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August 30, 2019

Serena Williams

New York, NY, USA

S. WILLIAMS/K. Muchova

6-3, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. The first two matches each had a little emotional quality to it. How was this one today, this opponent?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Had a little emotional...

Q. Well, you were playing someone you were familiar with, Maria and Caty McNally. Today it seemed more business as usual.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, had to go out there on business. I think I tried to do that with all three matches thus far. Yeah, it was just different because I know that she could play today. I knew what she could do.

Q. Such a flood of talented, young American players. Is that the Williams effect? People come up and talk to you about that? Kids come up and tell you...
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I can't be presumptuous and say that's because of me. I think it's because of these young women and their parents and coaches want them to do something amazing. I think tennis is a great sport for females and it's a great way to showcase your personality, be yourself, make a great living and still do something that you absolutely love.

Q. A little while ago, an incredibly important and powerful figure in American culture, the writer, imaginative, Toni Morrison passed on. I presume you may be familiar with her work or maybe had contacts with her? Any comments, please, on her legacy?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, she was a great writer and a great advocate. You know, it was a tough loss for everyone I think a couple weeks ago.

You know, just someone, an icon like that that means so much to not only African American culture but just culture in general and the things she wrote and the literature that she was a part of is really something that will definitely live on forever.

Q. What is most striking to you about Coco Gauff on court and her effect on all the people who seem to be drawn to her?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think she's just incredibly talented, you know. I think anyone that's 15 playing like that, people are going to be drawn to them. I think that's pretty awesome.

Q. What sense do you have among the players that you're around about their interest in her compared to other players? One player from Australia was in here a little while ago who said he thinks everyone is riveted, basically.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, yeah, I guess. I don't really know. I think she's really pretty cool. I love her excitement on the court. I don't know what everyone else thinks. I can only tell you what I think. I'm a big fan of hers. I have said that since day one. I love her parents. I think she has a good family, and I think it starts there. It makes for a great athlete and a great person.

Q. Olympia is almost two. I wonder if you could talk a little bit about how it's changed in this last year? Is it easier for you guys to separate and come back together? Is it easier for you to schedule? Like, the working mom part of you, is that part just getting easier for you now that she's a little older and more aware that, okay, her mom is going to work now for a few hours, and mom is coming back?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It's different. In the beginning she would really be upset when I left. And now she's a little bit better. I think I'm a little more upset (smiling). But at the same time, she definitely still takes it a little hard. She's still super young.

You know, it's hard. Sometimes my heart literally aches when I'm not around her. But, you know, it's good for me, I guess, to keep working and just to all moms out there that it's not easy. It's really kind of painful sometimes. Sometimes you just have to do what you have to do.

Q. You gave the fans an A-plus for their support of you today. How would you rate your performance? What do you need to do to go to the next level?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. Like I said on the court, I don't know how I would grade my performance. Just gotta keep playing and believing.

Q. I understand you'll be coming back to New York after the tournament for Advertising Week? Are you part of the Advertising Week?
SERENA WILLIAMS: What's Advertising Week? Sorry.

Q. I know you said before you don't celebrate birthdays, but the next time you step on the court it will be two years since you became a mom. Do you reflect how much your life has changed in those two years?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I don't really think about it, but, you know, it's cool. I think two years ago I had things attached to my arm, IVs, and it was a miracle that happened, having my baby. It was really a great day for me. Then it all went downhill (smiling). It all went downhill after that for a good five days. But I'm here, and I'm going to be reflecting on my opponent more than anything. So yeah.

Q. You've got a fashion show coming up at the same time the tournament is going on. Can you tell us a little bit about that. Those are two different things to be concentrating on at the same time. Fashion Week is its own brand of craziness. Can you tell us a little bit about thinking about and getting ready for that show as you're also processing and focusing on your tennis at the same time.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm trying to separate it as much as I can. I have built a pretty good team around me. We're a really small team, and I'm currently the acting CEO of the company.

You know, I'm obviously super hands-on. Right now I'm actually working on the order of what I want the outfits to go down as, which is shocking. Last night I was making notes on alterations on the fit model. I'm, like, Okay, Serena, make sure you stay focused on your tennis. But also, I do want to have a successful brand, and I do want my company to continue to do well and to continue to be great.

Our slogan is "Be Seen, Be Heard." It's going to be a unique show. I have some ideas that I had thought of that we're going to implement. I'm excited for it. But for the most part, when I'm on tennis, I'm definitely dedicated to tennis. But I'm definitely going to go home and lay out on -- I have a huge board where I'm going to lay out the order of the show.

Q. You have been on the tour for the better part of two decades. What is the toughest thing about being on tour right now?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Honestly, the toughest thing right now is being away from my daughter. That's the only thing that's tough. Like I said, some days when I'm away, because usually I'm with her, I can train really early in the morning and be done pretty early with my day, and I can just stay with her for the rest of the day.

In tournament schedule, it's totally different, so I'm kind of pushed out of my usual day-to-day life. Oh, my God, I'm not with her. That's been the most, I mean, "the" toughest thing I have ever dealt with in my career.

Q. You haven't played Asia after the US Open in a lot of years. Wondering what your thoughts are at this point?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I don't know. I'm just really focusing on this tournament right now. I really don't know. I would love to take her there more than anything, but I'm just going to be around. So we'll see.

Q. What do you make of the matchup of Coco Gauff and Naomi Osaka tomorrow night? Do you think you have any interest in watching it?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think it will be a really interesting match. I definitely am interested to watch.

What do I make of it? I don't know. I think it's super exciting tennis. Coco is obviously much, much younger than Naomi, if you could say that, because Naomi is incredibly young. But it's shocking to say that Coco is about six years younger.

I definitely think it's the future of women's tennis. And I'm really excited to just be a fan girl and kind of watch.

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