Wednesday, August 7, 2019
S. WILLIAMS/E. Mertens
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. That was a really solid match, I think from both of you, but you hit 19 winners tonight. How locked in did you feel from the start? It felt like it was a really fresh version of your tennis out there. Did you feel that way?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, not at all. Actually, I felt a little sluggish out there.
But I don’t know. I felt like I could play — I felt a little disappointed, actually. But I felt like I just need to keep playing these matches.
Q. So your next opponent is Alexandrova. You haven’t played her before, but over the years how has it become in terms of channeling your focus on facing someone for the first time?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I face a lot of players for the first time, so it’s just really about going out there and doing a little studying about their game and then going from there and playing.
Q. Could you talk about how you felt your movement was tonight, especially considering you had at least two great points where you turned around the point with a great one-hand backhand and stretch and got the point. So as the match progressed, how did you feel about your movement in tonight’s match against Elise?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I feel like my movement is great. Been working on my fitness, so I felt like it really was able to shine through today.
And I don’t know. I’m loving going out there, and I’m loving kind of running. So it’s a good thing.
Q. You were down a break in both sets but then you quickly were able to turn it around. What was she doing that was giving you trouble and what adjustments did you make to respond?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I know when I got down one break I got real negative, but — and I don’t know what happened on the first time I got down. I think she just played really well. She’s obviously a really good player.
So, yeah, I just needed to just double down and get more focused.
Q. How enjoyable was that Essence Magazine photo shoot that you had considering that you seemed very excited with it, and how enjoyable was the Ripley’s Aquarium the other day with the family?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, the Essence Magazine cover was incredibly enjoyable, mostly because of the face paint and learning about different tribes in Africa and learning about what he was painting on my face meant.
And I really got emotional at one point because, being African-American, I don’t really know my roots. So it was really cool to meet someone, and he’s from Nigeria, and to just have him say how much I mean in Africa. And I know how much Africa means to me.
And then to have the art of people and tribes that are my history just was, like, really amazing. And so it was really — yeah, it was just really amazing. It was a great thing.
The aquarium was fun. Olympia loves aquariums.
Q. Other than the footwork that you’ve been mentioning working on, can you share some of the things that you had to do in preparation for playing Rogers Cup? Your performance was really, really good tonight.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Really? Really?
Q. And your coach agrees, too, I think.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Wow, really? I need to go back and watch that. I don’t know. I just — I don’t know why I felt sluggish then. I don’t know. That’s good to hear. (Smiling.)
I actually had more time to prepare for the Rogers Cup than I did for Wimbledon, so that’s just no joke. And, you know, I just am like, now that I’m just injury free, I’m just enjoying being able to train, and I haven’t been able to do it since January, really.
So I just think that the fact that I can train and practice and get in the gym is really going to be helpful for me.
Q. Today Rogers Cup did a pride day encouraging inclusivity, not only for fans but also within the sport itself. What have you seen in the 20 years you’ve been on tour that tennis has done to lead the way as far as the movement goes?
SERENA WILLIAMS: That’s a really good question. I think this is the first time that I’ve seen something being done, so I can’t say that I have seen much more.
You know, I can’t — yeah, it’s a really good question. This is the first time I’ve actually seen it, so…
Q. Would you like to see more?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think it’s interesting, you know, for the tournament in particular to be all inclusive.
And I always preach just love. And I think if we just have love amongst each other, then we can just do a lot better.