IBM: See tennis in a new way. Tennis data + IBM = More than the score.Find Tickets Online at ticketmaster

An Interview With: Serena Williams

Monday, August 31, 2015

Q. Was that one of the more bizarre on-court occurrences you've had in a while?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, it was definitely different and bizarre. But at the same time I was still focused. I kept thinking, you know, just stay focused; don't lose it. You never know what can happen, so...

Q. What are your thoughts on your next opponent, Kiki Bertens?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I think she's playing well. She does a lot of things well. She has a big serve.

It's definitely something that I look forward to. See what happens.

Q. What was it like playing in the new Arthur Ashe Stadium? What's the difference?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, you know, it's different. It feels more intimate, which is weird, but it does. It feels more private. It feels like a dome. I think that's the best way to describe it.

Like if you go to some of these stadiums, football stadiums - obviously it's not that big - but it has that dome feeling. That's what it feels like now.

Q. Less windy?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Was it windy today? There was definitely a lot less wind, but I'm not sure if it was the day for wind.

Q. Do you think there should be a rule where players that are hurt can withdraw and get their prize money? That's been an issue. Players are staying in that aren't in shape to play. Wondering if there should be a rule where that player doesn't get the compensation.

SERENA WILLIAMS: I told you all in Cincinnati that I'm not answering no questions that involve controversy.

I don't know. I didn't think about that. I mean, you play to get compensated. You go to work to get compensated. I guess if you have a sick day in regular life you still get compensated.

So I don't know. I really don't know.

Q. I don't know if you've seen any of the results today, but were you surprised that Sloane went out early and Ana went out early?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, Sloane played CoCo, who is a fire player, and that is not an easy match. Yeah, that's just not an easy match. I can't say it's surprising. CoCo, she's a really good player. We've had a lot of tough matches together. When she's on, she can really take out a lot of people.

I think we've seen that. She got to the quarterfinals of Wimbledon. So, yeah, it wasn't, you know.

And then Cibulkova, she's been to the finals before. So they're really tough first-round matches.

Q. Speaking of fire, no one plays with more passion or fire in the women's game than you do. Talk about the importance of drama and passion to you. Do you need that to bring out the best part of your game?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I definitely feel like sometimes if I'm down I need to have a little fight extra, a little more power and passion.

But also, there's also a calm that I also need to tap into to do the best that I can, as well.

Q. Your T-shirt says, Eat right. What does that mean to you?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Really?

Q. Particularly on a game day.

SERENA WILLIAMS: So you came up with that question just from reading my shirt? If I had wore a different shirt would you have asked that question?

Q. I would have.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Credit to you. Credit to you.

Q. I found a way to work the T-shirt.

SERENA WILLIAMS: I like that.

Actually this is a vintage Nike tee from like the '90s or the late '80s. I didn't really know what it says. I can feel in the fabric how it's just vintage. I've been wearing it the past couple of weeks.

But eating right is so important I think for every athlete. You know, you are what you put in your body. It's not important for every athlete, it's important for everyone. You eat bad things, you got to get that out whether it's performance or whether it's just your daily life.

As time goes on, it's so important for people to really learn to eat healthy, things that really can benefit their body.

Q. How great was it to be back here in New York playing in Arthur Ashe Stadium, having not only your family, but the Arthur Ashe Stadium crowd rooting you on to complete the calendar slam?

SERENA WILLIAMS: It's great to be here in Arthur Ashe Stadium, to be American, just to be on this journey in my life. You know, it's kind of awesome that this is the last Grand Slam of the year, because if it were in a different country I think I would still love it, but it's not the same as being an American playing in New York, playing for that ultimate goal.

But, you know, it's really fun, and I'm literally enjoying the moment.

Q. How much of a concern is it that this wasn't really a test at all moving into the next round? Is that a bit of a worry that it was 30 minutes of bizarre play, as you called it?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No. I don't think that's a worry, because my practices are really intense and I really fight really hard in my practices. I know that every match is a challenge. I have to be ready for everything.

Q. I don't know if you heard, but CoCo did an on-court interview in the middle of her match after the first set. Did you hear that?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yes.

Q. Would you ever think about doing that or trying it?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Being a vintage player from Lord knows what decade -- and I'm old school, so I don't know if I can say that's something I would do, per se -- but I found it quite interesting.

Maybe that's the future of tennis, the future of where it's going. You know, hopefully they don't make that mandatory. So we'll see.

Q. What do you think the pros and cons of it would be?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think it's great for some viewers. Get in the mind of the athletes. But I also think it -- you know, for me, I'm really focused the whole time. I'm really trying to think about what I want to do. I don't necessarily want to answer questions about anything. I just want to be in that moment and kind of focused.

That's kind of the integrity of tennis when you think about it. It's just you on the court. It's not a reporter. It's not a coach. It's just you in that moment. I kind of love that. It's the only sport where you have that.

Q. At Indian Wells you were taken aback when you first went out on court. This is a journey; this was your first step today. What did it feel like when you went out on the court?

SERENA WILLIAMS: It was a really good feeling going out there. You know, just taking it all in, having those nerves, but at the same time, just being ready for whatever happens.

Q. What do you think makes you old school? You don't even like Hawkeye; you don't challenge.

SERENA WILLIAMS: I do challenge if I'm sure. I've been wrong a few times. But sometimes...

Q. You're a modern girl.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah. I listen to modern music. (Smiling.)

Q. Where do you think the old school comes from?

SERENA WILLIAMS: That's a good question. I think maybe it just comes from just growing up and just watching so much tennis, just enjoying, like, you know, Steffi and Monica, that era where it was just them.

They were such mental players. You know, just looking at that and just being so influenced by that. Thinking one day I'm going to be there. I never thought one day I'm going to be there with my coach or with anything else. Although I think Hawkeye is a great thing.

But, you know, I just feel like it's, yeah, something that I like. I just like that.

Q. What is your big memory of your first win here, your first title?

SERENA WILLIAMS: My big memory? I have a lot. I mean, when you win your first, there's so many. Obviously one of the biggest, and I've said this often, I think it was in the tiebreak in the final. I remember thinking -- Martina had a second serve, and I'll just never forget.

I was like, Serena, you've got to go for it. It's either now or never. You've got to go for it. I went for it. I went for this huge forehand up the line. Something inside me told me if I don't do this then I'm not going to win this match.

So just stepping up to the plate and just being brave enough to go for it, that moment really shaped my whole career. That's probably what I remember most.

Q. Six seeded players lost today. What do you make of this first day? Do you look at the draw at this point or you don't care at all?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm not a person that usually looks at the draws. I just take it as it comes and as it goes, do the best that I can and just go for it.

Q. Chris Evert's father passed on. Did you have any contact with him or any thoughts about his life and his role?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, he gave us one of the world's greatest champions and just a great person. It's a sad moment for not only Chris but for everyone involved in tennis.

Yeah, but it's those moments that we can always look back on and appreciate and never forget.

Q. You were talking about intense practices. I had a chance to watch you practice some today. Is it a distraction to have Roger right there across the way from you?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, it is, because I'm always looking over, What is he doing? Giving him the side eye. Okay, maybe I should do that. I should do that. Oh, he's taking a break now. Okay, cool.

No, it's super distracting. I totally look at him. I mean, he's Roger. Like watching his returns, okay, so he is moving forward on that. Interesting.

Q. Where do you find the moments of quiet, especially during a Grand Slam?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Uhm, yeah, I never leave my room too much. I kind of become in there, in that space, and I just watch endless Netflix.

Q. What's Netflixing right now?

SERENA WILLIAMS: What was I watching earlier? Actually, to be honest, I was watching a lot of ID, Investigation Discovery. I don't think it's on Netflix, but I downloaded some.

Q. Does your school, your girls, do they get a chance to see you play, get some video?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, you know, we were able to give them some computers and so they have the Internet. It's been a wonderful experience.

A lot of the time they're able to check in on the scores. I don't know if they can see it live, but they're definitely able to check on the scores.

It's just been so amazing to do that.

Q. Are they learning at all anything about the game?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, yeah. They're learning. Hopefully some of them are practicing. Maybe one day they'll join the tour.

Q. What do you think of Stan Wawrinka's ping-pong skills?

SERENA WILLIAMS: He destroyed me. I kept hitting to his backhand. I'm like, Why am I hitting to this guy's backhand? I wouldn't hit to his backhand in tennis, so that wasn't really smart of me. I'm like, God, the guy never misses, of course. So I tried to move the ball around.

Comments