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Quotable Quotes: Afterthoughts Of NYC

Competition, motivation, longevity, history - Serena Williams talked about all of that and more.

Published September 11, 2012 12:00

Quotable Quotes: Afterthoughts Of NYC
Serena Williams

NEW YORK, NY, USA - Serena Williams met the press after her US Open victory and talked about everything from the match to her longevity to ice cream trucks. Here's some of what the 15-time Grand Slam champion said...

On turning the match around against Azarenka...
"I had to relax. The more relaxed I am, the better I play. I got tense, tight, and things weren't looking good. But the more I stayed calm, the more I started winning points. It was important to stay relaxed and do the best I could."

On the 5-3 third set deficit...
"I was serving at 30-all and figured the least I could do was serve that game out and make her serve for it. I wanted to at least hold my serve - and I hadn't been holding my serve very well before that. Then from there I was just thinking about forcing another game. I was just always thinking about the next game.

"I competed really well. I never stopped competing. Obviously I never give up - I never, never quit. I've come back so many times in so many matches."

On whether it feels better to win a close one or an easy one...
"Obviously I would have preferred to win easy, but at the same time it's more exciting to win this way. You don't know what's coming, you don't know what to expect, and then you get it. I think that's one of the best feelings in tennis."

On Azarenka...
"You can see by the scoreline she really worked hard and pushed me. She returned unbelievable today. She always returns really well. She's really improved that aspect of her game. It's going to make me say, 'What can I do to improve so I'm not involved in a three set battle like this again?'"

On her summer...
"I knew it was going to be a long summer, but I knew I could do well if I just put my mind to it. I knew I could be a good player and a champion this summer. But I never expected to win all these titles - it has just been fabulous."

On her longevity...
"Yeah, three decades - the '90s, 2000s, 2010s - that's kind of cool. Thirteen years between the first and last, that's a long time. I was reading how Pete Sampras won here in '90 and 2002. That was a 12-year span, which was pretty awesome. For me to get this 13 years later, it's so cool. And to do it here, too, to come from the gold medal and win the US Open too, it's just unforgettable."

On putting the downs behind her...
"I don't think about the downs too much. I hope I never think about them as my life continues. I really think a champion is defined not by their wins, but by how they can recover when they fall. I have fallen several times. Each time I get up, dust myself off and pray I'm able to do better and get back to the level I want. It feels awesome I can do that and have done that. You see great people like Muhammad Ali, for instance, who I have always looked up to. He went to jail for so long and came back as a champion again. That's what defines a champion."

On the road back to her current level of fitness...
"I was just telling my mom the other day, I was playing the fourth round of Wimbledon against Bartoli last year and I was running and fighting, and at one point I was seeing stars because I was so tired and couldn't breathe and just didn't have the lung capacity I needed. But I just kept fighting for every point. I really, really tried. I hadn't had much time before Wimbledon to get as fit as I wanted to, but after that I tried everything, looking to see what I could do, or what I could add to my game to make it better. Then I had a great summer. I lost in the final here, but I still thought it was a really, really awesome summer."

On whether her first round loss at the French Open motivated her...
"I was miserable after that loss in Paris. I have never been so miserable after a loss. I was playing extremely well before that. I felt like I lost a little confidence after that. I had some tough matches at Wimbledon. But I pulled it together. I don't know if the loss in Paris helped me or didn't - but I like to believe it did, because I wanted to do more and more and more. Sometimes they say it's good to lose - I would have preferred to win, but that was forever ago."

On her motivation right now...
"Oh my gosh. My motivation is so up there. I'm ready for the next tournament. I really want to be focused and do well there and just keep the dream alive."

On how the current Serena compares to the teen-aged Serena...
"Gosh, we both have so much to look forward to. I feel like even though I'm 30, I feel so young. I've never felt as fit and excited and hungry. Even with this win I'm sitting here so excited to play the next Grand Slam and see what I can do.

"I love that feeling. I feel like it's overdue."

On the records she is creeping up on...
"I haven't thought about them until recently. I never thought I would even come close to breaking those records. But if I can keep playing consistently, it will be awesome. We'll see. If I could win two a year it would be great."

On if she thought she would be making history when she was a kid...
"No, no, no, not at all. As a kid you always want to be the best, be No.1, win Grand Slams - but to actually do something is much harder than just saying it. You have to put in the work and the effort and make the sacrifices. At that age I was definitely just thinking about ice cream trucks, not anything else."

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