Serena Williams Interview - US Open, Aug 26Posted on August 26, 2008
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Winning the Olympic gold with your sister, even though it's a different discipline, is that confidence that you can take into your singles game?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It's definitely confidence I can take, and I think I did from that because I was really returning and volleying well and I was doing a lot of the things well at the Olympics. I was really confident coming in here.
Q. What was the last match you played without any aches pains, when you felt 100%?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I felt great today. No aches and no pains. Yeah.
Q. How rare is that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I mean every athlete plays with aches and pains. Every athlete, whether it's tennis or basketball. It's just something you grow and get used to. So you know, it's ‑‑ that's every athlete.
Q. With Sharapova out and Ivanovic struggling today, do you consider you and your sister favorites?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, to me it doesn't matter who's in the draw. I always come to a tournament trying to do my best and I never look at anyone else as like they're favorites to win. I just ‑‑ that's just not the way I think. And I don't think anyone else should think that way if they're in the tournament.
Q. In terms of how you’re playing right now though…
SERENA WILLIAMS: I am just taking it one match at a time. Just happy to have this one over with.
Q. You seemed like you were ready today, everything worked great.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, in the first set I thought it was excellent.
Q. No playing into this one?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No. It's always good not to play into it. So hopefully I can keep that up.
Q. Do you still come into tournaments now the way you were coming into them in '99, 2000, 2001? You and your sister were very much dominant players; do you still feel the same way when you show up?
SERENA WILLIAMS: This tournament I'm feeling great. I'm just feeling confident and I feel like I'm just really, really, really enjoying myself. I love every moment out there. So it's good.
Q. How much does the fact that you're still, A, interested and, B, competing well in this sport have to do with your parents early approach to your career?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. I think the fact that I didn't play every week when I was six definitely helped out. I don't know if it's such a good idea for kids to be traveling the world. You get jaded and you miss out on things or you don't look forward to things that you should look forward to.
But it worked for me. I'm not saying it'll work for everyone else. I think it worked for me, and I enjoy the sport and I enjoy playing. I'm just having a whole new love for it.
Q. Did you feel particularly comfortable and confident with your serve today, in a pretty good rhythm?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, absolutely. I've been feeling good about my serve for a long time now. It's definitely one of my strongest shots, and today it was there again.
Q. Two points at the start of the match where you looked like you were totally out of the point, the lob and the passing shot. Take us through those shots and how you felt.
SERENA WILLIAMS: The lob, I was surprised I made it. I typically don't make forehand lobs, and I never practiced them in five years. I don't even know why I hit that shot.
I usually hit backhand lobs and I hit one at the Olympics in forehand and it was the worst lob in the world.
So that was just the wind I guess. And then the other winner was my forehand is really well on the run, so I was just expecting to hit that. I guessed the right place to go and I usually don't guess the right place. I did this time and I was...
Q. You've been fortunate to travel the world both on the tour and going to Africa and so forth. Having been at the Olympics and China, is there anything you learned about China from your experience there? Any sense of what that culture is like?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I learned a lot about the culture. I thought they were extremely hard workers and an extremely nice culture and nice people. They seemed to go all out as a country and not just like individuals. Like they're all one instead of everyone being separate, and I thought the unity was really unique. It was amazing.
Q. Pretty different from the United States?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah. I mean, United States, you know, is filled with so many people that come here looking for opportunity, and that's what makes America great. It's the land of opportunity.
Q. Can you comment on the Serbian players now on the tour, how they seem to kind of start dominating?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Do you think they're going to start dominating on the tour?
Q. Well, they're 1 and 2 and 3 now.
SERENA WILLIAMS: 1 and 2. You think they'll be dominating?
Q. I'm asking you.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Okay. Well, I was asking you. (Laughter)
Q. I don't play on the tour.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Okay. I can't sit here and say someone is going to dominate when I'm still playing tennis. I think they're playing great, and, you know, I think there's a lot of depth in women's tennis right now.
Q. You said you have a whole new love for tennis. Where does that come from?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. I
just ‑‑ I don't know where it came from. I guess I just woke up and decided that I can't get enough of playing, so...
Q. When was that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It was a while ago.
Q. You project on the court an air of just supreme self‑confidence. Are you ever visited by self‑doubt? Is that just part of your acting abilities that you're able to be confident despite it, or do you struggle with self‑doubt like some mortals do?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No. I'm definitely mortal. And, yeah, I do struggle with self‑doubt. Sometimes when I'm in a match I do get tight and I get nervous. You know, I think the difference with seeing some great players is they can work through that.
I always try to think of like, you know, current players that can work through that, like Nadal and Federer. I'll be like, okay, if they can do it I can do it too. So it takes me out of that moment.
Q. You had your first success here at the Open, and the last few years you've had a lot of success, more than Venus, on hard courts. It's been a while since you really made a run here. Why do you think that is?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know because I keep losing matches I shouldn't lose. I think one year I lost ‑‑ I keep losing matches I shouldn't lose.
Q. Are you more worn out at this time of year? What do you think it is?
SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, I just make the wrong shots I think at the wrong time. One year I really ran into a lot of bad luck where I got the worst calls possible.
Honestly, I got ‑‑ I couldn't even hit a shot because I was so nervous they would call every ball out. That really wasn't my fault. I probably would have won that year, and I was gonna win that year. Unfortunately it didn't work out.
Q. Did you get a chuckle out of the fact that the lousy call you got here, many people consider that that was the one that led to Hawk‑Eye?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think it's true. Anyway, that was years ago.
Q. Do you have the sense that six years is too long since you've won this?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Absolutely. I didn't even remember holding up the trophy. I didn't even know I won this tournament, that's how long it's been.
Q. You mentioned before fighting through injury is part of every athlete's life. First of all, did you watch closely what Tiger Woods was able to do this year? Were you able to draw upon that at all and kind of liken it to your own struggles with injuries?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, man, that guy is really amazing. I never ‑‑ it's just good to see someone can win when they're injured. I mean I've won matches when I was injured. I don't know if I was injured to that point and to that extreme and to a Slam like that.
It was just an amazing feat. I think everyone can draw inspiration from that.
Q. Is that the mark of a great athlete, to stay on course and prevail under tough circumstances?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I mean, his sport is a wee bit different. Maybe he's not running as much. Maybe, you know, it might be a little harder in tennis to be ‑‑ for a guy, five sets, for a woman, a three‑set match, cutting and running. It's not the same sport.
But it'll be interesting.
Q. There are a couple of African‑American teenagers, Sloane Stephens and Asia Muhammad, who competed in the US Open this year, players that grew up watching you and your sister, were inspired by you. Do you take pride in that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah. I mean, that's ‑‑ I don't know. I feel like I'm so young. I don't know that ‑‑ I didn't know people could look up to me. That's kind of cool.
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