis, and I just had to play a little bit better.

Q. Your return game today was ferocious. Even your misses looked good.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about how you approach returning? You want to end it right there?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I do want to end it, but I know that's not the best way. So I have been working on a lot of different things on my return in practice the past, you know, several months. Hopefully now it's starting to show.

Q. Amanda Anisimova was in here earlier and mentioned you stopped by and had kind words for her in Miami after she had a tough loss. Do you remember that? Could you tell us a little bit about that and why you made a decision to chat her up?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Who did you say?

Q. Amanda Anisimova. Just to quote her, she said it was something she'd never forget.
SERENA WILLIAMS: She's a good girl, and I really take to all the young girls out there that are doing well. I was heartbroken when she walked into that locker room, and I wanted to be there for her, because I have been there. And it's an interesting position, because it's just like no one ever says anything, even though I feel like a lot of people want to.

I just decided, I'm not gonna do that anymore. I've always wanted to. I'm just gonna go for it now and do what my emotions want me to do and not do the "professional thing," because maybe that's not professional. I just got to do what I feel and act how I feel.

Q. Is there any aspect of your game right now that feels easy, or is everything really a lot of effort right now?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. Like I said, I have had a tough year since I twisted my ankle in Australia. Like, it's just been really tough after that. So everything definitely feels a little bit harder than normal, but at the same time, I know that it's going to get better.

Q. I was commentating your match, so my question is, when watching the way that the tactical game that she puts a lot of high balls, trying to slow down the pace, and hit deep, which she did very well, and then when you took the advantage with being so aggressive, there's a shot that could work is the dropshot. Are you not comfortable dropshotting? Because there are so many times where she was so far behind the baseline.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I usually -- I don't know. I didn't think about it, to be honest. I'll take that to mind, though (smiling). Thank you. Yeah, I'm not thinking about it.

I have a really good dropshot. I really need to use it more often. I really appreciate that. Thank you (smiling).

Q. I'm doing a piece on 1999 season. It's a long, long time ago, but what do you remember about playing Steffi Graf? That's memorable.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Jeez. Wow. It was a great season for me. It was my breakout season.

I think I won my first Grand Slam that year. I won a first big tournament -- well, my first big tournament came earlier in that year, and I just kind of built on that. And it was great. It was fun. I mean, playing Steffi was legendary, and it was amazing. I'm so glad I had the opportunity to play, because I believe she retired after Wimbledon that year. I remember thinking, thank God I had a chance just to play her, because I grew up watching her, and she was, just, amazing.

It was a great year for me.

Q. Amanda in Miami, was that at all a maternal instinct, look at the younger girls in the locker room differently before you did before becoming a mom?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I feel like -- like I said I always wanted to do that. It's just always been in me. But I didn't know if it was the right thing to do. I do it to my friends, like, all the time.

But like I said, I just needed -- I just needed to do that, and I know she's super young. Like I said, I really love all the new young players. Like, it's just so exciting. I feel like tennis has done so much for me, and to see a new generation come through is great.

So I was really, like -- I was, like, I gotta, like, I can't sit here, I can't sit here, I can't, I can't, I gotta make a move. I wanted to.

Q. Another good win today. When you look back at the success you have had at Grand Slams in the past, do you get a sense early on in a competition that I could win this? At what stage do you get that feeling that I'm in it to win it?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I generally come to a Grand Slam to win it.

Q. On the young players, you get Sofia Kenin next. I don't know if you have been on the Fed Cup team together. What do you expect from that match?
SERENA WILLIAMS: So I missed that Fed Cup, we were supposed to be on the team together. But I know her game really well. She had a really great run in Australia, and I have been watching her.

I think it will be a good match. She has a lot to bring to the table. She has a lot of excitement, and, you know, she's a good player. She's so young, and she's such a good player.

I really -- yeah, I'm actually looking forward to that match.

Q. Before the tournament there was a picture of you in a wheelchair at Disneyland...
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, that Ben retweeted?

Q. Not just Ben.

Q. Can you tell us a story about the picture and what was going on?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm not going to get into that. I'm playing, and all's good.

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