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December 30, 2012

Serena Williams


S. WILLIAMS/V. Lepchenko
6‑2, 6‑1

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  Welcome back, Serena.  Since we saw you last you have an Olympic gold medal and two more Grand Slams.  What's your longevity and what the motivation this time every year?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Honestly, I think one of the secrets is I had to take some time off due o surgery‑ a couple times actually.
Also, I love winning, and I feel like as long as I'm able to win some matches and do well, I'm really motivated to keep going.
I don't know.  I just love being out there.  I think going through what I went through a couple year and a half ago really just made me realize that I get to do this and have fun.

Q.  Were you troubled at all by the work that you had done on your toes recently?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Not today.  I was a little nervous, but I was completely fine.  The doctor said I would be fine.  I was excited to get an early start so just in case I did have any pain I could have tomorrow off.
But everything was fine.

Q.  Do you think your next season would be as good or even better than the last season?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I think obviously that's the goal.  (Smiling.)  But if I have a year like I had last year, or 2012, I should say, it would be exciting and I would be really happy for that as well.
Obviously I would like to do better namely at Roland Garros and at the Australian Open, too.  So we'll see.

Q.  How important is it for you to have the time off like with your trip to Mauritius?  How was that?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  It was training there.  It wasn't so much time off.  It felt like a mini vacation because I was on the beach and it was really kind of cool.
I think it was good for me because I never get to step away.  I felt like after this 2012 season I felt like I really needed a break more than I ever have.  I think it was cool.

Q.  Was the humidity anything like here?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  It was really humid there.  Really, really‑‑ I think it was more humid there but more hot here.
So I think it kind of evens out.

Q.  Is there something that you've been working on in particular in Mauritius?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah.  I think there are a lot of things I've been working.  And everyone, for that matter, once they ended the season they decided that ‑‑ everyone wants to get better, so I think everyone is working on a lot of things.

Q.  Does it feel unusual in anyway that we're talking about 2013 season starting?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah, and we're still in 2012.  Tomorrow is the last day of the year, so technically I still had my 2012 rep on the line.  I really needed to win today so I could finish the year with still just the four losses.  So that was important for me.

Q.  Are you a New Year's resolution kind of girl?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  No, I'm not.  I don't do that.

Q.  Results‑wise?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Results‑wise, yeah.  I don't believe in New Year's resolutions.  Just live life and do the best that I can.

Q.  I think you said in here last year you didn't necessarily love being a professional tennis player and love being an athlete.  Sounds like you might have fallen back in love with the sport.
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I have.  I feel like when I get to travel the world and go different places and do something and have fun ‑‑ holding up trophies is always really cool.  So I think it's just a really cool time and really cool experience.

Q.  How much has the gold medal had in reinvigorating you?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I love the Olympics.  I'm the ultimate Olympian, meaning that I am involved.  I'm a complete team person.  I'm so for the USA.
Whenever I saw anyone with the USA T‑shirt, flag, anything, any athlete or anything, I was just, Go, USA.  I would scream.
I would see sports I never watched before and be rooting really hard for the USA.  I love it.  That's one of the my main goals is to make it to Rio, because I just can't let go of the Olympic dream.

Q.  Which athletes inspire you?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Honestly, I was brought to tears by the Australian runner.  He didn't have any legs.
THE MODERATOR:  South African.
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Oh.  Samecolors.  Okay.  Close.

Q.  We like him anyway.
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I was so inspired by him.  I thought, Here I have two healthy legs.  I mean, it brought me to tears.
I went to the athletics that day when he was running and I was just like, No way.  What am I complaining about?
And Michael Phelps, anyone that can have that many gold medals or medals is just ridiculous.  He's pretty much unbelievable for me.
Obviously Usain Bolt who is slowing down and looking back when he's crossing the finish line, it's kind of cool.

Q.  Your coach said he thinks you've still got improvement.  Where do you think can improve you game?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Honestly, I think I can do better on my serve.  Basic serve returns I think I can do better and play better on that.
You know, I always like to feel like I can improve all around, from movement to hitting less unforced errors, which I think I've been trying to do.
Yeah, so I think those are some areas I can improve.

Q.  You mean the variety of the serve?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I can get higher first serve percentages.  Yeah, I think if I can serve consistently at a high level, that would be an improvement.

Q.  Is that a thought of you thinks maybe this year I could win the four slams?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I think for me, absolutely.  I think maybe whoever wins will Australian Open will have that same thought.  I think there is no way that Victoria or Maria or maybe some other players don't feel the same way.
So I think I definitely feel that way.

Q.  Was it a bit difficult to start today?  The wind was sort of blowing a fair bit out there.
SERENA WILLIAMS:  It was.  That first game was really windy, and then I got used to it and I just started playing better.  Just gusts of winds blowing and blowing, but it got better.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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