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June 21, 2011
S. WILLIAMS/A. Rezai
6-3, 3-6, 6-1
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. What were your emotions at the end of that match?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, uhm, I didn't expect to have any emotions. I just expected to, you know, walk off. But I was pretty excited. I just thought about all the things that was happening, me not being here. Wasn't necessarily expecting to come to Wimbledon this year. Making it and winning was pretty cool.
Q. What made your decision to come here?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I was healthy. I got a healthy report from the doctor. You know, I love Wimbledon. And being out for so long really, really is unfortunate. I love playing tennis. I love being a part of the competition.
So I thought if I could make it, I'll try to do my best. And that's what I did.
Q. Do you feel like you appreciate it more now, the tennis? Maybe you took it a little bit for granted before?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I definitely don't feel that way. I feel like I've never taken it for granted 'cause I fight and won everything. Each and every point, each and every moment I enjoy and I relish. I, you know, enjoy the battle.
I would say it's just almost the same.
Q. Did you feel anything different today heading out there, or was it more that it really hit you at the end of the match?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It definitely hit me at the end of the match. I'm not a cryer, so I don't know. I think it was something in my eyes at one point, but...
It definitely was so emotional for me because, you know, throughout the last 12 months, I've been through, you know, a lot of things that's not normal, things you guys don't even know about. So it's just been a long, arduous road. To stand up still is pretty awesome.
Q. Would you say you played better or much better than you expected? She was a tough cookie today.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, I don't think I played well. I didn't say that. I said I was, you know, happy to get the win.
I could have done a lot of things. I had a lot of unforced errors. You know, it was all about going out there and doing what I could under a lot of pressure.
Q. You've talked about the road you've been on. Maybe Monica has had a near-death experience like you describe. Must be pretty daunting. What have you learned from that experience?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I just learned that, you know, you can never take any moment for granted. You know, I really was really trying to draw spiritually on my God Jehovah who I've really been trying to get a closer relationship to.
I've been doing so much just to try to appreciate every moment. When things happen, you appreciate people that are around you or people that may not be around you.
It's eye-opening as well as it makes you really tough, I think.
Q. How does it compare to some of the other experiences you've had in Kenya or at the port in Ghana?
SERENA WILLIAMS: This one stands out because it's my own struggle and my own battle, and everything else has been really cool and really amazing. This was just something that I have to overcome. And I'm still overcoming every day.
This isn't the end of the road; it's just the beginning.
Q. Of all the times you've gotten emotional after a match in your whole career, how would you compare today?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think my first time, maybe when I won the US Open way back in '99. I think I got a little emotional then, but not really.
So this was probably the most emotional I've gotten after a match, after a win. You know, and to be a first round, I never really get super, super excited. But for me it wasn't about winning the match. It was about being out there. Everyone that has had some troubles, whether it be health, whether it be something else, to realize that you can do it.
You know, you just have faith. If you believe in yourself, you just continue to fight and never give up. I always preach, you know, Never give up, never give up. I finally was in a position that I could have gave up, I couldn't have came here, I could have sat home and said, I've had a fabulous career. I don't have to work extra, extra hard now.
But it just really goes to show if you don't give up, you still have a chance.
Q. What did you prove to yourself today?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Uhm, I don't know what I proved to myself today. Well, I guess I proved that I could, that I could. I think that sums it up: I could. If I could get through that, I could.
Q. You had a strap on your back.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm pretty much taped up everywhere (laughter).
No, it's a taping technique that provides warmth kind of thing, thingy. It's nothing serious.
Q. Do you hold the restaurant where the incident took place culpable?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No. At the end of the day, they can't do anything for me. I can't do anything for them. There's absolutely nothing that can be done. I don't really dwell on the past. What can I do? What can they do?
Q. You come from a litigious culture. You've lost $6.5 million potentially that you could have earned as the result of the negligence. I mean, what was the restaurant called?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Honestly, I don't know the name. I can tell you, I've never been like that. I've never been like a greedy person. I've been sued before. It was a terrible feeling. I would never want to put anyone through that. It was what it was.
Q. You said before the match that your mother was worried about your health. Can you relieve her now?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I felt pretty good physically out there. So now I just got to get a little more consistent and stuff.
Q. You said before the game you felt better than ever. How do you feel right now physically? How much do you think it's taken out of you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Uhm, I actually think maybe I'm hoping I'll play better, because I also had the I don't want to lose in the first round of a Grand Slam kind of thing going on, too. Now I feel like I can take a deep breath. I've been practicing better than I played today, so hopefully I can get back to doing the right thing.
Q. Are you a contender for this title?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think everyone who is still in the tournament is potentially a contender for the title.
Q. After what you faced off the court, is there anything on the court that can faze you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I wouldn't necessarily want to face Nadal at the French Open. That would drive me insane, so...
Q. You looked very stylish today in your outfit. Last year at Wimbledon it was strawberries and cream inspired. What was the thinking behind today?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, today the inspiration was to be classic. So I kind of took classic lines and brought it to tennis with a cardigan as well as the dress. So it just has a simple line up the center. I added go days in the front to add just a little bit of flow. It reminded me of something you would have seen in like the '60s. I love it. It's so feminine. It's almost like a little baby doll. I really think it's cute.
Q. And the black pom-poms?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It's blue. It's actually blue and white. I went all white this year, so yeah.
Q. When you fly now on the airline, do you have to take any precautions before you fly after the illness you had?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah. I wear these socks that aren't very attractive, and I have to take some medicine before I take a long flight.
Q. Injection, too?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I take an injection before I fly. It's okay.
Q. Were you nervous going out? You lost those first two games kind of quickly. Was that nerves as much as anything or rust?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, it was a little bit of not playing. I don't think I was so nervous. I don't think I was that nervous. I think I got a little tight. Not necessarily nervous.
The difference between nervous and tight, I got always tight in the second set. Other than that, it was just me not, you know, being on my A game.
Q. Do you have a cold?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah. But I'm trying to overcome that, too (laughter).
Q. You recently said during this struggle at your low moments you cried, were very depressed. In your book you were very open how when you were upset before, when you were coming back from your surgery, you went to outside counseling. How did you overcome your depression?
SERENA WILLIAMS: This time I was definitely more spiritual and I thought that was a better way for me to do it. It couldn't have made me more, you know, happy and just content.
Q. This was a very unusual day that you described. How do you think you'll look back at today?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think I'll always be happy about it, no matter what. And I think I'll be like, Okay, I did that. Now I can have a baby, which I'm just kidding (laughter). That's even more painful and more hard than what I've done. I haven't quite accomplished everything.
Q. Between you and Venus, who is in better physical shape right now?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Uhm, I don't know. I think we're both really fit. I think Venus, obviously, she's always fit. We both worked hard right there next to each other. She was next door. I looked a little out of the side of my eye. Saw her working hard. So, yeah.
Q. Have you always been spiritual?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I've always been, or tried to be. A lot of shortcomings. I am not perfect. I'm human.
Q. What American athlete would you compare, attention-wise, to the attention that Andy Murray draws these two weeks here? Would it be like A-Rod?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Uhm, no. I would probably say, like, the Miami Heat.
Q. That could be seen as negative.
SERENA WILLIAMS: No. C'mon, they're amazing. They're good. We're going to win next year.
Q. What is your take on LeBron?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I love LeBron. He's a great guy. He's an awesome athlete.
Q. Do you think there's something about this venue that caused this in you? Do you think this could have happened in Australia or New York? Do you think it's Centre Court, coming out, the defending champion?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Definitely all that. I think this venue was particular, because definitely Centre Court, defending champion, and it's Wimbledon. It doesn't get bigger than this.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports