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September 7, 2020

Serena Williams

New York, New York, USA

Press Conference

S. WILLIAMS/M. Sakkari

6-3, 6-7, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How did you feel in your performance today versus the last time you played Maria? What did you take away from that game to prepare for today?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Just felt like I was able to compete longer. I was a little fatigued last time and had some cramps, but I felt like Maria played a completely -- I felt like she almost played better today. She's such a good competitor.

So it was still really -- it was a really intense match.

Q. I was wondering if you were watching Novak's match last night live as it was going on and what you kind of made of the situation and whether you felt it was the right decision he was defaulted?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, you know, I'm not going to touch that. I'm going to leave that to you guys. I'm just not touching it.

Q. So after the loss to her at the Western & Southern, you were saying playfully, Hey, like being stuck with a boyfriend, I've got to get a new boyfriend. So do you have a new boyfriend now?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I forgot about that (smiling). No, because I'm so close, and I'm just not winning those, that one point. It was just one point here, one point there, and I feel this whole tournament I have been doing better with that.

Thank God I got rid of that guy. Never want to see him again. He was the worst.

Q. You were getting pretty vocal early in that third set especially, end of the second, as well, trying to will yourself. How much do you feel you have to do that when there are not thousands of fans in the stands? You have to be your own cheering section vocally, internally and sometimes externally for yourself.

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. I feel like I'm pretty vocal with or without a crowd.

Honestly, I don't feel like I'm super different without a crowd, but it's -- you know, I just, like I said, I'm super passionate. This is my job. This is what I wake up to do. This is what I train to do 365 days of the year.

Obviously I miss the crowd, because usually I'm training and I'm playing for the crowd. But now we have a virtual crowd. You know, there is a lot of people that's supporting. Whether it's me or my opponent, they are still here to watch a really good match.

Yeah, I'm always going to bring that fire and that passion and that Serena to the court.

Q. French Open organizers announced today that all players will have to stay in designated hotels. How do you feel about that, considering you have been allowed to stay in private housing during this US Open?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I was hoping to stay at my apartment in Paris, but, you know, I'm just taking it a day at a time. I feel the French, they are doing the best that they can. You know, it's hard. Every organization, every country is trying to do the best that they can in this pandemic, so I can't point fingers and tell them what to do, because I'm not running the tournament.

Q. On the French Open, as well, they have confirmed today that there will be fans at Roland Garros, and I just wondered if you had any concerns about that from a safety point of view.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, if there are fans, then we should be able to stay elsewhere, then. Yeah, that's interesting, because there is no private housing but there's fans.

But I kind of knew that. It's just for me I'm super conservative because I do have some serious health issues, so I try to stay away from public places, because I have been in a really bad position in the hospital a few times.

So I don't want to end up in that position again, so I don't know. I'll just do my best to continue to keep -- for me, I try to keep a 12-foot distance instead of 6.

Q. Just wondering just your thoughts on what happened yesterday with Novak and being disqualified and the whole to-do.

SERENA WILLIAMS: So, yeah, Mark, I already said I'm not going to touch that. I'm going to leave that to you guys. Good try, though (smiling).

Q. My question has already been answered, actually. It was a French Open question. You're definitely still planning on playing in Paris, are you, despite the fact you wouldn't be able to stay in a house and that there will be crowds at Roland Garros?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm honestly taking it one day at a time. I'm going to have to make the best decision for my health.

You know, obviously maybe it will be good for me to talk to the organizers just to see how that works with the crowd and how we will be protected.

So I think, you know, they have to make the best decision for them, and I have to do what's best for me. But I think it should be okay. I mean, I have heard a lot from 50% crowd to, you know -- so I don't know what the number will be and how close they will be. I think there is a lot of factors that hopefully -- hopefully they are thinking about, and I'm sure that they are, as this is a global pandemic.

Yeah, it's just -- I still have some questions, but I'm really kind of, ironically, focused on New York but it's kind of hard because, you know, these Grand Slams are so close to each other this year.

Q. What has been most pleasing to you about the way you have played so far in this tournament?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think most pleasing is just competing. I feel like I'm -- well, I always compete, but competing and having a good attitude I think is what I'm most satisfied about.

Q. Everyone is talking about Paris. I'd like to know about Rome. Are you planning to go to Rome? You live day by day but you live also week by week, and Rome is before Paris.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, that's a good question. Honestly, I honestly can't answer that. You know I love Rome (smiling). I have a lot of friends in Rome.

But I don't know. I'm literally living day to day, because there is so many organizational things that every player has to do and we have to figure out. And Rome, you know, there is also organizational things there that I'm not sure how it works, if I can bring my daughter, so that's going to be interesting. So, yeah.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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