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August 12, 2011

Serena Williams


S. WILLIAMS/L. Safarova
4-6, 6-3, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Would you say that you're exceeding your own expectations so far since you've returned to the tour, or are things going as you hoped and thought they might?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I was hoping to win Wimbledon, so no, I'm not exceeding my expectations.

Q. Other than that Grand Slam, the last couple of tournaments and how you're playing so far here in Toronto?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Right now I'm just really taking it a day at a time and just a game at a time and a match at a time.

Q. In the post-match interview you said that there was a point in the match where you thought, maybe I should try a little harder at this point. And at 2-2 it seemed like you kind of turned it on, so to speak. Do you think it's fair to say you're one of the few women in the WTA who can turn it on whenever you need to?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know if it's turn it on. I just think that it was just more or less about, you know, this is another level, just taking my game to a higher level and not remaining on the same platform. So I tried to just do that.

Q. How do you feel about the spectators in Toronto? Do you feel they're supportive?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I love the spectators in Toronto. I love Toronto. I mean, I've been getting really wonderful support, and it's been amazing. Me likey.

Q. You seemed to have difficulty hitting your forehand shots. Is there a reason for that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, just -- I don't think so. My forehand is by far my favorite shot, so once I like punched myself in the head, I was like -- I started hitting them way better in the last few games. I just had to like get over whatever I was going through.
So I came back. I was good.

Q. Did you make a special effort after Wimbledon to sort of step it up in terms of your training, getting physically fit, and do you think that's paid dividends both in Stanford and here?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I definitely did. I just decided if I could be fit, maybe that can be a new level in my game, because I think I've always been, I think, a halfway decent player. I thought, what haven't I been? I have never really been fit, you know.
I'm still not super fit, because I always have cream sodas at night.

Q. What exactly would you have been doing that maybe you wouldn't have done in the past in terms of getting fit?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Um, hmm. Gosh, oh, I have been doing some running, but I hate running. I have been doing a little more running. More distance running, and, you know, I guess that's it. More than I was doing before.

Q. Do you feel any kind of kinship with Roger Federer? He just turned 30, and I think you hit that mark.
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, Baby, I'm 26. I'm turning 27 this year. (Laughter.)

Q. What changed after the first set? Because your game, the intensity level, everything seemed to change after the first set.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I honestly could have had a better chance in the first set, but I didn't make my -- I lost some key points. It was all about maybe one or two points here that would have made a difference and some double faults that didn't make sense.
I thought, okay, I have won more games; I just have to, you know, just make the right shots or the right points, I should say.

Q. And did you find her left-handed serve, was that something that took getting used to?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Lefties are just different, and it definitely took getting used to. I haven't played Lucie in a long time. I kind of forgot how she plays, and she's definitely a great player and doing so well.
Once I got used to it, you know, I was a little better, but then she would change it again, so it was, you know, interesting.

Q. Being off for so long, what part of your game was the toughest to get back to your usual standard? And what part did you find, what aspect came back the quickest?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I definitely think my mental was tough to get confidence. Like I said, I had to pray for confidence, because, you know, I felt like you can go out there, and people, no matter what I'm ranked, people still expect me to win sometimes and to do really well.
You know, I didn't have that -- not that I didn't have that confidence in myself. I just was like, you know, not there. You know, I was just trying to get there. And I think once Stanford happened, I was there, man. My prayers were answered.

Q. What came back the quickest to you? What was the part of your game?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Probably my speed. I think I'm actually running even faster than before.

Q. What can you tell us about your next opponent, Victoria? You haven't played her in a while, and she's had a great tournament so far.

Q. Winning easily.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, well, she's the better ranked player and she's had a great, fantastic tournament winning several tournaments already on hard court.
You know, she's a power player. She's smart, she's young, she has fresh legs. She has everything going for her right now.
And me, I'm just gonna go in there with just trying to do my best.

Q. At this stage, you've played a few tournaments but not that many, considering how long you were off. Do you feel like you've been back for a long time, or do you still feel like, you know, you're coming back from a layoff?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I definitely feel like I'm coming back from a layoff. I definitely don't feel like -- it trips me out, though, that this is only my fourth tournament. I feel like it may have been like eight tournaments, but it's only No. 4.
So I don't know. A lot of people are like, you know, still expecting me to be at the top level, and I expect it even more. It's kind of interesting.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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