Q. What was the match like for you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: What was the match like for me?
Q. What was your game plan before the match today?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, uhm, I definitely wanted to play better than I did the last few times I played her. And, uhm, you know, just wanted to do some different things. The last few times I played her, I didn’t play that well and I was stuck, so to say.
Q. A perfect match for you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: A perfect match for me? Oh, no, no, no. But it was definitely better.
Q. You appeared very much in control of the game. Did you ever feel that you were in danger?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Uhm, not today, no. I was really calm today. I felt like, uhm, I wanted to stay calm and stay focused more than anything.
Q. Playing under the roof, do you think that suits your game better with the perfect, still conditions?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Uhm, yeah. I mean, I think it suits anyone’s game because they don’t have to deal with the elements like the wind, you know, and stuff like that.
So I was excited to play under the roof. But at the same time I think it’s the same advantage for everyone.
Q. You don’t think you have any extra edge when it’s under the roof?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I haven’t won that many indoor tournaments, so no.
Q. How did you find the atmosphere? It was quite quiet out there for a semifinal.
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I didn’t even focus on that really. I didn’t even really notice. I saw a lot of people there and I heard a lot of people, so I didn’t notice the atmosphere.
Q. When you felt how hot it was when you first went out today, were you happy to see they made the decision to keep the roof closed?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, absolutely. It was really, really hot today. And, uhm, it was really hot today.
Q. When you are preparing to play outside, do you do any of that precooling, like dunking in cold water or stuff that they advise?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I don’t dunk in cold water before I play.
Q. You have a shot to be No. 1 again here. At this point in your career, how important is it for you to not only get there but stay there for a while?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, it’s definitely more important for me to stay there than just to get there.
Uhm, right now that would be just a bonus. But my goal isn’t to be No. 1; my goal is to, you know, obviously now win one more match here at the Australian Open ‑‑ three more matches here at the Australian Open ‑ one more singles match (smiling).
Q. She’s very tough on the run. Seemed like today you said you were not going to concede the side‑to‑side rallies?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, she’s great on the run. That’s why she’s been doing so well. And today I thought, I have to be good on the run, too. I know I play my best tennis when I’m on the run. That’s kind of how I play.
So I felt that I have to go back to playing like that.
Q. That little tumble looked like it hurt a little bit.
SERENA WILLIAMS: No. I usually don’t feel tumbles until like four days later ’cause of the adrenaline. I’ll be home on Tuesday, I’ll be like, Oh, my God, my leg hurts. I’ll realize, Oh, that’s why.
Q. What does it mean to you to have another shot at the title?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Uhm, it means a lot. I have to go one more. Obviously, I want to win.
But, you know, I’m excited that I’m playing really consistent, you know, consistently at least making it to the finals of Grand Slams. So that’s exciting, too.
Q. But history is important, too? You want to get there?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Obviously, I would love to leave a mark and do well, but most of all enjoy myself and do the best that I can do.
Q. You said you have been consistent in the slams, but you haven’t been that consistent in this tournament. Now today you performed pretty well. Many times you don’t play too well the first rounds, then you go on playing much better at the end.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, this tournament in particular. Actually, this whole Australia swing, I was just really struggling with my form, for whatever reason, ’cause I definitely put in the time, but just didn’t come together.
Q. Do you think that happens because in Christmas vacation maybe you don’t practice that hard, and practice here while you play in the tournament?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Uhm, no. I mean, first of all I don’t celebrate Christmas, and then I never have vacations. This year I didn’t take too much time off at all. So I was shocked that my form wasn’t stellar for the first match I played in Sydney, let alone here.
Q. What did you do better today? You lost to her not so long ago. What parts of your game do you feel you stepped up today?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I definitely served better. It’s so important to serve well against her. She’s a really good returner. I moved better and I was definitely more consistent and I kept my cool.
So that was, I think, some important things I was able to do.
Q. You may play Safina. Can you just talk about that matchup. Also talk about Vera.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, Safina’s playing well. She seems to never die. Uhm, so she’s doing a great job. She’s going to be a tough opponent. She obviously wants to win. She’s playing amazing, and she wants to win a Grand Slam and go for the glory.
So, you know, this is just one more match. She’s obviously clearly, you know, extremely fit.
Q. If you won the tournament, you’d be in a select group that have won 10 Grand Slam singles titles. What would that mean to you to get to double figures?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It would be cool. Maybe I’ll get the special 10 plus bonus mail.
Q. Meal or mail?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Mail. Like I’m sure that people have 10 plus Grand Slams get special letters (smiling). I’ll be part of a really elite club.
Q. You mentioned Roger Federer after the game. How much of that was jest and how much have you seriously sort of been inspired by his form this tournament?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I’m just inspired by him in general. You know, I think he’s a great player. I really like Nadal, as well. I think he’s a great player, too.
They both inspire me to try to do well.
Q. Who would you most like to receive a letter from if you reach that club? Who would you like to write you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, uhm, hmm. I don’t know. I’m not a part of the club, so I don’t really know exactly all the members. So hopefully I’ll be a part of the club.
Q. Was there any point during the last 12 days where you thought, Maybe, maybe my best form is not going to come and I’m going to have to scratch out every single match?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I definitely did, especially after my second round. I just really wasn’t playing well at all. And, uhm, I just wasn’t bringing it. I thought that I was just gonna have to not complain and just do whatever it takes to win.
Q. How do you keep your focus between now and the final?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, easy. This is definitely not over. I have to play a really tough opponent who wants to win, you know. It will be their first Grand Slam. That’s super exciting.
Who doesn’t want that, so… I’m already focused.
012909 thursday /info-photo via Australian Open / Getty Images