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September 1, 2013

Serena Williams


S. WILLIAMS/S. Stephens
6‑4, 6‑1

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  Big win today for Nike over Under Armour.  Will Phil Knight be giving you a call congratulating you?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Wow.  I don't know.  Yeah, I guess big win for Nike.

Q.  Talk about your feelings going into the match.  Take us through the first and second set, winning that first set.  The 5‑4 game turned out to be huge.
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yes.  Well, you know, going into the match I definitely wanted to be focused the whole time.  That's all I wanted to do.  Whether I was going to win or lose, I just wanted to play my game and do well.

Q.  Was it a high‑quality match from both players?  Did you feel that way out there?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I definitely think it was a high‑quality match.  I don't think either of us had an overwhelming amount of unforced errors.  But I think, you know, we both came out today to play.

Q.  There were reports that when Venus went vegan to manage her Sjogren's, you initially supported the diet to be supportive.  Have you kept that diet up?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  You know, I've never been vegan, but I eat a lot less meat.  I never really ate beef anyway.  I never ate beef since the '90s, or I haven't eaten pork in basically in my whole life.
So I was a little healthier.  You couldn't tell body‑wise, but I was a little healthier eater than her originally, so it wasn't that difficult to adapt.

Q.  You're very supportive of the other young American players, particularly Sloane, yet you have to go out and play them and beat them.  Is that a tough thing for you to do?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah, it's definitely difficult, especially playing people that you like, that you always want to see do well.
But you have to go out there and kind of put that to the side and realize, I want to do well myself and take every point as it comes.

Q.  Can you remember the last time you had back‑to‑back double faults to get broken?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah, I think I double faulted a lot in Cincinnati.  Just last week.  I have to stop that.

Q.  You really made her move around a lot.  Talk about your movement, your defense.
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I think that my defense was good.  I generally have been playing better defense this year, moving better, and just trying to be faster.

Q.  Did you feel like you had to hang in there a little bit longer to get some errors from her, as well?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Probably, yeah, for sure.  Maybe I had to.  I honestly wasn't thinking about that.  I wasn't thinking about, I have to get a lot of balls back or I have to do this.  I was just thinking about playing.  That's all I thought about.

Q.  There are reports you're looking to relaunching your Aneras line.  Can you talk about where you are in that stage?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah, I'm actually relaunching Aneras.  We're launching it online, so it's going to be aneras.com.  We're going to start with ready‑to‑wear and swimsuits.
Obviously, I'm one of the investors.  It's been a great process and I'm having a blast with it.

Q.  Growing up with your parents as your coaches, what advice do you have to parents of young players that are trying to get them to the place you're at in your career?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Wow.  I've always said if you work hard, you're diligent, you have fun, there's nothing that can stop you.  I'll continue to say that because I think it's very true.

Q.  Great record since you started working with Patrick.  What are the one or two things he's brought to you?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I think more than anything I would say, you know, just consistency and getting up for every match.  Doesn't matter if it's a Grand Slam or if it's a small tournament, just really wanting it.  Just to do that, knowing that I can do that.

Q.  With all the hype that came around this match, do you think there will be any problem for a possible letdown in the next round?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Absolutely not.  I mean, I've been at this for a long time, so for me in my career, there are no letdowns.  I think tomorrow playing the doubles will definitely help me continue to try to stay in this tournament.

Q.  When you talk about your focus, did it feel more than a fourth‑round match to you?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I think so.  I mean, the quality of the tennis was great.  Sloane's a great player.  So I think it definitely felt like that.
But at the end of the day it was a fourth‑round match, so...
You know, it definitely had feelings more of a quarterfinal or a semifinal match.

Q.  The one thing Sloane has to work on to get to the next level, what do you think it is?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I don't think she has to work on anything.  I think she is at the next level.

Q.  Do you go out there with the idea in your mind that you're not going to upstage me on a big stage again?  You're a fierce competitor.
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Thank you, I guess.  But no (smiling).
You know, when I'm playing, I don't go out there thinking like that.  I'm literally going out there to play.  I'm not thinking about being a star.  I just want to play tennis and I want to do really good at it.
It's not about the stage for me; it's just about getting that ball in.

Q.  You had a brief exchange at the end of the match at the net with Sloane.  What was that about?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I just said, Good job.

Q.  That was a very big celebration for you for a fourth‑round match in a slam.  Why?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Uhm, maybe I was at a different match, but I didn't see a big celebration.  I just pumped my fist, I was down, and then I walked to the net.

Q.  To the box, when you pirouetted.
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Well because I kept kind of falling over my pirouette, so I was trying to get the right semi‑half circle.  I couldn't quite get it right.  I think I was just off balance on that one.

Q.  Roger and Rafa have never played here before.

Q.  Against each other (laughter).
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Wow.  Gosh, that's weird.

Q.  If you had to say which one is greater, Roger with his 17 slams or Rafa who has a 21‑10 advantage over Roger, can you pick?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  No.  I think it's impossible to say which one is greater.  I mean, I think Roger is a great player.  I mean, he's done so much for the game and the sport.  He's just an unbelievable athlete and unbelievable player.  He's been playing for a long time in his career.  Obviously it was longer.
Rafael, on the other hand, started younger, starting winning Grand Slams really young, and he's a great, great player as well.
If you're going by numbers, Roger still has more Grand Slams than Rafa, so you have to go with that.

Q.  If you can't beat the guy in your era...  It's a hard choice to make.  If you were dominated by somebody, it would be hard to say you were the best player of your era.
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I don't think so.  I think still right now, I go by numbers.  I don't think I'm the greatest because Steffi has way more Grand Slams than me.  I just go by what's written down.

Q.  Outside the Williams family, who do you think is the best of all time in the women's game?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Can you elaborate?  I would not put me in the greatest.  I still think you have like Steffi and all those other women that have way more Grand Slams than me.

Q.  Who among the others are the best, would you say?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  In terms of now?

Q.  The best of all time.
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Oh, Steffi.  I go by numbers.

Q.  If your when you have kids, will they be tennis players?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I don't‑‑ I hope not.

Q.  Why?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  You know, it would be tough, I guess.  I never thought about that.  Whatever they like, it will be fun.

Q.  46% of your serves were unreturned.  In Cincinnati you were struggling a little bit.  What do you make of that stat?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I don't know.  Today I was really trying to get my serve in.  I just tried to be positive a lot on my serve.  I really think the doubles has really helped me.  I think that made a big difference.

Q.  You said that Sloane is already at the next level.  Can you define 'next level' for you?  Is that top 5?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  She's already beaten a couple top players, top 5 already, so I can't define it.
Sometimes you need a win against top players.  She's beaten me, she's beaten other players, so she's there.  She's playing really well.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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