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June 23, 2008

Serena Williams


7-5, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Serena Williams for you.

Q. Was this an example of having to play yourself into a match, get used to things basically?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't think I had time to play myself into this match. I think I had to start straightaway. I think I played myself into the first game. I'm really excited I was able to win that first game.
But I couldn't play myself into this match. I needed to get started right away with it.

Q. The trench coat, was that an effort to keep the rain away this year?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah. You know, I absolutely love trench coats. I live in Florida. I probably have more coats than anybody. I just love coats. I'm always buying Burberry coats. I mean, I love coats. And I don't know why because I live in Florida. So it doesn't really add up.
But, you know, I was talking to Nike, I walked in, had this great coat on there. We should do a coat like this for Wimbledon. I was like, Okay, cool. I was really all about it. Now I have a wonderful white coat I can wear on the court and also, you know, in New York for those rainy days.

Q. It looked almost Carnaby Street inspired. Was it a '60s retro look.
SERENA WILLIAMS: It's definitely kind of retro inspired. Buckles on the wrist, the waistband tie. You can tie it or button it.
I just love coats and it's just a great fabric and a great material and it moves well. It's really nice. I really like it.

Q. It's not necessarily a piece of athletic attire. Did you have to get any special permission from the club to wear it?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It's definitely not athletic attire. But it's ladylike, and I'm very ladylike. It goes perfect with my personality and everything else. It's perfect for me.

Q. Is it going to keep the rain away, do you think?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't think it's going to keep the rain away, but we can always hope.

Q. Can you tell us about the fabric? It's hard to tell if it's very lightweight or heavy or porous.
SERENA WILLIAMS: It's a very lightweight fabric. It's a woven so it has a little give in it as well. On the inside it's stitched with gold. It has a little give on both ways. It's very movable. It's very light. It's just delectable.

Q. You've been at this for a long time. Do you think you and your sister would still be doing this without each other? Do you see yourself eventually both leaving at the same time because of that when it comes time to do that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. I do everything Venus does. I've tried to grow out of that, but I still kind of do everything that she does. But she's playing for at least a long, long, long time. So we'll both be out here for a long time.

Q. A lot has been made that Roger Federer could lose, this might be the end of his dynasty, et cetera. You and your sister have been up and down, struggling. Do you look and say, We have a year or two or three here left at Wimbledon, we better get going, or do you play it day to day?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I mean, we have decades left at Wimbledon. We definitely plan on capitalizing.

Q. Last time we saw you were pretty low in Paris. Tough match. How did you recover from that? How do you feel about being back on the grass in general?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, you know, I had to take some time off. I took just a couple steps back. Just did some Serena recovering. I think it worked for me. And now I'm back at Wimbledon.

Q. What is "Serena recovering"?
SERENA WILLIAMS: You have to read about it.

Q. Did you fly economy like Venus?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I flew this great airline, L'Avion, which is all like business class seats. I was excited. It was a really cheap ticket, too.

Q. The new poll shows that 90% of white people in the USA are comfortable with a black president. I want to ask you about the presidential election. You must be excited.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I obviously am excited to see Obama out there doing his thing. I'm a Jehovah's Witness, so I don't get involved in politics. We stay neutral. We don't vote. We don't get a part of those worldly things. So I'm not going to necessarily go out and vote for him. I would if it wasn't for my religion. Being that my religion, we don't get involved in politics, so we stay neutral.

Q. Justine's absence creates sort of a void with a great champion. Do you think there's something lost aesthetically with her not in it, her size, the one-handed backhand?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It's definitely different not to have the one-handed backhand and top player around. I think there's so many bright faces out here, different games, different styles. I just think nothing stops; the world keeps turning.

Q. The decision by you and Venus to play doubles this year, is that partially with the Olympics in mind or you were wanting to do that on its own merits?
SERENA WILLIAMS: We pretty much always play doubles at Wimbledon. We love to play doubles here. We play our best tennis here. We try to capitalize on everything.

Q. The match was 5-All in the first set, breakpoint against you. What is going through your mind? How big obviously was that point as the match turned out?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It was huge. I kept thinking, I can't lose serve. She was playing unbelievable to me. I felt like she wasn't making any errors. I just felt like I just had to hang in there and stay positive.

Q. Are you glad to have a first match like that rather than a 1-1 match? Do you think that helps you down the road?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It probably does help me down the road. I feel like today definitely was not an easy match. I personally prefer 1-1's. I've never been a player that prefers tough matches. I never kind of got that. But, yeah.

Q. In general you peak at the majors. This year your best tennis has been in between the two majors. Can you talk a little bit about that and how you approach Wimbledon this year.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, it's definitely been in between. But here is Wimbledon. I hope to keep doing well here and hopefully doing well outside of the majors as well.

Q. So doing your 'Serena recovery' period, thinking about what happened in Paris, obviously not one of your better matches, what were you thinking about your own performance and why that would happen?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I just thought I didn't play well, I played a lot of errors, I panicked. Anything I could have done wrong I did wrong. I can go on and on. But, you know, I just tried to let that go for the most part.

Q. Did you practice on grass at all back in Florida?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I did not. But we practiced on hard courts, which some are very fast. It's like getting used to the fast court.

Q. Once you get over here, how big is the adjustment for you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: This year wasn't big at all. I felt like I was on it straightaway. I've never felt that way. So I felt good making that adjustment so quickly.

Q. Any thoughts on Roger's cardigan?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I haven't seen it.

Q. Exactly how do you and Venus prepare? You don't play a tournament after the French. I don't know if you ever played a tournament before here. What goes on and how do you try to get yourself ready for this event?
SERENA WILLIAMS: We just go home and practice in the hot sun. We're so ready to leave Florida. We're like, We're going to do anything we can to stay at the tournament as long as we can so we don't have to go back in that heat. That's pretty much our preparation (laughter).

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