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January 19, 2013

Serena Williams


6‑1, 6‑3

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  I know you just crushed your opponent, but you got behind at the beginning of the second set, so maybe you can say something positive about your opponent.
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Actually, I only have positive things to say.
I thought she played really well.  She played at a level higher than I expected so it took me off guard.  She was just consistent, really consistent.

Q.  Can you share what you said at the net?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I just said she did a good job, that's about it, because I thought she did.  I thought it was a good match.

Q.  Where are you feeling your level is going into the second week?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I feel good.  I feel today was actually a really good match for me.  I was involved in a lot of longer points, something I definitely wanted.
I feel good.  I hope I can keep this level up and go higher.

Q.  So your ankle is feeling better every day?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah, it's okay.  It's doing a little better every day.

Q.  You're able to practice hard?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  No, I'm definitely able to practice hard, so...  It's definitely doing better.  I'm still taking it a day at a time.

Q.  What did you say to Venus at the end of last night's match?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  She didn't play her greatest.  What I said had nothing to do with tennis.  Actually I was complaining about someone.  I didn't have anyone else to talk to.  I said, I'm sorry to bring this up, but I really need to talk to someone (laughter).

Q.  So far, especially in this tournament, you turned your ankle, hit yourself in the head with the racquet.  What's next?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Nothing.  That's it.  I'm done.  I'm done.  That was it.  Just wanted to do two things.  Now I got it out of the way.

Q.  The 207 serve, two matches in a row, do you keep track of things like that?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Definitely.  I went for it, but I wasn't going for it that hard.  Every time I go for it, to hit it really hard, it goes in the 190s.  When I hit the 207, I was like, Okay, the first one wasn't luck, maybe I can hit a 207.  So it was pretty cool.

Q.  Have you ever gone faster than that?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I've never gone 207, so I've never gone faster than that.

Q.  Is the game against Kirilenko to go more than 207?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  No.  My job is to do the best I can.  Maria is playing consistent tennis, especially the past 16, 18 months, she's been so consistent.  So my goal is just to be really focused against such a player that's doing so well.

Q.  What is your record against her?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I don't know.  I have no idea.

Q.  You've played her five times and you've never lost.
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Well, she beat me at the Open in a doubles.  She's probably going to take that into consideration in the match.

Q.  Where do you put your doubles titles with Venus compared to your singles titles?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  They mean a lot to me.  They count at Grand Slams.  I'm really excited that I've been able to win so many doubles titles.  I mean, people that are winning a lot of singles titles, nowadays, in the past decade or two decades, usually don't win as many in doubles.  So I'm almost even with my singles and doubles.
I think it's really cool.¬† It shows that I'm a really all‑around player.

Q.  You spoke already about having a new frame of mind this year, how you feel more calm than before.  Can you talk us through the evolution a bit.  What changed for you?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  No, I don't know what changed.  I think it all started in April last year.  I injured my other ankle, incidentally.  I had to rebuild my confidence.
Then in April I just started‑‑ actually, that's not true.¬† I keep getting my years mixed up.
I think it was 2011 when I first came back from everything and I played the summer hard courts.  I think I started playing really well.  For whatever reason, I just started getting really calm.  I didn't grunt as loud, even though I grunt more today, but I wasn't grunting as loud.  I wasn't making as much noise.  I don't know, I just became really calm.

Q.  What did you say at the end of the match to her?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I said that it was a good match.  I thought she played really well.

Q.  Did you see any of the Lance Armstrong program?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I was glued to the TV.

Q.  What is your reaction to what you saw?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Well, I think a lot of people have said a lot of things about how they feel.  I think as an athlete, as someone that works really, really hard since I was four or three, you know, I think it's a sad day for all athletes in general.
But I think overall it's even more disappointing for the people that were adversely affected through everything.  You can only just hope for the best for them.

Q.  Do you worry about the sport of tennis?
SERENA WILLIAMS:¬† Well, I think as a fan of tennis, if anyone was a fan, I think everyone‑‑ like I said, it's sad for all athletes.¬† Unfortunately, I think a lot of people now look and are like, Okay, if somebody that great, what about everyone else in every other sport?

Q.  Can you talk a little bit about Jamie Hampton?  She nearly beat Victoria today.  What did you see about her game when she was your practice partner in Kharkiv?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I thought she was great in Kharkiv, Kharkov, I don't know (laughter).  I'm blank.
I loved hitting with her.  I thought she was just an open gem.  It looks like she finally cracked open and she's showing her true colors.
But I wasn't surprised because I only wanted to hit with her because she was hitting so well.  She's doing a great, great, great job.  I thought, Wow!  I think she's taken that, with the talent she already has, she's manifesting it.

Q.  To bring it back to Armstrong, did you know him or meet him?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  You know, the only thing I knew about him was that he dated Sheryl Crow.  I met him once very briefly, and that's it.

Q.  When was that?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Incidentally, I think it was last year, late last year.  All these years run together for me.  It was somewhere around the US Open.  It was definitely the US Open 2011, I think.  Maybe.

Q.  Some kind of awards thing?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  No (laughter).  Actually, we were giving a speech, and I think he was one of the speakers.  I guess that was an issue now with a lot of the stuff.

Q.  Was it an ESPY thing?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  No.  I was giving a motivational speech, and he was one of the speakers.  It was around the time of the US Open.  It was late August, early September, so...
I ran in because I was running late.  I didn't prepare.  But it worked out.  I think he was on before me or after me.  It was just really fast.

Q.  Did you listen to him and are you now more disappointed because you were possibly inspired by what he said?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I definitely didn't listen to him.  I didn't hear his speech.  It wasn't on purpose, you know.  So it was just by chance.

Q.  Did you read his book, the first one?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I didn't know he wrote a book.  I know Sheryl Crow wrote a song about him, but I don't know which one it was.

Q.  Getting back to tennis, you watched the match last night.  If you make the final this year, you're going to most likely face Maria Sharapova.  How do you think you'll go about beating Sharapova in the final?  She was very good last night.
SERENA WILLIAMS:  She's playing great.  I think she's doing everything well.  I have to get there.  I have three more matches to win.  One, two, three matches before I get to the final.  I don't know.  I'm not doing well today.  I hope I can get there.  I can't worry about that right now.  I just have to take everything a step at a time.

Q.  On another note, the former tennis player Gussie Moran passed away this week.  She was famous in the 1940s and '50s for becoming the first woman to wear short tennis skirts, scandalized Wimbledon.  She was ahead of her time.  Can you imagine a time...
SERENA WILLIAMS:  When I'm dead (laughter)?
When you look at the history of tennis, especially at Wimbledon, you see these women wear these long gowns.  I don't know how they could have possibly played in that.
I know the name Gussie.  I know the name, but it didn't ring a bell.  So I guess someone always has to be first.  I think that, you know, obviously she made a way for not only tennis players but just women in general in sport.  Like you don't have to wear a dress to your ankles to be a female athlete playing sports.
I think being a trailblazer is honorable.

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