LONDON, Great Britain -?23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams broke Stefanie Graf's Open Era record in her last major final appearance at the 2017 Australian Open, and immediately faced questions about Margaret Court's all-time record at Wimbledon.
"To be perfectly honest, I haven't thought about that this tournament," she said, responding?to the first question in her semifinal press-conference after beating Julia Goerges, 6-2, 6-4. "Not even once actually. In fact, I've probably forget about it.
"I think that's a good thing because?I put so much pressure on myself when I was trying to get to 18, then the rest, it was so much. But as I said in the past couple years, I don't want to limit myself. I think that's what I was doing in the past, I was limiting myself.
"It's just a number. I want to get as many as I can, starting with -- I still have a match to win, so I'm not even there yet."
It took Williams three tries to tie Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert's shared record of 18 major titles, finally matching the famed Americans at the 2014 US Open. From there, it took less than two years to catch Graf at the 2016 Wimbledon Championships, where she beat Angelique Kerber in straight sets.
"I never thought about that," she said when asked whether she felt like royalty at the All England Club. "There's a lot I haven't thought about today. That's pretty cool. Honestly, I'm just me. I don't feel any different. I know that sounds weird, but I don't. That's an attitude I always want to keep, something I want to teach my daughter to always just have this humility. We're all human. That's kind of how I think."
Not long after breaking Graf's record in Melbourne, Williams left the tour to marry husband Alexis Ohanian, enduring multiple health struggles as she gave birth to daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr.
"It's no secret I had a super tough delivery. I lost count after, like, four surgeries because I was in so many surgeries. It was just routine every day, I had to have a new surgery.
"Because of all the blood issues I have, I was really touch-and-go for a minute. I didn't actually know until after my agent, Jill [Smoller], who is actually more of a friend, but she was saying how much stress it was. I'm glad no one told me at the time I was going through that. Yeah, it was tough. There was a time I could barely walk to my mailbox."
Serena returned to tour less than a year after the birth, playing sister Venus at the BNP Paribas Open and returning to Grand Slam play at this year's Roland Garros.
"In?the last 16 months, I've played four tournaments, and was carrying another human half that time. It's interesting," she said of others' expectations.
"But when I wasn't a favorite, I was kind of upset about that. It's like, 'C'mon, what can make me happy?' Have to figure out which I prefer."
Serena and Kerber split their two major meetings back in 2016, with the German winning her first Grand Slam title at the Australian Open in three sets over the American, who is ready for another challenge as she plays for an eighth Wimbledon trophy and 24th overall.
"This is a different one. She's playing so well. I think she's incredibly confident. Yeah, I have to be ready for the match of my life."