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May 27, 2019

Serena Williams

Paris, France

S. WILLIAMS/V. Diatchenko

2-6, 6-1, 6-0

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. We have not seen too much of you this year. You have had injury troubles. How were you feeling physically out there today?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Physically I felt pretty good. Yeah, I've had a lot of injuries. I'm usually not an injured player. But I sprained my ankle in Australia and everything went downhill from there.

I think I'm finally on the mend. But yeah, it's been a really interesting year for me thus far.

Q. You said you had some nerves on court afterwards. How would you compare this first round case of nerves to maybe some others on this court?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, it was weird. You know, I have been dealing with a lot, and then I just got nervous out there and I stopped moving my feet. And I was, like, concrete blocks on my feet. I was, like, You gotta do something.

But compared to other matches, I'm always a little nervous in Grand Slams, especially in the first round. But just -- I don't know how it compares, to be honest.

Q. Obviously she played a great first set. Then you sort of worked out the puzzle of how to deal with her. What do you feel was the turning point for you from the second and third set?
SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, I was just making so many errors. Every shot I hit, I felt like I was hitting on my frame. I usually don't hit balls on my frame.

I was just off, basically. And then instead of correcting it, I just kept getting worse, just to be honest.

I knew it couldn't get worse, and I knew I could only go up. That's what I told myself. I just gotta keep positive.

Yeah, it was just a strange start to that match, for me.

Q. Early in that second set you made a mistake. You let out a bit of a yell, stomped your foot. You sort of began to play much better from there down to the end of the match. I'm just wondering, in a moment like that when you have sort of a release like that, what is that like for you? And how can that affect you in the middle of a match?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I forgot about that. I don't think I have ever done that before. Usually I do that at a point or after a shot, and I just was so frustrated at that point, because I have been training well. I have been having -- the past week and a half has been really good, and, God, it was, like, This isn't the Serena I have been practicing with or that I see every day (smiling).

I was just so frustrated. I just let out this roar, and here I am. Yeah, so maybe that helped. Like I said, I have never done that before. Usually I do, but it's after a shot. But this time, it was just like, Ahh. Yeah...

Q. You're fairly used to coming into Grand Slams without maybe having played a lot of matches. Do you feel like you have enough tennis in you to find your best level here?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I feel like -- yeah, I do. I have enough tennis in me. I have 30-something years' worth of tennis, so I'll be fine.

Q. You are always sartorially elegant and you like to make a statement with what you wear. Today you wore a kit. I thought you looked like Super Woman. Firstly, can you tell us about the statements on your cape? And what super powers did you have to use today to win the match?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, we have, on the outfit it has words that has -- it's in French, and it says "Queen," it says "Champion," and it says "Mom," and those are things that mean a lot to me and reminders for me and for everyone that, you know, that wants to wear it. Just remind everyone that they, you know, can be champions and are queens. So I love that about it.

And I don't know, my super power today was just hanging in there and staying positive for once (smiling).

Q. I'd like to know if it was a coincidence that when you were showing, let's say, the bikini or whatever it's called, you were doing not too well. And then it was quite cold and wet, and then you covered better yourself and suddenly everything change. So you won the second and third set in 56 or 57 minutes. Do you think it has nothing to do with that? Were you suffering a little bit the cold, or something like that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I'm just crazy, to be honest. I think everyone knows that now. I just needed to change. I was, like, I've got to try something different. It's not my forehand, it's my clothes; right (smiling)?

So really, that's it. I'm just mentally a little off (smiling).

Q. Any time you're losing and you put your hair up into a bun, people say, Okay, now the match can begin. For you, what does that signify? Is that what you said in the last answer, just, it's the hair's fault, or...
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't think about it. I have heard that before, but I just think, I've gotta try something different, because it's definitely not my serve. It must be my hair.

It makes no sense. So it's all in my head.

Q. Going back to the beginning of that second set and you talked about the shouting out and the release of emotion, were you aware that the crowd had really responded to that, as well? And they started cheering to you? And how much are you able to draw on and sort of feed off the energy of the crowd?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I was aware that they started -- they were behind me I think before that, as well, but at that moment they stayed behind me, and they gave me the support that I needed just to come through that.

Q. There was a fourth word embedded in the print, if I'm not mistaken, "Déesse," or goddess? Those four words. That's a lot to carry, isn't it?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah. It is a lot to carry, but so is being Serena Williams.

Q. Can you enjoy your time at Roland Garros, or can you only enjoy it if you keep winning?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I mean, there is only one way for me to enjoy it here. I don't enjoy places when I don't win, so that's why I like playing in all four Grand Slams.

Q. Going back to the dress and the words on it, how do you feel that your sponsor was probably treating pregnant women differently until now apparently?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Can you elaborate on that question?

Q. Well, The New York Times said your contract was kept intact during your pregnancy and other women under contract with Nike lost some money.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yes, I actually read that. I understand that Nike has been really lately supporting women a lot, and it started with making a statement with me, and they said they want to make a change. They want to support women that want to have families and that want to be moms.

I'm glad that statement was made, and I know that herefore and going forward, they're doing better. That's what it's about. It's about learning from mistakes and doing better.

Q. Are you surprised that they had that policy in place? Why do you think they didn't apply it to you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I believe that in the past people don't perceive women athletes and having babies at the same time as they can still be athletes.

I feel like as time goes on, as technology changes and as, you know, the world changes, people realize that we have to change our policies. We have to look at old policies and change them.

And I think that Nike wanted to do that, and they started doing that. And so I think they made a really bold statement by doing that with me, and I think they're going to -- I know, actually, that they're going to continue to make that statement.

Q. Did you consider at all just saying, Pass on the French Open, after so little clay court tennis and the injury you had in Rome and just go to Wimbledon and the grass? Or did that never really seriously cross your mind?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It crossed my mind every day, but I'm here. And to do the best that I can do.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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