Serena Williams 3R interview

Interviews

Q. Tell us what you said to her at the net. And when did you notice she was really upset?
SERENA WILLIAMS: As she was walking towards the net, I could tell she was quite upset. I kind of liked that. It shows she wasn't just there to play a good match, she was there to win. She wanted to win. That really broke my heart.

I think she's a good talent. It's good to see that attitude.

Q. You said some pretty powerful things about Billie Jean King after the match. What do you think the things are that are left for women's tennis to do to try to ensure greater parity and equality for women? Do you see yourself increasingly taking a role in pressing for those things?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, well, we still are fighting for equal prizemoney at all events across the board. I think that's something that we're going to continue to do, continue to fight for.

I feel like with my platform, the things I do, the different boards that I sit on, we really talk about equality, gender equality, role equality, pay equality, how important that is. Bringing that into tennis, as well, is something that's super important.

The only way to do it is to talk about it and to be open about it, have these conversations that aren't necessarily comfortable. As I always say, we have to have these uncomfortable conversations so we can start just fighting for having equality throughout.

Q. Maria Sharapova on that point said the other day she never felt much warmth from the men's side. She talked about Andy Murray, how he stood up for things. Do you think the ATP guys could help by being more vocal? How much will Murray be missed?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think Andy has been really vocal about everyone being treated equally. Like I said the other day, in order for change to really be made, men and women have to work together, they have to have the same message, they have to support each other.

As many people as we can get to support us, that's what it's going to take.

Q. At the start of your pro career, did your teenage self ever cry after a loss at the net?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Teenage self or adult self?

Q. Teenage self.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, both (smiling).

Q. Did you ever find yourself having that kind of reaction like she did as a youngster?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, absolutely. You go out there and you want to win. I remember one time in particular against Venus at Wimbledon, as I was walking to the net, I started bawling. I couldn't help it. Young girls, young women, just want to go out there and do their best and want to win.

Q. Do you remember what Venus said to you then?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No. It was a really long time ago.

Q. Your opponent after the match said you spoke to her in the changing room. She was saying you had been criticizing the umpire a little bit in there about a time violation. Could you clarify to us?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I was criticising what?

Q. The umpire about a time violation.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I would look into it as well. I don't know, but I thought – I didn't think she deserved the time violation. I thought that the umpire has to wait until the crowd stops clapping before announcing the score. I felt just to keep the match going he was announcing it really fast, which is fine, which is normal, but maybe she wasn't used to that.

I told her to definitely look into it so she knows going into the future what to expect, so she knows the rules. I think it's important for young players to know the rules so they can always be educated for that. I told her I would look into it, as well.

It's important to us to have each other's back, to just support each other. I think that's so important. That's it. I wanted to clarify it with her.

Q. You either get the world No. 1 or your sister in the next round. Do you go home and watch that match tonight? If you're to play Venus again, how do you approach it?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, either way it will be a really intense match. I'm looking forward to it. There's nothing I can do. I did everything I could today. Just have to keep going.

Q. There's a 17-year-old American that's made a big splash here. Do you know much about Amanda?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I've been watching her game since last year. I thought she did really well at Indian Wells. That's when I kind of noticed her. I'm really excited to see American both men and women start to do well really, see this new generation of American players make a loud splash, a loud noise.

It's good to see Amanda. She's so serious. I love it.

Q. You are edging closer to Margaret Court's all-time Grand Slam record. Does that creep into the back of your mind at all?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I've been edging closer for probably like a decade now. I'm not even dealing with that right now.

Q. If it is Venus that you play, how do you go about the match? Do you talk in the build-up?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, we're really close. She's even closer to Olympia. She's more than an aunt, but she's not the mom. She's, like, the stage after that. I don't know. She's, like, so close to being there with my daughter, so we talk all the time, spend a ton of time together. She always is like, Well... She gives me tips and stuff.

We'll definitely be talking, take it as it is. Take it one step at the same time.

Q. If you play Halep, will this prove where your game is it, playing the No. 1?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, and I honestly would love to face the world No. 1. At the same time I would love for Venus to win. I think either way, regardless, I'll be ready for either opponent.

Yeah, it will be great. I haven't played the world No. 1 since I've been back, I don't think. So, yeah, it will be good.

Q. Last year in Paris I asked about the Armenian influence in your life. You said you're planning to go there. Have you learned any new stuff about Armenia, that side?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm learning a little bit every day. Well, not every day, that's not true. I'm learning a little bit as time goes on.

Yesterday Alexis was talking about how Armenians are, the culture, lots of self made, a lot of business people. They have this aspect. It's fun. It's interesting.

Like I said, I feel like I'm an honorary Armenian because of my husband and daughter. Everyone that I see that is Armenian is super proud of me. It's like, Wow, this is kind of cool.

It's really always good to learn new and different cultures.

Q. On the equality thing again. There's a big men's team competition they're preparing for in January next year. It's possible the Hopman Cup might get swallowed up or end because of that. Is that a bit of another symptom that maybe the priorities are a little bit skewed?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm going to apologise. I should know about this, but I don't know about this to comment on it. I've heard a lot about it, but I don't really know the details of it, so...

Q. Do you already feel on top of your game or does your break affect your game in any way?
SERENA WILLIAMS: My?

Q. Does the break affect your game in any way?
SERENA WILLIAMS: The break, okay.

I haven't played a lot since New York. But it is what it is. I'm here. I've trained in the off-season. You know, at this point I'm here. I'm here to play tennis, do what I do best. I play tennis best, so that's what I'm here to do.

Q. Do you feel on top of your game again?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think I'm getting there. I don't feel like I'm there yet. I feel like I'm still getting there.

Q. Do you think in a counterintuitive way that missing over a year to have your daughter has kept you in the game? Do you think you'd still be playing here right now otherwise?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It's very hard to say. But I feel like a part of that is absolutely true. Kind of the time off gave me a new fire, a new purpose, a new meaning. Again, it is kind of hard to say.