June 4, 2021
S. WILLIAMS/D. Collins
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Looked like your best match of the week. How did you feel about your level of play compared to some of your other matches and how you're playing compared to Italy?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. Was it my best match of the week? I don't know. I felt that I needed to be really focused way a lot in this match because she's playing really well.
I've had a rough clay court season thus far, so I'm happy to get some wins on the clay.
Q. How did you feel about your ability to turn the second set around?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, that felt really good for me. Things were not going my way. It's not like she gave me those games. I had to earn it and turn it around. That was really positive for me going into the next match.
Q. You talked about not having had many wins on clay coming in. How much does that affect you? How much does your form coming into a slam play on your mind or do you just know you've done all this before?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. I think the clay in general, the atmosphere at Roland Garros, is a little bit different. It just always feels better.
Q. You're the highest seed left in the bottom half of the draw. Apart from Azarenka, you probably have the most experience out of all the ladies left on that side. Is that a challenge you might embrace? Some might say you have an open run to the final now.
SERENA WILLIAMS: There's still a lot of matches, a lot of great players, as we can see. There's so much depth in this game now, it doesn't matter if you're playing in the first round or not, you really have to fight for every match and nothing comes easy.
Q. Forgive me for asking you to look ahead. When you enter the grass court season and look at Wimbledon, when was the last time you even played any tennis on a grass court? What is the one thing you look forward to most when you get to Wimbledon?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think the last time I played on grass was 2019 maybe. Yeah, I think.
Then I love the grass. What I love most about it is just the cleanness of it. I just think it's so chic and so crisp. That's a good word: crisp.
Q. I don't know how much Tennis Channel you're watching at home. They're doing a lot of integration with the gambling/betting side of the sport, DraftKings partnerships. In U.S. sport we're seeing a lot more visibility on the betting side of things. As an athlete, how does that affect you? What do you think of that encroaching more and more into the sport landscape in the U.S.?
SERENA WILLIAMS: In terms of betting?
Q. Yeah, in terms of just the betting being advertised and being more forefront in terms of how the sport is being packaged, broadcast and talked about. What do you make of that as an athlete?
SERENA WILLIAMS: In general with my beliefs, I don't bet. I don't believe in it. It's against what I grew up in. That's just my spiritual beliefs. I don't know about it. I don't know if it's good or bad or not. I just know that it's something that I don't even think I can comment on because that's not what I involve my life in.
Q. Speaking of Tennis Channel, Lindsay was commenting on your match. In the second set she said she'd never seen anyone be able to change the tone and the vibe of a match and turn it around like you do. What does it take to do that? How do you feel in those moments when you're yelling at yourself, Move your feet? How do you pull these things off?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. Today in particular, this whole week thus far, I just needed a win. I needed to win tough matches. I needed to win sets. I needed to win being down. I needed to find me, know who I am. Nobody else is Serena out here. It's me. It's pretty cool.
Q. You talked about what you like about Wimbledon and the grass, the cleanness of it, the fact that it's chic. What do you like best about clay?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I love sliding. I love the speed. It's a little bit slower. I like that. I feel like I have a little more time to, like, just get to balls, just hit 'em. I like the look.
I was looking at some pictures. It's just so cool to see the feet next to this dirt. The dirt looks so uneven, yet it's so smooth. It's really cool.
Q. Your next opponent Elena Rybakina said she always wanted to play you because you're a legend of the sport. How does it feel being the idol of your opponents?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It's an interesting position to be in because I've been in that position, too, where I've played people that I really admired, but at the same time I wanted to win the match. The tables are turned.
So now, yeah, I feel like that's the same situation, but they want to win. Then they have nothing to lose. They just are hitting lines. You have to just realize that you can hit the lines, too.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports