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January 14, 2012

Serena Williams


THE MODERATOR:  Questions for Serena.

Q.  You won the title here your last two times playing in Melbourne.  Do you feel like the defending champion still?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Uhm, not really.  I kind of feel like I have really nothing to lose 'cause I didn't play last year.  And so, you know, I can just do well.

Q.  Can you give us the full update on the injury and how you're feeling, moving, hitting?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Well, I really tested my moving today for the first time so I feel a lot better with it.  I'll kind of know more tonight, you know, 'cause today is the first day I really like really, really, really pushed it.  I've been taking it easy for a long time now.
But overall I feel really good.

Q.  So how scary was it after the injury, the day or two after?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah, no, it was scary I think more during because I was just like, Oh, this really kind of hurts, but...  I think it's more than anything positive thinking, trying to stay up for everything.

Q.  You're going to play with a strap on from now on, I guess?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I know.  I should have put it on.  I always have them taped anyway, so I'll just continue to do that.

Q.  Do you feel if your movement is good you've had enough matches to be ready for a Grand Slam?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah.  You know, definitely.  Two is plenty for me, for sure (smiling).

Q.  What was it like coming back to Melbourne specifically, given this is arguably your best Grand Slam over your career?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah, it's amazing.  I absolutely love it here.  I love the people here.  I love the atmosphere.  More than anything, when I stepped out on Rod Laver for the first time, I just love that court.  I love the way it feels and the way I move on it and the way, I don't know, I just hit on that court.  It's an undescribable feeling.
I was really excited.  It kind of pumped me up more just to be like, Okay, I'm definitely going to get through this injury.

Q.  Can you talk us through what you need to do to monitor the injury over the next couple days.  Constant icing?  Hyperbaric chamber?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  No, I'm extremely claustrophobic so that chamber is not an option for me.
Yeah, just constant icing, which I don't like.  But I do know the results have been good when I ice, so I'm just going to continue to do that.

Q.  You're without your normal doubles partner here.  You've been talking about playing with Andy Roddick in the mixed.  Can you talk about your anticipation of that mix?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I think it will be really fun.  I actually practiced next to Andy, but we were both so focused on our singles practice that I didn't even get to talk to him too much today.
But I think it will be really fun.  I hit the worst volley today, and I was a little worried.  I was like, He might want to get a new partner.  We'll see how it goes.

Q.  Are you two in this tournament to win it?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I am, and he better be (laughter).

Q.  I think I read last week that you said you decided not to play in the fall because you were tired.  Can you take us back after the US Open how you were feeling, how you came to that decision.
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah, I was just trying to do the best that I could and I worked really hard in the summer.  I was training in L.A. every day after the US Open, you know, just training, training, training.  It was a lot mentally for me.

Q.  Was it mental and physical?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  It was definitely physical.  I was in a little pain.  I just wasn't, you know, yeah.

Q.  Are there any players that you'd like to face here in Australia?  Some players have come up, like Kvitova at Wimbledon.  Is there anybody you'd like to have a crack at during the two weeks here?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Honestly, I don't think about that, per se.  I just think about I don't want to face, you know, me playing bad.  So I just try just think about my game more than anything.

Q.  Is this the best depth that you've seen in women's tennis over the years?  Four different Grand Slam winners last year.  It just seemed remarkable.
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Uhm, no, I don't think it's a dip [sic].  I think it just goes to show you how much depth there is in women's tennis.  Anyone at any point can win because everyone is playing so hard.  There's a new crop of players that are coming that are really young and that are super hungry and that are doing really well.  There's other players that has been on the tour for a long, long time, and they're doing excellent, too.  So it just kind of depends.

Q.  With everything you've accomplished in tennis, do you still get the same buzz when you turn up for major tournaments like this as you did when you set out?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah, I get the same burst, if not more.  I love playing majors and I love competing.  More than anything, I hate losing.  That kind of makes me really hungry to work harder to get the results that I want.

Q.  Is that hatred of losing still as fierce as when you started playing?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah, it's definitely.  It's funny 'cause it can go down because you get used to tough matches and you learn how to lose better.
I definitely think I have, but it's still really hard for me.  So that just feeds my hunger to work harder.

