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WESTERN & SOUTHERN OPEN


August 13, 2012


Serena Williams


CINCINNATI, OHIO

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  Talk about winning the singles and doubles gold at the Olympics and what it means to you moving forward.
SERENA WILLIAMS:¬† It was really awesome to win both medals at the Olympics.¬† I really wanted to win doubles.¬† I know everyone was like, You haven't won the singles gold, and that's the only thing big career‑wise move that you haven't won.¬† I was like trying to put that out of my mind.
I went there really with doubles on my mind, so singles was the ultimate goal for me.

Q.  Is there a difference in playing in the Olympics and a tournament like this?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Well, yeah.  The Olympics you're playing really for your country; you're representing USA; you're rooting really, really hard for everyone that is American, whether it's in your sport or whether it's other sports.
So it's a great team camaraderie feeling, and I love it.  I love it.

Q.  So many aces at Wimbledon and then only dropping 14 games at the Olympics, I would have to think that you and Venus would have liked it when three of the four majors were played on grass.
SERENA WILLIAMS:  No, that's not necessarily true.  I've done pretty well on hard.  Actually hard is my favorite surface, so we're now entering my realm, which I've had lots of success on.  I actually never really liked grass really.  It's never been my favorite surface.
Now I like it.  But I love hardcourts.

Q.  Is it disappointing with the Olympics stuff that you have to come back in this grind of regular tournaments and didn't get to have the fun rest of the last week or so and closing ceremonies and all that?
SERENA WILLIAMS:¬† It wasn't disappointing at all.¬† I mean, I knew I had a tough summer coming up.¬† I put this ahead.¬† I was like, Okay, Serena, you want to play Roland Garros ‑ which I actually didn't play this year ‑ so you're going to play some clay court tournaments and then take Roland Garros off, and then you'll play Wimbledon and Stanford. ¬†You would a really big summer.¬† And the Olympics.
I knew going into it it wasn't going to be easy.  I knew that I wanted to do well, and I was just going to try.

Q.  A few weeks back at that Bank of the West you were worried about your schedule, but you pretty much nailed it.
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah, so far so good.

Q.  Did you expect to do as perfectly as you did at the Olympics?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  No, I didn't expect that at all.  We're still in the heart of it.  That was actually the heart of it, now we're getting towards the end.  We have this great tournament in Cincinnati and then the US Open, which is the final Grand Slam of the year.
Everyone wants to do well there and prove themselves there.  So it's the final two tournaments.

Q.  You talked about the team atmosphere of the Olympics.  I know Venus mentioned before about adding to the medal count for the U.S.  Do you take pride in that, that you added to the medal count?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Absolutely.  I didn't see the final medal, but I know at one point we were behind China.  When I got my gold, I was like, Yes, this totally helps.  I mean, I added a medal to that medal count, too, so I was really proud of that.  I wanted that gold.
The Americans wanted to have the most gold.  It was a great Olympics.  I'm devastated that it's over.  But, yeah.

Q.  Now that you have a career golden slam, is there anything left next for you that you still have missing?  You want to play more mixed to get all the mixed slams?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah, I know.  I have two left out on that.  But it's hard, because every time I want to play mixed I end up playing doubles, and it's too hard for me to play all three.
We'll see.  I still have plenty of time to try to do that.  That would be really awesome to complete that.  But mixed is hard.

Q.  How much is the Olympics and you winning gold in the Olympics helps maybe raise the interest level of tennis overall and for a tournament like this here in the Midwest, in Cincinnati?
SERENA WILLIAMS:¬† Hopefully it helps it a lot, because having players like me here ‑‑ and I know Roger is here and Agnieszka is here, she got to the finals of Wimbledon.¬† We have really, really good field here.¬† All of us did really well at the Olympics, so it's good.
It's good to see right after such a big event to have all these top players come to the Midwest and to Cincinnati and be dedicated to show up.  I think it's awesome.

Q.  Does every new thing that you check off your list, like the gold medal in singles, make it a little bit harder for you to have a lot of motivation?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  No, absolutely not.  I mean, you know, I guess you can say I checked it off my list, but it wasn't like top priority.  For me, gold is gold.  It's definitely great to get that of the list.
For me, I just want to keep playing well and doing the best that I can.  More slams obviously is what I want to go for.  I definitely have goals that I want to try to reach.

Q.  Of all the competitions you watched there, which ones excited you the most and maybe a couple other athletes you got excited for?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Well, I'm really girly, so I love rhythm gymnastics.  I do.  I love the synchronized swimming.  You know, stuff like that I absolutely love.  So I was really excited to watch all the rhythm gymnasts and watching the U.S. gymnast team, namely Gabby Douglas.  I loved that.  It was cool.

Q.  Who did you meet?  Did you meet Gabby?
SERENA WILLIAMS:¬† I didn't meet her.¬† I went to athletics ‑ well, the track and field ‑ and I saw Bolt. ¬†I didn't meet him.¬† I did meet a lot o the United States track and field players.¬† Players, God, I'm too far into tennis.¬† Athletes.¬† Tennis lingo.¬† So that was cool.
I was hanging out in the Village, and then I was in the lunchroom and most the U.S. basketball team came in.  I was excited, so I ran or there and we were talking and hung out.  So it was fun.

Q.  Being in the Midwest, I have a curious question for you:  Your dad's been involved in a lot of business ventures.  You were born in Saginaw, Michigan.  What were your parents doing in Saginaw at that point?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I honestly don't know.  I think I just kind of popped out there, and I moved straight to L.A. from then.  I was just born there.
But my grandmother is from Saginaw, or she was from Saginaw, and my mom was always there visiting her.  Literally that's what happened.

Q.  Talk about your goals for this tournament, especially since last year you had to withdraw with a toe injury.
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah, my goal is to do better than last year.  Hopefully I can accomplish that.  Yeah, I always come to every tournament to do my best.  If that's a win, then that's what I want obviously.  You know, I really don't like losing, so...
Also want to play well.  If I lose playing well, that's also encouragement going into the final Grand Slam of the year.

Q.  How do you prepare for the US Open?  Last two times you played there has been a situations with the line judges or the chair umpires.  What is your mind frame going into in this year?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  My mind frame this year is that something is going to happen for sure because something always happens to me at the Open, whether it's a horrendous line call that's two feet in or whether it's a grunt and I get a point penalized.  Or a foot fault when I actually don't foot fault.
I'm prepared for something to happen.¬† Hopefully if I get to the semifinals or finals I'm really prepared and really going to count ‑‑ I'm going to try to make it to ten.¬† (Laughter.)
But if I don't, I don't, you know, Hey.  (Laughter.)  I can't stop who I am, you know.  I'm definitely going to start one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight and see how far I get.

Q.  With the proximity of this tournament to the US Open, how important is it to play well here?  Do you put a big emphasis on how your game is not necessarily winning, losing?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  For me it's important.  I played Stanford, which was hardcourt, but went right back to grass.  For me to come back and play Cincinnati on hard will be good because it's such a change.
So I think it'll be good for me to see where I am the hard court.  It's a different game.  Not nearly as fast, so I have to get my mind frame back into hard court tennis.

Q.  Are you and Venus going to play doubles at the Open?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  So far, yes.  I love playing doubles with her.

Q.  Does retaking No. 1 mean nothing to you because you've done so many other things?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I think it'd be awesome.  I mean, I don't want to be No.4 or 2 or No. 9.  But at the same time, you know, I think it's great.  Like Roger is No. 1 now, but he also accomplished so much.  He doesn't need that next to his name.  Hopefully the same with me.
I'm not No. 1, but I'm what, I'm 4.  It doesn't matter whether I'm 1 or 4.  I still feel like I'm a force to be reckoned with.  I've accomplished with a lot in my career.  I want to keep accomplishing more.

Q.  This is one of the biggest tournaments you've never won.
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I've won this tournament, by the way.  I have.  When it wasn't big.  (Laughter.)  But it counts.
I did win this tournament, didn't I?
Maybe I didn't.  I can't keep up.  I don't think I did.  Okay, whoops.

Q.  Now that you know you haven't won it...
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Okay, yeah.  No, I didn't win this tournament.  I thought I did.  I really thought I did.  Oh, see, I have something new to do.  I thought I won it.  See, you know, I can't keep up.

Q.  Are you still waiting to reflect on your achievements?  You were hesitant to do so after winning No. 14 at Wimbledon.  Now with the gold do you still want to wait until after the US Open?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  No, I'll wait until after my career.  I don't want to become satisfied.  I want to keep doing more and more and more.  I just don't want to be like, Oh, I've done so much; why am I still playing?  Retire, do something else.  I don't want to feel that way.
I love playing and walking out on the court and having that crowd clap for you and your opponent.  In that moment it's all about you two, you know, the two opponents.
So for me that's a great feeling.  Doesn't last forever.  I'm stretching it out as long as I can.

Q.  Chris and Martina have 18 and you have 14, which means if you do play a few more years they're sort of within your sights.
SERENA WILLIAMS:¬† Definitely could be.¬† Four is a lot more to get.¬† Could do it in a year, but that's also‑‑ I've never done it.¬† So, you know, I don't have any plans of retiring or stopping any time soon, so I'm just trying to catch up with Roger.¬† Like what is he at 16 now?

Q.  17.
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I was close, and I won Wimbledon and he won Wimbledon.  I was like, How am I ever going to catch up with you if you keep winning?  I'm obviously happy for him.

Q.  What do you think they thought about the dance?  What was your feedback on it when you won the gold?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I don't know.  I was just so happy to win and so excited.  You know, like I said, honestly I went there to win doubles.  I said no pressure, because there was so much pressure from the media like, She doesn't have a gold and blah, blah, blah.
I was like, Serena, don't, don't.  Just focus.  Just know that you can get this in doubles.  That was my main goal.  I could not and still can't believe I won singles gold.  It was a great opportunity for me.

