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An Interview With: Serena Williams (Round 4)

Sunday, September 06, 2015

Q. You were asked the other day if you can remember a match this year that you really felt good after and satisfied with. Is this a match that you feel good about?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think I played really well. I had to play well. I did hit a ball that bounced before it hit the net, so that is a first. (Smiling.)

Q. When Venus was here earlier she said even playing against you is fun, that it's always fun playing tennis. What is it like for you on the court and even thinking about it before you step on the court to play your sister?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Nowadays, I would agree, I think it's more fun than it used to be. We really relish the opportunity. We're both happy to still be involved in getting so far. And it's still super intense. She's doing well and she wants to win this. So do I. It's not easy.

Q. What do you think your rivalry has meant to the sport?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think it's been an amazing rivalry. I think it's meant a lot. We've done a lot for the sport. I think, you know, hopefully it can continue as long as we play.

Q. You said you have been calm for a while. What was it about this match that made you so relaxed?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I haven't really felt a lot of pressure. Only in that second round; for whatever reason I got tight. The whole tournament I've been really kind of rather relaxed. I don't really feel like if I win this tournament it's going to make or break my career. So, you know, I look at it that way.

Q. How do you prepare differently to play your older sister?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I mean, I'm playing, for me, the best player in the tournament, and that's never easy. She's beaten me so many times. I've taken a lot of losses off of her - more than anybody. Yeah, she's a player that knows how to win, knows how to beat me, and knows my weaknesses better than anyone. So it's not an easy match at all. Hopefully things will go right.

Q. Genie Bouchard just withdrew with a concussion. We're not used to seeing that much in tennis. Have you ever had one or tried to play through one?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I've never had it. Well, there was one time I was at the pizza joint in Palm Beach and I did fall and hit my neck and head. I don't know if that counts as one. I came to the next morning. Anyways, that was it. (Smiling.)

Q. When was this?

SERENA WILLIAMS: That was an interesting story. But the pizza never fell. It was perched perfectly in my hand as I slipped. But anyway, that's the closest I've been to a concussion.

Q. When did that happen?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Earlier this year.

Q. Venus was in here earlier and she said she loves you dearly, but you have an annual family reunion. She wasn't thrilled with the idea that every year you seem to pick the theme of the reunion. How would you respond to that very serious accusation?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, you know what? Her team are just haters, to be honest. They're jealous. Our team, the Kryptonians, do well. We tend to win every year. We'll just let it slide off our shoulders. We don't take it personal.

Q. Because you know each other so well, is it hard not to overthink?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No. For me it's about that moment, about doing well at that moment. It's not very easy. Like I said, for me, the only player in the draw I don't want to play, not only because she's my sister, but for me she's the best player. So it's not easy.

Q. Will the two of you interact more or less the next couple days before you play?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't think anything's going to change. Whatever the outcome is, I don't think it's going to change either.

Q. What is it about her game that you admire most?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, we play a lot. She plays similar. She's fast; I'm fast. She hits hard; I hit hard. She serves big; I serve big. We have a very similar game. We've had the same coach for a long time. It's like playing a mirror. I have to be really ready.

Q. Is it harder or easier to lose to Venus than another player? If you have to lose, would you rather lose to her?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I would rather lose to Venus as opposed to anyone else. I, in general, don't like to lose. Yeah, so hopefully we'll just go out and do the best that we can, and whatever happens hopefully have a good attitude about it.

Q. The match you had in Montréal was really high quality last year and just tooth and nail. What do you remember about it?

SERENA WILLIAMS: She played really good in that match. I mean, she did everything well. I won the first set barely; probably shouldn't have. She came back and never gave up. She served well. Yeah, she just did everything to win that match, so...

Q. She's playing really well right now. Is that a concern, that she's in top form?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Always. It's always a concern. I'm going to have to play better, keep up my level, keep playing better.

Q. You didn't serve many double-faults today. Did you think about that at all during the match?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I did, obviously, because I've been serving so many recently. Normally I serve like this my whole career. Past year and a half I haven't. But, no, my serve was definitely better. I also was hitting them a lot harder than I normally hit 'em. Still didn't hit the double-faults.

Q. Is there a match that stands out in your mind when you played Venus where you felt like you played the best match against her?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't really remember a lot of matches I play against her. I don't like to remember them.

Q. How do you deal with the pressure that in a long time you may become the first player to win all four major tournaments?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I have to play Venus Williams next. I have to deal with that pressure first.

Q. Can you imagine being as successful without having Venus as your counter?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Definitely not, no. I think she helped create me, for sure.

Q. From the outside looking in it looks like you flip a switch. From your perspective, how do you do that? You all of a sudden turn it on.

SERENA WILLIAMS: You have to. If you're playing a great player, someone that knows how to win, you have to play better or you can go home. You can choose one, so...

Q. Venus talked about you guys playing informally growing up. She recalls winning all the time. What do you remember most about that?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, she always won. Like always. I don't remember much. I just remember I never was able to beat her, and I don't think I liked playing her, so...

Q. You and Venus are so popular and well-known. There are a couple of other sisters, the president's daughters. Have you ever met them?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, well, I met them. They're really nice young ladies, beautiful young ladies. They've matured. I've met them at different stages of their life. They've really matured. They're just becoming really ladies to look up to and be role models.

Q. Did you chat with them at all about life?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No. Maybe now I can, but no.

Q. You tapped into your intensity when you needed to in your matches. When you play Venus, it's a little bit muted, probably out of respect. How do you deal with that balance when you're competing against her?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I guess I just try to be more internally excited. I still have a few C'mons, maybe not as many, but I'm definitely obviously as intense.

Q. What do you think of the example of the way you and Venus have conducted each other on the court has meant to people about friendly competition and sisters going at it but not disturbing their relationship?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think it's been a great experience. I feel like Venus and I have definitely proven that you can be friends and you can be sisters, you can be enemies on the court, and you can be friends and sisters off the court.

Q. Do you have any idea why it took so long that any player came up, after Steffi Graf, who has a chance to win all major tournaments in one year? What is the reason it took so long?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know why it took me so long. (Smiling.).

Q. Back to Genie Bouchard. She's had a rough patch. Now she's playing great this year. How much the confidence comes back when you win?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, it comes back fast. This is just a little hiccup. Hopefully she'll be okay.

Q. You mentioned before that the girls you have in Africa, the schoolgirls, they see you play, they play some tennis themselves. Is it instructional? Do you have any designs to put an academy over there?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Not yet. That's definitely something I want to look forward to when I'm done with all this. Thank you.

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