Q.¬† Is there a boredom with the non‑majors, though?¬† Are they more difficult?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  No.  For the first time in my career, well not in my career but in a long time, I won two tournaments that weren't majors.  That was a big step for me.  I was excited.  I definitely want to continue to win those tournaments, as well.

Q.  Venus over the years has taken a really supportive role with you, the big sister, talking you up.  Over the last five or six months, has that switched a little bit?  Have you had to be more of the supportive person because she's been going through a tough time physically?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah, no, she's still extremely positive and she's still really supportive.  I don't think the roles can ever switch of being big sister, little sister.

Q.  Talk a little bit about what she's gone through.  I know she made a big effort to play here.
SERENA WILLIAMS:  She made a great effort.  I saw her training every day next to me.  I was a little shocked she didn't come.  That just means she's preparing for another event.  She'll be out really fast.
I told her that, uhm, she has to take care of herself first.  She's like, Yeah, I know, I'm feeling good.  She's doing better now that she knows what she's going through, she knows how to treat it, and it's working a lot better for her.

Q.  Do you have any special outfits this year, what you're going to be wearing?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Did you miss it (laughter)?  I debuted it.  C'mon.  I'll send you a picture (smiling).

Q.  What was the most fun thing you did over the holidays?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I don't celebrate holidays.  You know, for me it's always work, work, work.  I never have celebrated holidays.  I had fun.  Went rafting once.

Q.  River rafting?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  No.  Actually it was tubing on jetskis.  It was so fun.  I'm not a water sports person.  I had so much fun.  I just totally didn't expect to have so much fun, so it was a blast.

Q.  No fear of crashing?
SERENA WILLIAMS:¬† I go like eight miles an hour in the jet‑ski.¬† When I'm in the passenger seat, I can hold on tight, yeah.

Q.¬† Because you missed so much time with injury, you're out of the top 10.¬† You're the top‑ranked player on Twitter in terms of followers.¬† What does that say about your state of relaxation, the few days before a slam starts that you're willing to be so relaxed and open with your fans?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I just wanted to be able to reach my fans, so I started 'Serena Friday'.  It was hard.  There were so many questions.  People were getting angry that I didn't answer them.  I actually do them.  It's like usually other people have people that do the answers for them.  It's like, I have to go to bed, I have to train, I still have to answer all the questions in between.
It's good because fans get to kind of connect with you.  A lot of these people I don't get to see often, but they really support me and they really are just a key part of who I am.  I just wanted to kind of return that, so...

Q.  Do you think it helps you, as well, keeps you relaxed?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  It definitely keeps me relaxed.  I get to laugh as well, kind of see what they're thinking, kind of see what's on their mind.  I really love it.  I like that aspect of being able to be interactive with people that are supportive.

Q.  How often are you in Florida now?  Are you basically based in L.A.?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  No, I'm based in Florida for tax reasons (smiling).

Q.  There's a required number of days.
SERENA WILLIAMS:  In L.A. it's 183 days.  So all the days I'm not in L.A., I'm in Florida.

Q.  Do you consider the Miami tournament your home tournament?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah, because there's no L.A. tournament.  But I haven't played that tournament in two years, so if it's meant to be, I really look forward to playing that tournament.  I love it there.

Q.  What do they do well for the players and stuff?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Uhm, I don't know.  It's just convenient.  I love the island.  I just love Miami, just the city.  Convenience, I stay so close.  If I want to go home, I can go home.  For me, it's super convenient.  I don't know for everyone else, but for me it's like perfect.

Q.  You're playing Monterrey, Mexico, too, right?

Q.  Do you want a change of pace or something new?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah.  I decided I wanted to go to different cities that I've never been to.  I've never been to Monterrey.  I really haven't really been to Mexico.  When I was a baby, my dad took us to Tijuana.  I've never been to Mexico, so I thought it would be great to go and have fun.

Q.  Are you committed to Fed Cup?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah, I definitely can't wait for Fed Cup.

Q.  What about the chance to win the Australian Open this year?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I'm just taking it one match at a time.  I hope I get to play seven of 'em and come out on top in all seven.

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