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January 3, 2013

Serena Williams


S. WILLIAMS/S. Stephens
6‑4, 6‑3

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  She pushed you a little bit, but you won the important points when you needed to, no?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah, she definitely pushed me.  I've always said she's a really good player.  You have to expect that going up against what I would consider a top player.

Q.  I guess you guys hadn't played before but had practiced a handful of times.  Did she show you something you weren't expecting?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah.  I think she plays really well.  She's really calm, something I never have been in my whole career.  But I think it shows a lot of maturity.  I think she has really mature game.
Yeah, it's great.

Q.  I think you said on the court that one day she could be the best player in the world.

Q.  What do you think she needs to do to get to that point, whenever that will be?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I don't know.  She's playing great.  Just be more consistent, which she's already doing.  I think that's it.
Yeah, so I don't think it's that much.

Q.  Was that the kind of hit‑out that you need before tomorrow's match with Victoria?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  For sure.  I definitely want to thank her for giving me such a great match, because I'm going up against another good player, great player tomorrow, so I have to make sure I'm ready.
I've had some good matches this tournament, even though the scoreline in the second match seemed easy.  It was a really good, intense match.  So it's been intense.

Q.  Looked like at one point you were rubbing your calf.  Was it a cramp?  Can you tell us about that?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah, no, I don't know what it was.  To be honest, at my age you never know.  Could have been a broken bone.  (Smiling.)  Just making sure.  (Laughter.)  Arthritis.  (Laughter.)

Q.  But it feels all right now?  The calf is okay?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah, feels fine.  Yeah.

Q.  Is it exciting to meet the top players for you?  What sort of emotions do you go through when you know you're playing a top player in a big tournament?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I always feel like I have nothing to lose, especially going against Victoria, who I think has been the most consistent player the past year, last year.  She was most consistent, which is, I think, she's why she's No. 1.
So, yeah, feel like I really have nothing to lose, nothing to prove, and I'll just go out there and do the best I can.

Q.  I know you're being complimentary toward her, but I think you've won 35 of your last 36 matches, which is pretty consistent, too, no?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah, but I also lost in the first round of a Grand Slam and she didn't.  I think that's what really affected me.

Q.  You also beat her five times last year.

Q.  Yeah.
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Well, we played a lot last year.  I'm glad I was able to come out with the win.
Come on, Matt.

Q.  Talk about the matchup a little bit.  She played you very tough at the US Open.
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Well, she's been playing better and better.  I saw her play her match in the first round and I thought she played really well.  She's moving really well.  I think it'll be a really good matchup.
Obviously with Melbourne just a little over a week away it's actually a good match to see, Okay what am I going to do in potentially semifinals or finals of Melbourne ‑ if I make it that far ‑  and what do I need to do to improve and make sure I am at the right level.
I think these matches always really help.

Q.  So how much fun was it to be in Mauritius?  First time for you, huh?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  It was fun.  You know, I went with the attitude that I was going to wake up at 6:00 in the morning and practice and then have the rest of the afternoon.
Obviously I didn't do that.  I woke up around 10:00 and I just had a late practice and then I had the rest of the afternoon.  I don't know.  I always have these big, grand goals and I never can stick to them.
I ended up being really afraid of everything.  I was afraid of the ocean.  Everyone swam with the dolphins; I thought they would bite me, so I refused.  I ended up barely being able to snorkel because I was afraid of the fish that were this big, literally.
So, yeah, I don't know if that's for me.  I don't know.

Q.  You were doing karaoke with Pavlyuchenkova she said.
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah, I love singing with her.  It was fun.  We had some great songs.  I love karaoke so much.

Q.  She said you guys were doing old songs she didn't know well.
SERENA WILLIAMS:  No.  That girl knew some old songs.  She knew Fame word for word.  I was like, How in the world do you know Fame?  I didn't know Fame.  I had to go back and learn it.  That was just last year I learned the lyrics.  She knew them.  It was just really, really hilarious.

Q.  So Hingis can sing?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  She's a good singer.  She ended up being one of my favorite people to duet with.  We're the same age so we wanted to sing all the same songs.  I was like, Martina, do you want to sing this song?  She was a great plus one.

Q.  Wow.
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah, shocking.

Q.  Absolutely.
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Great karaoke buddy.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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