The US Open Sessions - Hear music made with tennis dataFind Tickets Online at ticketmaster

An Interview With: Serena Williams

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Q. You seemed to be operating in the fullness of your gifts tonight. What was different about the match? You seemed extremely focused and powerful and everything we're accustomed to from your game.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, tonight I was just trying to do what I have been working on in practice. She was playing really well and she was playing, you know, very aggressive. So I had to just step up my level of game, as well.

Q. After the slow start, how much did all the matches you played this year and the time you put in help you sort of get out of that sluggish beginning?

SERENA WILLIAMS: It definitely helped. I was thinking that, you know, I'm down two breaks? But I was -- you know, I felt like it's not the end of the world. You can just win one game at a time. That's all I tried to do.

Q. Match play sort of help you with that mentality?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I definitely think match play helps me out a lot getting into that mentality, getting into the groove, and getting back, you know, just getting back in things. I think it was really able to help me out, and I think at the at the end of the day was able to come back from that and get going.

Q. Flavia says it was a match of great level. Do you agree with that? She thinks she plays well, too.

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think she played really well. I think every time I play her she gets better. This is definitely the best she's played me. I really had to step up my game. You know, I really had to step up my game. That's why I was down Love-3. She came out really strong and really hard. It was a very, very good game for her.

Q. How do you feel about playing Makarova? Talk a little bit about the lefty factor, the spins and stuff like that. Are you a little concerned about this match?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No. I have played two lefties already and I often practice with Varvara. She's a lefty. I think that's been good for me, so I'm ready for the lefty. I think it will be a good match. She's beaten me before. I am obviously going to go in there and just try to do the best I can.

Q. How good l Serena Williams have been if she was left handed?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Gosh, I always ask my dad why wasn't I a lefty? Even when I was younger I wanted to be lefty. I could have been really good. (Smiling.)

Q. How many slams?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. Who knows? I don't know. But lefties are just so cool. I just love lefties. Maybe it's just a hangup I have. We'll never know.

Q. Does it feel like familiar territory now? You have been in the semis more than 20 times in a major. With the struggles you have had, does it still feel like, you know, you have to keep relearning how to take these steps or does it feel like riding a bike once you get to this point?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No. Absolutely for me it's just about every day is a new day. You never know. Especially for me this year, you never know what can happen. I take everything very seriously as it comes.

Q. You had that medical timeout in doubles. It didn't look like there was anything with your ankle today. Where is it?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I just was running and I hit a ball behind me. I just landed funny on it. I just needed to retape because the tape had gotten a little loose. That was all.

Q. You say that every day is different. Actually, seeing you serving in doubles the other day, seeing you today, it's a completely different story. Know why that happens?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know.

Q. Do you have an explanation?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. I served good in doubles and I served so many double faults. I don't know. Maybe it was for the best. Who knows?

Q. What do you remember most about the match you referenced when you lost to Makarova, and what are your thoughts about the specifics of playing her?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, Makarova moves well. She doesn't care who she plays, she gives 100%. Those types of players are often difficult to play because it makes them better. Like I say, she moves well. She has that serve that can hit -- that can go out wide or you never know where it's going to go. She's has a great backhand and she's improved her forehand. It's going to be interesting for me to do the best that I can, because, you know, she has a lot of momentum going into this match as well.

Q. You haven't lost to that many people, and you talk about learning so much from awful your losses. Do you think you could name all -- not right now, but in general -- name all of the people that you have lost to?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. (Smiling.)

Q. Every one of them?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Probably. If I sat down and thought about it, probably.

Q. You talk a lot about being more relaxed at this tournament and everything is kind of gravy. You don't really need to win anymore, but how do you turn off the pressure?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, it's so easy now because it's almost a joke for me because I have done little to no winning in the majors. And now I thought, Take it as a joke. Oh, my God, I'm past the fourth round. Woo. Like, Yeah, I was joking. I better play doubles just in case I don't make it past the second round. At least I have a backup plan. I think that definitely has been able to help me to relax, as well. You know, and also realizing that I don't have to win anymore. Everything now is just extra. So then that also helps, as well.

Q. You are the lone American at the end of the tournament. Does it feel weird at this stage of your tournament to still end up as the one holding up the banner for the USA?

SERENA WILLIAMS: It never felt weird, but it feels good. I'm glad it's me, per se, if I'm the only one. Not to be selfish or anything, but obviously I love winning, for lack of a better word.

Q. Makarova likes to say that she's in the shadow, that she likes being low profile. You're not exactly low profile.


Q. Do you enjoy being high profile?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I understand Makarova, especially when I was coming back. It was like I was definitely more low profile. I called myself a dangerous floater. It's fun almost because no one expects anything from you and you have no pressure and you can just play so well. But you have to be able to -- if she continues to win, you know, she won't be low profile. I think for more of a top player, she's beaten so many top 10 players, she's definitely not low profile for us. So once we step on that court we just know that she's a player, you know, that you cannot take lightly.

Q. If you would, can you talk about the joys of being high profile and getting some pretty good perks and access and meeting people? Is that something you still get a big kick out of?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I'm an extremely shy individual, so whenever I meet people I kind of freeze up or I don't really talk. I don't know how that comes across, but I actually kind of -- I always try to stay in the background. Somehow people are always putting me in the front, but I'm always the one that's like walking in the back or behind people. So, no, it's not my thing, actually.

Q. You made some cat noises at the end of a few interviews. Is it like a costume? Do you feel like a sort of wildcat out there?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, but I feel like when we players, we play, we play in our outfits. It is our moment to shine; it is our chance. We obviously, so to say, get dressed up to play, you know. Each of our sponsors -- Nike has done an incredible job with designing some wonderful outfits for me. So, yeah, I just love leopard print.

Q. How satisfied are you with your level this far and particularly today's match?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm okay, you know. (Smiling.) I'm okay. Obviously I want to do better. Hopefully I can. Hopefully I can play two more matches. Hopefully I can win two more matches.

Q. What are your thoughts on the Miami Dolphins this season?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I always say, Fins up. We'll see. I'll make some games later in the year.

Q. What does the number 18 mean to you?

SERENA WILLIAMS: It means a lot. It means legal to do some things. (Laughter.) It also means legendary. Legal and legendary. Nice age.

Q. Are you both?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, yeah, I'm definitely legal. Legendary? I don't know. I'm just Serena.

Q. Do you have a dream about the week without having to sign any autographs?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, sometimes I get a little stressed out. I just like to stay in my room and just be away from everything because I don't want to, like -- you know, everyone's always so... But when I'm out I feel like I have that responsibility to my fans to sign and to please, so that's why I say I'm more or less -- I always kind of stay inside. You rarely see me out.

Q. Chris Evert has been asking you a lot about history, number 18. Do you think she's kind of trying to get in your head a little bit?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Maybe. (Smiling.) No, she's a big supporter and I'm a big fan. We both just really, really support each other.

Q. What are the one or two losses that you learned the most from in your career?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. I have to think about it. Definitely I learned a lot from one this year. I'm not ready to talk about it yet, but definitely learned a lot from that. But I don't know. I learned a lot from -- in 1998 I played Sanchez in the French Open, and I really believe I should have won that match. I was up, and, you know, I didn't take a chance. That's life in general. Sometimes you have to take chances.

Q. Should Venus have beaten Sanchez in Oakland?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. She was younger. It was her first tournament. Probably not. But I should have when I played.