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March 22, 2012

Serena Williams


6‑2, 6‑3

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  Do you feel like it was a test for you as first match of the year?  What's your opinion about your opponent today?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I think it was a really good match.  I think she played really well.  She's pretty young.  She's 23, I think.

Q.  Yes.
SERENA WILLIAMS:¬† So she has‑‑ I thought she played really well.¬† She's doing really well.

Q.  Do you feel rusty at all?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  A little bit.  A little bit.  I was a little nervous for whatever reason.  I haven't played here for so long and I wanted to do well.
I was really nervous out there.  I think now that I've gotten one under I will be better.

Q.  What was it like to be back out there?  You played a lot of big matches out there, but it's been a long time.
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah, it's been too long.  It was really good.  Last couple years I haven't been able to play.  I didn't even dwell on that.
I just dwelled on the fact I was there and I was so happy and I wanted to do really well.  I was like, Oh, gosh.

Q.  You seemed frustrated the second set; return of serve was not what you liked it to be and you were like screaming at yourself.  Did it come on at all?
SERENA WILLIAMS:¬† It definitely came on.¬† I got a little frustrated, but not too much, you know.¬† I think my frustration is more like a motivation‑frustration, so it helps me to get motivated.

Q.  Everyone was wondering, How will Serena look?  How is she going to play?  When you say you were nervous at the beginning, were you even wondering yourself how you were going to do, curious, or did you have a good sense how you were going to play?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I wasn't wondering what I was going to do or if I was going to play well.  Last time I played I played horrible.
My worst fear actually was as long as I don't hit a ball in the stands I'll be good.  I didn't do that today, so it worked out well for me.

Q.  Do you get nervous as you get older?  Less?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  No, never more.  Like I'm always a little nervous in the first round and I kind of chill out after that.  Yeah, it's always the same.  It's always kinda been the same with me.

Q.  Do you still feel like when you're playing your best, do you feel you're still the best player to beat on the planet?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I feel when I'm playing really, really well it's extremely difficult to beat me.  There are a lot of players now that are playing excellent.
We'll see.  Hopefully I can play well.

Q.  You've done well against Victoria in the past, and Petra is there now and Wozniacki.  If you take the court on any given day, do you feel you can still beat them?
SERENA WILLIAMS:¬† I don't think about that.¬† I don't think anyone, you know, actually heard another athlete say‑‑ they say that no one goes out there thinking I'm gonna lose, per se.¬† So I definitely don't.¬† Yeah.

Q.  Sloane Stephens was talking about how you became friendly at Fed Cup.  Can you talk about what your relationship was like with her the past few weeks and what you think of her?
SERENA WILLIAMS:¬† Yeah, she's a really, really sweet girl.¬† I think she has a great game.¬† She has so much potential.¬† And she's so young.¬† Yeah, we definitely keep in touch, and I'm always‑‑ actually I asked her for advice once, which was just reallyridiculous.¬† She should have been asking me for advice, but...

Q.  Tennis advice?
SERENA WILLIAMS:¬† Never.¬† (Smiling.)¬† But it was funny, and we kind of always laugh about silly things.¬† She's cool.¬† Feels like I'm just‑‑ she's a really good girl.

Q.  Does she remind you of yourself at all at that age?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  She's very calm and so poised.  I was a little wild and crazy.  Yeah, I wish I had her poise.

Q.  Venus playing yesterday, having her back in the game and on the court, how does that affect you?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  It was amazing.  I was so happy for her.  She played a really tough opponent and she played really well.  She was just doing so well.
You know, she's been through so much, and to know you can go through and that and continue to play and never give up really gave me hope and inspiration.  Because I felt like at some points I would give up, and she never did.
She just really inspires me.  And not just in tennis but, you know, in life in general.  She has inspired so many people.

Q.  Have you noticed a difference in her physically?  Like does she get tired more often than she used to?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  That's definitely one of the symptoms.  So I think it's natural if she does.  But, um, we're always laughing.  She's working so hard.  I mean, she's doing more now than she's ever done before.
I always worry about her.  I think she's fine.

