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March 29, 2014

Serena Williams


7‑5, 6‑1

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  Just like with Maria, you found yourself behind the 8‑Ball, two breaks down, 2‑5, and then all of a sudden you became Serena.  Do you think, on a subconscious level, you put yourself in those situations so that you can become you and play brilliant tennis to come back to win?  Because it seems like that's the repeating story.  It's a great storyline, and the crowd loves it and it adds to your fame, but do you think that may be the case, that you do that to yourself sometimes?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Oh, I definitely don't do it on purpose.  You know, everyone comes out there, they come really strong.  Sometimes I do get off to a slow start, but then again, sometimes I get off to a fast start.
I think for the most part, I try to do the best I can, and sometimes, you know, things I'm doing don't work out, but they are the right things and eventually they start to work.

Q.  What do you think the turning point was for you in that first set, down 2‑5, and then you won 11 of the next 12 games or something?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I really don't know.  I don't even really remember.  I just remember being down.  She was playing so well, and at that point I just was trying to just stay focused and stay in the game.
Then I remember really ‑‑ some of the crowd was so intense.  I thought, Wow, they really want to see a good match, I've got to try harder, I've got to do better.
That really helped me a lot.

Q.  Do you think the crowd here has different sort of support for you than other places?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah, this crowd is amazing.  Like I said, I have so many friends here, I have so many fans here, and I love, love, love playing, obviously I love playing in this crowd, and it just feels really, really good to play at home.  For me, there is really no better feeling.

Q.  Is that why it's your most successful tournament?  There's no other tournament you won seven times.
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah, I know.  I think that it has something to do with it maybe.  It's just a good time for me, really.

Q.  Seven titles.  What does that mean?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I was actually super excited at the end, because I remember sitting here last year trying to get to six, you know, thinking, Okay, obviously I want seven but I don't want to put the pressure on myself to get to seven.  Obviously I wanted to have the most titles here.
I guess that I've grown up coming to this tournament as a kid, watching so many players, and to be one of those players now is really, really awesome for me.

Q.  Why do you think you get off to such slow starts here in these finals?  Not just this year.  Maria, Henin, Capriati.  It's like you create your own excitement.  Why do you think that is?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  That is true.  Only here, and hopefully just here.
I don't know.  I just ‑‑ maybe I get a little nervous because I want to do so well, and I want to ‑‑I just want to win, and then sometimes if you get too nervous you're not able to play.
So for me I think that's the only thing I can think of.  You know, I just try to give the most I can every time.

Q.  What clicked inside at 2‑5 down?  You go to the sideline and say, God, this can't be happening?  What do you say to yourself?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah, I really thought I could do better at this point.  My serve, percentage was super, super low, I think in the 30s, and I thought, Okay, I can serve a little better, and I know I can return better, and I'm practicing all these years and I have a good return.  I need to start doing it.  I need to start doing what I practice.
And no joke.  So many people in the crowd were saying, Come on, Serena.  That was such a great feeling for me.  I really definitely think the crowd got me through this match.

Q.  Just three aces and 42% service percentage.  Some people would look at that and say that she had a bad day at the mine, but clearly you had a pretty good day if you look at the scoreboard.  What other parts of your game can you rely on when your serve is not working?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I think that's what I've mostly been able to develop mostly in my game in the past.  If my serve isn't going great, my whole game kind of went down.  And I think now if my serve isn't great, it's okay because I have a great forehand, I have a great backhand, I have great speed.  If push comes to shove, I will come to the net (smiling).
You know, I have so many things that I want to have a backup plan, because today I only served at 40%.  I still have to figure out a way to win doing that.

Q.  Do you have a different strategy for every opponent that you play?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I think it's important to, yeah.  I think you can't go in‑‑ for me, I don't go in with the same strategy.
I think that's what I have been doing a little more different, working with Patrick in particular.  But still, my route is just to play my game, my strategy.  I don't get too overly involved into what my opponent is going to do, but I do know their weaknesses a little bit better.

