Serena's Entire Interview
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Serena, please.
Q. Can you tell me what you thought of the crowd's sportsmanship, or lack of it?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It was just a tough crowd out there today, really. Very tough. Story of my life...
Q. Talking about the crowds, last time you said you were able to put yourself in a cocoon and shut out the crowd. Was it harder to do today because you did not expect this level, Justine not being a French player?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, it was a bit harder today because she started out really strong. And from the first point, they were all over her to do well. And so I think, you know, it was just a little hard to get in the rhythm. Once they get started, it's kind of hard to make them stop.
Q. She serves for the match at 5?4, plays a terrible service game. It's 5?all, you're serving for it. The match is back within your hands again. Then you let it slip away. Looked like you were a bit nervous. What happened there?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I definitely wasn't nervous. I think I just ?? you know, I just didn't do what I needed to do. I probably needed to serve a little bit better and I wasn't able to do that.
Q. You said "story of your life." Why do you think that is?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know... (crying) I'm not used to crying.
Q. Do you ever get used to it? Is it hard every time?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It's a little difficult. All my life I've had to fight. So it's just another fight. I'm going to have to learn how to win. That's all.
Q. Do you even know what to do?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I just got to keep smiling, you know. I think if you smile, things will work out. She played well today. She definitely deserved to win.
Q. Justine was in here a few moments ago. She said you played a great match, a beautiful match. What do you feel about the way you played?
SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, I made a few too many unforced errors. I think we both know I didn't play a great match, a beautiful match. I just need to go home and get my serve together and then...
Yeah, I enjoy the challenge, you know? I really do. I have something to look forward to when I play my next tournament at Wimbledon.
Q. You are such a crowd?pleaser, an entertainer, you like to entertain people. I was wondering if that's what makes the situation like today so much harder, when you're actually trying to entertain this crowd and they're turning against you as they were?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, it doesn't. It doesn't make it any harder. I just...
Actually, that's a lie. It definitely does make it harder (laughter).
It's always just a little difficult, and, I don't know...
It definitely does make it harder, but I just got to be able to be a little stronger next time.
Q. Do you think it's ?? was it because you'd won so much or because you're an American here where they might not be happy with Americans at this point? Because of your race? Do you have any sense of what was going on?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't think ?? I don't think being American right now had anything to do with it. She had a lot of fans out here today, and I don't think being an American, because of the ?? what's going on between France and America right now, I don't think it had much to do with it. I just think ?? I don't know. I just think sometimes you want the underdog to win.
Q. Would you rethink the dropshot strategy? You tried that a lot today. It didn't work great.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think it would have worked if I had hit good dropshots. But they were bad. They were like lobs (laughter).
I was hitting them good in practice so I wanted to try a few today. But I didn't hit them well.
Q. Were you upset with her at the end of the match? You usually go up to the net, shake someone's hand. You walked around the net. You did shake her hand. It seemed like she had to come to you. Was it because she had put her hand up on that first serve and then didn't you allow you to take the first serve again in the third?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I mean, obviously ?? I'm not upset with her. Actually, okay, I was a little disappointed with her because ?? you know, it wasn't the turning point of the match, obviously. I probably still should have won the game. It definitely didn't turn around the match.
But I think to start lying and fabricating, it's not fair. Understand that, you know, people want to win these days, but... I don't know.
It's just ?? it's whatever, you know? I understand this is just a tournament, and I'm looking forward to next time already.
Q. Could you have come out more aggressively today, playing more like "Serena ball," and taking it to her right from the start rather than sort of work your way into the match and feeling it?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, definitely. I think ?? but she came out really strong and really aggressive with the first point. I probably should have just done the same thing, somehow, some way. But I don't think I did.
So, yeah, I think if I came out a little more stronger, it would have been better.
Q. There's a lot going on in your life these days with modelling, acting, business. Do you think perhaps you've let your focus on tennis slip a bit?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, not at all. I'm definitely ?? tennis is my number one thing. I don't think I let it slip. I just... Just... Just some things I think I need to work on, not necessarily letting my game slip.
Q. You are No. 1. You are human. I think that a lot of people before you have gone through worse, I guess. The point I want to make, you said you have to deal with this. How are you able to ?? how are you going to deal with this kind of situations in the future? Are you going to get somebody to ?? a psychologist? Will you be able to handle this yourself?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I definitely don't need a shrink, that's for sure (laughter).
But, you know, I just am gonna be more ready next time. I just ?? I don't know. You got to always be ready for everything. And I just don't think I was today.
I was, but it's just always ?? it's always a difficult situation. I can get up here and say, "You know, I can do it. It's easy." But deep down, it kind of hurts.
Q. Your mom said that you've played such a high?level match against Mauresmo that she was wondering if maybe you felt pressure to come out and repeat that, to just roll over another high?quality opponent, and that might have made you more nervous or made you feel more pressure.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I didn't necessarily feel pressure to come out and repeat that, although I did feel as if ?? I did feel that everyone was expecting the same game, as well as me.
But, I don't know, maybe I got off to a slow start.
Q. Are you going to watch the final, and who is your favorite?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I probably won't be watching the final. I think the best player on Saturday will win, whoever is playing the best.
Q. Obviously, a tough day at the office with the crowd booing, applauding double?faults, applauding errors. Your mom did say she felt it showed a lack of class and ignorance of the etiquette of tennis. In your heart, did you feel that? Were you hurt by that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, yeah, definitely. It's, you know, honestly, it's really tough when you get to the semifinals to have to face a crowd that's not going to be for you. It's like, you know, this every time going into a tournament. You do so much...
I don't know... You know, it's okay.
Q. Is it unexpected? Was it more than you expected today, even if you say you kind of are used to it? Was it a little worse than you expected?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think it's bad when people start booing in between serves, you know, or other people are egging them on by doing ridiculous things. So that gets a little tough, too, you know.
Q. Did it seem to get worse after you questioned a couple calls?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I didn't question any calls.
Q. The umpire, the chair came down ??
SERENA WILLIAMS: The balls were clearly out.
Q. It seemed to get worse after that.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, for some reason... I don't know. Like, you know, when a player circles a ball, I can see that it's out, I don't necessarily call the umpire and say, "Go check it." The point is not going to change the match.
Like I said, she played very well today and she probably deserved to win. She was the better player today ? really.
But I think I got off the point...
Q. Just that 4?2 game, it seemed that the crowd got worse. Did you notice that they got worse?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Definitely. Like I said, it gets rather annoying to hit a few ?? you hit a first serve ? you're not serving well anyway, and then you miss your first serve, then it's like everybody's booing and screaming. And it's like, "Okay, well..."
After the second serve, it's like ? I don't know ? you have to really slow it down kind of to get it in.
Q. Your high tennis level is stimulating the other players and for the game, in general. I remember also in Indian Wells, this happened with Kim Clijsters in the final. I don't think it's a question of countries. I think in any case you are a positive influence. What is your opinion? Do you think today is only a defeat and you can get some other Slams this year?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't quite understand your question. It's just kind of redundant, but it never got to the point.
Q. What I mean is that you are conscious that your game is making the other players better because they need to beat you. Everybody says they want to beat Serena.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Sure, when Martina Hingis was No. 1, I wanted to beat her, as well as Lindsay Davenport. Of course, obviously, people are going to raise their game to the level of the No. 1 player.
Q. I know growing up your dad was careful to tell you guys, "It's gonna be hard out there, people are not necessarily going to want to see you succeed." You've had so much adulation over the last year, such great reactions, did you kind of feel the worst of it was over?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, definitely not. Like I said, I just always ?? you always have to, when you're playing, there's always going to be someone who's going to root for the underdog maybe.
