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July 13, 2019

Serena Williams

Wimbledon, London, England

S. HALEP/S. Williams

6-2, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. What was most surprising for you out there today?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. She just played great. So I don't think it's a surprise for anyone to play great against me.

I just was trying different things. Today nothing really helped. But also made way too many errors for a lot of stuff to work.

Q. You lost three slam finals since coming back. Getting there is an incredible achievement, given what you've been through physically. Wondering what you think from your perspective is missing from you winning these Grand Slam titles? Is it preparation? If you play your best, many people think you would beat anyone. What has stopped you from finding that level?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. I don't know. I just have to figure out a way to win a final. Maybe it is playing other finals outside of Grand Slams would be really helpful just to kind of get in the groove so by the time I get to a Grand Slam final I'm kind of used to what to do and how to play.

Q. It looked from courtside a lot of nerves. Was there tension in your arm, in your game?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't think there was too much tension. I just feel like -- yeah, I don't think it was so much tension.

Q. There seemed to be times you had a few short balls that you seemed uncharacteristically indecisive. Was her defense getting in your head?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think she was getting so many balls back. I do have a strategy for players that do get a lot of balls back, which I thought about far too late. I think I was overhitting it, trying to go for too much. She was getting just a tremendous amount of balls back.

Q. You had the Duchess of Sussex supporting you. Second time she's watched you this tournament. What is it like to have her backing you while you play tennis? Did she send you any message before the final?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yes, just having her in general as a friend is great. She's such a great friend and a great person as well. Always positive no matter what. It's so good to have people like that just to know. She's such a fan of the sport.

She, too, was happy for Simona. She saw she played unbelievable. That's just the kind of person she is.

Q. Coming into this tournament you were injured, missed a lot of tournaments this year. If you could put this whole tournament into context, or is that too hard right now?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, no, I don't think it's too hard. I was definitely -- I can't say I blame injury. I wasn't injured when the tournament started. That really is a positive for me, so...

I just think that I just have to just keep going, you know, keep trying, keep working, maybe be able to play some tournaments uninjured, like I did with this one. Just keep moving forward.

Q. When you look back on your career, how painful is this loss? Rare you've been beaten so comprehensively. Does it strengthen resolve to come back and win the 24th Grand Slam?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think for me any loss is not easy, per se. Like I said on the court, when someone plays lights out, there's really not much you can do. You just have to understand that that was their day today. Hopefully they can play like that more often, more consistently.

Hopefully I can raise the level of my game sometimes.

Q. You said before your semifinal match that you woke up in a contemplative mood, felt this calm come over you as you were thinking about your first win here. What was this morning like for you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: This morning was fine. I didn't overthink anything. I just had my regular routine this morning, nothing extraordinary, nothing out of the ordinary.

Q. I've heard quite a few sportsmen and women say they get more nervous as they get older. Golfers don't like the short putts when they're older. Do you feel you're more tense before a Grand Slam final now than, say, in your 20s?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. It's different. Now, you know, in my 20s -- I'm always expected to win, but it's a different circumstance for me. Seems like every Grand Slam final I'm in recently has been an unbelievable effort to get there. It would be interesting to see how it would be under different circumstances.

I can't say that I have a lot of tension or super tense. The only thing I can say is today I think my opponent played unbelievable.

Q. You were talking about possibly playing more tournaments. Would you consider playing San Jose? What are your thoughts about the rest of your schedule?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't think I'm currently entered in San Jose, so no. But I'm just happy to be able to train and practice and work and continue to work towards my goals. That's definitely next for me.

Q. I know this is an obvious question. As time marches on, is it going to get harder to win one of these?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. I mean, I don't really think about it really. I just go out there and play, see what happens. That's kind of how I've been in my whole career. You know, I never thought about time in general.

But, yeah, I don't know. I don't think it's harder. I think it's just, you know, coming out there and doing the best that you can do. That's really all you can do really.

Q. We know your record prior to this against Simona has been a remarkable record. You played her 10 times, beating her nine of those times. Could you tell early on she was playing different today, that you might be in trouble against her?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Not early on. I definitely knew that she was just playing her heart out. I felt like, Okay, what do I need to do to get to that level?

Q. There are a lot of expectations for you in finals. It's two players, two different journeys. Roger said he got to the finals but he has a long way to go. What would you have done differently knowing you both got there?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know if there's anything I could have done differently. I think I gave a great effort for this fortnight. Again, I just think Simona just played her heart out. If anything, I could just learn to be like that.

So I don't think there's anything too much differently I could have done today.

Q. Having seen that Roger Federer was capable to play the way he still played almost 38 years old, of course he couldn't become a mother, do you think physically that's the difference? You can practice and get a better physical condition so it will help you maybe next year, even though you'll be close to 39, to be competitive as you were before?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. I think it's definitely different. I feel like I'm still incredibly competitive or else I wouldn't really be out here, per se.

For the most part, I feel like I'm on the right track. I'm just going in the right direction in terms of getting back to where I need to be.

Q. You talked about before the tournament wanting more matches. You added mixed. You talked about not playing San Jose. Do you think you need to start scheduling heavier than you have been in the last couple years?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I'm entered in Toronto and Cincinnati. I don't think I need to play San Jose in addition to that. I think there's a limit.

I think if I overdo it, then that could also be a problem, as well. Especially on the hard courts. I've been on the softer surfaces, so to say. It would be interesting to see how my knee is on the hard court.

I definitely don't want to do three tournaments before a Grand Slam. I think it will be fine.

Q. Is the knee then still a problem? Is it not fully resolved?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, my knee feels great. I couldn't be happier with it. So, yeah, I'm really excited to test it out and keep going.

Q. When you lost in the Australian Open to Karolina, you were asked about getting Court's record. You said, I'll get it in the French, next time. You seem more reserved this time. Do you still believe you'll win the US Open, for example, next? Do you think you'll match the record this year, next year, at all?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I had no chance at the French this year, for sure. Someone told me I shouldn't look at the records any more. I should just focus on my game. That's kind of what I've been doing since I got to 18.

In the meantime, I got pregnant, had a baby, so... That definitely plays a little bit into it.

I don't know. I feel like I'm just really on this journey of just doing the best that I can, playing the best that I can when I can.

Q. The crowd in my mind seemed overwhelmingly behind you today, and behind Roger. Is it could be an appreciation that both your journeys could be coming to an end in one, two, three years? Did you feel that? Was it any extra pressure on you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I definitely felt the support and the love. I appreciated it. I wanted to do better. I don't think my opponent wanted me to do better today, so...

But it's cool. Yeah, no matter which way you look at it, we're not going to be out here in the next three, four, five years. The time is now to get out there and to watch us play, I guess.

Q. There's always comments from the stands. Someone told you to wake up. Did you hear that? Did that affect you, provoke you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Actually I did hear it. I definitely wasn't asleep. But I did hear it.

Actually sometimes the comments help me, whether they're good or bad. Yeah, it didn't bother me at all.

Q. A negative one to end on. There have been a few comments made in the last couple weeks by people like Billie Jean King that maybe you should stop being a celebrity for a year, stop fighting for equality, and just focus on the tennis. How do you respond to that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: The day I stop fighting for equality and for people that look like you and me will be the day I'm in my grave.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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