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September 5, 2019
New York, NY, USA
S. WILLIAMS/E. Svitolina
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Elina was asked about what you were able to do in your career. She spoke reverently about you. She also said you didn't play your best today. Assess how you felt you played tonight, what this victory means to you.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, it's really good. I mean, to be in yet another final, it seems honestly crazy. But I don't really expect too much less.
I think today was solid. It definitely wasn't my best tennis. It's interesting that she knows that. She's a super professional to know that. She probably could have played better, as well. I definitely know I could have played better.
I'm just focusing on not that, just the next match.
Q. It was your 101st win here, tying Chrissie. How much do those marks mean to you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It's pretty cool. I didn't know that was even an option. That always makes it even more special when you hear those super cool things without even knowing.
Q. You said after losing at Wimbledon you felt you needed to play some more finals outside of the Grand Slams. Do you feel you've had enough final match practice for this one? How are you not going to lose this one?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I definitely wanted to play more tournaments. I was going to play Cincinnati. I had a great summer planned. Unfortunately, it didn't work out for me.
But at least I got to play some matches. Yeah, obviously there's a lot of things that I've learned in the past, but I just have to go out there, above all, most of all, just stay relaxed.
Q. Different emotions in a final compared to these other matches? Is that the sort of thing you felt you learned?
SERENA WILLIAMS: There's so many different emotions in finals. It just brings out so many highs and lows, nerves and expectations. It's a lot.
Q. Has anything felt different about this tournament than the last couple Grand Slams you've played in?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I felt more prepared this tournament. I mean, Wimbledon I probably had a week to prepare, so that was amazing. Australia, I was super prepared. I did great, then rolled my ankle. I shouldn't have even played the French Open. That was just a bonus just to compete in another Grand Slam.
I just feel like I actually had time to train. I trained more for -- I joked I trained more for Canada than I did for any other tournament this year, which was kind of funny.
I just had a really tough year with injuries, mostly bad luck. I just needed to get injury-free.
Q. Many people already can you see as the greatest, most people do. How important is it to match Margaret's record? Would you still be playing if you had already surpassed it?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I definitely would still be playing if I had already passed it. I've had so many chances to pass it and to have a lot more, but it's cool because I'm playing in an era with so many -- five eras with so many amazing players (smiling).
If you look at the span of the career, the players I've played, it's amazing that I was able to get this many.
Q. What have you learned from the last three Grand Slam finals that you think will help you on Saturday?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. I haven't really thought much about it, to be honest. I just knew I need to work harder, just do better. Like I said, Wimbledon, Simona played unbelievable. There was nothing I could do that day. Also, I didn't have too much time to prep, and playing someone that played that unbelievable was just a deadly combination for me.
I don't know. I haven't really thought about it too much.
Q. Your movement tonight was amazing.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Thank you.
Q. You won more of the long rallies against someone who probably came in thinking, I need to get her into long rallies. I think I saw Mackie Shilstone in your box. Have you been working fitness stuff with him?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I always work with Mackie. He doesn't always come to all the events. We always work together. I put a lot of time in the gym after Wimbledon, like I said, getting ready for Canada. Yeah, I put a ton of time in. Worked a lot on my fitness. It always feels good to train without pain.
Q. Your two possible opponents, out on the court now. Taking Belinda first, how would you describe her style of play? And what do you remember most about your matches against her?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, she takes the ball really early. She's had a great year. She has gotten incredibly fit. She's always been serious. She's continuing to be serious.
Q. Against Bianca, the aborted match not too long ago, what did you learn about her that day?
SERENA WILLIAMS: She really knows how to mix up the game and play different shots in different ways. Above all, I just like her as a person. She's amazing.
Q. You mentioned you played against five eras. Can you say the two or three toughest players you faced and the one way the game has changed?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I mean, it's hard to say. I have to say Venus. Obviously I lost to her the most. She's won the most Grand Slams in that era.
I don't know. I mean, probably Henin and Clijsters were great. Probably? They were really great. But then there's Lindsay, also an amazing player. Very tough to play against.
You know, Hingis was also an incredibly tough opponent to play. The list goes on and on. There's so many amazing players throughout so many years. Yeah, it's a lot. It is a lot.
Q. The way the game's changed?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, the game has just changed, I think there's so much more depth. I think when I first started, you could win a lot of easy matches, then you're in the quarterfinals, that's when it starts to get a little more tough.
Now, like, there's no easy match. Everyone's playing great. Everyone's just doing a lot better.
Q. In your mind, is this the best place you're in both physically, mentally, as far as opportunities in finals right now?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Obviously, I don't remember the third. I remember Halep.
Q. Last year here.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, Osaka and Kerber. Wimbledon (smiling), oh. That doesn't count.
God, I had like an eight-month-old. That's like amazing. Yeah, I think it's great. I think anyway to be this far in my career, to be playing at this level with these amazing new players is cool.
Is this the best opportunity? I don't know. I literally haven't thought about it this tournament. I've been way more chill.
Q. For you is it better, more important to think about the final here last year, use that as motivation, or not have it in your mind at all, pretend it didn't happen?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I mean, it hasn't really crossed my mind.
Q. You made a handful of finals since your child was born. Now that you're in another final, have you allowed yourself to just enjoy the moment and be present knowing you just had a birth which wasn't too long ago?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think it's cool that I've been in more finals than I think anyone on tour after being pregnant. I think that's kind of awesome. That's currently on tour (smiling).
I kind of look at it that way because it's not easy to go through what I did and come back, and so fast. To keep playing, to also not be 20 years old, yeah, I'm pretty proud of myself.
Q. You won here when you were 17 years old in 1997. If somebody grabbed you on your way out and said, You'll still be here in 20 years' time playing your 10th final, what do you think you would have said?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I would definitely not have believed them. At 17 I thought for sure I'd be retired at 28, 29, living my life. So, yeah, I would have thought it was a sick joke (smiling).
Q. Is it possible for you to remember how you used to think about players like Court, Goolagong, Clijsters that won slams as mothers, then what you think about that particular accomplishment?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think it's amazing to come back with a baby and win because it's hard. My day off isn't a day off. I'm literally hanging out with baby, I'm doing activities with her. I don't want her to forget me. I try to spend as much time with her.
I'm a full-time mom first, foremost. That means the most to me. So, yeah, I train, and then I rush home. The other day I found a trampoline park I wanted to take her to. At the end of the day, that's what matters to me, is just being there for my daughter.
Being in a Grand Slam is difficult because it takes away a lot of time that we normally have together. At her age, she's starting to really learn things. Her brain is processing things more. I want to be a part of that. I don't want anything else to take that away.
For me that's what definitely matters most.
Q. Patrick was in here a couple days ago and was asked about last year's final. He said he would coach in the stands again if it seemed like you needed it. You didn't want him to coach last year. Have you talked to Patrick about that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, no, he knows better than to say that to me. I think he was just playing with you guys. That's not, like, an option for me.
Q. It's been a long time since we've seen a meteoric rise like Bianca has done as a teenager. Can you expand on her special talents, her amazing season?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Like I said, she's a great player. She mixes things up. You never know what is going to come from her. She does everything else. She serves well, moves well, has a ton of power. She's very exciting to watch. It's good. I think it's great for women's tennis.
Q. You said you really want to try to stay relaxed on Saturday. Have you done anything different this tournament to try to stay relaxed, to keep that chill mindset?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think being on the court is almost a little bit more relaxing than hanging out with a two-year-old that's dragging you everywhere. I think that's kind of been a little helpful.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports