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January 24, 2020

Serena Williams

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

WANG QIANG/S. Williams

6-4, 6-7, 7-5

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. What were you thinking once you were able to win the second set, which was already struggling and difficult? Were you optimistic about the end or were you tired or what?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I was optimistic I would be able to win. I thought, okay, now finish this off. I honestly didn't think I was going to lose that match.

Q. Your match in New York couldn't have been much different. How much did that at all go into your mind before the match? How much did you have to change course and reset for how she was playing today?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It didn't go through my mind much because I always think that every match is different. But she just played, I don't know, a little different today.

Q. What did she do particularly better?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I mean, personally I made a lot of errors. I didn't hit any of those shots in New York or in general in a really long time. So that's good news.

I just made far too many errors to be a professional athlete today.

Q. You came to Australia on the back of a win. You were confident. Were you fit and ready for this match?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, definitely, or else I wouldn't have been able to last. So yeah.

Q. Occasionally you looked a little bit exasperated or frustrated maybe.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Uhm, I think I have the signature 'Serena frustration' look that I've been working on. I think I'm doing a little better. And exasperated look. Maybe it was just that (smiling).

Q. So much is made of your pursuit of number 24. Do you believe in your heart you can do it before your career will end? What major do you think has more of an opportunity to do that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I definitely do believe or I wouldn't be on tour. I don't play just to have fun. To lose is really not fun, to play to lose, personally.

I don't know. I seem to do well the last two slams of the year. I don't know. I have won them all several times. Each one is definitely an opportunity for me to go out there and win.

It's not even about the slams, it's about just me playing good tennis, and I didn't do that today. That is more disappointing. So it's not even about the win, it's just more about I'm better than that. That is what it is for me today.

Q. So popular and respected here at Melbourne Park. You spoke about your wide range of interests these days. How much confidence is there we can see you in this position back here next year?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, you know, I feel like I'm on the way up, so we'll see. I don't know. I'm not even thinking about anything, about not being here.

Yeah, so yeah.

Q. You said you thought you were going to win the match when you won the second set. What were the feelings in the third set? What could you not get a handle of?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, she served well. I didn't return like Serena. Honestly, if we were just honest with ourselves, it's all on my shoulders. I lost that match. So it is what it is.

Like I said, it's not about the tournament, it's just like I can't play like that. Like, I literally can't do that again. That's unprofessional. It's not cool.

Q. Have you seen Caroline yet? Have you two spoken at all?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, she came into the locker room afterwards. We were both kind of bummed about our matches.

But, you know, it's not the end of the world. Things go on. Well, I can play better. I don't know if she's going to play any better any more (smiling).

I don't know. It's so fresh. We'll see. It's really fresh right now for her retirement. Mostly that, you know, so...

Q. What is your thought on her career, her legacy?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, she's had an amazing career. Oh, my God, I'm getting emotional. Oh, my God. I'm going to miss her (tearing up).

Guys, I can't answer Caroline questions, I'm going to be crying. She's one of my best friends in the world. We have a great life for the rest of our lives together, but I'm going to miss her out on tour.

Q. You say rightly that it's not the end of the world. Obviously a lot of stuff going on in your life off the court. Do these defeats sting like they used to?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I am just a better actress, as I always say now. I'm no happier than I was 10 years ago. But I just have to pretend like I don't want to punch the wall, but in reality I do.

Q. Can you describe what was going through your mind when you were walking down the hallway back to the locker room today.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. I don't know actually. I think I was just thinking about getting to the locker room and press, 'random drug testing', so...

Q. Is it easier to bear if you know that you've made the mistakes yourself, it's not someone who beat you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It's easier and harder. I'm way too old to play like this at this stage of my career. It's such a big tournament. It's no excuse, to be honest.

Yeah, so I don't know if it's easier or harder. I would say, if anything, it's harder. There's no reason I could perform like that.

Q. Made your schedule yet for the rest of the year?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm definitely going to be training tomorrow. That's first and foremost, to make sure I don't do this again.

Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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