Q.  You were laughing a lot during the trophy ceremony.  Li Na said it was joking about being old women or something.
SERENA WILLIAMS:  No, I said, you know, I was so happy for her and us and how we were doing.  We're playing great tennis and we're both 1 and 2 and, you know, we're both the same age.
For me, it was just an honor to be there with her.  We have had ‑‑we are living the same life, and at this stage, to be on top, I don't think it's been done before and I think it's really awesome.
I definitely feel like she deserved praise.  Especially winning the Australian was great.

Q.  You have had such a unique career.  Do you feel you can relate to her still?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Absolutely.  I feel like, you know, we're obviously ‑‑I don't know her that well, but I just feel a connection with her that I just love.
I just really like her as a person and as a player, and I have so much respect for her.  It's great when, you know, we get to play each other, because she always gives her all.  From the first time I have ever played her until today it's always been the same.

Q.  Two 32‑year‑olds.  How do you explain 32 years old at 1 and 2?  What's your explanation?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Exactly.  I don't know.  I just feel that both she and I, we just have this never‑give‑up fight, and it just goes to show that, you know, you can still shine at any age.

Q.  She's a player you have obviously played quite a lot before.  Were you impressed, surprised at how well she did start in that first set?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Oh, I mean, we played each other recently in Istanbul, and she started really, really well, really great.  I wasn't surprised.  I know what she's capable of.  She is reigning Australian Open champion, so you're not going to win that by luck.  You obviously have to be a great player.

Q.  And she was playing well, particularly in that first set, aggressively taking the match to you.  Is that something you noticed, that she was really stepping into the court?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah, she does that usually when she plays me.  I think in general that's her game.
Obviously she's really, really good at it, so I wasn't surprised, but, yeah.

Q.  What do you remember about the first title you won here?  Take us back for a second.
SERENA WILLIAMS:  (Pause.)  I don't...

Q.  You don't remember the match?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  No.  Who was it?  Venus?

Q.  Capriati.  First two times actually that you won.
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Really?  I don't remember.

Q.  Drawing a blank?

Q.  We touched upon this the other day.  You have such a dominant record against the top 10.  Do you feel you are your toughest foe out there in these finals and in these tournaments?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah, I feel like when you're going up against the top players, for me, I have to be ready because they are the best in the world, the whole planet.
So you have to be ready to play, and, you know, they worked hard and they are working just as hard as me, so I enjoy playing people that are ranked like that, because I feel like I can eventually bring out the best in me.

Q.  Your thoughts on the on‑court coaching.  You don't seem to use it very often even when things aren't going that well.  Is it something you're in favor of?  Is it something you just don't feel the need for once you're out there?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  I don't use it just because I grew up, you know, watching players play tennis and solving problems yourself.
I feel like not only on the tennis court but in life you have to be able to problem‑solve, and things aren't always going to go your way and you have to figure out, Okay, if this happens, what's going to happen next?
You know, especially in my life I have had moments where I have to figure things out by myself.  So, you know, I just take that to the tennis court.
I'm not saying I would never use it.  I used it in the beginning because everyone did and I thought maybe I should.  Then I realized it wasn't for me.

Q.  This is your seventh Miami title.  With each tournament you tend to break more records.  Your Hall of Fame credentials are pretty much set at this point.  How do you keep challenging yourself on a daily basis when you go into practice when you could really just stop tennis tomorrow and really be pretty happy and comfortable?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah, I just still enjoy playing.  I think I love the challenge, and I feel like if I feel like I can be the best right now, then why not continue to be the best and do the best that I can?
Obviously there's records I would like to catch up to, hopefully.

Q.  Like?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  There is a lot of records out there (smiling).  Who knows if I'm ever gonna catch it, but at least I know that while I'm still playing well and still healthy, I can try.
If not, at least I know I did try.  I think that keeps me going.

Q.  What's distinct about this tournament being a home tournament?  What are you able to do more differently, more comfortably than you do when you're on the road?  Are you going home every night?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  Well, I have that option to go home.  I just feel like everything is so close.  If I need something or I forgot something or have even like my local doctors here, if I need advice or if anything goes wrong, I'm literally at home.
So I think that's what makes it a lot easier for me.
Q.  Does this title help with the disappointment of Australia at all?
SERENA WILLIAMS:  No (smiling).  But that was the past, and it was really nothing I could do in Australia.  I tried the best I could on that day, and, you know, it wasn't my day.
I'm just glad I have been able to try to improve since then.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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