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January 5, 2013

Serena Williams


S. WILLIAMS/A. Pavlyuchenkova
6‑1, 6‑1

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  For an Australian warmup it's been a perfect week.  Would that be a description?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  It was a really good week for sure.  Definitely worked hard for this week, and I'm going to do a little more work so I can be ready in eight days.

Q.  Do you have any complaints about the match?  It was almost perfect for you.  You served well; returned well; groundstrokes were good.
SERENA WILLIAMS:  My first serve percentage was 53% or something, so there is room for improvement.

Q.  You won 20 of 22 first serve points.

Q.  Yeah.
SERENA WILLIAMS:  So, yeah, I mean, that was really good.  I think I just kind of zoned and I felt like I really wanted to do well.  I really felt like I was playing a top player because she taken two top players out.  Yeah, two 10, so I knew tat I couldn't give her a chance.
I've played her before and we've gone three sets before.  When I play Anastasia I have to be really focused.

Q.  Explain what it feels like when you're in a zone.  Does it feel like every shot is going to be perfect?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  It feels really calm, like I'm in a really calm place and I'm not panicking, I'm not overthinking it and not, you know, blasting every ball.  I just get really calm and kind of serene.  (Smiling.)

Q.  There is a zone athletes talk about.  Have you found yourself getting in that?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I've been in the zone a few times.  I don't know if I was in "the" zone today.  I was definitely heading in that direction.  I think it is the zone.  I've been in the Twilight Zone where I just felt so good I couldn't do anything wrong.

Q.  You've won 35 of your last 36 matches; is this your career zone?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I think it probably is.  I was looking at a lot of old matches on YouTube, and I feel like right now I'm playing some of my best tennis.  I feel like I want to do better and play better still, and I've always felt like I could play better.
So that was one of my main goals.

Q.  What elements have you added?  Obviously being fit and injury‑free is one; experience is another.  Is there anything else you think you've added the last 12, 18 months?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I really think starting in 2011, the summer, I really started being more calm on the court and just relaxing more, if it's possible for me to relax.
Just really tried to be relaxed.  That whole summer where I won a few tournaments and got to the final of the Open, the whole I'm I was just trying to be calm.  I feel better when I'm more calm.  When I'm crazy like I was in Paris, as you can see, it doesn't do great for me.

Q.  Have you done anything to help with that?  Meditation?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  No, you know, I can never sit long enough for meditation.  I really want to meditate more and I want to be still and be like in that quiet area, but I just pick up my iPad and start playing some games, and then next thing I know I'm watching TV.
So, no.  But, yeah, hopefully I can get there.

Q.  Isn't there, too, a fine line between being calm and keeping your intensity level up?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah, absolutely.  I think it is a really fine line.  I think sometimes if I'm too calm it doesn't work for me as well.  I can be calm and still be pumped up and really excited.
Yeah, I can't do too much of either.

Q.  What was it like for you on court when the person you just beat in the final says publically, I feel like when I play you I don't know how to play tennis?  How did you take that kind of compliment?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Honestly, it was a great compliment.  I think that she obviously may feel that way, but I know her and I see how hard she works.  I know that the next time we play she's going to feel different and she's going to want to win.
She'll have absolutely nothing to lose.  Honestly, I think she's playing a lot better.  It definitely was a great compliment and a great honor for someone of her caliber to feel that way.
Also I know that she's definitely feeling pumped up as well.

Q.  We don't see you for a week.  Are you training every day?  Anything you'll throw in?  Take a day off and do a bit of sightseeing?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Well, I've been dying to the The Hobbit.  I wasn't in the States when it came out.  I read the book when I was nine.  I read it 20 times, and I was disappointed it didn't come out before the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
So I think the first thing I'm going to do is see that.  I'm just pretty much geek with that.
But besides that, I probably will obviously work out and work on some things that I want to improve, fitness and tennis.  Yeah.

Q.  Are you playing doubles with Venus?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I am indeed.  We just got into the doubles draw, so maybe I'm work on doubles drills, too.

Q.  You've played 12 Australian Opens; this will be your 13th; you won five titles.  Is there a match or moment that you really love about Melbourne that might not necessarily be winning the championship?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I love the crowd.  I feel like if there is one tournament that everyone is rooting a lot for me is in Melbourne.  I really don't get that everywhere I play.
I really appreciate it and I really love it.  It really is my favorite Grand Slam to play.  Every year I really look forward to January, and I've really been waiting for this moment since October.

Q.  How do you avoid going in there overconfident giving how well you've played since June?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah, I'm not overconfident at all.  I was really nervous tonight.  Every match I play I get nerves and feel completely like that.  I never underestimate anyone.
There are so many players that aren't in the top 32 that I can draw in the first round as well.  Really tough first‑round matches will be in Australia.
Don't to have worry about me getting overconfident.

Q.  This run started back just after the French Open when you joined Patrick's academy there.  What has he brought to your game?  Is it the calming influence?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I've been spending a lot more time on the tennis court, I think, and doing a lot of things I love.  I've been more kind of relaxed just in general.
So I think everything just came together with the right timing with me wanting to do better, with me wanting to work hard, him being there and having everything to work hard, and having the same mind frame of playing matches for the way I like to play.
So I think life is about timing, and it was just good timing.

Q.  You're an elite athlete.  Will you allow yourself a little champagne or Jack Daniels on ice tonight?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Now you're talking.  Honestly, I feel like I need to focus for Melbourne.  Like I'm already thinking of things I want to work on.  I want to give it the best shot I can.  Whether I win or lose, I want to be like, At least I tried to do the best.
Maybe I'll have a glass of wine, but that's probably it.

Q.  Can you compare how you feel today leaving here versus last year when you left here with the injury and all the uncertainty?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I feel really a lot better, obviously.  I feel like last year really, really, really sucked, in one word.
But I also felt like everyone here was so amazing and so nice and so accommodating.  Even though it didn't work out, I felt like I had to come back.
Being able to win this year just made everything that happened last year kind of worth it.  I really feel just awesome about that, so...

Q.  Are you growing an awesome affinity with Brisbane?  Your presence here is important for a young tournament.  Is this the best way to start your year, do you think?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I think it is.  It's a great week to play, and then you have a week off.  It's a great field.  We had 8 of the top 10 players initially in the draw, so I think it's a really good tournament to get started and then have a week before you play Melbourne.

Q.  There has been rumors about your relationship with Patrick and photos from Mauritius.  Is there more to the story that you would like to share today?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  No, not really.  Thanks for asking though.  (Laughter.)

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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