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October 26, 2013

Serena Williams


S. WILLIAMS/J. Jankovic
6‑4, 2‑6, 6‑4

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  Looked like in the first set you might have been getting emotional there on the sidelines, and at times it looked like you were not moving very well and hitting your serve, and by the end of the match you were moving better.  I guess we were all wondering what was going on.  You didn't call the trainer.  What was happening?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Um, no, physically I think I was fine.  Or I don't know.  I just hit a wall.  I was so tired.  Well, physically I was so tired just even standing.
I think I just ‑‑I think I played a lot of tennis this year, so I don't know.  Like just after a while I just felt like a big rush of air just come out of me, and I really had to pull myself through that match.  I don't know how I did it.

Q.  Physically you're fine, you're not sick, and you were just battling your own emotional, tired demons?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  No, there was no emotional.  I was just physically really tired.  My legs wouldn't move.  My arm wouldn't go fast.
I think when you are doing something so much for so long throughout the year, maybe it can take its toll.  Like I said, I was just, at the end of the match, I was really just fighting just to stay in there and just try and get my legs to move to go to the balls.

Q.  What are you telling yourself to get out of that zone?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I don't know, to be honest.  I just was telling myself to just stay out there and just to try to fight for the point and just try to go for winners sometimes.  And then, I don't know, it was just interesting.  I was...

Q.  Were you dizzy or something?  Your level, like your serve dropped speed like 30, 35% off your normal.  There were balls that are normally easy to get to that you weren't going for.  Did you feel like taking a nap or something?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I don't know.  Yeah, last night I was in my hotel and I was lying down, and I just ‑‑I understand the expression, I hit a wall.  I literally felt like I just hit a wall.  (Clapping hands).
Ever since then I have just had little to no energy.  Even in practice today I was really struggling, and in the match I was just really struggling to have, you know, energy just to play.
I just think I have had a really, really long year.  I have played a tremendous amount of matches.  It's not easy, like I said, every day.  It's definitely not easy to play so consistent and so long.

Q.  You must have gotten some kind of second wind at the end of the third, though.  Seemed like you were moving better, speed went up on your groundstrokes and all of that.  Did you just snap out of it, or did you just have to say, Serena, you're going to lose, you're going to be out of the Championships, do anything you can to win this match?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Well, I don't know.  I just felt like ‑‑I never give up, and even though I physically felt really exhausted, I think‑‑ I just thought, you know, I've got to keep going, you know, I've just got to keep fighting this point, this point.
To be honest, I was really proud of myself to pull that out, because I just ‑‑ you know, even in the first set I was really, really concerned how I was going to be able to make two sets let alone three sets.

Q.  How much tennis do you have left for tomorrow?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Right now I'm on E.  We'll see.  I'm going to obviously try to put some gas in the tank tonight, go to the gas station and fill up and try.  (Laughter).
We'll see what I can do.  Like I said, I'm really proud that I was even able to stay out there today.  And, you know, tomorrow is the final, so obviously everyone gets pumped up.  I'm hoping I'll get some adrenaline going tomorrow.

Q.  Is this the first time something like this has happened to you?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  There's times I have been really, really, really tired, but, yeah, I just ‑‑yeah, I think it is.  I just really played a lot of tennis this year and a lot of matches, and, yeah, I just ‑‑just one word is "exhausted."
I need to lay down for 24 hours and that's it, I think.  But I don't have that time, so I'll try.

Q.  That gas tank will need to be very full, won't it, with Li Na awaiting in the final?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Absolutely.  She's playing really well.  She's such a good player.  She moves so well.  So playing her, you have to physically, more than anything, be ready to play that match.  And I think I will be ready.  I have to be.  I have no choice.

Q.  Definitely no problem with the backhand?  It's very dangerous for us to make a diagnosis from afar.  It looked as if you were really struggling to hit through on the serve in particular in the first and second sets.
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah, but it was just ‑‑right now I couldn't tell you what's not hurting.  My toes are okay, my fingers.  (Laughter).
So it's nothing, nothing crazy.  It's just everything just at one point ‑‑ just your body is just like, Give me a day or two break and let me come back.
Unfortunately, I don't have that time.

Q.  A lot of the other players here have talked about how tough it is with vacation on the horizon and having one foot in the off‑season and some rest.  Have you felt yourself drifting that way at all?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Well, I think the key is not to have vacation plans, so I don't have vacation plans, so for me I'm okay.  I think my problem more or less is I have played so much this year, more than I have in my whole career, which is ironic, because obviously I'm older than I have been in my whole career.
So I think that's more or less my problem.  I don't have a problem about vacation.

Q.  At what point this season did you kind of stop and think, holy cow, I have played a lot of matches?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I think a few days ago.  I was looking I think when the tournament began.  I saw I had like 70‑something matches, and the person closest to me had like 50, I think Radwanska.
Really?  I played 20 matches more than her?  I thought, that's a lot, you know.  I didn't realize how much I had been going at it.

Q.  Before you saw that stat, did you feel all those matches physically, or was it almost like seeing a stat like that kind of started to play with your mind a little bit?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  No, I felt it.  I definitely felt it.  Obviously I knew it, but I think seeing me playing so much more than everyone else is shocking.  I don't really play that much tennis.
I mean, I only played like 15 or 16 tournaments, I think.  I played a lot of matches.

Q.  You mentioned you enjoyed competition from other top players.  It is fair to say you enjoyed playing with Sharapova and Azarenka, but do you feel you enjoy playing with Li Na?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah, I love playing with her, especially this year.  We have played a lot more than normal.  So I've got to know her game better.  I got to know what she does better.  It had been a little while since we got to play each other so much.
Yeah, I was getting to enjoy that.  So, yeah.

Q.  What is your motivation to play so much games in a year?  And my second question is:  Do you think the season is too long for all the players?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  My motivation to play so much is just I don't like to lose, so that's why I play a lot of matches, because I win those matches.
I have actually only played somewhere between 16 and 17 tournaments, so it's not like I'm playing a lot of tournaments.  I'm just winning more.  My win average is better.
No, I think the season is not too long.  I think it's actually a lot shorter.  I was on tour when the season would end like November 16th‑ish, so we really only had a week's vacation.  I think it's definitely a lot better.

Q.  You and Li Na are the most mature players here at the Championships.

Q.  She's going to be a career high No. 3.  You had a great season, played more matches, won more tournaments.  What does that say about sort of age and limits and all these kind of things?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah, it feels great.  I'm really happy for her.  I had no idea she would be No. 3, but that's great for her.
It's awesome, because we're both in our 30s, and, you know, I think we're both playing the best tennis of our career.  We're still getting better.  I personally think I can do better.  I'm sure she believes she can, as well, and it's really good to have a peer right next to you your same age doing just as good, so it feels good.

Q.  Do you remember any particular thoughts that went through your head in the second set when you were the most tired?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I just remember, how am I going to keep running these balls down?  I think she was moving me a lot more in the second.  In the third I tried to hit more winners, because I thought, okay, I'm not going to be able to do all this moving.

Q.  We had 116 million people watching Li Na in the French Open back in 2011.  Can you imagine what's the situation gonna be tomorrow night?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Wow.  I'm not sure.  Hopefully 117 million.  (Laughter).

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