Serena Williams French Open Interview May 30th
S. WILLIAMS/M. Martinez Sanchez 4?6, 6?3, 6?4
Q. It was a bit of a controversy there with her touching the ball. Can you just talk about what happened with the ball? I guess you thought it touched her.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I didn’t think the ball touched her. The ball did touch her 100% on her arm. The rules of tennis is when the ball hits your body, then it’s out of play. You lose a point automatically. So the ball hit her body, and therefore, she should have lost the point instead of cheating.
Q. Do you think that she knew she had hit it? Was there no way she couldn’t know she didn’t hit it?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I hit that ball rather hard. She knew that ball hit her.
Q. Did you use the word “cheating”? She cheated you on the point?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, what would you use?
Q. You were on the court.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, what would you use?
Q. You should have had the point?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah. And it was clearly my point, and it was like, no way. I would never do that. I’ve never done that. I’ve never sunk low, and I would never do that to anyone on this tour and I never have. I’ve always been a really clean player and a good player, and it doesn’t take that to win.
Q. Did you think about escalating it to the referee? Why didn’t you do that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I looked back at one of the tournament supervisors. I thought, should I talk ?? it seems something like this happens to me a lot, so I’m thinking,should I talk to her about it or should I just let it go?
You know, I felt like I was going to win no matter what. I just decided just to let it go, because I didn’t know. I thought at that point that’s when I would have loved to challenge.
Q. So why didn’t you ask the chair umpire to ask Maria, Did that ball hit off your forearm and go back across the net?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I did. I said, Did you ask her? He said,Well, she’s saying that it didn’t happen.
I looked at her dead in the eye. I said, Why? Just be honest if the ball hit you or not. I mean, Hello. It totally hit her.
She was just like ?? she wouldn’t even look at me. She looked down, and I just have no respect for anybody who can’t play a professional game and just be really professional out here. Because that’s all I’ve ever been was be extremely professional to anyone I’ve ever played.
Q. Hence the comment “she better not come to net again”?
SERENA WILLIAMS: You guys heard that? (Laughter.)
Q. Sure did.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, you know, I am from Compton, so, you know…
Q. Clearly something was going on with breathing or something. What’s happening? You don’t sound too…
SERENA WILLIAMS: Sexy?
Q. No, clear right now, but…
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don’t know. I’ve been fighting a cold and I’ve been fighting sickness, and I didn’t have a voice at all yesterday. Today it’s actually a lot better. Then I just had a fit, a coughing fit like I’m not well. But, you know, I’m just fighting. Everyone is fighting here. No excuses.
Q. I mean, were you having trouble breathing or was it more just dry heaves? What are we talking about?
SERENA WILLIAMS: My pulse rate was a little high and it was high yesterday, so I had a little trouble breathing after I finished, like I don’t know what was going on there. I thought I was going to cough up a lung or something.
I had a lot of trouble like just catching my breath and just trying to relax, and then, you know, just having energy going into that latter part of the third set.
Q. So is this just something you think is just to do with this current sickness, or is this something you’ve been battling for a while?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, no, no. Unfortunately this just came up like in the past four days or so.
Q. The good news is you won.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah.
Q. Just another third set battle that you managed to scratch out. So, you know, outside of everything that happened in the first set, when you walked off court, were you pleased?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah. You know, I was, because, I mean, I haven’t been playing that much on clay, and, you know, I felt like this is a match I probably should have won in two sets, and, you know, I didn’t. Not because she cheated or anything, but because I didn’t ?? I had several times to break, and I didn’t take that opportunity to break.
So I think that, you know, just mentally I should have been out in two sets, but mentally I think I’m doing well and I’m getting a lot of experience.
Q. You said that incidents like this always seem to happen.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I’m like drama, and I don’t want to be drama.
Q. Refresh my memory. What are some of the others?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Every time you look around, it’s like ??I mean, there was an incident with Justine, and then there was another incident with Jennifer Capriatti. Always some drama.
Even in Australia this year I had a bad call, and I was just like, why?
I’m like one of those girls on a reality show that has all the drama, and everyone in the house hates them because no matter what they do, like, drama follows them. I don’t want to be that girl.
Q. So why is that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don’t know. Maybe I can understand how they feel. I don’t mean for this stuff to happen to me. It just kind of happens.
Q. Has anyone else cheated against you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don’t know. That’s the past. Anything that happened to me, you know, is all in the past, but it is what it is. Yeah, I think we know the answer to that.
Q. You did manage to actually shake her hand at the end. Was that difficult for you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, not all. I thought at the end of the day she gave a great battle. I thought that ?? again, that was just one point. It was a very important point, yeah, but I just thought it was ?? you know, she fought well, and she’s a good player.
She’s a great doubles player. She’s a good singles player, as well. You know, I thought that she did a really good job in the match just staying in there and just fighting.
Q. Would you hope in the fullness of time you might get an apology from her?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Apology?
Q. In the fullness of time, would you hope she might sort of one day…
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don’t need an apology. Like it should have been done out there, like I would never have done that to her or anybody else, so I don’t need an apology.
Q. Did it come up again after the match? Did you guys speak about it again walking off the court or in the locker room or anything?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No. Like I said, I let it go. I was just, like, I was done after that. I was, like, whatever.
Q. Would you ever consider going up to a player after something like that and saying, What’s the deal?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I mean, maybe.
Q. What is Serena Williams without a voice?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don’t know, like hoarse and awful?sounding.
Q. What does that do to you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I’m really quiet without a voice usually. I’m the life of the party, but now I’m just the quiet one.
Q. Off the court, are you also someone who attracts drama or is it only tennis, or off the court does Venus get the drama? How does it work?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Honestly, I do have drama off the court. It’s always something, and honestly, maybe it’s me. (Laughter.)
I’m beginning to think it’s me, because I do have a lot of drama, and I always ?? it’s always something, whether it’s my life with friends, with anybody. It’s like I have the most dramatic life. It’s so ridiculous.
Q. How did you communicate with your sister and your mother yesterday,then?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Like towards the end, my voice was way worse than this, and I was just like ?? we whisper anyway in doubles. We whisper anyway in doubles. That kind of helps.
My grunting, I can’t really grunt, so we were just like ?? she would just tell me where to serve, and I was speaking sign language on the practice court.
Q. You must give the Portuguese girl this problem.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I didn’t hear about her, only a little bit,just the tail end.
Q. I don’t think you’ve ever won a Slam without being able to scream. This could be a big challenge for you.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Honestly, I’m just happy to get to the next round, and, you know, with all the preparation that I have. I’m just having fun here, and I did one better than last year, so that’s already a good thing for me.
Q. So back to the drama. Would you rather have it compelling and interesting and all kinds of excitement, or just be at home walking the dog and baking cookies?
SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, it always makes for a fantastic story. I always call my friends like,You won’t believe who’s showing up here, or that only happens to me every time. So they’re always like, You know what? This only happens to you. I’m like, I don’t know why.
Interview from RG
Photo Getty Images