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February 5, 2012

Serena Williams


USA – 3
Belarus – 0

S. WILLIAMS/A. Yakimova
5‑7, 6‑1, 6‑1

THE MODERATOR:  Questions for Serena Williams.

Q.  Obviously you were clearly frustrated in the first set.  How did you turn things around, cut down on the errors?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I knew it couldn't get worse.  I was just like, Okay, it's not going to get any worse than this, it can only get better.

Q.  Can you talk about her game, what she did.  Seemed like she did a good job of keeping points alive.
SERENA WILLIAMS:  She has a real junk game, you know, where you just hit slice on everything.  Shocking, no one's really playing like this.
But, you know, you have to be able to face everybody.  I made too many errors.  But her game is just junk basically.

Q.  How big was this win for the U.S. team?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  It was really big for us.  I definitely wanted to get my match and win it so we could kind of be a little more relaxed.  That was really important for me.

Q.  After your career has come and gone, how do you want to be remembered in the game of tennis?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Oh, my.  I don't know.  I'm not even thinking about that now.  I don't want to remember yet.

Q.  Is your performance a little bit a function of the fact that you haven't been playing that many matches?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I don't know.  I don't want to make excuses.  I've been training and practicing, so it was a little frustrating.
I mean, I don't know if that's the reason.  I will be able to get better, yeah, so it will be fine.

Q.  Victoria being No.1, winning the Australian Open, she has a lot of points coming up to defend.  How hard is it when you first get to that level to be able to handle it and keep that momentum going and defend the points?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I don't know.  I don't really even think about it.  I just play.
It's a lot of pressure defending points.  Sometimes the pressure can get to you.  So I don't know.

Q.  I really liked your racquet smash today.  You had a good move where you smashed it and immediately threw it behind you.  It was impressive.
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Thank you (laughter).

Q.  Where do you think that one ranks amongst your racquet smashing of all time?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  That one is way low.  I've demolished some racquets.  Yeah, that was nothing.  That just goes to show you how frustrated I was out there today.
I haven't done that in a match in a very long time.

Q.  Do you have any favorite ones from your past?  You had one in the Miami final a few years ago that was pretty good.
SERENA WILLIAMS:  No, I can't even think of them right now.  I can't remember exactly when they happened.

Q.  What do you think it takes to make a really good smash?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Probably a lot of power, which I have, and a tremendous amount of anger.  It just goes better when you have more anger.

Q.  Can you tell me how your ankle feels.
SERENA WILLIAMS:  My ankle's good.  You know, it's not healed, but it feels fine.  It's really kind of weird.  I don't understand that.  But it feels fine.

Q.  It didn't affect your game today, though?

Q.  Are you planning on being with the team in April?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I mean, if everything goes well, then I hope to be with the team.  I hoped to play last year, too, but everything didn't go well.
I'm just taking it a day at a time.  Hopefully I will be there.

Q.  Are you enjoying the team game or do you prefer being an individual?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I actually prefer being an individual.  I think I feel too much pressure playing with a team.  I feel like I have to win.  Not that I have to win, but I want to win more than I do for myself because the last thing I want to do is let someone else down.  So it's like there is so much stress.  When you are playing by yourself, you want to win, but it's a lot less pressure.
I love like having Christina around, having Mary and Venus, Liezel, Sloane.  Like, I love the camaraderie.  It's so much pressure for me.  I'm like, Oh, my God, I want to win this for you guys and do the best that I can for them.

Q.  Now that you're preparing for the hard court season, are you going to stay local, play in some tournaments before, or get ready for Indian Wells and Miami?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah, I'm going to be at home and training.  I'm playing Monterrey, then Miami.  I don't play Indian Wells.  Yeah, I'm not going back.  I'm going to play Monterrey, Miami.  It will be fun.

Q.  The points for breaking serve for 5‑1 in that first set, how surprised were you that you let down as much as you did, and she junked you to pieces, as you said?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I didn't realize I had a point to go up 5‑1, to be honest.  It's a good thing that I didn't realize that during the match.  I probably would have been even more upset.
It was important to stay positive.  I was extremely negative out there.  In the past I haven't been like that.  I think I just wanted to do so well for the team.  I didn't want Christina having any pressure going into her match.  I took all the pressure and I shouldn't have done that.  I just kind of went haywire, yeah.
But, you know, I was able to win playing like that.  That's pretty awesome.

Q.  I asked you something yesterday about the Olympics.  What is your understanding now about what you have to do or whether you have already done it to be eligible to get in the Olympics?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I don't know.  I know you have to play Fed Cup, I guess.  My whole goal is just to focus while I'm here to win matches for the team.  Clearly, I don't want to lose for the team.
So I don't know.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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