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May 25, 2014
S. WILLIAMS/A. Lim
THE MODERATOR:¬† Questions in English, please.
Q.¬† Can you tell us how do you feel playing on a Sunday, Sunday start during a Slam?¬† Is it a good thing, you think, for a tournament?
SERENA WILLIAMS:¬† I think it's a good thing for the tournament, for sure.¬† They get an extra day, they're able to have more fans come out.¬† It's different for the players.¬† Usually you're ready to start on Monday.¬† But, you know, now if you come to Roland Garros you might play on Sunday, so you've got to get ready for it.
Q.¬† Can you tell us what you thought of the match?¬† The beginning you were fighting hard.¬† It was close a little bit first three, four games.¬† Then you steamed the whole match.
SERENA WILLIAMS:¬† Yeah, the beginning was ‑‑I think the match, a lot of the matches went to 30‑All or so.¬† So I think the games were actually pretty close.
It was interesting.¬† I was a little nervous, like I always am in my first round.¬† It's kind of always hard for me to shake those nerves and go from there.
Q.¬† Can you talk about your friendship with Alize?¬† I know you two have spent a fair amount of time together, and she's not even on the main, high‑level tour yet.¬† So how close are you?
SERENA WILLIAMS:¬† She's been doing a lot better.¬† She's been playing a lot.¬† She's been just getting so much better, and she just made up her mind that she wanted to compete and be one of the best.
I'm really proud of her.¬† She's just rising in the rankings really, really well.
Yeah, we train, you know, in the same facilities.¬† It's hard, though, because everyone is on tour, and so, you know, we see each other.¬† It's fun.
We just kind of all get along.¬† We just go to dinner every now and then.¬† So it's interesting.¬† It's fun.
Q.¬† You said you were nervous today, which might surprise some considering how long you have been a performer, but others not.¬† Just talk about your nerves over the years.¬† What event were you the most nervous?¬† Was it the Olympics?¬† Was it your coming out tournament?¬† How your nerves have evolved over the years.
SERENA WILLIAMS:¬† I think in general for me I'm always, always have a little bit of nerves and just I try to harness them and put it in the right place.
As for the most nervous is very difficult to say.¬† I was extremely nervous last year here in the final.¬† The whole match I could barely get there.¬† I was really, really, really nervous.¬† Then also the US Open I was nervous.¬† But then in my career early on, you play big matches, you get nervous.
So I think it's nice to have a little bit of that, because it means that you still have a passion for it.¬† You still have this inside feeling that you want to do really well or else the nerves wouldn't be there.
Q.¬† Can you remember just your body shaking at one particular match or your hands shaking?
SERENA WILLIAMS:¬† Not my body per se, but definitely I have had a few hands shaking every now and then.
But not so often.¬† You just kind of try to get through those moments.
Q.¬† How would you compare your form this year on the clay compared to last year?
SERENA WILLIAMS:¬† Well, I was in really top form last year on the clay, or at least I thought I was.
This year I'm just going day by day.¬† I'm not ‑‑I do have to say this year I don't feel as much pressure on myself as I did last year.¬† And that's it.¬† I just am doing the best I can.
Q.¬† Can you talk for a second just about what it's like to see Venus still out there competing.¬† And secondly, also just talk for a moment about how your relationship with her has evolved, without going through your whole life story.
SERENA WILLIAMS:¬† For me, it's not shocking or like super ‑‑I don't know, "exciting" isn't the right word.¬† But super like weird to see her perform, because we live together and we train next to each other.
So of course I expected to see her out here and I expected her to even do better and I expected her to win and to play the best that she can on that day, as she doesn't know sometimes how she feels.
I feel good.¬† I think for other people they might have a different feeling, but seeing that we live in the same environment, I definitely feel like I'm proud of her, but at the same time, I want her to keep going and do better and do more and do more.
And then, you know, our relationship, we have just grown older, we are still really close.¬† It's evolved, where it's evolved I think in a good way.
Q.¬† Venus played Bencic, who is about roughly half her age. ¬†And there is now twice as many 30‑years‑old playing in this tournament than teenagers.¬† What would you say the factors are that careers are extending so long and that it takes longer to be good?
SERENA WILLIAMS:¬† I ‑‑I don't know.¬† I feel like people just don't want to stop now.¬† I think honestly, I feel like when I was growing up I felt like, okay, I'm going to have to retire long before 30, because it was just what everyone did.¬† It wasn't ‑‑it was just perceived as a tennis player career was over at 30, or before 30.
And I think that's just what I thought.¬† And when I got close to be 30, I felt like I didn't want to stop.¬† I just wanted to keep going.¬† I think maybe just people are just more or less feeling that way.
Also, technology has changed.¬† Training has changed.¬† People's bodies are better.¬† People are more healthier for a longer amount of time.¬† So maybe that has something to do with it, as well.
Careers are able to last longer through just modern thinking and modern stuff.
Q.¬† As an extension to that, like when you had a long career, about 16 years, and how do you feel women's tennis has evolved over that period, and has the style of play also changed?¬† Like, what would you attribute the changes to?
SERENA WILLIAMS:¬† I think the style of play ‑‑I don't know.¬† I have played so many people in different generations and different decades (laughter). But I feel like the style is similar, like, we have power hitters, the '90s and 2000 power hitters.¬† And we had players that weren't so much power, but they were able to get the ball back and you have fast runners.
I still feel it's like similar to that.¬† I think obviously the level has gotten a lot more depth, but still, it's put a lot of similarities.
Q.¬† Is there any players like, say, Martina Hingis, like, who could move the ball around?¬† Is there some kind of player like that who you would like to face?
SERENA WILLIAMS:¬† Yeah, there are several girls on the tour who do that really well.¬† Lots.
Q.¬† You mentioned technology.¬† You really have a perspective over the years both about training and those things, but there is also this technology of these flying cameras all over the courts.
SERENA WILLIAMS:¬† Yeah.
Q.¬† Australia they are a little bit more down with you, but here there is just that airplane thing.¬† Do they ever distract you?
SERENA WILLIAMS:¬† It did today.¬† I was about to serve, and I saw this airplane.¬† I thought, is there an airplane flying?¬† Then I realized it was a camera.
But it's fine.¬† You know, listen, I'm keeping up with the times.¬† 32, I'm trying to stay young.¬† So that's my secret (smiling).
Q.¬† Do you think they are good for the sport, for spectators or are they just a sort of unnecessary distraction?
SERENA WILLIAMS:¬† Listen, it's all about ‑‑the more camera views, the more people you can reach on TV, the more people who get involved in the sport.¬† It's just looking at it in the bigger picture.
Q.¬† Venus played in Auckland in January, and at the time she had such a good time she said she was going to speak to you about it and try and convince you to maybe play in New Zealand at some stage before you retire.¬† At this stage of your career, is that something you would consider playing in like a smaller tournament like that ahead of the Australian Open?¬† Are you thinking about it?
SERENA WILLIAMS:¬† Yeah, absolutely.¬† I was just thinking about it recently, because I already have to think about my schedule for next year.
So I have to pick out what tournaments I want to play.¬† Obviously I love going to Brisbane, but I have never played in New Zealand.¬† My whole thing now is just to try to go to as many new places I have never been.¬† So we will see.
Q.¬† You know Venus probably better than any of us.¬† She's, you know, pursuing her business degree.¬† She has her two design businesses and everything.¬† Yet she really fought her way back to the top of the game.¬† What is it that you think that drives her to like try to achieve all these things?¬† You know, most people are like playing is enough.
SERENA WILLIAMS:¬† Yeah, you know, I think in general we both like to play, but we both know that tennis isn't all that we want to do.¬† We just try to do as much as we can.
But I don't know.¬† She's the smarter sister, so that's why she's doing so well (smiling).
Q.¬† The whole mess with Donald Sterling of the Clippers has opened a lot of conversation about race issues in America.¬† In particular, 50 senators the other day just came out with calling for a change in the name of the Redskins.¬† You are a minority owner in the NFL and dare I say long ago had a little bit of a social connection with that team.¬† What would your thoughts be about changing the Redskins' name?
SERENA WILLIAMS:¬† Well, it's interesting.¬† I don't really know much about that.¬† So I can't comment on something I'm not fully educated on.
The little bit I know is that, is it ‑‑ I'm asking you‑‑ is it from an Indian tribe and there were, it was ‑‑ was it a popular name amongst the Indians; is that correct?
Q.¬† It's seen as a slur, like the N word.
SERENA WILLIAMS:¬† Yeah, so again, I can't really commentate on that obviously, because I don't know much about it.¬† I have heard that once and it did cross my mind, like, wow, really?¬† I think, yeah, the people standing up for that can be really positive.
Q.¬† I was just wondering if you were able to attend any of the wedding festivities for your friend Kim these past few days?
SERENA WILLIAMS:¬† Yeah, I went to a few of the festivities.
Q.¬† Which one?
SERENA WILLIAMS:¬† I went to the dinner in Versailles and stuff, dinner and stuff.
Q.¬† Was it fun?
SERENA WILLIAMS:¬† Always fun with Kim.
Q.¬† On the clay, how does play here affect your clothes and your shoes?¬† They come off more dirty here than at other courts?
SERENA WILLIAMS:¬† Yeah, I always throw away my ankle bracelets after the French Open, and I don't really wear my socks again.¬† Yeah, that's about it, though.¬† Just that.¬† And the shoes are clay court shoes, so you can kind of keep those.¬† But, yeah.
Q.¬† Since the topic of weddings was brought up.¬† You sent out a very supportive note to Caroline Wozniacki a few days ago saying that you stood with her.¬† How would you compare a devastating loss in sports like you have experienced with a devastating breakup?
SERENA WILLIAMS:¬† Oh, I would rather lose any day than break up.¬† It's always hard.
But, you know, definitely easier to take a loss, you know, because that's ‑‑you always have next week.¬† But at the end of the day when you really are young, you always have next year and you have the rest of your life.¬† Once you know that, everything goes together.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports