Re: Serena J. Williams d. Vera Zvonareva(Wimbledon Interviews)
S Williams - 3 July 2010
Saturday, 3 July 2010
Q. Where does this win rate for you in comparison to the others that you've won?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, it means a lot because, uhm, it is 13. So it's kind of cool because I kind of was able to pass Billie. That's always nice.
I don't know where it rates. I mean, to have four Wimbledons is really, really exciting.
Q. Can you describe what goes through your mind when you're dominating a match the way you did today and the way you did for most of this tournament.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I just thought, I got to stay focused and I want to win this game. If I get up a couple breaks, that way if I get nervous, I have a little space.
That's what I thought about, so... That's what I was trying to do out there.
Q. Why do you think you have been so able to dominate during this tournament?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. 'Cause, like I said, I honestly didn't think I was playing my best. I felt like my strokes were off, especially in the first week. And I just felt in practice ‑ more in practice than in the match ‑ I just felt like I was connecting late.
I don't know. I'm just really happy to have gotten through that.
Q. It was pretty clear from the start that she was going to try to meet your power with power. Did that occur to you, and did it comfort you thinking, I got her on my turf?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I thought she kind of mixed it up a little bit. I thought she hit some high balls. I saw her hit some slice. I felt like she, in the beginning, hit a little hard, but then I thought she totally mixed it up. I really thought she served really well.
Q. Do you still get nervous in these occasions?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Absolutely. I mean, I'm not ‑‑ I'm totally human. I feel like it's not easy to go out there and just be ‑‑ especially when everyone's expecting you to win, it makes it even more difficult.
Q. You talk about you didn't play your best, but 94% first serve is pretty outstanding.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I know. I think today I played well. I had 94 today?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I missed a lot of first serves today.
Q. You made 94 points when you put the first serve in.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Okay, when I got it in, yeah. That's good.
But I needed to get it in. I didn't get it in as much as I wanted to today.
Q. She said it was a really big factor today in this match for her.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, it was. I think she knew going into the match that I was serving well, so I thought that she really returned well. So I didn't hit as many aces as I did in the beginning of my first few matches.
I think that she did a really good job at just reading that and just being prepared, so that was really impressive.
Q. You said your father taught you to serve. Could you imagine then you would be the greatest female server in the history of the game?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Uhm, is that what it's dubbed now? I have a really consistent serve and I place it really well. I might not hit it as hard, but I place it very well.
So, uhm, no, I didn't imagine. Because, like I said, I always kind of was chatting with Venus while we served. We were laughing and playing. We didn't really take serving serious.
Q. You've overtaken Billie. How many Grand Slam titles do you think you win and how many will you be happy to win over the course of your career?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I'm happy to win 13. You never know what tomorrow brings. I'm happy to have gotten this far. Uhm, who would have thought. But, you know, it just takes a dream and a little work effort.
Q. Do you know how much you can bench press?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't lift weights. I just do like Thera‑Bands. I haven't touched a weight in years.
Q. In other sports they dream about hitting the game‑winning shot. You don't dream of winning in a blow‑out. Is there part of you that wishes you were tested to do what it was like to be out there 4‑All in the third?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Absolutely not. I mean, I don't know who would sit here and say, Oh, I wish it were three tough sets. No chance.
Because for me, if I were to win 0‑0 ‑‑ and I think everyone else on tour would agree that's better than, you know, winning in three sets. I mean, maybe it's better for the fans.
But at the end of the day, we don't want to be out there longer than necessary.
Q. How important to you is your place in the history of the game and where you're considered among the all‑time greats?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Uhm, it's definitely important, I guess. I never thought about it. I guess now that you ask me, I mean, maybe I think I'll be mentioned regardless whether I won today or not. So, I mean, yeah, it's cool.
Q. About four years ago you were criticized for a certain kind of indifference, being more interested in pet projects and acting than in tennis. Do you think in the big picture you've turned that around? Do you think you've gotten the most out of your career and talents?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, uhm, no, I'm still very interested in doing different things, and I still am very involved in doing different things. I've never really cared what people said, how they said whether I should be playing tennis and hitting balls or whatever. It never really bothered or mattered to me.
At the end of the day, that person has to go home and be happy. And so if I was happy winning or losing or whatever, then that's my life.
Q. You talk about passing Billie Jean. Looking at the names ahead of you, do you ever take a look at that and say, Wow?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No. I mean, I know Martina and I guess five other people are ahead of me. I didn't even know I was six on the list or seven or whatnot. I'm telling you, I don't think about that kind of stuff.
My thing is I love my dogs; I love my family; I love going to the movies; I love reading; I love going shopping. Like it's not on my list to be, you know, this.
At the end of the day, I would love to open more schools in Africa or in the United States, and I would love to help people. I would like to be remembered, Okay, yeah, she was a tennis player, but, wow, she really did a lot to inspire other people and help other people.
That's what I think about, not about Serena Williams won X amount of Grand Slams.
Q. Is tennis your way of drawing attention to your wider interests, as you just mentioned?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Absolutely. And I think the better I can do, the more I can help other people.
Q. What will be your thoughts when we get to the US Open after the way things ended last year and you have this summer in front of you to get ready for it?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I mean, it was what it was. My thoughts will be just to try to do better in the semifinals. That's what I've always been thinking about.
Q. Your dad just said that it actually was good for you, all that hullabaloo happened, that it taught you some lessons. Could you reflect on that? Do you think you learned from that experience?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah. I think it was in a way good. I said that straightaway. I think people always live life. When you're like me, you live life in the public. It is what it is.
You live, you make some mistakes, you make some errors, and then you make some great things, you make some winners, so to say.
No one's perfect. I never said I was. And, yeah.
Q. We saw you go out and take the dish out to the fans and sign autographs in the walkway. When you came back in the clubhouse, you were dancing around with joy. Can you express what you were feeling at that moment?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I was really feeling Frank Sinatra‑ish, Come Fly With Me, Fly Me To The moon. This old‑style dance. That's what I felt like at the moment.
Q. Have you thought about any timetable or plan for your career? Did you still think you would be playing at 28?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I thought I probably still be playing at 28. Timetable? Who knows. I'm always trying to stay healthy and do the best that I can. I never think about how long I'm going to play.
Q. Is there a chance you'll still be playing at 38, do you think?
SERENA WILLIAMS: 38?
SERENA WILLIAMS: If I am, I want you to personally take me off and escort me off the court. There's no way I need to be out here at 38.
Q. How much Frank Sinatra do you have on your iPod?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It's weird, I do. I have Frank Sinatra and Mozart on my MP3 player, which is random, along with some Lil' John and Roscoe Dash. (Laughing.)
Q. What is it about the Williams sisters here at Wimbledon, you guys winning 9 of the last 11?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. That's really cool. I'm just glad that I was able to win, especially that Venus lost. I really wanted a Williams sisters to go ahead and win it. 11 years consistent is really cool.
I think I was in the final one year that we lost. I don't know what happened the other year. I don't remember.
Q. Did you already choose a dress for the Champions' dinner?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I always pack a dress when I come to Wimbledon. I have a dress that I brought.
Q. Can you describe it?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It's a Max Azria. I might change my mind; might wear something else.
Q. Going to watch the men's final?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I'll watch it. I'm into watching tennis, so I'll watch it.
Q. Do you have a favorite or prediction?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Have no predictions, no favorites. I think it will be a really good match. Really like interesting, good players.
Q. You talk about inspiring people in projects in Africa and America. Have you got much of that going on at the moment? Is there much that you're planning in regards for the future?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I'm always planning to do more and what I have going on in Africa already, and just giving kids an opportunity to go to school in America, because it's different there.
Q. Similar things to what Andre Agassi has going on in Las Vegas?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Uhm, I would love to. I mean, he has really always gave back. I think that kind of defined him in his career. So I would love to do that, as well.
Q. What does it mean to you when the greats of women's tennis bestow you with praise? Martina said today that your serve was the greatest ever in women's tennis. What does hearing that sort of thing mean to you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It's amazing. I mean, I'm living in a time where the game is faster than it was several years ago. So this moment, if they say I'm the greatest, I feel good about that, because in a couple years it will be someone else.
Q. Can you see yourself in 10 years' time after Pete has pulled you off the court sitting out there with him looking down on the champions of that age?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Hopefully, yeah, if I come. If not, hopefully I'm somewhere, you know, relaxing. Maybe spanking some kids, who knows.
Q. How about not losing a set in this whole tournament...
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, that was really cool. I did that in the US Open in, what was it, 2002. But it was a little disappointing I wasn't down match point this time and come back to win.
Q. Four Wimbledon titles and 13 Grand Slams must give you a bit of clout. Is there anything positive you'd like to change about this championship or about the game of tennis in general?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No. I think, you know, this is run really well. This is the cream of everything. It's so perfect and so nice here. Uhm, yeah, I'm just here for the ride.
Q. How much more difficult is it for you when Venus is on the other side of the net in a Wimbledon final?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It's way more difficult 'cause, first of all, she is gonna serve some aces, make my life really, really hard out there. Just playing‑wise it's more difficult.
Now, mental‑wise for me, again, it's difficult, because I feel like I'm playing my best opponent that I've ever played. It just takes it to a whole new level.
Q. How much easier is it when Venus isn't around for the final to face you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Uhm, it's not necessarily easier because then it's a lot of pressure on me. Past years it's been great because everyone expected Venus to win and I was kind find like the underdog.
This year when she lost and everyone thought I was going to win, it became a lot of expectations. I just had to take it one at a time.
Q. How did you deal with that? What was the challenge like for you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I just felt like, no matter what happens, I should just stay relaxed and do what I can.
Q. Looked like you held up some fingers shortly after the match, pointing towards your family. What was that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: That was 13. I did 10 and 3. Then I thought, I hope I got the number right. You know me, I tend to forget (laughter).
Q. Excluding your talented sister, what have been the toughest strokes that you have faced in terms of the serve, return, groundstrokes?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I always thought Lindsay Davenport proved to be really tough because she was really tall and intimidating. She hit a really clean shot. She was always one of my tougher opponents.
I don't know. I don't underestimate anyone. I mean, everyone I play, from the girl I played in the first round to the girl I played in the final, I never underestimate anyone, because on that day they always bring their toughest game when they play me.
Q. Is there a stroke you wish you could have? If you sat down and said, If only I could have somebody's backhand, forehand, volley, especially when you were growing up?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think if I'd build the perfect game. I'd have Nadal's speed. I'd have like, I don't know, Roger's forehand. I would keep my serve so it can kind of keep it even. Then I don't know. Maybe Venus' reach.
Q. Whose mind would you have?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I'd keep mine.
Q. How do you compare this back‑to‑back to the Lakers' back‑to‑back?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, please. The Lakers was much better than mine.
Q. Why is that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, because they went like seven. They went to the end, like you guys wanted. They went the whole stretch.
Q. Where do you want LeBron to end up?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think he should stay in Cleveland because he's from Ohio. He's built such a great franchise there with the Cavaliers. He's taken that team to just ‑‑ so many people watch them. It's such a popular team now.
Obviously, I like Miami, but I think it's cool that he stays in Cleveland.
Q. You're one of Wimbledon's great champions. Was there a champion from the past you would have loved to play on that Centre Court?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think the no‑brainer would probably be Navratilova. I've actually always wanted to play Gabriela Sabatini and Chris Evert. I don't know why. I've always wanted to play those two, so...
Q. The Hawk‑Eye is such a big part of tennis now. There's a big argument in football about whether or not it should be brought in because of the goals and all that. Do you have anything to say to the decision makers in that sport about whether or not it works and whether or not they should do it?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I don't play soccer, so I don't know. But, like, I just think it's unfair that you can make a goal, like USA did twice, and England did, and it cannot be a goal. I just think that's outrageous, so...
Q. You say they probably should bring it in?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think they should. It's just so frustrating, especially when you're rooting for a team. It's just like you see it and then, I don't know, the crowd, they show replays, who knows.
But I just can't imagine that you could have it right there and it's just not there. It's just so frustrating.
Q. Speaking about Hawk‑Eye, in the third game of the second set you hit a wide slice serve; she challenged; it was overturned; you get a second serve; you hit the exact same serve. Was that going to be like, Let me show you again?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I felt like I just wanted to hit it there again. I don't know why. I knew the serve was out, so...
Like I said, I usually know when I'm right or wrong. I knew it was out. I just knew that I wanted to hit it there again.
Q. Speaking of Hawk‑Eye, you could argue because of the mess in New York with Jennifer that night, the same umpire in the chair today.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I know. Tell me about it (smiling).
Q. In some way do you take in some pride that not only the USTA apologized to you, but it really did lead to Hawk‑Eye and your getting messed over that night led to a huge change in our game?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Could that have been 14? That could have been 14 today.
Man, yeah. Like, I don't know. I just feel like if it's yours, if it's your point, if it's your goal, it belongs to you. It doesn't belong to the other person. Now that it's 2010, about to be 2011, I guess on other planets they have way more sophisticated things, so...
The least we can have is Hawk‑Eye in sports, so...
-one of those "bad" Williams fans that everyone keeps talking about
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