September 9, 2020
New York, New York, USA
S. WILLIAMS/T. Pironkova
4-6, 6-3, 6-2
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. ESPN reported there was a little bit of a delay at the start of the match, that you had requested a bit of a delay. Can you fill us in on that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah. So no big deal. I just had -- my tape on my ankle was too tight, and it was causing my leg to not function, so I had to completely, like, retape it.
That never happens, but it was better than me going on the court and then calling a trainer. So it was best that I just did it straightaway.
Q. I only have one question. What message would you send to all the sports women in the world who are mothers and who believe that after 30 or 35 years old they cannot continue breaking records and competing at high level like you do?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I think when you're a mom, you overcome so much just to become that and to be that. And then I feel like, you know, age is really how you feel mentally and how your body is doing and how you physically are able to keep up.
If you think of it as just a number, then that's all it is. So, yeah, I just think people always say you're not always to do something at a certain age, but, you know, with technology and time, we can kind of make that age a little bit longer.
Q. What would you say was the most important point or part of that match? Would you think it would be the first game of the final set when Tsvetana was serving and it was going back and forth?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think that was definitely a really important game, because I was able to break her. Although I was still holding serve, it would have been a different match serving at 5-4 as opposed to serving at 5-2. So it was really important.
Q. What are your thoughts about how the absence of a crowd is affecting the time you have between serves?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think we need to do a little work on that, because I feel like it's not enough time. I feel like sometimes I'm really, like, sprinting to get my towel and that's not really taken into consideration.
And then sometimes I literally am looking at the towel, and I am, like, All right, I'm just not going to get it, because I simply don't have time and I'm drenched, especially on a humid day like today.
I think there needs to probably be a little more work with that, because formerly I would be able to just give the towel to the ball kid, and it actually would have less time. But it's, I think, adding five seconds, going all the way back without sprinting. I'm all for sprinting in training; not necessarily in matches.
Q. You have had some slow starts recently. What do you say when you're struggling early, and what do you think you can do to overcome that in the next matches?
SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, I don't know. I feel like sometimes there are slow starts, and I think on a match like today I just feel like, you know, she was serving well, she was hitting winners everywhere. Maybe I wasn't being aggressive enough.
So I think it's more or less, all right, well, me adjusting my game in the second set and coming back and just trying to do better.
Q. Key break in the second set, return of serve with your left hand, how do you have the instincts to switch hands like that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah. Yeah, that was intense. At that point I was fighting so hard. I don't know. Actually been hitting a little lefty in my practice but not on purpose. I noticed the other day, like, I hit a lefty shot and I was just in practice being super intense, and I guess it came through in the match (smiling).
So when you're in a position like that, and I was just trying to stay, this is the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam, and I was just trying to do everything I can whether righty or lefty.
Q. When Bill was worried about your slow start, I become happy because I think it's much better for a good finish, and I think you must be happy too? You win all your matches in three sets. Very good. Are you surprised about that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, sometimes you just have to start -- it's not how you start; it's how you finish, right? I definitely agree. I feel like, yeah, I don't even know, like, some of these matches, you know, you're playing Serena, so it's, like, close your eyes and hit as hard as you can and it doesn't matter. So I kind of have to adjust to that.
I start to adjust to that later on. Because I'm like, Okay, Serena now you know what's going to happen. So now I just have to go in matches knowing that this is going to happen and just kind of adjust to that earlier as opposed to later.
Yeah, I just feel like -- I'm okay. I'm ready to play three sets every match if I have to. It doesn't matter. A win is a win.
Q. There is a possibility that you might play Victoria Azarenka tomorrow, and she said after her last match that she's prepared to go three sets. I know your last couple of matches have been three sets. Is there anything specific you can take away from your match today and playing in that match?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I just gotta be a little bit better, really, and just expect people to go lights out and just be ready for lights out.
Q. A lot of athletes and other people who enjoy enormous success, they have kind of become closed off and kind of built a wall. You almost have the opposite. You have become much more open. How did that work? How did you manage that rather than retreating?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Why, thank you (smiling). I don't know. I feel like I just never change. I am who I am. Seeing me here or seeing me somewhere else is always the same.
I don't know. I never wanted to be a recluse, to be honest. I never wanted to be -- I actually don't see myself as different than anyone else. I just happen to play tennis really well. But I'm literally the same as everybody else, so that's just kind of how I look at it. I just kind of live my life like that.
Q. What are your thoughts on the state of your serve and how you were able to compile so many aces in this match?
SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, sometimes when I'm serving, I just tell myself, I don't care if my arm falls off, I'm going to keep serving.
And that's the attitude I need to have. I didn't know I hit 20 aces in this match until my coach told me after. So I was, like, Okay. For me it's about serving the whole tournament.
Last year was really frustrating because I couldn't serve in the final, so I'm just hoping that I can just serve better consistently this time.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports