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An Interview With: Serena Williams (Round 3)

Friday, September 04, 2015

Q. Not the easy way.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I just made a lot of errors. Had to play myself in after that.

Q. How did you play yourself into the match? Obviously it was really tight. You got close deep in the second set, and then you seemed to find another level.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I mean, I knew that I could play better, so with that in the back of my mind -- because I made a lot of errors, but I knew, like, this wasn't the best game, my best game.

So I guess knowing that always helps me really play better.

Q. Do you think she was trying to use dropshots or trying to bring you into the net a little bit? Did you see that as a tactic?
SERENA WILLIAMS: You know what? I don't know. Maybe. I don't know actually.

Q. What is it like to always be the favorite in a match? It seems like it's so long since you weren't expected to win.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I mean, it's interesting. Yeah, no matter what, I'm always the favorite. I look at it as I'd rather be the favorite than be in a position where I'm not, so...

Q. When you get down in a match - you've spoken about this earlier in the tournament - what do you draw upon most, that you find most effective to turn things around?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. I just know usually when I'm down, I mean, I feel like if I'm not playing well, I know I can take it to another level. But if I'm down and I'm playing well, then I probably won't win.

But usually, you know, I know that I can play better. I just try to tap into the energy and I try to play better.

Q. The other day you spoke about being nervous or a little bit tight. Were you nervous tonight?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Not at all. Not at all.

Q. Why not?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I wasn't nervous at all, just the second round. From the week -- from Cincinnati I felt good. I mean, I don't have to win this event. It's not the end of the world for me.

I told you getting to Wimbledon and winning the Serena Slam, that really meant a lot to me. That tournament I felt on the edge a lot. This one I don't feel that way.

I think people feel that way more than I do, but I don't feel like I need that more than anything.

Q. Do you feel better after it's all over tonight than you did the other night?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, definitely. I feel good I was able to get that win, obviously.

And she played really well. She played a really aggressive game. I don't think her level really dropped. I thought I just picked up my level.

Q. The history goes away and it's just you against your opponent. You're not aware of the circumstances as you're playing?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I mean, of course it's there. I'm not a robot or anything. But at the end of the day I'm just here to do the best I can. If that means I win, then great. But if it doesn't, then you know what? I can't let that affect me because I still have other tournaments to play.

Q. You've been down an early break in a lot of matches; lost some first sets. Does that concern you at all, or you know you've gotten out of it so many times?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think getting out of it so many times definitely helps me. It's definitely not something I want to do, though.

But, hey, a win's a win, I guess.

Q. When you do face that situation which you now have eight times in the slams this year, do you ever think, I have no margin for error; it's best-of-three sets? Like Murray yesterday lost the first two sets and came back. Do you wish it was best-of-five ever?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, but we offered to play best-of-five. I totally could.

But doesn't matter to me. Best-of-five, best-of-seven, whatever. Let's get it going and cracking, right?

Q. What will you take away from playing Madison last time that you'll bring to the match coming up?
SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, I think that she played a really high-intensity match. I thought she served really well; I served well.

So hopefully I'll be able to show up and play well. We'll see.

Q. What are the biggest similarities and differences between your games, do you think?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I mean, she runs around and hits forehands a lot. I tend to run around and hit backhands, which is just odd. I don't know. I mean, we both have good serves.

Yeah, she does everything really well. She has a good return. She has a heavy shot. She's moving well. So she does everything really well.

Q. When you were a young player trying to make your mark, you go out there as an eager beaver. You want to win matches. What is it like now when you've done so much on a day-to-day basis? Is that eagerness to go out there and play still there?
SERENA WILLIAMS: At this point in my career it is. I think it's even more eagerness to win every single match I play every single time I step out on the court.

Q. The crowd was really cheering for you. Did that help you or is it sometimes pressure on you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, no, I usually don't have a cheering crowd for me, so it definitely feels good. They usually cheer for the underdog, but I think everyone wants to see me go far, I guess, this year.

So it's really cool to have the crowd not cheering for the underdog this time. But I understand obviously. It just feels really good. It feels amazing every time I play. I think, if anything, it helps me.

Q. Do you prefer playing Americans here or would you rather...
SERENA WILLIAMS: It doesn't matter. At some point you play everyone everywhere, so...

Q. At this point do you feel invincible?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No. I've never felt invincible. I've never used that word to describe me ever.

Q. Did you watch any of Venus' match today?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No.

Q. You know she played really well. Do you take anything from that? You both mentioned this week you give advice to each other before matches.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, we do. The only thing I take from it is the fact that I'm going to have to step up my game, you know. That's all I can do.

Q. A few times this year you have reminded us that it's not easy. This isn't easy. This journey that you're on is really difficult. Is this really what you kind of expect, and it's a lot harder than all of us think it is?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know what to expect. I've never been on this train. I love metaphors. (Smiling.) I've never been on this train. It's different. It's definitely different.

But, yeah, I actually can't really answer that because I don't really know what to expect.

Q. To use your metaphor, what would it take to derail you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: If I'm standing on the middle of a track, I'm definitely going to get derailed. I have to make sure that I'm on the train and not, you know, in front of it.

Q. Do you have any particular memories of matches against Lindsay here?
SERENA WILLIAMS: The last time I played Lindsay was so long ago that hopefully I've improved. Hopefully. But, yeah, I remember one time. Obviously the semifinals here in '99. I lost to her here once or twice. I don't remember.

Q. You have a lot of visibility these days with commercials and such. Do you have a favorite you've seen and why?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I love the Gatorade and the Beats ad. They're really inspirational. They're not just like, Oh, here I am. They really are inspirational for young kids, and that's what we wanted to do. We didn't just want to do a normal ad. We wanted to inspire everyone from every part of the world.

Q. What is it like having your retired contemporaries watching you from the sidelines now? Hingis was watching Venus today.
SERENA WILLIAMS: It's all right, I guess. I don't think about it.

Q. Do you remember, were you watching when Steffi had her US Open where she was going for it? Do you remember anything about that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Seriously? I mean, I'm old, but c'mon. Geez.

Q. You were playing tennis already.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, but, I mean, what, I was six. Get serious.

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