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July 3, 2012

Serena Williams


S. WILLIAMS/P. Kvitova
6‑3, 7‑5

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  How does it feel to dethrone the champion?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I mean, it just feels like a good win.  You know, she was playing very well.
I don't know if it was more about dethroning or going out there and playing the match and doing the best that I could.

Q.  No extra satisfaction then?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Not really.  I obviously wanted to win today, as I'm sure she did.

Q.  How important was it to put pressure on her right from the very first game today?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I think that's just my game pretty much.  I hadn't been doing that so much in the past, so for me it was definitely important to get out there and just be the best that I could be.

Q.  There was the crucial point when she put the volley into the net ‑ I think it was at 5‑All in the second set ‑ it a key moment in the game, wasn't it?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Well, definitely.  Obviously it gave me the break.  She served so well today.  She hit another big serve and kind of got me off guard, but I was able to just get the ball back, which sometimes was helping.

Q.  Going forward now to the semifinal, we don't know who you're going to play.  If you were to meet Azarenka, what sort of game would you expect from her?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  She's playing unbelievable.  I think she's played so well this year.  Already having a Grand Slam under her belt is really great.  She did it in such style, so it's not going to be easy if I play her.
You know, it's going to be another match where I have absolutely nothing to lose.  I can just go out there and enjoy myself and have fun.

Q.  Paszek, you beat her at the Australian Open.  What sort of game do you expect from her?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  She plays really well on grass.  This is the second time she's had a good result here.  She took out a good seed and kept going.  She didn't lose int eh next round, so she's obviously extremely serious about doing the best that she can.

Q.  Why do you think you returned serve so well today compared to the last two rounds?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I don't know.  I feel like I've been returning really well in practice ‑ much better than any of my matches ‑ so I'm thinking one day it's going to come through.  I can still return a lot better, but it just hasn't quite clicked yet.
But today was definitely better than the other matches.

Q.  I'm sure every time you go to the court to win, but what was your inner voice saying today through the match today?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  It said a lot.  You know, one thing was just to stay positive and stay focused more than anything.  That was a big thing for me.

Q.  You could say that few other players in the game have had more ups and downs than you on the court, injuries, family, romance, everything.  The ups, the downs, all the changes, is that something you're tired of, something you get used to, or does it fire you up?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I think you get tired of a lot of things really fast.  Obviously no one tries to have ups and downs.  Some things happen sometimes and you have absolutely no control over it.
So I think it's how you recover from that and how you handle the downs even more than the ups can really judge you as a character.

Q.  In some way do you think ultimately the bad day at the office at Paris and the two tough matches here will fire you up for the end run here at Wimbledon?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Well, I hope so.  I'm hoping to play a couple more matches this tournament, you know, in singles, not even talking about doubles.  That's all I can hope for.

Q.  What are your thoughts on playing under the roof?  How would you describe the differences for you?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I loved it.  I mean, it was amazing for me.  There was no elements, no excuses.  I loved it.  I loved the sound.  It was really cool.
I've never played under the roof, so it was a first for me.  I really enjoyed it.

Q.  People are saying you're the favorite for the tournament now.  Would you agree with that?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I don't think about it.  I just think I can do the best I can.  You know, I still have hopefully two more matches to play and win.  That's my goal.

Q.  When you talk about the sound, was that the sound of the balls hitting the ground or the crowd?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  The sound of the balls.  It's kind of like a whoosh and a pop.  It's really cool.  It's almost like a video game but you're playing.  It kind of flies through and you hear it when it lands.  It's really cool.  I really like playing indoor.

Q.  Can you explain how Wimbledon is different this year given you've got the Olympics coming up?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I feel like no matter what happens, I'll be back in a couple weeks.  That's kind of a different feeling.  Usually it's a once‑a‑year kind of thing, but now it's, Okay, we'll be back, we'll be back.

Q.  You were just saying now you have two matches left and you have nothing to lose.  Have you always played that way, or is this a new frame of mind for you?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  You know, it depends.  Like right now if Victoria wins, she's had a better year than I have.  She's been so successful already, like I said, winning a Grand Slam.
Going against a player like that, I feel like she almost has an advantage, I guess.  So, you know, that makes me really relaxed and I can just kind of hit.

Q.  What were the biggest things that you took from the last two matches which were struggles into this where you seemed to elevate your game?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Well, you know, you can't play a defending Wimbledon champion or Grand Slam champion and not elevate your game.  I had to weed out the riffraff and just get serious.

Q.  How did you do that?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I had a good talk with my dad.  He motivated me and my sister, as well.  I had a talk with Patrick, too.  It was great.  Like all three of those got me really motivated to do better and be the player that know I can be.

Q.  How did that manifest itself on the court in what you did better today?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I just took to heart what everyone said.  I really prayed about it, just to have calmness of mind and just go forward and do the best I can do, whether that's winning or losing.

Q.  What specifically did your team say to you?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Well, I can't say that, per se.  I'm sorry.  They're secrets that I want to keep.

Q.  In your post‑match interviews you've talked about not being at your best.  Are you confident you will get that back, your best form, one day?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah, I hope so.  I was playing really well for a while.  So the fact that I can play better, it's pretty amazing.

Q.  This is Petra's first time defending a major title.  How hard is that to do the first time you do it?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  It's definitely not easy.  I think when I defended my first major I didn't win.  But she did great.  She held herself in ultimate class and played her heart out.
I don't think I've ever seen her play so well.

Q.  What's the hard part about doing that for you?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Well, losing.  You know, I just was sad to see me lose.  But then Venus won, so I was like, Okay.  I was happy she won.

Q.  Why wouldn't you have calmness of mind?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I don't know.  Sometimes I put pressure on myself and I'm really amped up too much.  Sometimes I just need to relax and smile and just like take a deep breath.
I think me in general, and I think a lot of people, tend to forget that, so...

Q.  Can I ask you some numbers, what you think about?  75 career semifinals out of 153 tournaments; 5th semifinal in last 10 tournaments; 21 semifinals in 48 slams.  Which one is most important to you?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Obviously the slams, so...
I really try to take every tournament serious, but at the end of the day you add up those Grand Slams and it really helps.
It's really kind of cool to have trophies in your house that are so meaningful, that you grow up dreaming about it but never really knowing you can make it.

Q.  Only just when you win, or also, let's say semifinals?  Federer had an incredible record in the semifinals.  Just the trophy are important to you or you consider also the semifinals, the finals, or they're not important?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah, I hate losing.  If I lose, I don't keep the trophy.  So semifinal, it's great in a way, but at the end of the day if you're not first, you're last.

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