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February 10, 2021

Serena Williams

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Press Conference

S. WILLIAMS/N. Stojanovic

6-3, 6-0

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Through to the third round. Hotter out there today. Talk to us about the conditions and your match.

SERENA WILLIAMS: The conditions were fine. I live in Florida. It was bright for me more than hot, so. But I know it can get really hot here, so today I thought it was a good condition for me.

Q. You said on the court, for you is thought the enemy of execution?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think sometimes. I'm still just trying to find that balance sometimes. Even with my serve, I over-think it. It's just like, I'm not hitting it. But when I don't think about it and I'm just like, whatever, it goes in. But that's clearly not the way to do it. So it's really about a balance.

Q. Ostensibly you practice so that you can just play by instinct or reaction. So what do you think gets you into that thinking mindset? Like you work so hard, you should be able to just come out and everything is applying what you've been practicing.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think I am in a space where I am able to do that, so overall I think that's good. I just think when I'm not thinking it's more or less like I'm just totally relaxed. And, but again, it's a balance because sometimes that's a good time to slack off and to lose focus. So it's really about finding that key balance there for me.

Q. How tough was it serving from one end, because watching you, you weren't getting the toss right because I'm assuming the sun was in the wrong spot.

SERENA WILLIAMS: It actually is usually more tough around like 12:30. Like, there's some times in there, I don't know exactly what time, but, so around 1:00 it's better. It was really bright today more than anything, so it wasn't usually that, on that side. When I play a little bit earlier it's right in my eye. Today it wasn't in my eye, but it was a little bit to the left, so it was a little better, but it still was just bright.

Q. You had a really nice exchange at the net, and she said something to you and how, with her racquet, it was really nice, but I couldn't quite pick it up on the TV. What did she say to you?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, she just said, Good job. And she's a good competitor, so she's always really nice.

Q. On the outfit, I know you've suggested in the past that the outfits that you wear at events have been created a couple of years before and you're discussing it very early. When was this outfit decided on and what is the material, because I think wearing something like that in these conditions would be pretty hot.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, actually, this outfit was last minute, to be honest. It was -- I wasn't really -- I just felt like the design that we had before wasn't as Serena-esque, and so the Nike team went back and created something very Serena-like and didn't have time to put it in retail, so it was definitely more of a last-minute outfit than usual.

So, yeah. So it's light. It's actually, if you look up close, it's actually breathable and it's perforated, so it's actually super light and to a point where I need to make sure I'm wearing underwear (laughing). Nude color, though.

Q. And the colors, who came up with the color scheme?

SERENA WILLIAMS: They came up with the color scheme. So they did everything with this design. I keep texting them after every day, I'm like, Oh, my God, this is one of my favorite, this is definitely top 3, definitely top 3 for me.

But, yeah, so they did everything. It was just, it was definitely collaboration, though, because I just kept pushing the design team at Nike and then they pushed themselves and they came up with something really fabulous.

Q. Thanks to the omnipresent cameras we could see you doing your last-minute, I don't know if that's like a medicine ball, and you had your one shoe off until the very last minute. Is that your bad Achilles foot and is that why you wait until the last minute to put on that shoe?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, actually, that's my good foot. No, I have this really weird thing where my right foot swells in heat and it's so weird. So I was just like, oh, it's swelling. If I'm in cold, it like shrinks and then once I start sweating it starts swelling and it hurts and I'm just like, let me just take my shoe off, so hopefully it wouldn't swell so much, because I also tape it and I'm basically wearing a cast on both of my feet. So just trying to like help it not swell right now because I need to not be late as I always am for every match.

Q. It doesn't affect you once you walk onto the court and get going?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, sometimes it does. Sometimes I have to get it re-taped or sometimes last minute I'll just cut some holes in it. It's just something that my foot does. It's really weird, so I always try to keep it warm so it doesn't overly swell. It's super weird.

Q. What are the other two outfits in your top 3?

SERENA WILLIAMS: What are the other two?

Q. What are the other two outfits in your top 3?

SERENA WILLIAMS: It's still debating. I definitely think the jean skirt has to go in there with the boots. I really was thinking that I need to put, lay them all out and decide. It's tough because I'm obsessed with tutus, so that has to be in there somewhere, maybe, yeah, but this is right up there. I haven't thought about it, but those are the other two that I can think of off the top of my head.

Q. You've met so many people through your life and been privileged to do that, from royalty to rock stars. Is there somebody you haven't met you want to meet and why?


Q. Either way.


Q. Yeah, okay.

SERENA WILLIAMS: (Laughing) He would be like the ultimate.

Q. Besides the ultimate.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Okay. (Laughing) You got to give me a parameter. I'll go with living. I met Thor, so I can't say that. (Laughing)

Oh, I haven't met Robert Downey Jr. And I love Marvel and Iron Man. I went shallow there, but it's fine.

Q. Tough to follow up Iron Man versus Jesus, but I'll try.

I'm wondering, at this stage in your life and your career at a tournament, are you paying much attention to and watching other matches that are going on, either just to watch because you want to see somebody play or maybe to sort of scout ahead who you might wind up facing later on, and has that changed, the amount of time over your career that you would spend during a tournament paying attention to other matches?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, it's definitely changed. But that's for me. I'm going to keep that one for myself.

Q. At this tournament there are no line judges at all. Everything is electronic line calling at every match, every court. I'm wondering whether you like that, whether you don't like it, and have you even noticed during your two matches so far?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I like it. I didn't like it in Cincinnati because they had that in Cincinnati and I was, it was different. It was weird. But I like it now because it's like, you know, it takes away a lot of the human error, which clearly I definitely don't need. I should be the biggest fan of that. So, yeah, but I feel like sometimes I definitely still want to see that ball, but I'm like, okay, even if I see it, it's going to, the computer's going to show me what the computer just said. So that's kind of how I think about it.

But I'm a futurist, like Iron Man, so I definitely love technology and it's something that I invest in and so, yeah, I really think is right up my alley. No pun intended (laughing).

Q. Playing this tournament at all and having fans there has the potential to send a message to people around the world. What sort of hope do you hope it gives people?

SERENA WILLIAMS: There's always a tomorrow. I feel like we have been, as the world has gone through so much, you just have to stay positive more than anything. As hard as that may be. It's so hard sometimes. But there's always a tomorrow and we just have to keep going no matter what it looks like. I think it's so cool that we have an opportunity as tennis players to play here, even with the little crowd, it's just, it's getting a little better, we hope, every day and so just a day at a time.

Q. Looking through so many of the great players that you faced in the past here at the Aussie Open and I was wondering, of the retired players that you faced in your career, who is one player that you really miss facing and playing against and who is one player that you're really glad that retired that you don't have to see any more?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, that's a two-fold question, potentially with the same answer. You know, Hingis was here, right? She was always an interesting opponent for me. I don't know. So many people are retired, so...

Q. Hingis was one that you missed or didn't miss?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I can't say I miss her, because she always gave me a tough match. We always were involved in some long battles and long games. Nothing personal though, because she was -- after like year one we got on great. So I really ended up liking her a lot. It's a good question. I have no idea. I mean, I don't know. I'm trying to think of people I played in the past, it's all a blur. Those are good ones. You said Henin?

Q. Justine Henin.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, they were very, they played well against me too. I mean, listen, everyone come up against me, they're going hard, but I don't know, I'll come, we'll have to come back to that one. That's a good question.

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