Q. They sort of adopted Kim as an Australian in Australia. Would you compare the crowd today to the crowd the day you played her in Australia? It was pretty tough.
SERENA WILLIAMS: It was. As you can see, it definitely is a vicious cycle. It happens a lot.
I don't know. I remember when I took a time?out, because I had unbelievable blisters on my toes, they started booing me as well.
But I don't know, it's tough. I can't say. Maybe today was a little worse. But it's not the crowd's fault that I lost.
Q. Back to the match, twice I saw you were up 40?15 and serving. Were you thinking ahead of yourself or what happened?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think I might have been thinking too far ahead when I just should have been focusing on that point and focusing on what I'm gonna do for that point and think about my strategy for that exact moment.
Q. When Steffi was going through her whole ?? she won the Grand Slams, five straight, Martina Navratilova, the same thing, both of them said that during the entire run it was extremely difficult, that the pressure builds tournament after tournament. You, now that it's all over, are you kind of happy the pressure is off your back now of having to go for the calendar?year Slam?
SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, no, not at all. It's definitely a worse feeling, if anything. I definitely wanted to try. I mean, I know some things are also impossible, but I always set my goals really high. There's always next year, though (smiling).
Q. Is this the most painful loss you've had? I mean, obviously, they're all painful. Can you just talk about particularly why this one is, and also do you feel ?? it sounds to me, anyway, when you're talking you feel you're sort of under?appreciated as a champion. You feel like you do so much for tennis and how could fans treat you that way? Can you just address those two questions.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I abhor to lose, I absolutely abhor it. I don't know if this is my toughest loss. Most disappointing. It's disappointing because I don't think I played where I should have played. I don't think I've done everything I could have done to win, although I think I did do a lot. I didn't play ?? I think I did do a lot, but it just wasn't enough.
I was pretty disappointed when I lost to Lindsay Davenport at the US Open in 2000 maybe, I was the defending champ. I was really upset.
Do I feel under?appreciated? I think all champions are. Martina Navratilova was at the top, no one appreciated her until she retired. Steffi Graf as well, I think. I think it's just something the greatest have to live with, and I'm really okay with that role.
Q. You talked about Australia and the blisters. We know about Indian Wells. Today, with you. Also, when Venus lost the other day, she was booed also. Do you think in some way fans are looking for a reason to get on your guys' case?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Maybe, yeah. I can't really say yes or no to that, because I'm not in the fan's position.
I was really upset when they booed Venus.
Q. Why do you think they did?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. I wasn't there. I wasn't there, so I don't know.
Q. What's more disappointing, losing today's match because you're not able to defend your title, or for the moment, your run on Slams is done?
SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, probably losing today, because I came in here trying to win Roland Garros, not necessarily going for four in a row, just trying to win this tournament on the clay.
But, I don't know...
Q. The last four Slams before this, you had Venus with you for both two weeks, played doubles, hung out together on your off days. Was it weird? How did it affect your preparation or mindset not to have her here with you these past few days?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It was all right. It's not weird. We hardly ever play all the same tournaments together anyway. But I do like to hit with Venus before I play a match because, I don't know, something about her game, something about Venus. She just always is able to get a lot of balls back and she plays, I think, more the level of the girls that I usually play. She plays, I don't know...
I guess I definitely did miss her, but I don't think it changed anything that happened.
Q. You talked the other day about the bubble. Why couldn't you get in the bubble today?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I've already answered that question.
You know, I just think I got out to a slow start, and...
Q. I'm talking about the crowd, dealing with the crowd.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I got off to a slow start. I think when I played Mauresmo in the quarters, I got off to a slow start. It was like the crowd couldn't get into the match. But I allowed the crowd to get into the match. When you allow them, it's difficult to kind of stop them. It's possible, I just didn't do it today.
Q. How far are you behind on this surface compared to your favorite surface?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't think I'm behind on any surface. I'm ready to play anyone at any time anywhere, any place.
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