STANFORD, CA, USA - Serena Williams met the press for the first time since Wimbledon on Monday, talking about everything from her scary experience there to her working vacation in Croatia to the scary creatures that make swimming in the ocean into great conditioning... here's what she said!
On what happened at Wimbledon...
"I was really sick. It kind of reminded me of when I had my other illness a while ago. That time I didn't realize how sick I was until my dad came over and we were walking outside for no more than three minutes, and then I said, 'Okay, I've got to go inside.' And then I slept the whole day and woke up the next day. So after this time I had that flashback, that you're in the moment and just don't realize how sick you are until you step back and look at everything and kind of picture everything again.
"I didn't really feel great walking on the court. I couldn't even warm up for the match. I just got in the car right before the other match ended, got there, then got dressed and just walked on court.
"I was really scared after the match. I didn't really realize how I felt until later, and it was just like... 'Serena, take your time. You have the rest of your life to keep playing tennis hopefully.'"
On Venus trying to convince her to stop playing that match...
"That's the fight in me. I always go, go, go. I never stop. I never want to give up. I never know when to say when. Venus was like, 'Walk off the court.' I think she almost punched me. 'As the big sister I'm telling you you have to leave.' But I was like, 'It's only half the court, I think can do it.'"
On having to pull out of Bastad, where she was defending champion...
"Most people, once they lose, they leave - but I stayed at Wimbledon until the tournament ended because the doctors told me to. I didn't leave my house or my bed for a few days. And I stayed around in Europe because I was entered in Bastad - and I felt so bad about not being able to play there."
On the "vacation" she took in Croatia...
"So I ended up going on what I call a vacation, which is like when you have fun but you practice in the morning, practice really early so you can have some fun the rest of the day. That's what I did."
"It was unexpected. It was last minute. I was like, 'I'm going to play Bastad.' But then I didn't. So I just wanted to work out and train. And I didn't know where to go, and then my hitting partner, Sascha, suggested we go to Croatia. I was like, 'I've never been.' He's like, 'They have more tennis courts than people there. That's why there are so many good Croatian players coming up right now.' It was true - everywhere you look there's tennis. It was so pretty too. I never expected it to be that pretty.
"I was also able to practice ice cream catching. That's the only way I eat ice cream now!"
On being in Stanford...
"I feel really good. I feel really happy to be here.
"I've worked out really hard - running, swimming, jumping in the ocean, hoping no sharks will come and get me - and that always works really well for conditioning!
"But I feel really good about this tournament. It's always been a special place for me."