Q.  When you play Maria in the finals, thinking back to 2007 Australian Open when you dominated and then you dominated her this year as well in the final at the Olympics, you ever compared it to like, Wow, I really got her this time good when you're playing against her?  Does that cross your mind?
SERENA WILLIAMS:¬† No.¬† I think every match is different.¬† I think every time I play Maria or anybody it doesn't matter.¬† Like every time you step out on court you start from the same position.¬† You both start at zero‑zero and you have to get to win two sets.
So, yeah, I wasn't thinking about it so much.

Q.¬† Two‑part question:¬† What did you do with your gold and what did you do in the week between the Olympics and now?
SERENA WILLIAMS:¬† God, my phone never goes off.¬† I promise you I need‑‑ I really need to reply, guys, so can we wrap this up?
My golds are in a location I probably shouldn't say in case someone wants to go take them.  But they're not with me.
After I stayed for a day went to the Village, traded pins, got some good pins, and then I went training in Paris.  So now I'm here.

Q.  Who won the pin count, you or V?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I don't know.  Liezel Huber was making a good run for it.  Yeah, yeah, I can't wait to see her.

Q.  I didn't know she was in the mix.
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah, she was big in the mix.  So it was tough.  I think she may have gotten us, but I got North Korea.

Q.  Talk a little bit about Venus and where her game is at this time.
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Venus is doing excellent.  I mean, gosh, she played so well at the Olympics.  You know, she lost that match but really should have won that match.  I think the fact that he she didn't play enough matches was the only reason she lost.  But she played unbelievable.
She totally motivated me when I saw her play her, I think first or second round and she played so good.  I said, I got to play better or I'm not going to last long in this tournament.  That completely motivated me to play better.  So I think she's playing great.

Q.  I think a lot of folks in the area probably just came off the closing ceremonies last night and saw your gold and watched the game and heard about the schedule this summer and they say, why is she in Cincinnati today?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I love it here.
I'm telling you when I say my phone never rings, it never rings.  Ever.  That's really inappropriate, unprofessional.  I will turn it off.
So I love Cincinnati.¬† You know, I had a great comeback here.¬† It was a great story for me.¬† I don't know what happened this time, but I was down and I have a great relationship to the tournament director.¬† I came here and I beat‑‑ I think I beat like the No. 1 seed at the time, Myskina.¬† I just have great memories here.¬† That really propelled me to start over my career.
I came on and I kept going and I kept going, and eventually I started winning my Grand Slams again.  It was a great time for me.  I have so much support here in Cincinnati.  I'm practicing and, oh, my God, today it was so frustrating.  Someone was like, It's okay, Serena keep your head up.
One person said, Get under the ball.  I'm thinking...  But they were totally right, and that's why I love this place.  You have such great fans here and great people.  The midwest is filled with people with wonderful heart.  Yeah, it's a great place.  There is no reason I shouldn't be here.
If there is a chance that I'm healthy, then I knew that Cincinnati I had to come to.

Q.  Off yourself for a second...
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Hey, no.  No way.

Q.  When you win the Championships singles you become a member.
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Wimbledon?

Q.  Yeah.  Do you think it's about time they gave Mike and Bob membership?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Oh, yeah.  They've won so many times, right?  Have they?

Q.  They've won a couple times, they've mixed, and now the gold as well.
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Oh, yeah, yeah.

Q.  The only doubles team to get memberships are Todd Martin and the Woodies.
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Oh, wow.  That's a good question.  I mean, obviously I'm always rooting for the Bryan brothers.  Their career is legendary and exciting.  If they're close to what the Woodies did and Todd Martin, they should definitely be mentioned amongst that.

Q.  So you went back to Paris to practice with Patrick?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah, to practice at the academy.  Patrick wasn't there.

Q.  Will he be with you at the US Open?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah.

Q.  And maybe throughout the rest of the year?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  He actually is Grigor's Dimitrov's coach, so whenever Grigor doesn't use him or like if there is a combined tournament we use him together.
So that's why he'll be at the Open.  I know he's traveling with Grigor after the Open.  I don't know.  Hopefully maybe he'll come to Turkey if Grigor is not playing.

Q.  I don't think so.
SERENA WILLIAMS:¬† We're kind of like ‑‑ we're not fighting over him.¬† That's Grigor's guy.¬† We kind of like do that.

Q.  Speaking on your HSN stuff, that last segment you had almost solid out of everything and you were still out there really working hard trying to get those last sales.  What was that last segment like for you?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  If it was at midnight I was probably really tired.  I think the last segment is around 11:00 p.m. and I'm dying.  I was working with a really good lady at that time, because I could barely speak and I was getting sick and had to fly to London the next day.  She was like, I got you girl.  I was like, Thank you, because I'm so tired.
So I was just really tired that last segment.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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