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WESTERN & SOUTHERN OPEN


August 18, 2013


Serena Williams


CINCINNATI, OHIO

V. AZARENKA/S. Williams
2‑6, 6‑2, 7‑6


THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  Serena, so what do you think the keys were to today's match?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I think she played really well.  I think she played really aggressive in the last two sets, which really changed momentum.
She's a great player.  There's a reason why she's, you know, winning Grand Slams and doing so well.

Q.  Serena, do you feel like you had sort of ups and downs in your energy level throughout the match?  It seems like there were times you were firing all cylinders and other times where it was sort of a bit of not as much, just on and off during the match.
SERENA WILLIAMS:¬† No.¬† I feel like it was‑‑ I never felt really up.¬† I just felt kind of more here and just was trying to maintain that, but yeah.

Q.¬† Serena, Maria always says that it's not a rivalry that she has with you because she needs to start winning, so until that happens.¬† With Victoria, even though you lead 12‑3, do you consider what you have with Victoria a rivalry, or does she need to kind of win more?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  No.  Some of our matches, we have good matches.  We have tough matches, particularly against her.  We go against each other really tough.
So I think, yeah, it's a good rivalry.  I'm No.1.  She's No.2.  So we have that rivalry which consists of meeting in the final, which makes it even more so exciting.
So, yeah, I think it's‑‑ I personally was thinking it is a good rivalry and it's good to have someone out there that can play hard and fight so tough.

Q.¬† If you were to play Vika‑‑ say you got to the final at the US Open again and you were to play her.¬† The two losses in finals this year, would that give you extra fuel, or do you not even think about that when you face an¬† opponent again?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  No.  I played her in the finals in Rome too, so we played each other three times, I think, this year.
It would be totally different circumstances.¬† Totally different circumstances.¬† It's just a new‑‑ another event.¬† You just got to go in there with a fresh mind.

Q.  Serena, even though you were obviously made the final this week and it's a pretty good week on paper, you never seemed totally satisfied with where your level was at there.  Do you expect the same today?  Why do you think things were a little off?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah, definitely.  I just felt really off this whole week, but I was surprised to be in the final and surprised to be doing well.
So I don't know, there's a few factors.  I think what matters most was just fighting the whole time and survived to the end.

Q.  How do you think this week sets you up for New York?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I'm definitely prepared.  I'm definitely ready for New York.  Look forward to it.  I feel like I definitely had more matches than I could want, but I'm definitely prepared for the US Open.

Q.¬† How do you view tournaments like this and last week in Toronto?¬† Are they more than just tune‑ups for the Open?
SERENA WILLIAMS:¬† Yeah, they're not only tune‑ups, they really kind of give you some matches, and they give you a great gauge on how you're going to play and how it's going to be, and so on and so forth.
So it's something that I really look forward to.  I think it's important to just be consistent in these kind of events.

Q.¬† Serena, as intense as the match was for you at the‑‑ during the trophy ceremony, you seemed to be very sort of‑‑ you were having a good time.¬† You and Victoria were having a good laugh.¬† What were you guys talking about?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Well, I'm a big Victoria fan.  Whenever I'm not at a tournament, I root for her.  For me, I think she's just the ultimate competitor on the court and just really nice.  She just leaves everything on the court and nothing personal, and everything off the court, she's just so, so professional and so nice.  I mean, I really get along with her.  She's just a great person.
So once the match was over, we kind of went into our regular‑‑ our regular, you know, relationship, which is just cool.¬† What's up, girl?¬† How are you doing kind of thing.¬† She's just a really cool person.

Q.¬† You didn't have to tell her that to ‑‑
SERENA WILLIAMS:  No, I definitely didn't have to tell her that, but she was saying, should she open?  And I said, yeah, you should open.  I was encouraging her, that encouraging voice, do it, do it.

Q.  Serena, what's it like having one of your chief rivals be someone your friendly with?  Because earlier in your career, that wasn't the case really.
SERENA WILLIAMS:  It's nice.  It's different.  I was watching Martina Navratilova in the ceremony at Wimbledon and Chris Evert, sitting by each other, and to see the relationship, it was really cool to see how they were laughing and they just were friends, and Chris even made a statement how she said Martina was her friend longer than any of her husbands.
So it was really funny, and I just thought, that's so like fun.  I thought it was a great relationship how, you know, they had ups and downs, they said, in their relationship, but they also were always the last two in the locker room at the end of the week.
So it's happening more and more with me and Vika with being kind of the last two at the end of the week and stuff like that.  Again, it's just she's so competitive on the court, like an animal, and I'm the same exact way, like my dad described me as a pitbull.
But the second we get off the court, it's like we just leave absolutely everything on the court, and off the court we realize that it is what it is.

Q.  What do you think it is that kind of now it's happening, but with rivals earlier in your career it didn't?
SERENA WILLIAMS:¬† I don't‑‑ let me think.¬† I'm thinking.¬† Rivals‑‑ I don't know.¬† For the most part, I don't‑‑ I'm just always‑‑ I don't really‑‑ I don't know.¬† I just like Victoria, maybe as simple as that.¬† I just like her personality.

Q.¬† Serena, Gladys Knight was in the house tonight for you.¬† Do you think about things‑‑
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Last night was in house?

Q.  Yes.  Gladys Knight was watching the match.
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Oh, yeah.

Q.  Do you think about stuff like that when you're out there on the court?  What kind of relationship do you have with Gladys, if any?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah, she's great.  I've known her for several years.  Well, actually, since I was like 17.  The first thing I thought when she was on the cam was, when I get home, I'm going to karaoke one of her songs.
I love Gladys Knight.  I'm a big fan of her.

Q.  What's your favorite song of hers?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  What's the name of that song?  Through the Night.  Through the Night is a great song.  I've actually karaoked that.

Q.  Serena, when you go to the US Open, you'll get to kind of request a song to play as you walk out.  Have you got one in mind?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  No, not yet.  I'll have to think of one.

Q.¬† Serena, how is it different‑‑ you've gone into a few slams recently with like long winning streaks under your belt.¬† Having your most recent match be a loss give you any sort of extra spark?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah, it makes me more relaxed and almost happy that I lost because now I don't have to worry about every day someone asking me about some silly winning streak.  It's just like it's not that serious.
So maybe it was for the best.

Q.  Serena, you said you were trying to maintain a certain even keel.  Is it something that you've been trying to do lately just not to get too excited?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  No, I wasn't trying to maintain an even keel.  I was just trying to maintain.  Definitely not, but it is something I have been working on, just staying calm.
But definitely, my personality is to get excited.  So I definitely want to keep doing that.

Q.  Physically, are you okay going into the Open?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I'll definitely be better than I was at this tournament.  I look forward to the Open.
Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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