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September 5, 2020

Serena Williams

New York, New York, USA

Press Conference

S. WILLIAMS/S. Stephens

2-6, 6-2, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. I just wanted to know why is it so important to play this tournament out of all of them for yourself personally.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Honestly, every tournament I enter is important for me, and particularly the Grand Slams, because quite frankly, I'm playing for Grand Slams, or to try to have a chance.

Yeah, so it's important for me to try to play.

Q. After your last press conference, you talked about how flustered you get when you're not playing exactly perfectly. How important was it for you today to stay calm, especially after that first set and just kind of keep your confidence high?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I just wanted -- that's my thing is just try to stay calm and be more serene (smiling).

But, yeah, I just knew it was important for me just to keep trying, just to keep going.

Q. Sloane spoke a lot about how in the second set your level of service raised. What did you tweak on the serve? To us, it doesn't look like we can tell the minutiae like that, but did you change anything or just try to go for bigger serves?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I just missed all of them in the first set, so I think in the second set I feel like my serve percentage went up a little more and I had to start making a few more.

I think, you know, that definitely helped a lot.

Q. How do you think you'll one day look back on the images of your little girl having a ball as you give it your all on court?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. I don't look back. I don't look in the future too far. So I'm just focused on right now.

Q. Novak was talking yesterday, I know you said earlier in the tournament, about his new organization, that you needed a little bit more information before making a decision on it. Novak said you had spoken with him since then. I was just wondering if you could flesh out what you talked about and now having spoken to him what your opinion is of this new organization.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, yeah, we spoke a little bit right before, like a day before, day of the tournament. And that was between me and him.

And right now I'm really focused on the US Open and nothing else I can think about right now.

Q. Can you just say if you are going to sign up or not?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I'm very good at holding my tongue, and right now, like I said, I'm really focused on the tournament. My conversation was between me and Novak.

Q. I want to ask you about the Original 9, about to be the 50th anniversary of that group coming together. I just wanted to ask you how you would describe their impact and where do you think your sport would be today without them.

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think they have had a huge -- they are. They started the tour, the new version of the tour. Sometimes you need someone or a group of women, strong people, to stand up for not even themselves, really. What they did, and I'm sure they knew it, they were standing up for the future generations, and that takes a lot of humility and a lot of courage.

So it's remarkable because of them I'm able to play for, not only play tennis but, you know, have a decent job at it, as well. I'm greatly appreciative.

Q. It seemed like Thursday night you played at the net a bit more than today. Do you think so? Was that just adjusting strategy?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, you're right. I gotta get in. Thank you.

It wasn't on purpose to not, but I have been coming in more. So I'll keep that in mind for the next match.

Q. I'm just wondering when you have been in the sport as long as you have, like you said yourself, every day you go out on the court you seem to be chasing some record or another. I'm wondering, how do you compartmentalize all that when that's happening on a day-to-day basis and you're sort of carrying that weight with you?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Sometimes it's harder than others. Every day having 'Serena' on your back is a massive target for the tour, for press, for stress. But as Billie Jean King said, pressure is a privilege. So I wouldn't want it any other way. So I just try to think about how fortunate I am to have been in this position, and honestly, to be Serena. It feels weird to say that (smiling).

Q. Anybody that you ever talk with that you're looking to relate to, like when Sampras was chasing Emerson's record, have you ever talked to anybody who has been chasing those kind of numbers?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I haven't. I haven't spoken to anyone. Maybe that would have been, would have, would, could be a good idea. But it's a little bit of a different position, but I've always been a massive fan of all those players.

No, I never -- I hope they would like to talk to me.

Q. I just wanted to relate to you on the Black Lives Matter issue. We see Osaka with the mask and Tiafoe. Will you be making any statement or...

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I have made a lot of stuff, but I have always said that my hope is in God's kingdom, and I have talked about that a lot. I have taken solace in my religious beliefs.

Q. You get to play the same player you lost to last week, Sakkari. I'm wondering, what are advantages and disadvantages of getting to play the same player in back-to-back weeks? Anything tricky about that?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I don't think it's anything tricky, especially when you lost it's good to kind of go back out there and try to do a little bit better.

Q. We're not just missing fans at this US Open, we are also missing the Bryan brothers. As a fellow doubles legend, I wonder if you had some memories or thoughts you could share on their legacy?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I heard about it just as the tournament was starting. I was doing my press, and I just read, I think they retired the day before or night before.

Honestly, I wasn't ready for it. I knew it was going to come at some point, but, you know, I have been on tour with them our whole lives. It's always sad to see another one go. It's, like, Okay, it moves me even closer to the line, and I'm trying to avoid the line (smiling).

Q. When the draw happened for the women, it indicated nine mothers in the singles field. There are still obviously yourself, Vika, and Pironkova, a mother, still alive in the tournament. Can you comment on the fact you've got so many mothers that played the event? And, for you, would you have ever imagined doing it? What are the pluses on it?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm so happy that there are so many moms in the event, obviously because I'm one. I just have a totally new respect for moms.

What was the other part of the question?

Q. Could you have ever figured that you would be in this position, as well, to be playing as a mother?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I would never have thought I would be playing as a mom. I think you said the pluses and minuses for me?

The pluses is that, you know, one day your daughter can say she was there, whether she remembers or not, we can always have pictures. But other than that, it's just minus, like, I'm not with her, I'm not around her. It's hard. For me, it's hard, because I spend a tremendous amount of time with her.

On that note, I'm going to go be with her. Thank you.

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