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Serena Williams Interview (Round 3)

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US OPEN

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Serena Williams

Press Conference

S. WILLIAMS/J. Larsson

6-2, 6-1

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. When you consider that no man or woman has won more matches at the majors than you have, what goes through your mind?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I thought I tied.

Q. He hasn't won more than you have.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, okay. (Laughter.) Actually, it was a really good feeling, I have to say. (Smiling.) It is actually a really good feeling.

So to be up there with both men and women is something that's super rare, and it actually feels good.

Q. What do you think it says most about you and your accomplishments that you have achieved this milestone?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. I don't know. I think, you know, in my career I have just been, you know, here for so long. Longevity, that already goes unsaid.

So it's just yet another thing, I guess.

Q. It looks as though the shoulder is completely okay, but can you just detail for us how it does feel for you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It definitely feels solid. I'm doing a lot of work on it so I can keep it in this position. Definitely not going to stop doing all the rehab and therapy, so I don't want to go down. It's pretty good.

Q. Is that a lot of...
SERENA WILLIAMS: It's a lot of post-match stuff, stuff I'm not really excited about, but at the end of the day I think it's good for me.

Q. You talk about the longevity and whatnot. Of all of the numbers that you're stacking up here, what amongst those things are you most proud of, whether it's the Grand Slams and whether it's the longevity? What is it that stands out to you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, each number I'm definitely most proud of. Like I said, I was really excited to reach that, was it 306? 307? I was really excited to do that. Something I didn't even know about until Wimbledon. I was like, Oh, I have a new goal (smiling.)

That was pretty cool for me. Obviously I want to keep that number going higher and see what can happen.

Q. Is there a particular kind of shot, kind of strategy, serve, return whatever it may be, that gives you the most satisfaction or pleasure during a match?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I think there's no shot for me that's more exciting than hitting an ace. It's always just fast, easy, fun, and it feels really good.

Q. On that topic, in terms of like overall sort of energy expended this week, is it a good amount for you to sort of get the groove going? Make sure you don't want to kill yourself with your shoulder, but is it a comfortable amount of energy expended this week, do you think?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah. I feel like I have been doing pretty good. I have been being moved a lot, so I'm able to do all that.

Yeah, so so far, so good.

Q. You mentioned on court the difference between the idea of being the greatest athlete or the greatest female athlete. Is there a difference in your mind by the way that men and women athletes are treated?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I definitely think there is a difference between the way male and female athletes are treated. I also believe that as a woman we have still a lot to do and a lot to be going forward.

I think tennis has made huge, huge improvements. We just have to keep that motto going for all other female sports, as well.

Q. Obviously there have been a lot of fabulous athletes who are females: Althea Gibson, Nadia Comaneci, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Martina Navratilova, Billie Jean King. In your mind, who do you feel is at the very top of the list, two or three or the finest athletes who are women who have performed?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I think everyone you named are someone that's spectacular in what they do. Jackie Joyner-Kersee was someone that growing up you just watched the Olympics and you're like, Wow, you know. That was pretty amazing.

Nadia Comaneci, an amazing gymnast. Like she was pretty cool.

Obviously playing tennis you're looking at someone like Martina Navratilova. You only can dream of doing half as good as them. I think it's hard to compare three different amazing athletes from all kinds of different sports, but they're all great, great athletes.

Q. And Althea Gibson would be among that group, in your mind?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think so. She had to break so many barriers and she had to play against things that a lot of us will never have to face.

I know she had to sleep in cars because hotels wouldn't accept her. To overcome that mentally and still be able to perform really is a feat.

Q. Speaking of being amazing, Serena, which do you think you like best The Wall Street Journal did? I know you had a good time. Is this one you really enjoyed?
SERENA WILLIAMS: They were all really great. Yeah, it was a tough week for me, but they were all so amazing. Thank you.

Q. When you talk about the difference between the way the male and female athletes are treated, are you talking about pay scale? What exactly are you referring to?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I think there is a huge pay difference in terms of male and female athletes in lots of sports. Still so in tennis a little bit, as well. Also, male athletes -- it's just a big difference, you know.

But like I said, it's just taking one step at a time. Tennis players were really fortunate to have pioneers like Billie Jean King and really take a stance for women in tennis.

I feel like we got really, really fortunate to have that. So now we're able to benefit and still preach the message and have an easier time. Just hopefully that can work out for other females, as well.

Q. You talked about the sleeves earlier this tournament. Is there any chance that that becomes a permanent thing? You like it enough that you think you'll just keep wearing it?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I know they are in a few of my designs maybe in the future. We'll see.

Q. You have played a lot of matches out on Ashe throughout the years and the ball crew is similar each year. I'm wondering if you recognize any of those faces and if that brings you any comfort out on that court?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I recognize a lot of the faces out there. They are a lot of the same people year after year after year. Yeah.

Q. I know you like comic books and stuff. When you go into these design meetings with Nike, is there ever an intention or something that these -- kids, especially recently, have kind of had a bit of a comic book-type design with respect to a super hero...
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I feel this design in particular really is kind of like a super hero design. We design so far in advance, honestly I don't remember if that was one of our inspirations. I mean, because we designed this collection well over a year and a half, two years ago.

But looking at it now, I can say that it definitely feels, like I said, like a Wonder Woman or a Superwoman, and like a really powerful, strong character that is strong but yet isn't afraid to be soft at the same time.

Q. And that's you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It is me. (Smiling.)

Q. You spoke earlier about the longevity that's quite obvious, but in your mind, what has sustained you the most? Why do you think you have had a career that has been so successful for so long?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. I really can never answer that question. I think a lot of it has to do with just my mentality. Just never wanting to quit and still being able to compete at a high level.

I'm not sure if I wasn't able to compete at a high level how I would feel, but I don't know.

Q. What is it that appeals to you most that keeps you wanting to be out there as long as you have been?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. I just am not ready to throw in the towel yet or just to have enough yet.

I'm still having fun out there. I'm still able to compete with the best. I think that's what matters most for me.

Q. You mentioned there is still a pay disparity in tennis in terms of men and women. How possible do you think that is to have that close up at the rest of the year-round tour even if it is equal at the slams?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think it is definitely possible. I think it's going to take some work, but that's what life is about. You have to work to create goals and you have to work at those goals and continue to knock at those doors until someone opens it.

It doesn't happen instantly, but we just really have to be conscious of it.

Q. Do you think it should be a priority for women's tennis?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think so. I think it should be a priority. But like I said it's, going to take time. I'm willing to work on it.

Q. Through the first week here, three matches, can you give yourself a grade? How happy are you or not happy are you with your first week?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I feel okay. Obviously I don't feel like I'm Serena out there yet, but hopefully she'll come around the second week.

Q. The greatest athlete campaign has struck a cord. You just spoke about many of the wonderful athletes or women, and of course with men, Jordan, Bill Russell, Ali, Roger Federer and so forth. Which of these iconic men's athletes impresses you the most?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It's hard to say someone against Jordan and Ali. I think they are probably really impressive. I would say Ali mostly because, again, not only what he did in his field, but also what he did outside. I think that's what makes someone really truly great.

Q. Have you ever watched a tennis match and said, God, I have commentary on this match. I wish I could be out there doing commentary myself?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No. (Laughter.)

Q. Can you just compare your emotional state of being on the court this year versus last year?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I felt pretty good last year. I definitely felt more prepared. Hoping I can start feeling that way soon this year, as well. (The long list Bill mentioned of female athletes.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
Rev #1 by #179 at 2016-09-03 20:29:00 GMT

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