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January 20, 2020

Serena Williams

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

S. WILLIAMS/A. Potapova

6-0, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Your good friend, Meghan Markle, who attended your last two slams, and Harry, have taken a move, a stance that many people think is extraordinary and historic. What are your feelings about that? Have you spoken to her?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah. I have absolutely no comments on anything with that.

But good try. You tried. You did good.

Q. How good does it feel to have that title under your belt? Did it make you breathe any easier after having a bit of a drought by your standards?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think so, yeah. I think, so to say, monkey off my back, kind of. It was very important for me to get a win in the final.

It felt like a relief. Yeah, like I could move forward now.

Q. What did you think of your form today so far, just in terms of -- was it tighter than the scoreline suggested maybe in the second set? What was going through your mind as you got more intense games?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, it was good. I felt like I started out really well. Played really strong in the first set, and just building on that.

So, you know, I feel like I can still improve and get better throughout this tournament, for sure. This is a good steppingstone for right now.

Q. Naomi posted a photo, a caption saying, like, "With my mom," something like that on Instagram. Curious what you see of her? She's looked up to you for a long time and you have spent more time on tour with her. Have you gotten to know her at all, being together on tour?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I have always had some sort of admiration for her, because I met her when she was super, super young. It was really cool to see her grow from that age to No. 1 and multi-Grand Slam champion.

I thought the picture was cute, so I felt like I should like it and comment on it. Definitely not the mom, though. Definitely more or less cousin?

I don't know how Olympia would feel about that. (Laughter.) She would love to have her as a sister, though. That would be really cool. She could be Olympia's sister.

Q. People in Melbourne are fascinated by your friendship with Dustin Martin. Do you expect to see much of him during this tournament? How did that friendship come about?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It was just by chance. We met in Maldives. He just happened to be there. We just hung out. We had a blast.

We decided he couldn't come to the Australian Open because he would be mobbed way too much. So it was, like, If we could hang out, it would be cool. But definitely not in Melbourne Park or here. It would be way too crazy for him.

Q. Do you realize how big he is in this town and this country?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, for sure. That's why we were, like, Not here. He can't do everyday things like that. He's way too recognizable. I think everyone would go nuts if they saw him.

It would be really crazy for him. Yeah. It's cool. He's so good at his job. It's insane. It's so cool to get to know other athletes that are so good at their craft and almost just get to talk to them and see what makes them so good.

Q. How concerned, if at all, were you about the air quality here before getting here? What did it feel like out there today?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I definitely was concerned, and am. I think it changes every day.

There is a lot of factors on how it can change. That is still a concern for, I think, pretty much everyone. Every day all the players and the tournament make sure that all the players are updated on what the play conditions would be like.

You know, every single day we get updates. That's been really good to see that the Australian Open take that stance on that.

So, yeah, it's literally every day, we are just waiting every day to see how the air quality would be.

Q. How did it feel out there today? Did it seem normal?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Today it seemed normal. Yeah, it seemed pretty good. I think the air quality was pretty good today, from what I read. It definitely felt like that.

Q. On that also, do you have any particular extra concerns about that because of the lung issues you have had in the past? Do you think you might be more sensitive to it than maybe others might be?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It definitely crossed my mind. I'm, like, Oh, no, I'm already playing a little down than most people.

But we'll see. Just have to focus on what happens and we'll see what happens.

Q. How much does breaking Margaret Court's record factor into your thinking when you're playing?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think it's factored a lot into my game, and now it's just more or less about doing the best that Serena Williams can do. Margaret Court was a wonderful, great champion. And now how great is Serena Williams?

That's it. That's kind of what I have been thinking about the last couple of weeks and months. It definitely helps me relax a lot.

Q. This is a huge Grand Slam for Danes because of Caroline Wozniacki's upcoming retirement. In your mind, what's her legacy when she does retire?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I mean, she's a great legacy, Grand Slam champion, No. 1 in the world. One of the best players on tour. Definitely not easy to do.

Also, a person that's really great off the court. So it's going to be a great loss for women's tennis, especially for me.

Q. Caroline is one of the first players you got close to outside of Venus. I don't know if that's fair or not. Seems like she had a big factor making the locker room a friendlier place overall, a leader in outgoingness. What has she added through personal dynamic on the tour?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, there is a lot of players before her that helped with that, too, but she continued it on. It's good, because it's competitive, you know. It's hard, and you come on tour, and it's not like any other sport. You share locker rooms. You share everything. Then you play each other.

So you can be playing your friend on any given day, and how do you make that a norm? It's interesting.

So just gotta be yourself. She's a great personality and a great spirit. She carried that on the court and off the court.

Q. One of the great museums in our country is the Museum of African American History in Washington. I was fortunate to visit there a couple of months ago. There's a statue there of you. There was a constant stream of families, children, kids coming up to your statue, were just thrilled and moved to take a picture of themselves with you. What does that mean that you have played this role in our culture?
SERENA WILLIAMS: That's super cool. I didn't know that. I mean, I knew of the statue. I didn't know about the photos.

That's cool. You know, I don't really see myself as that person, because I'm just me, you know. I do everyday things, everyday life. I'm the youngest of five. So I kind of look like, you know, the kid sister, so we always are fighting.

Yeah, it still seems a little interesting, but it's really cool. I love that I could play a part of that role. A better word is "can" and how to just keep expanding on that.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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