September 3, 2020
New York, New York, USA
S. WILLIAMS/M. Gasparyan
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Could you please assess your performance tonight.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think I competed well. You know, I'm just here to continue to compete, so I feel like I did that pretty well. Yeah, it was pretty good.
Q. How would you rate your performance now in a Grand Slam to so many of the other Grand Slams that you have played in? In other words, are you in the position you'd like to be in? Are you satisfied with where you are right now?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I feel like every day I'm on a new journey, and in this tournament in particular and this year, it's just a new journey.
So I feel really good. I feel like I'm on that journey and I'm going in the right direction.
Q. Your next opponent, Sloane Stephens, could you assess her as an opponent.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, she's a great competitor. It's an incredibly interesting match, because she's actually a US Open champion. She's a great player. You can't win a Grand Slam and not be really, really, really, really, really good.
Wow, it's a lot. I have a lot of things that I need to go home and focus on and do to get ready for that.
Q. On the same thought of Sloane Stephens, two American champions playing at the US Open. Unfortunately, because of the circumstances, no fans. Can you just give us your perspective on that situation?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It's digital fans. It's 2020. I mean, I'm involved in a venture company, Serena Ventures. I'm all about the future. I'm glad we're able to have the Open. It's really cool that we can have it. It's so important that this is just -- we don't know what the new normal is going to be. So it's just good that we can have virtual fans and be able to have sport.
Q. Wondering about your approach when you're playing someone like Sloane who you have had a number of matches against and haven't faced in a while. Do you go back and see how she's evolved since you last saw her? Does your preparation change?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I've just got to get ready for the match. It doesn't really change. Always going to be intense. Always going to be, you know, who I am on the court, so that's the only thing I can do.
And the only difference is I'm playing such a good player so early, so I have to bring, you know, what I can even more.
Q. You said on your on-court interview the only thing holding you back is, I get frustrated. I wanted to ask if you could explain that a little more. What tends to frustrate you during the match? Would it be more about what you're doing, the opponent? Is it sometimes some of each in general? And then I specifically want to ask you about tonight and if there was something frustrating you during the match tonight.
SERENA WILLIAMS: So the only thing that gets me flustered is really me, like, because I always feel like I'm not winning every point. I mean, like, that doesn't make sense. I have been going back and looking at, you know, me and that's not what I normally do. Usually I'm just calm.
And I just think with the pressure and everything that I felt, like, I felt like I just needed to be perfect. I always feel like I'm not perfect unless I'm perfect. That's not a fun way to live your career and live your life.
So it doesn't matter if I lose 20 points in a row now. I just feel like, it's okay, it's fine, I'm here, and I'm happy. I get to play tennis after all these years. So just looking at it this way -- it's nothing really. It's really just me and my mental.
Q. You sort of answered what I was most interested in, but just talk about your feelings about the process now. Are you feeling joy, or does it feel like a task and real effort? What are you feeling, your happiness about the situation?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I think in general I always feel joy when I win (smiling). But that's also, like, unrealistic, because you can't win every single match every time, and that's kind of the pressure I put on myself. It's just completely unrealistic. So I don't -- so I had to, like, take a step back and just really say, Okay, Serena, no matter who you are or what you are, no one has ever done that. I mean, I think Floyd Mayweather did, but dang.
So I guess I could have (smiling). But, no, and then I just think how, you know, how I'm so grateful to be out here and how much fun that I have had, and I just needed to get back into that. Once I realized that, it was a little bit better. It's been a little bit better.
Q. Is Serena sometimes just a little bit too hard on Serena?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I'm a perfectionist. And I remember some of my earliest memories were going, practicing, doing -- I must have been, like, two or three or four, maybe four, and I was going to school and doing, like, the alphabet and it wasn't perfect. I just stayed up -- I stayed up and kept erasing it until I got it perfect.
Then I would cry and then I would erase it and redo it and redo it. I remember I woke up the next day and I didn't finish my homework because I kept erasing it. That's been really the story of my life.
It's so, so crazy because my daughter does the exact same thing. I'm, like, Oh, my goodness. Like, so, yeah, it is just something that's innate, and I just always have done. It's, like, Okay, Serena, stop. Perfection is -- only Jesus was perfect, so just stop.
Q. How's your dad doing?
SERENA WILLIAMS: He's good. He was giving me some tips. He told me some things that I needed to do, so I'm, like, That's my dad.
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