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September 3, 2019

Serena Williams

New York, NY, USA


6-1, 6-0

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. When you are in that zone, where are you feeling that? How does that feel?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It feels good. It feels like, okay, this is what I've been training for. This is how hard I've been working. It feels like, you know, hard work pays off when that happens.

Q. Any physical issues with the ankle as the match went on?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, not at all. Tape got a little loose, so I wanted to tighten it, make sure nothing happened. Other than that, it's much better.

Q. I saw Graf beating Zvereva 6-Love, 6-Love in the Paris final in 1988. 44 minutes. Zvereva was able to hit some winners. Today the Chinese girl didn't make one winner. Was it you playing unbelievable or she doesn't have strokes to bother you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I've been working on my speed, getting shots. I didn't give her too many chances in the match.

Yeah, that's a good stat for me. It's good because I want to be able to be able to move around the court. I move when I want to move. I guess I wanted to move tonight.

Q. Talking about your hundredth win here, do you think back to the first? Is there no time for sentiment now?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Gosh, first? I don't remember what the first one was. What was the first?

Q. I don't know.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Me neither (smiling). Hmm. I'm going to look that one up.

So, yes, I don't think back to the first.

Q. You and Venus both made your debuts at the WTA level without playing any juniors, ITF level juniors, before then. Something we never really see young players do any more. How scary was that at the time? Something you'd ever recommend to people? What are the benefits and pitfalls of doing that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I mean, I liked it. It was really cool. I think everyone has to take their own path. I thoroughly enjoyed going to school.

I was also on tour with Venus, so I kind of had a big cheat sheet. I think she had it way harder than me. I kind of was able to learn from everything that she did. From her wins and her losses, I was able to learn.

But, yeah, I feel like the juniors is cool. It's a cool opportunity. But I also feel like what I did worked for me. I can't give you an answer as to what the juniors is like because I never played it.

Q. How did you know you were ready for WTA?
SERENA WILLIAMS: That's a good question. Yeah, I don't know. I just felt like I wanted to get out there at some point. Yeah, I don't know how I knew I was ready.

I guess when you're young, you always want to do adult things. You always want to be a grownup. When you're a grownup, you always kind of want to be a little bit younger.

I guess I just wanted to do grownup things.

Q. At the beginning of your career, where did you think women's tennis would be and your stature would be late in your career? What do you think of it now?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, one thing I absolutely never thought about. It's cool to kind of have these opportunities to think about. I'm not thinking about that yet because I'm still in it, I'm still playing, I'm still doing what I can do.

Q. What about where the sport has come during your 20 years?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think the sport has come a really long way. It's been really satisfying to see sport for women, the premier sport for women... It's the best work in the world that a woman can do in my mind. I'm a little biased obviously.

I feel like we fought so hard for so many years for so many different things. I feel like we still obviously have a ways to go, but a lot of that fighting through decades has come through.

Q. One of the questions that was asked of you was this was one of the cleanest matches you've had. What do you feel about that in terms of less errors?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Less errors are always good. It's actually yet another thing I've been working on. Hopefully things will start coming together one of these days.

Q. How important is the extra rest for you? You never want to play three-set matches, but keeping it to 44 minutes, how important is that for you, especially at this stage in your career?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm okay to play a lot of matches in a row. I'm okay to play 44-minute matches. I think at this stage in my career I have so much experience of playing super long matches and super short match, I'm pretty much ready for everything.

Q. Your first win here was against Nicole Pratt of Australia.
SERENA WILLIAMS: What? Wow, I do not remember that at all.

Q. No?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, not ring a bell at all. I wouldn't have guessed that. I remember playing her in Australia. God, I don't...

Q. Three sets.
SERENA WILLIAMS: It was three sets here? It was three sets in Australia. I remember that. Gosh.

Q. '98.

Q. Nothing?

You know, Venus will remember, though. She remembers everything. She will definitely remember.

Q. Are you upping the intimidation factor in this tournament?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I don't try to up any intimidation factor. I am who I am. I've always been the person that goes out there and roars and screams and complains and cries and fights.

I'm extremely passionate about what I do. Most people that love their jobs are passionate about what they do. That's just me.

Q. You played your first pro match in Québec City in qualifying, lost pretty bad.

Q. How did you let that not discourage you, because you're doing okay for yourself now?

I wasn't ready to play in Québec City. In fact, the only reason I played was because back then WTA was changing some rules for age eligibility. Unless you played in a certain year, then you can be grandfathered in. I had to play. I definitely wasn't ready.

I was so nervous. Yeah, I actually didn't play again, I think that was '95, I didn't play again until '97.

Q. Did it hurt your confidence to get beaten like that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't think so, because I knew I wasn't ready. Like, I just was doing it so I could play tournaments.

But, yeah, I took like a good year and a half, almost two years off before I played again. Then when I played again, I was ready. I actually was ready to play some competitions and stuff. I just so wasn't ready for that other match.

Q. We haven't spoken about your next match against Svitolina, a person you beat three times, but had a tough match and lost in the 2016 Olympics. What have you seen in her game since then and what maybe is the biggest challenge for you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, she is obviously a fighter. She gets a lot of balls back. She doesn't make a lot of mistakes. She's one of those players that does everything really well. So I have to do everything well, too.

Q. What do you remember about the Olympics match?
SERENA WILLIAMS: That was a tough Olympics for me. Oh, man. Lost in doubles for the first time. Just really devastated about that doubles loss. Then obviously singles shortly after.

I didn't play the Olympics in Rio (smiling).

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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