Q.  Have you adopted any of her vegan ways yourself?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Well, we're both cheagans, and she came up with that word because, um, you know, well, she's always eaten red meat.  I have never eaten red meat.  We live together, so it would be kinda bad for me to bring in bad food to the house and stumble her.
So I take it upon myself to do the best I can for her.  I mean, it's like we live together.  That's my best friend, that's everything to me, so I wouldn't want to have anything bad for her, have her unhealthy because of me.
So I do what she does, as usual.

Q.  Can you talk about just being that close?  You started off in the same room together and you were obviously close when you were little kids.  But for two sisters at your age to be so close still...
SERENA WILLIAMS:¬† Yeah, we probably should have ‑‑ probably should have moved out a long‑‑ honestly, it's ridiculous now.¬† Like we have kind of held each other back now.¬† Hey, we're in for the long run.¬† That's like my husband.¬† (Laughter.)
So, yeah.

Q.  You still are that close?  Like you talk about things with her a lot?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  No, yeah, we talk about a lot of things.  We're always laughing together.  You know, I tell her everything, so it's fun.  You know, she's really fun.  Obviously she's really fun.

Q.  Do you guys ever help each other out like with your fashion ventures?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  She helps me out a lot.  She always asks me for advice.  Like her latest collection, she's like, What do you think?  I was like, I don't like this and change it, and she changed it.  And now it came what I said I thought was better.
So we give a lot of feedback, and she gives me feedback on my collection, too.  It's cool.  It's really fun.

Q.  How are you physically?  The ankle?  Hammy is taped.  How frustrating is that, just these nagging injuries?
SERENA WILLIAMS:¬† I'm pretty good physically.¬† It's preventive now.¬† I would hate to go out there ‑‑ even when you're sweating so much it's hard to tape it.¬† It's more a preventive measures, but I'm feeling pretty good.

Q.  You and Venus being closer, are you playing a lot more of the same tournaments now?  You're both playing Charleston in a few weeks and both played Eastbourne last summer.  Can you talk about how the transition has happened over the years wanting to spend more time together?
SERENA WILLIAMS:¬† Honestly I wasn't going to play Charleston, and I did terrible in Australia and I said ‑‑ called my agent and I was like, Can you enter me in Charleston, please?¬† That's kind of how I got into it.
Eastbourne we both didn't play for a while.  I don't avoid the schedule.  I just play whatever I play.  If she's there, then, you know, hopefully we don't meet in the first round.

Q.  John Isner was just in here talking about mixed doubles at the Olympics saying he'd like to have one of the sisters as his partners.
SERENA WILLIAMS:  It's good.  I love John.  It would be fun to play with him.  He's doing so well.  I think any of the American guys are all really well, from Mardy to Bryan brothers, John, Andy.  Everyone's, you know, a pretty strong team.
I think that we should do what's best to get the gold medal.

Q.  Are you hoping to play mixed?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah.  I'm hoping, you know.  I can do it.  You put me in all three, I'm coming out with one or two medals.

Q.  What do you think that would be like, mixed doubles in the Olympics?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I think it will be fun.  You know, it's gonna be interesting.  There's going to be a lot of good teams, and, you know, a lot of good pairings.

Q.  What do you think the Olympics at Wimbledon will be like?  What do you anticipate?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I don't know because I understand we won't be wearing white.  So I feel weird not wearing white at Wimbledon.  Like I absolutely love wearing white.
I actually feel weird.  Like when I was playing Eastbourne and I wasn't wearing white, I felt like I should just wear white on grass.
So I think overall it will be pretty cool.¬† I mean, to be ‑‑ the Olympics in itself is amazing, so...

Q.  I remember you talked in Australia about being on a TV show as a guest star, but you couldn't talk about it.  Can you talk about that now?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I don't know.  I don't know.  You'll see it soon.

Q.  Have you changed the way you train at all to reduce the wear and tear on your body?  Do you want to keep it going as long as you can?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I mean, I've changed the way I trained like a couple years ago, and I'm kind of keeping up with that.  I feel good.  Like everyone says, I have the body of a 16 year old.  (Smiling.)

Q.  Yesterday your sister brought her dog into the presser.  Do you travel with your dog, as well?
SERENA WILLIAMS:¬† Yeah, but my girls are very bad.¬† They are not as well‑behaved as Harold, so they can't come to these kinds of things.¬† They kind of have to stay home.¬† I don't know how they got to be so bad, but I love 'em.

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