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January 17, 2014

Serena Williams


S. WILLIAMS/D. Hantuchova
6‑3, 6‑3

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  Playing in the heat, can you tell us how you felt at the end of the match and how you feel now after you've recovered?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I feel good to have gotten through that one because it was tough conditions out there, but I was happy to win.

Q.  We just heard that Venus has an injury and you won't be playing in the doubles.  How do you feel about that?  Does it help you not having to play in the heat more?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Well, I love playing doubles, love playing with Venus, but sometimes it doesn't work out.  We'll make sure we come back and play maybe next year.

Q.  Must be a relief though that you don't have to play again today.
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah, I guess it's a relief, but like I say, we love to play doubles and we love to be out there.
I love getting extra practice like that, so I'll definitely miss it.  I don't know if it's a relief, but I will miss it.

Q.  How did she get hurt?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I don't know.  You'll have to ask her.  I know she was taped in Auckland, but I don't really know.

Q.  Your 61st victory here today, a record.  Want to talk about a couple of your favorite matches?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  For sure all the finals I was able to win (smiling).

Q.  What's the toughest part for you about playing in the heat?  Is it just it doesn't stop or it's physical or mental for you?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  It's definitely a lot of physical, but you have to be ready.
Today actually wasn't as hot.  I think it was more hot yesterday.  So it wasn't as bad today.
Honestly, on the one end I felt it was like a cool breeze coming over, so that was a good sign.

Q.  You made a string of five unforced errors in the first two or three games.  Did you have trouble settling or was it just nervous or...
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I was just getting my bearings and trying to figure out, you know, to do the right thing.  I wasn't fully on today, so I was just trying to see if I could just go for it and how far out they were going to be, going to try to make them.

Q.  Did you feel a bit dizzy afterwards?  Was that because of the heat?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  No, I didn't feel dizzy afterwards.

Q.  Somebody said you didn't do a TV interview because of that.
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Oh, no.  I had some pressing things I needed to take care of.

Q.  You love to laugh but you also have a serious side.  You have your schools in Africa and have read Mandela closely.  Mandela's message was pretty much forgiveness and reconciliation.  Work with the springbox for reconciliation, put his jail in the front row of the inauguration.  Do you think that spirit could affect your thoughts about what happened in the desert?  There is a new generation of people who would love to see you there.  Would that ever cross your mind as a possibility?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah, it actually crossed my mind a couple days ago, or after I saw the movie.

Q.  Do you think you would?  It would be such a wonderful event for American tennis and for your career.  Do you think that's something you might consider in the future?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Like I said, it crossed my mind not too long ago when I went to see the movie.  I thought about it.

Q.  And your thoughts on that movie?  Pretty strong, eh?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Right now I don't know.  I just have to focus on this tournament.  But I think Mandela was a really amazing man.  I felt really honored to have a chance to meet him, get to know him a little bit, and get to know his story a little better.

Q.  In tennis history, players typically do not improve at 32.  Yet all signs are that you have.  How does that happen?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I don't know.  I feel like, you know, in life 32 is young, you know.  In sports it's old.  But for whatever reason, I feel like I just never was really able to reach my full potential, and I feel like recently I just have been able to do a little better.
I just keep trying to improve on everything.

Q.  Your serve specifically seems to be a little bit more solid.
SERENA WILLIAMS:¬† I think I've always had a solid serve, but I think it's more consistent now, hitting ‑‑and following up with having better returns and stuff.

Q.  Do you think a lot of opponents take the court with you thinking they can't win?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I don't know, because I'm not in their shoes.  I think everyone that I play however they play me very hard, they give 100% and that's what it's all about.

Q.  Ivanovic or Stosur in the next round; both challenging players, big forehands.  Talk about those matchups.
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Either player will be very tough.  Ivanovic, I think is doing really well.  She's on a little winning streak herself.
Stosur has the home crowd behind her.  She's the fan favorite.  Obviously she's beaten me a few times.
It will be an interesting, whoever I play.  I think it will be a great match for me to really start to try to play better in this tournament.

Q.  Do you need to raise your level at this point now that you're in the fourth round?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Well, if I don't, I won't be in the tournament much longer.

Q.  Can you talk about Stosur's kick serve, especially when you played her last, about the bounce and weight of the ball?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah, she has a good kick; goes up high; you have to be ready to get it.

Q.¬† You have spoken about Patrick and how much knowledge he has, how he's tennis‑wise, as you would say.¬† Seems to me he also has a sense of humor, a twinkle in his eye; is that true?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  He has a twinkle in his eye?  I have actually never heard that, but I will tell him (smiling).

Q.  To me he does.  What are your thoughts in the nontennis side of things?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Obviously he's a very serious guy, which is why I probably have never seen the twinkle.  He takes his job and his life extremely serious.  I think he's really motivated.  I think that's great, because we both are motivated to be at the top.
I know it's always good to have someone on your team that feels the same way.

Q.  You've only lost five times in Grand Slam matches having won the first set.  Today was your 227th win.  Do you put particular emphasis on the first set to shut out your opponents as quickly as possible?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  No.  I just always try to win the first set, and then I try to win the second.  That's all I try to do.  (Laughter.)  I don't do anything different.

Q.  Commenting on the heat yesterday, the tournament doctor said that players should be equipped to play in the heat because humans evolved in Africa chasing antelope and survived in heat well, and it wasn't important that it be humane conditions necessarily.  Wonder what you think if humanity should be a concern for making heat decisions?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I tell you this:  I'm not equipped to answer that question.  I'm going to leave it alone.  I'm going to leave it alone.

Q.  It will be a lot cooler next couple days.  Looking forward to that, or do you think the heat maybe gives you an advantage?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I definitely look forward to playing in the cooler temperatures.  I think, you know, the players that I have played, they have done really well in the heat.
I just look forward to some cooler weather.

Q.  What were your first impressions of Australia in '98?  I just mean landing, getting into Melbourne, looking around the city.
SERENA WILLIAMS:¬† Felt good.¬† I definitely wanted to be here, and I don't remember my first impressions.¬† As a kid, you don't particularly dream of ‑‑ especially where I'm from.¬† I never thought I would be in Australia.
For me, it was a great opportunity to see a land that's so far away that you don't go to even in your dreams.

Q.  Why do you think Sam has had some measure relative to other players of success against you?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  She's a great player.  You can't underestimate her.  She's fast, returns well, serves well, returns well, has beautiful strokes.
When you're doing that good you can always put a lot of pressure on any player.

Q.  Daniela Hantuchova just put on her Facebook page that she believes you're the best woman's player ever.  What do you think of that?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  That's such a compliment.  Me, I'm just trying to do the best that I can and be the best that I can.  And seeing someone like her work so hard and always in the gym being fit, she doesn't take anything for granted.
It's just really, really motivating to watch players like her on the tour do so well.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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