World tennis number one Serena Williams saved her up-and-down year by winning the US Open, her 18th Grand Slam singles title, but she still had work to do after match point.
After a photo shoot with the trophy, Williams held a round-table interview on Monday morning at the JPMorgan Chase building in Manhattan.
“It’s a great satisfaction,” Williams said of winning her first major title this year. “I think I would have been incredibly disappointed if I had finished this year and not won at least one Grand Slam.
“And it’s crazy — everyone’s like, ‘Well, Serena hasn’t won a Grand Slam.’ I could name 200 people who haven’t won a Grand Slam as well. But for me, it’s like I have to win a Grand Slam, because everyone expects so much out of me. And I do, too. I definitely do, too. It’s just really good to have won one this year; I was getting nervous.”
Williams got a surprise on Monday when she looked at her phone after celebrating with her close friend and final opponent, Caroline Wozniacki.
“She stole my phone, and I looked at it this morning,” she said. “All these Instagrams — and I’m not even in half of them. I was like, ‘Really?’ Anyway, I have to talk to her about that. It was fun. We just had a simple dinner — and a phone-stealing session, apparently.”
Williams said the $4 million prize money she earned would keep her construction of a new house on track. Located down the street from the home she previously shared with her sister Venus, it will include a trophy room, a karaoke room and a purse room.
“Very helpful that I was able to win yesterday, because I hadn’t been winning this year, and I thought, let’s shrink it,” she said. “Now I guess I can keep it.”
Having tied Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert by winning her 18th major, Williams was asked if her sights were already set on equalling the Open era record of 22 set by Steffi Graf.
“I did do an interview on court and I did mention No. 19, so I know that’s already in sight,” she said. “I definitely feel like 19 is my goal, not 22. When I get to 19, knowing me, 20 will be my goal. But I’m just taking it one at a time. And there are so many unbelievable players coming up, so I think it’s only going to keep getting harder and harder.”
Williams still has high stakes autumn schedule. She is the defending champion in Beijing and at the WTA Championships, which begin a five-year stint in Singapore. She is also entered in an inaugural tournament in Wuhan, China, the hometown of third-ranked Li Na.
“I’m in Wuhan, Beijing and the championships,” Williams recounted somewhat wearily. “I have a heavy end of the year to try to get to.”
An Italian reporter seemed distressed by her priorities, and asked her: “What about love?”
“There’s no time for love,” Williams replied. “I’ve got to go to Wuhan.”