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September 1, 2019

Serena Williams

New York, NY, USA


6-3, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How are you feeling physically right now? What's your state of mind right now as you approach your next match?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I feel fine right now physically, and obviously my state is super intense. I'm always incredibly intense. Just trying to keep moving forward.

Q. Going over on your ankle, that's happened many times, but what goes through your mind when that happens? How do you know if it's bad or not bad, if it takes a while to show up?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Ankle, I usually know if it's horrible early on. I mean, I had a really bad ankle sprain in January. I was like, instantly, No, this can't happen. I'm finally healthy.

But I'll see tomorrow. So far I'm good. I have been managing it. We'll see tomorrow.

Q. I'd like to know if you saw or if you heard of what happened last night between Osaka and Gauff, Osaka asking Gauff to join her.

Q. Has it ever happened to you also that you would have liked to do something similar for some opponent of yours that maybe either was crying or...
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I thought it was so sweet and so amazing. Generally I try to be really sweet after the match. I mean, last year obviously I was comforting Osaka, she was comforting me. There has been many a time I have been extremely outgoing towards my opponent, because at the end of the day we're all human and we see each other sometimes more than I see my family.

It's so important I think to have bonds and to at least have people that you bond with like several people that I bond with. I'm in weddings of some of them. It's like a real extended family. I was so excited to see that.

Q. Roger spoke earlier but how he's evolved from being a teenager to being 38. How have you gone about evolving to some degree over the last 20 years?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, it's been quite an evolution. You know, I feel like my outfit's pretty much the same (smiling) as it was 19 years ago. Maybe I should have evolved a little bit more.

Q. Speaking of being 37 and being here and 20 years since you won your first title here, what do you think separates you and Roger and other players who are able to, you know, put the decades in on the tour?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. I feel like we obviously have a love for the sport. I feel like a lot of players do, too. I can't really answer for Roger. I can just say that -- I always said I would wake up one day and say, I'm done.

That day hasn't come yet for me. I'm still playing pretty good tennis. I do look at Roger, like today, and the guy is incredible. His game is shockingly amazing. So there is no reason that he shouldn't be out there with his ability, and I feel the same way about mine.

Q. You have transcended the sport, and we know it and you know it. Are you more of a tennis player or more of a superstar at this point?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I would be pontificating to a level I wouldn't even know to say I'm a superstar. Obviously I'm just Serena. I don't try to be anybody else. I don't try to be famous. I don't try to be anything.

I think when people meet me and they see me, they are I think almost shocked at how low-key and how average I am.

Q. You just spoke of the love of the game sustaining you and contributing to your longevity. It's hard to sustain the level that you have had. What do you love most about sustaining that level and going out there all the time to put in the work to be as good as you are?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Honestly, simply, I like the wins most. That's it. You know, I think I do that for me and, yeah, that's what I like most.

Q. The second and third seeds on your side of the draw, they both lost today. Do you look at that as maybe a better road for you, or can you not afford to look at it that way?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I can't afford to look at it that way. Every single match I have played, people come and they plan their best. The women that I play are not generally playing at this level against other players in the locker room, so for me, I have to be the greatest whether it's against the second seed, the No. 1 seed, or the No. 80th player in the world. I have to show up or else I'm going to go home.

Q. Last year when you were kind of coming back, you were saying a lot that you were trying to, like, hide yourself, understand your situation and coming back. I'm wondering now do you still have that mentality when you're on the court and competing, like, or have you turned a corner into a different zone of competition, like, mentality?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I feel like in this tournament, I guess, I have definitely turned a different zone. I'm not sure if I can articulate what zone that is. But it's not about kind, it's not to myself, it's not about anything in particular. It's definitely something different, though.

Q. When you did roll the ankle in the second set today, how worried initially were you? Did you think back at all to January and what happened in Australia? That day you didn't ask for the trainer. Did what happened in Australia today lead you to say, Hey, I might need to have someone tape this up for me?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I definitely wanted to have a better plan. I probably should have seen a trainer Australia.

But I just thought -- I definitely thought about that, because I was -- like I said, the first thing was, like, I'm finally healthy. The last thing I want is to have another bad ankle sprain.

So I just wanted to get, like I said, get some compression on it and tape it even stronger and that way I can at least try to finish the match.

Q. I have asked you in the past about the girls over in Kenya and you said you were teaching them or having them learn about tennis.

Q. In Africa. I don't know where the school is at exactly...

Q. ...where you would have taught them about tennis. Was there an opportunity to teach them about the history, given the statue of Althea...
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I haven't. That's definitely on my list to do. I don't know if I have time to do it with my career still going. I definitely want to continue that legacy of knowledge and continue that in the future mostly probably when I'm not playing because the schedule is really rigorous.

Q. You obviously had some health issues yourself. How does it make you feel to watch your good friend Caroline struggle with arthritis, seeing how she handles it? How can you encourage her?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, it's been really hard for me, because I feel like two people I'm closest to on tour have very similar problems, very similar strains of the same disease. Not the exact same but very similar.

You know, it's definitely hard. I'm really, really close with Caroline, obviously. But it's just -- I just keep encouraging her, and I have been so amazed by what she's done and what she just keeps doing. I know what those moments are like away from the cameras and away from the courts, and, you know, I just feel like she's so brave, you know, to keep doing what she's doing and at her level.

Q. You talked a little bit on the court about this being your daughter's second birthday today and what was happening to you two years ago on this day. Just wondering if you could elaborate a little bit? And also, how old would she have to be to bring her to the matches?
SERENA WILLIAMS: She's a little bit loud and obnoxious right now, so I'm not sure (smiling) she should come to the matches.

I'm hoping, like, next year she'll be at an age where she can sit -- maybe I'll start at smaller tournaments and see how she does and go from there. Also, she's still napping and so it's hard.

But yeah. I was definitely out of it two years ago, but it's cool. Like, it's just such a great experience to think I'm a mom. It's weird. It's still super weird to me.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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