Serena Williams 26-01-17

Serena Williams def Mirjana Lucic-Baroni 6-2 6-1

Serena Williams, SF, Rod Laver Arena, 26 January 2017
Photo by: Ben Solomon/Tennis Australia

Q. How does it feel to get that win pretty quickly and be able to move on and focus on the task ahead?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It felt really good because I felt like it was in my hands to force this Williams final. Believe it or not, I was feeling a little pressure about that, but it felt really good to get that win.

Q. Is it an old familiar feeling or...
SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, I didn't think about it, but I guess it is an old familiar feeling that I clearly forgot about.

Yeah, I definitely felt that pressure before.

Q. Before your match, Venus obviously came off the court, and the camera showed you and Lucic walking past her. Has that always been easy to just look away and focus on your match?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, yeah, I think so, because it's a semifinal of a Grand Slam, and I was playing someone that is really good. She can play so well. So it was just a moment.

In sport, you have to focus. But it's also a great moment because you realize that we're so close. We're family. But it's that focus that you have to have, and the discipline.

Q. You say, We'll both be a winner. There has to be some kind of feeling of being so close, I'm going to beat my sister or she's going to beat me, that makes it a little uncomfortable.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, it definitely makes it uncomfortable. But after everything that Venus has been through with her illness and stuff, I just can't help but feel like it's a win-win situation for me. I was there for the whole time. We lived together. I know what she went through.

It's the one time that I really genuinely feel like no matter what happens, I can't lose, she can't lose. It's going to be a great situation.

Q. When you played Venus here in 2003, that was to finish off the Serena Slam. This would be to get 23 slam titles. Is it a sort of nice sense of history there?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It is. It's definitely interesting. The first time was the Serena Slam. But it is what it is. Like I said from the beginning, I don't really talk about that any more.

Q. We've seen a lot of great dance moves of yours on TV this week. Talk about Venus' celebration, her moves.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I only saw a twirl, but it was like a double, I don't know. It was a double turn. I was like, Gosh, she's doing that on her A-Team dance team. Quite impressive. Every time I try to do a double, I really struggle to do my double pirouette. Seemed like a double pirouette. I was impressed.

But then I had to go warm up. I got to warm up, I got to warm up for my match. Not a lot of time between.

I was just so happy. It was so, so exciting.

Q. She had the great leaps against Lindsay Davenport at Wimbledon. Was this about as cool a celebration?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think so, because you could really see the happiness on her face. Again, I've been there when she was down and out of it, and back and in it. I've been there for all those moments.

So I just really was, oh, so happy.

Q. You joked on the court afterwards that the family might have to flip a few coins to decide where they sit. Venus hasn't been in a Grand Slam final for a number of years. How are you going to go about deciding?
SERENA WILLIAMS: The best part is we don't have to worry about that. That's not what we worry about. We just have to worry about playing each other.

We have the easy part.

Q. It's been seven years since the two of you last met in a Grand Slam final. Does this one hold any more significance or is it any more special in any way? The other day you were joking about the legends tour. Did you ever think you'd be back here again in this position?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I just feel like it's been a while. This probably is the moment of our careers so far. For me, I can definitely say for me.

I never lost hope of us being able to play each other in a final, although it was hard because we're usually on the same side of the draw. Whenever we're on the opposite side, I always definitely feel a lot better.

Q. Do you remember being in the stands in 1997 when Venus made her first final in New York, your reaction seeing that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I remember being in the stands. I felt like I played every match along with her. I was her hitting partner. I was there every moment. Yeah, it was great.

Q. Because inquiring minds want to know, there has to be something that you don't get along with, argue about. Sisters tend to do that. At least I do with mine. What would make you guys not get along?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Usually rules and regulations on our dance teams. That's basically all we argue about.

Q. You are so close. How do you go about preparing for a Grand Slam final? Do you actually speak to each other, or is it more secluded between the two camps?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, we definitely talk. I think now more so than anything. Nothing can break our family. If anything, this will definitely bring us closer together, knowing that I want to see her do the best that she can possibly do. I know that she definitely wants to see me do the best that I can do.

This is a story. This is something that I couldn't write a better ending. This is a great opportunity for us to start our new beginning.

Q. Will this be the last final in a Grand Slam between you and Venus?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Never say never. Look at us now.

Q. When you look back at the matchups that you have had with Venus, from your perspective, is there one that stands out as being the most, maybe, difficult emotionally going into or on the court?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Not off the top of my head, honestly. Not off the top of my head. I know in the last year or two we've had some matches that were really difficult physically for me. But not off the top of my head.

Q. Is it nice to be able to play these matches now that you're both older where it's just tennis? Maybe earlier it felt a little bit more complicated, I suppose.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, now it definitely feels like it's just tennis. We both want to do our best out there.

Q. How much would it mean to you if you do come out on top?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It would mean a lot to me. I wouldn't know what to do actually. I'm still taking it one point at a time.

Q. Overall, how proud are you of the tournament you put together? This march to the finals has been pretty impressive.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I'm really proud of myself here. I feel like a lot of people were kind of writing me off, but it is what it is. I do best when I'm that underdog, I guess.

Q. Seems like about every slam you're in, there's some record at stake. Is that something you're getting used to and are handling better or is it still difficult to deal with?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm not dealing with it right now. I just feel like, like I said in the beginning, I'm obviously here to win the tournament. That's the reason I come all this way. Yet, at the same time, I don't have anything to prove. I don't have to win another match as long as I live. I just have to have fun and do what I do best.

That's what I've been doing this tournament. I feel like, overall, I've been doing pretty good.

Q. How much do you feel you have to scout or game plan for Venus, or do you know her like the back of your hand at this point?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I definitely think it's important to still do that. This is a Grand Slam final at the end of the day. I really do feel like we'll both be happy for each other no matter what happens. But still we want to be able to go out there and play our best. We'll probably both be watching each other's matches.

Q. Now it seems like nothing really matters, you can just play. Last year you had a lot of stress when you were on court at times. Now you don't.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think just going through that made me this way now, to be honest. I think sometimes when you're stressed out, you have to go through those moments. Everything creates a better you.

Q. Arguably the best prediction in sports history, your father said you and Venus would be No. 1 and No. 2 in the world. He also said you would revolutionize the game, which many people feel you have. Can you talk about your impact on the game, along with Venus.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I just feel like my dad really had some innovative things that we worked on and that we always played. He taught us different techniques that no one else was doing. People were like, What are you doing? That's not the right way.

But my dad just knew, watched footwork, knew different things that would work better for tennis. He taught it to Venus and I. We definitely were able to revolutionize a lot of things in the game. We were able to come out here and just be two really strong women standing up for everything we believe in.

Q. He had you throw footballs. What else?
SERENA WILLIAMS: A lot of stuff. I still don't like to talk too much about everything. I'm still on tour, you know.

Q. When you saw Venus at her lowest lows, did you ever think this day might not come for her, getting back to a slam final, or did you always think it was going to happen?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think, of course, I was always stressed out and worried if she would be okay and be able to play. I would see her practice, she'd practice so well, do so well. I always felt like when she lost, I was almost surprised, kind of like, How did you lose, because you're doing so well.

At the same time I was like, Wow, it's amazing that you're even out here.

I just really feel fortunate to have been there for the highs and the lows and everything.

Q. Is it safe to say that on Saturday this is the best-case scenario?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Absolutely. It is definitely 100% the best-case scenario that I could have ever dreamt of.

Q. What would be your strongest motive to win Saturday?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I don't need any motivation to win. I just need to step out on the court.

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