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February 15, 2013

Serena Williams


S. WILLIAMS/P. Kvitova
3‑6, 6‑3, 7‑5

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  Congratulations.  Do you take pleasure in all the many people who wanted you to achieve that?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah, it's a great honor.  So many people were cheering for me on the court and off the court and online and at home in the United States.
It felt really good, for sure.

Q.  Of all the many factors that contributed to the win, was it just a sheer will to win the most important?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah, I mean, having so many great companies behind me like Nike and Gatorade and Wilson and Serena Signature Statement, it's been‑‑ you know, they were just there and consistent the whole time.
It's been great to have such great companies behind you that really believe in you and never give up.  So it's awesome.

Q.  Over the past two years, how much of the time have you thought, I'm not ever going to be able to do this again?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  A lot.  A lot.  There's oftentimes that ‑‑I mean, in my particular situation, you know, I never thought I'd play again.  Then I thought I'd never be able to win tournaments or Grand Slams.  No. 1 was so far off.  I mean, it was always a dream, but, you know, I was No. 1 when tragedy struck, and it was just an awful thing to happen.
So I'm happy that I'm back.

Q.  During the week you were keeping your emotions in check, but obviously they rolled out today.  Talk about that.  Was that kind of thinking that you didn't want to get into talking too much about it and then just let it happen?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah, I didn't want to get into talking too much about No. 1.  I think I would have put too much pressure on myself, like it's here, and everyone is, All you have to do is get to the semis.  And, you know, I do have tough matches to play.
I didn't expect that reaction at all.  I didn't expect that reaction.  It was completely surprising to me, but it was nice.  It was really genuine, and it felt good and completely unexpected.

Q.  During the match you seemed really emotional at some point.  Did that affect the way you played?  Did you consciously know, I will be No. 1 if I win this?  Did that affect your play at all?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I mean, I definitely knew, but I don't think it affected my play.
I think Petra was playing so well that I just was trying to stay out there and do the best I could.

Q.  Nike just uploaded an ad of you saying Age is Just a Number.  I don't know if you have seen that.  Is that really how you feel?  How do you feel, and how does your body feel on court right now?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Fine.  Honestly, I have been saying I feel really young, like I'm 22 or something, so I don't know if it's because I don't play every week, I don't know, but I feel great.  Hopefully I can keep it going.

Q.  Now that you are No. 1, there are a lot of people who basically felt you should have been No. 1 at the year end because of all your achievements.  Did you feel that, or it didn't matter?  What was your thinking?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I mean, obviously I felt I should have at least been competing for No. 1.  I played a lot of tournaments and I won the majority of them, the ones that I played.  I didn't do well, though, in two Grand Slams.  I think that really affected me and really hurt me in my ranking.

Q.  Tonight, it wasn't your ‑‑ I mean, maybe you could talk about it.  It didn't seem like it was your best tennis out there, but it seemed like when you needed it you were able to ‑‑down 4‑1 in the decider, I mean, you pulled it out.  Talk about your game and also what were the keys to winning tonight.
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I really don't know.  I just think I was stuck in there, and I just never gave up.  I always felt like if I can just keep fighting and I can just try to do it‑‑ I definitely did not play great.  With that being said, I think Petra played unbelievable, and I think she was just hitting shots I had no chance to get.  I don't think anyone on this tour could have gotten.
I'm not slow at all, by any means, and I just couldn't even reach a lot of the shots she hit tonight.  That's also encouraging, because I'm going to definitely go home and work harder.

Q.  You have been on tour since 1995, and now you're the oldest player ever to get to No. 1.  Just talk to us about what is the key to how long you're competing on tour.
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I don't know.  I have never played every week.  I have never played 30 tournaments in a year.  I didn't play juniors, so I didn't travel the world and get burned out early.
I don't know.  I went to school.  I had a couple unfortunate injuries that put me out for a year.  Maybe that helped at the end of the day.

Q.  When you said, "I didn't expect this kind of reaction," did you mean yourself and your emotions today?  You didn't imagine it meant to you so much?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah.  I didn't imagine that it meant that much to me.  I did not expect to not be able to stop crying.  I didn't expect to feel that way at all.
I just thought I would be happy and, you know, just move on to the next round.  But my reaction was completely unexpected from me.

Q.  You play tomorrow Maria Sharapova.  Will you play something different the way you played today while you play against her tomorrow?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah, I'm playing a great player, and hopefully I can play better than I did today.  We'll see.  I mean, I'm just ‑‑I'm happy to still be in the tournament at this point, and just have to refocus and I have a tough match tomorrow.  It's not over yet.

Q.  It seems to be very competitive at the top right now.  Is that extra motivation for you?  How important would it be for you to be at your top in Dubai and try to keep that No. 1 ranking?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Very important for me.  I think it's important for everyone at the top.
Everyone's trying and playing so well and so consistent, and no one is really losing early.  I'm the only one that lost pretty early in Australia.  You know, there are two top players that are just playing so well, and more than that, so consistent.
It's not as lonely as it looks at the top.  (Smiling.)

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