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September 7, 2012

Serena Williams


6‑1, 6‑2

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  Only three games to the poor Italian girl.  Is not fair.  It's not nice.
SERENA WILLIAMS:  She played really well.  She's such a good hope for Italy.  She's such a good fighter.  I can see her improve so much.  She played really well.

Q.  How well did you think you played?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I definitely played better today.  I played better than my other matches.  And playing someone against her you have to go better.

Q.  What did you do better today?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I was more consistent.  I did make some errors, but I was more consistent than I felt I was in the past.

Q.  For once nothing weird or distracting has happened here.
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Hey, it's not done yet.  (Laughter.)
Q.How helpful has that been, that there haven't been these situations for this year?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Well I did grunt once today, and I thought, God, I hope I don't lose the point.  It's weird.  I have another round to go.
Like I said, my goal this year was not to get in any fights, but something happens, then, oh, you know, I try to count ten; hopefully I can make it.

Q.  When did you make that goal?  Did you really have that conversation with yourself?

Q.  There is a sportsmanship award this year.  Are you trying for that?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I don't think I'm up for the sportsmanship award.  I mean, I'm a really good sportsman, I think.  I think I'm really nice.  I talk to everybody in the locker room.
I don't know if that's sportsman, but I try to leave everything on the court.  Once the loss is over, then, you know, I'm happy for the other person.

Q.  What did you learn from last year's final here?  How does that affect your thinking going into this year's?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah, last year was different.  I didn't get to bed until after 4:00.  I had to come right back and play again.  Went fast.
This year, I know it sounds weird, but I have more experience than I did last year.
But I don't have anything to lose.  I feel like I'm going up against ‑‑I personally think ‑‑ the most consistent and the best player this year, being Victoria Azarenka.
I feel like I don't have anything to lose, and it will be a good challenge for me.

Q.  How can you not think you're the best player in the world right now?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I said this year.  I always believe that I'm the best obviously.  I mean, on paper I think she's been more consistent, going much deeper in the slams than I have and being pretty consistent.

Q.  How have you compiled such a great record against her?  What have been the differences in the matches you have played against Victoria?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I don't know.  We always play each other in tough settings, so I don't really know the answer to that, to be honest.

Q.  We saw the fantastic and well‑deserving outpouring of emotion for Andy this week.  On court you said, Come on, I'm the American.  What is your read of how how you're appreciated or how you're taken by American fans?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I feel a lot of support here, especially growing more and more as my career goes.  I have won here three times.  It's always good and easy to get behind someone that's doing well.
Being the last American, both the men and the women, it's exciting.  You know, you want to see your country do well.
So it's really cool.  I feel a lot of support out here.  And even when Venus was playing I felt even with our doubles like we just had so much support.

Q.  Did you watch the other semi?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Not too much.  I saw probably 10 points.

Q.  Did you meet Aretha Franklin the other day, or did you watch your friend Michelle Obama on television?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  No, I didn't get to meet Aretha.  I hardly ever turn on the TV, so I didn't watch Michelle.

Q.  You said before that you talk to every player in the locker rooms.  Did you talk also to Vika Azarenka recently?  What did you exchange?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I really get along with Vika.  She's a really nice girl to me.  After she won her match today I was walking off the court but I gave her a fist pump.  I was like, Good job.
She's come a long way.  She's so young now, and to have such a good career and doing so well is awesome.

Q.  What makes her so effective on hard courts, do you think?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I don't know.  I honestly don't think about or study‑‑ I don't study her game.

Q.  Is tennis more fun than it was, say, ten years ago?  Was there more pressure to produce then?  And now that you're 30, can you just sort of go out and just play the game?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I think ten years ago tennis was a lot of fun; I was twenty so it was cool.  Just still kind of on the scene getting back, doing as good as, as well as I could, so it was cool.
I was just kind of still being young and still starting out and getting my bearings.  It was awesome.

Q.  Was there ever a time when tennis wasn't fun?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I think every person goes through a point in their career, whether they're a tennis player or something else in their career, in their life.

Q.  When was that for you?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I can't pinpoint it.

Q.  If you weren't a tennis player, what would the 30‑year‑old Serena's life be like?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I decided the other day I would have been a rock star because I love to sing.  Although I don't have a good voice, I'm great onstage.  (Laughter.)
Q.Do you get the sense at all that players are little afraid to play you because you're so dominating?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I probably can be a better reader of my opponent, to be honest.  So with that being said, I'm not reading them well enough, so I don't know.

Q.  How much do the memories of holding the trophy at the end of your championships here stoke your motivation, stoke your desire to get back to that feeling?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I thought about it.  It was an amazing feeling.  I definitely want to reach that again.  I definitely want to hold that trophy and to lift it up.
But I have to play a maximum of three sets and I have to stay focused on that and the task at hand and play the current No. 1 player in the world.
So, yeah, I have to do the best I can.

Q.  You mentioned getting to sleep really late a year ago.  What else is different mentally, emotionally, physically?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Physically I'm much better.  Last year honestly I thought getting to the final was awesome and a great effort after being five months prior in the hospital.
So for me, that was the most unbelievable effort.  It's probably the only Grand Slam loss final that I wasn't really super disappointed.
I mean, I was definitely disappointed, but not as down as I would have normally been under any other situation.
So this year I'm physically better.  I'm more confident, playing more matches and winning.  I have Wimbledon under my belt.  It's always fun to win that one.  It's cool.

Q.  If you're able to do this, how do you think you'll look back on this summer after Wimbledon, the Olympics, and the US Open?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I think it will probably be the best summer I've ever had.  Let me think.  Maybe not.
It will be up there.  Yeah, up there, because if you win the Olympics and Wimbledon and this it would be kinda cool.
So, yeah, it will be awesome.

Q.  Tomorrow it will be your 19th singles Grand Slam final.  Do you remember what changed in your routine preparing for your first single final 13 years ago?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I remember 13 years ago I painted my nails with OPI No Kidding polish every day, and before the final I did the same thing, red, OPI red.
And then this year my nails are already done so I don't have to worry about it.  (Laughter.)  Although I do have Pinking of You in my purse as we speak, which is a nail polish color by OPI, too.
That's the only thing I do.  I mean, I have really gotten out of being so into routines because it can really drive someone bananas.  I've been on the verge of going bananas because I have to have this, this this.
It wasn't helping me win.  It wasn't helping me lose.  It has nothing to do with that.  I kind of have chilled off on that.

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