Friday, September 2, 2022

New York, New York, USA

Serena Williams

Press Conference

A. TOMLJANOVIC/Serena Williams

7-5, 6-7, 6-1

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. When you envisioned your final match, did it look something like that?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. I didn't really envision it. I mean, I don't know. Probably not.

But, again, I didn't really envision it. I think it was -- yeah, so I don't know.

Q. When you play that well, does it make it easier to be on an exit route because you gave such a performance, or does it make it harder knowing you're still capable of playing at that level?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Both. It makes it easier, but also it makes it a little bit harder. I was just getting better with each week.

I think that is, I mean, a good note because I know that if I started sooner or played more, then I would still be competing at such a top level.

But I don't know. Like, I think I can only take positives from my career.

Q. Maybe it's a little soon, but does it seem surreal? Can you give us an idea of what's going through your head, 25 years of a career...

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, it's been a long time. I've been playing tennis my whole life, so...

It is a little soon. But it's also happy because, I mean, this is what I wanted, what I want.

But, yeah, I don't know. I mean, it's not sad tears, you know? It's just like...

I don't even know how to describe it.

Q. In the interview on the court you indicated there might be a little wiggle room. Is that true? Is there any wiggle room? If there is, what would it take for you to come back?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. I'm not thinking about that. I always did love Australia, though (smiling).

But yeah, you know what, I've come a long way since last year at Wimbledon. Just not sure if that was my last moment or not. Making it a different moment I think is much better.

Yeah, and it takes a lot of work to get here. Clearly I'm still capable. It takes a lot more than that. I'm ready to, like, be a mom, explore a different version of Serena.

Technically in the world I'm still super young, so I want to have a little bit of a life while I'm still walking.

Q. A lot of athletes when they retire say they can't imagine the next day after the last game. Do you know what you're doing tomorrow? Is that maybe easier for you to imagine because you have all these things that you're already in the middle of?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I'm definitely resting tomorrow, and then probably spending some time with my daughter. I'm a super hands-on mom. I've been with her almost every single day of her life, minus two days or three days.

Yeah, it's been really hard on her, my career. So it will be, you know, nice just to do that and spend some time with her, do things that I never really have done or had an opportunity to do.

Yeah, I have such a bright future ahead of me. I don't know.

Also I'm kind of at an advantage because COVID happened. I think everyone shut down for a year. We kind of got to see what our lives would be like if we weren't playing tennis. Then I got injured last year, so I took off literally a year. So I got to see, again, like, what every day would be like to wake up and not have to go to the gym.

So I don't know. I think I'm definitely probably going to be karaoke-ing tomorrow.

Q. There's been so much said about what you've achieved this last week or two, since you made your announcement. What are you proudest about that you've achieved?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I didn't smash any racquets even, so that was a plus. And I had a good attitude, even if I didn't want to. That was a plus.

What else? Those are such... (Laughter.)

Q. I mean, your whole career.

SERENA WILLIAMS: I know. I'm joking (smiling).

You mean what I'm proudest of my whole career?

Q. To this point. What do you feel proudest about?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, like a blanket.

French Open 2015, yeah. That is definitely the one that I'm taking with me because I almost died in that event. Somehow I won. So that was pretty awesome.

Q. Going forward, could you envision any scenario where you'll be involved in the game in any capacity? If so, what?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I get asked that question a few times. For me, tennis has been such a huge part of my life, I can't imagine not being involved in tennis. I don't know what that involvement is yet.

But I feel like it's provided me with so many opportunities. Through that, it's provided other people with so many amazing opportunities.

I think it means so much to me in my life, and I've had so many amazing moments, that I don't see a future without it. What's my involvement? I have no idea.

I think I'll be involved in some way or shape.

Q. What was it like for you having these final moments at the US Open? This has been a place that's had a lot of your greatest memories, toughest memories also. Talk about your journey at this tournament, in that stadium.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I'll just talk about my journey today.

It was some really great moments today. Not today, but this week, has been really great. Just so much support, so much love. It was really amazing and overwhelming. So grateful for it. I am so grateful for it.

And I just feel like, you know, the whole crowd was really wanting to push me past the line. I'm so thankful and grateful for that.

Q. You're still standing up at the baseline six times potentially for the last point in your career. I'm wondering what's going through your mind at that point after 27 years? You played some of the best tennis of the night at that point.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I've been down before. I've been down like 5-1 I think before and come back. I don't really give up.

Yeah, I think in my career I've never given up. In matches I don't give up. Definitely wasn't giving up tonight. That's kind of what I was thinking is, Just keep fighting, hit more spin and stuff.

So, yeah, that's what I was thinking.

Q. You talked about the crowd. There have been all these attendance records this week. You got to share the court with Venus. What will you remember most from this week? Playing with Venus, was that part of it?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think honestly what I'll remember most is that my level was coming back. I think I'm really grateful for that. It's great to be playing at such a high level, somehow improving. I don't know how at my age.

Yeah, I think, like, that's a really good memory for me.

Q. There's been a plethora of tributes for you. In your perspective, what is the one thing you would hope to be remembered by at this point?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I mean, there's so many things to be remembered by. Like the fight. I'm such a fighter. I don't know.

I feel like I really brought something, and bring something, to tennis. The different looks, the fist pumps, the just crazy intensity. I think that obviously the passion I think is a really good word.

Yeah, yeah, just continuing through ups and downs. I could go on and on. But I just honestly am so grateful that I had this moment and that I'm Serena, so...

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
124333-1-1145 2022-09-03 03:07:00 GMT

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