Monday, 22 June 2009
Q. What is the biggest mental challenge of the early‑round matches that
at least the outsiders take for granted?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Uhm, you know, no one wants to lose in the first round.
So everyone you play is always really into it and really fighting, and I
think that is a big difference. That people don't really know.
Q. What is it for you? When you step on the court, what is the greatest
difficulty when you face a player that everyone is thinking, Well, this
is Serena's match?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, well, you know, it's just ‑‑ it's just taking
that confidence and building on it. I always feel like if people can
believe in me, then I should, too.
I always think about, you know, how I feel when other people that are
top seeded, when they're playing, I'm like,
Okay, they'll win, they'll win. So I feel like I should feel that way
about myself, as well.
Q. The first set went in a blink of an eye. The second set was much more
competitive. Was that a dip in your concentration, or did she increase
SERENA WILLIAMS: There was definitely a little bit of both. I definitely
think she increased her game, but also I think my concentration wasn't
‑‑ although I wanted it to be, on some key points, it wasn't where it
should have been.
And, you know, it's just a point here or there that can make or break a
Q. How pleased generally were you with your performance today?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I thought I served well. I thought, you know, in
practice I've been doing a little bit better. I thought I could have
played a ton better, especially on key points.
And, uhm, I feel like hopefully as the tournament goes on and
progresses, I'll get there.
Q. Is that a usual feeling for you in the early stages of a tournament?
You end up thinking, I could have played a ton better?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, that's a usual feeling for me from first round to
the finals. Uhm, but usually, uhm ‑ you know, I'm really insatiable. I
always want more.
Q. You and your sister have dominated Wimbledon for so many years now.
Dinara Safina is the No. 1 seed this year. Wimbledon deserves the right
to change the seedings. Do you think you or Venus should have been the
No. 1 seed, especially with Venus defending?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I think Dinara should be the No. 1 seed. She's been
really consistent the last couple months. She's earned that No. 1
Q. A moment ago you gave your opponent today credit for lifting her game
in the second set. What is your feeling after a match about giving
credit to an opponent? As you know, different players approach that
different ways. They either focus just on how they played, or they
analyze how their opponent played. What is your approach when you speak
to the press and you speak to others about assessing your opponent's
SERENA WILLIAMS: Uhm, I don't know. My approach is just to be me, and I
never thought about that. I've never been asked that question all my
years of playing.
So hurrah for a new question (smiling).
Q. After the French, some said maybe you should have given more credit
to your opponent who defeated you. How tough is it, after a loss, to
analyze the defeat and assess credit for your opponent?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, I feel like I did give credit to Svetlana. I get
along with her well. There's no problems between me and her.
I feel like I choked. I should have won the match and I didn't, and she
went on to glory. That's just the bottom line. There's nothing else to
be said about it.
Q. In other matches do you sometimes think that it's different, it is
your opponent who took a match away from you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Uhm, honestly I think whenever I lose, typically I
think the match is on my racquet; it's up to me to decide whether to win
or lose. Meaning if I make errors and I'm not playing great ‑‑ I've
always said if I'm playing my best tennis, it's hard for anyone to beat
me. With that being said, I think the match is usually on my racquet.
Q. You talked about getting asked a new question. After years and years
of press conference after press conference, what is the thing you're
most utterly fed up of talking about that you get asked?
SERENA WILLIAMS: How does it feel to play your sister? I might start
Q. Next question. How does it feel to play your sister?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It feels great (smiling).
Q. Do you know anything about your next opponent, Jarmila Groth?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm not too familiar. No. Where is she from?
Q. Used to be Slovakia, but now Australia.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Okay. Yeah, I do know her then.
Q. You've played her.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah. So once I hear where they're from, sometimes I
know who they are. Yeah, but I'm really familiar with her game. She's a
good player, obviously. And, uhm, she's tough.
Q. There are so many new names in the game, many not from our country.
Is it hard to follow who's who?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I just know the standard: everyone is from Russia.
Sometimes I think I'm from Russia, too. I feel like, you know, okay, all
these new ‑ovas. I don't know anyone. I don't really recognize anyone.
You know, that's just how it is.
Q. So are you saying you came to Compton when you were seven years old
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think I am, and I think my name must Williamsova.
Q. Are you happy about Kim Clijsters' return?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, she's a great person. I mean, a wonderful
personality. She just has a great heart. And to have, you know, someone
missed in tennis like that, you can really feel that loss. It will be
exciting to see her back.
Q. When you went home, did you spend any time thinking that you could
have won the French Open, or did you just forget about it right away?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, well, that goes on the list of tournaments I
should have won, so...
Well, I don't know if I should have won. I feel like I had a chance to
win my quarterfinal match and I didn't. You know, I was more
disappointed than normal, actually.
Q. Top three on your list of tournaments you should have won are?
SERENA WILLIAMS: That's one of 'em. Another French Open in '98.
Q. Was that Justine?
SERENA WILLIAMS: That was a long time ago. No, 1998 was against Sanchez.
If I'd have just served and volleyed (laughter). I don't know the third
Q. What about Wimbledon against Maria in the final?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Uhm, you know, in that match I was really nervous. You
know, I thought she played well, but I thought that I put too much
pressure on myself. I actually learned from that. I just put way too
much, and I couldn't get a shot.
So it wasn't like ‑‑ no, that doesn't go under that as one of those
Q. Is it easier when you blow a match on a tactical basis, as in, I
should have served and volleyed, versus when you blow it just from a
mental point and a freeze‑up?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. They're both pretty difficult. But, you
know, I try to learn from all experiences. You know, I try to think
about other things that are maybe more important.
Q. And the reverse of that, do you think there's any big tournament that
you won and said, Wow, thank you tennis gods, that was nice?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I mean, maybe Indian Wells in '01. I definitely
didn't expect to win that, as well as obviously Australia in '07. I
didn't expect to win that.
Q. Can you assess Neuza Silva's game a little bit for us?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I've never seen her play before. I thought she
had a really good game, especially for the grass. I can see why she came
through qualifying and gave me such a difficult time. You know, she's a
fighter. You know, she got lots of balls back. So, you know, I thought
she played really well.
Q. It was her first Grand Slam match, against you, on Centre Court. Her
SERENA WILLIAMS: What a wonderful attitude she had. I had no idea. I
thought she played incredibly. I thought she was really positive, really
calm, to be her first match on Centre Court.
Q. The roof, you've seen it now. What do you think of it?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Uhm, I just thought it was gonna rain. I thought, Well,
if it rains, then I'll still play, so... Uhm, that's what I thought of
It's nice. It's really pretty.
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