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June 27, 2021

Serena Williams

Wimbledon, London, UK

Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. As you walk the grounds, what are your thoughts about Wimbledon and you being back again?

SERENA WILLIAMS: It's a little different walking the grounds now. I feel like Wimbledon in general feels a lot different, but it still has a very special feeling.

Q. Is there anything you can elaborate on about what makes it feel so special to you when you come back?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, it's just -- I don't know. It's hard to describe. Just being here, being on the grass. It's the only Grand Slam that is so unique and so different. I think so much history here as, as well, so...

Q. Novak Djokovic said yesterday that he had spoken to you about the PTPA. I just wondered, what are your thoughts on that initiative? Do you feel tennis needs an independent players' voice?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, we spoke about it. I haven't had a ton of time to gather my thoughts yet. He's definitely reaching out to a lot of people to get different opinions, different thoughts, just to try to figure out what he's doing. Everyone's on a different path.

Q. With the withdrawals of players like Halep and Osaka this year from the women's draw, does that open up the draw a little bit for you this year? Does that make the path a little clearer for you? Do you think the field may be a little bit more open this year at Wimbledon?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I think that the women's draw is so deep, regardless to who you play. You really have to show up now. There's no longer matches that are going to be a sure walk-through. You just have to really have your head in, have your game on.

I think, yeah, that's kind of how I feel about it. I hope I answered your question.

Q. You and Roger Federer are both still out here trying to win Grand Slam titles as you near your 40th birthdays. I'm wondering whether you have any sense at all of whether the two of you might have changed the way other current and eventually future tennis players think about how long it's possible to compete on tour. I also wanted to ask whether you think there are any commonalities between the two of you that might have contributed to the longevity that you both have enjoyed?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I don't know. I feel like people can still say they can play longer. I think technology has played a huge role in that. The way we view the game, the way we recover, the way our shoes are made, the way the equipment is made. I feel like technology is huge to myself and Roger playing so long. Because normally people retire at 29, 30, before. 29, 30, 32 was the max.

I feel like there's several players at that age who are just hitting their stride. Whether it was myself or whether it was Roger, I don't know. I think it was a combination of everything, including technology, yeah.

Q. Have you decided if you're going to play the Olympics yet?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I'm actually not on the Olympic list, so... Not that I'm aware of. If so, then I shouldn't be on it.

Q. Have you got this feeling that during this Wimbledon, the women's draw is particularly open? Who would be, according to you, the clear favorite?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I feel like, if anything, everyone plays really hard. I feel like it doesn't matter who you play, you have to be ready. Everyone's here. Everyone worked really hard to be here. So, yeah, I see it as an opportunity to just keep going.

Q. How tough is it for you mentally when you know that every time you go out on court, your opponent is going to work to lift their level another 150% because they're playing Serena Williams? Is that difficult for you to put to one side? How do you handle something like that, especially when it comes to an event like this?

SERENA WILLIAMS: It's definitely made me better, to be honest. I've had a big X on my back since '99, since I won the US Open. When players play me that hard every single tournament, every single match, every single Grand Slam, it just doesn't matter where, you just get better so...

Yeah, it's been difficult mentally when someone might beat you and they lose directly in the next round almost every time. At the end of the day that's why I'm Serena. So thanks.

Q. About the longevity you've enjoyed in your career, I'm wondering what role you feel your decisions earlier in your career to manage your calendar as you saw fit in terms of what was best for you at the time? Often in an era when everyone felt compelled to play every event possible. Do you feel you're now reaping the benefits? It seems to me in many ways that approach you've taken, you've been more than vindicated in being the boss of your calendar.

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think everyone is different. I think for me, playing the way I played, helped my career. I don't think I could have played as long if I had to play every week or a lot of, lot of weeks.

Everyone is really different. You really have to do what works for you.

Also on the flip side, if you're winning a lot, it's often difficult to play as much because you're playing a lot more matches. But, yeah, I think you just have to figure out what works for you and go with it.

Q. Can you just explain why you made your Olympic decision? Was it that you couldn't take your daughter with you to Tokyo?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, there's a lot of reasons that I made my Olympic decision. I don't really want to -- I don't feel like going into them today. Maybe another day. Sorry.

Q. I was going to ask a similar question. Will it be difficult for you not to play the Olympics? You have such a great history there. Missing this time, what will that be like?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I have not thought about it. In the past it's been a wonderful place for me. I really haven't thought about it, so I'm going to keep not thinking about it.

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