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January 22, 2020

Serena Williams

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

S. WILLIAMS/T. Zidansek

6-2, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You seemed very comfortable on the court this week. Do you feel that's true? What would you attribute that to?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I've been training a lot, just working on my game. So maybe that's what it is.

Q. You've often noted how players play quite well against you. The second set, what was she doing that was starting to concern you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It was more me. I just started making way too many errors. I mean, more errors than I have been making in my good matches in the past.

Yeah, I just wasn't doing the right technique, catching the ball not in my strike zone. It was just all off so I had to adjust.

Q. You talked in the post-match interview about working through some internal problems during the second set. Can you expand on that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, like I said, I was making a lot of errors. Definitely probably the most errors I've made since the start of the year.

So just having to say, Okay, not every match is going to be perfect, how to work through that. I hadn't done that since September. It was just kind of working through that and getting through that.

Q. How deep is that internal dialogue in those moments? Is it as simple as spurring yourself to come on or as deep and eloquent as you just put it then?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It's definitely pretty deep. It has to be motivating but also realistic. Sometimes you just miss some shots, you don't know why. Just trying to find an answer.

That's what I kept doing. Thankfully I was able to find an answer in the middle, right in the middle of the second set.

Q. Congratulations on being able to do the splits. Is that your training? You talked about the different things you're doing: boxing, dancing. Is that a new thing or have you always tried to keep things interesting?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't generally box. Sometimes I do. It depends on when. Some seasons I do, some seasons I don't. It's not great for my nails (smiling), literally.

I always dance. I'm not the best dancer, but I love dance. It's nice and fun to do. It's different. It's better than just going to the gym every day.

At some point you do have to go to the gym. I just try to do different things.

Q. You mentioned not playing a match since September. You haven't played any post-US Open tournaments since 2014.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Really? 2014?

Q. Yes.
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I don't believe that. I need evidence.

Q. That's right.

Q. That means you're pretty committed to this schedule.

Q. What has that new sort of mode been like for you? Does it help, shortening your season on your own? How does that set you up here, maybe more rust but fresher?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know, to be honest. I actually did plan on playing the Championships. I had no idea if I was going to qualify. Thank God I didn't. I was so happy I didn't qualify.

I was training through it. Oh, man, I got to get ready. So I would have played, but I didn't qualify, so that's the only thing.

Yeah, so, it's not on purpose. Every year I plan on playing Beijing, it just doesn't happen. Every year I try to qualify for the Championships. Thankfully I didn't last year.

I'm telling you, I promise you, it's my chance.

Q. You won the Championships three times in a row.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Exactly. I love going. I love supporting it. It's a great tournament, so... It's literally by chance.

Q. Is it at all a goal this year?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It's always a goal for me to make the Championships. That's always my goal, the slams and the Championships. Those are something that's super important for me.

Q. Are you using a new racquet? If so, what is different about it?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I am using a new racquet. You're the first person to ask me that (smiling). It's Wilson. I love Wilson.

Q. I was going to ask you about your nails, but you mentioned them already. We got a few close-ups. Is there a koala there?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, there's a koala on my nails. Those poor koala bears, yeah. I have a girl koala and a guy koala.

Q. Do they have names?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No. But the girl is on the left and the guy is on the right.

Q. What stood out to you about Coco Gauff during the time you spent with her away from tennis? From what you've seen of her on the court, what's struck you about her so far?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know, she's just impressive all around, from her personality to the way she plays. I think it's just all super impressive.

I was nowhere near her level at 15 either on the court or off the court, not even close. I know kids are growing up different nowadays, so I'm not sure. But I was nowhere near as, like, smart and eloquent as she is.

It's nice to see.

Q. The race among American women for the Olympics this year could get very interesting because there's so many good players, only four can make it. Are you keeping an eye on that? What are your thoughts on how competitive it is?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I mean, I definitely have some opportunities. I didn't do well in the hard season or the clay season, so I have a great opportunity to make sure I keep a spot if I win my matches.

Yeah, it's a lot of Americans. I played so many last week or the week before. It's good. It's good to see. We'll see. Hopefully I can make it. If not, it's not the end of the world. I've played a lot of Olympics, so it will be good.

Q. If at the end of this year Venus will decide to retire, how sad would you be? How would be different for you to keep playing when she's not around any more next to you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Venus will outplay me, for sure. She loves tennis a lot. She works hard on it. Just gets unlucky at sometimes health-wise obviously.

I mean, I can't speak for her, but it would be sad.

Q. We just got word you're going to star in an Uber Eats commercial with Magda Szubanski.
SERENA WILLIAMS: It was so fun. It was amazing to work with her. Honestly, I was laughing the whole time. She's hilarious. Yeah, it was fun. I can't wait to see it. I saw it the other day, it came out pretty good.

They got a shot that was just by chance and it worked out great. You'll see it.

Q. About Coco again. You might meet her if she goes through to the next round. Any thoughts about that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, we both have to win the next round, so we'll see. I think she has a good chance to keep winning. She's a fighter. I have to do what I do, play everyone at every point, so we'll see.

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