Serena Williams beat Roberta Vinci in the third round of Wimbledon today in a match that was more entertaining than the 6-4, 6-4 scoreline (we’ll have more on that in our “wrap”). But after the match, reporters were more interested in Serena’s thoughts on the the death of Michael Jackson.
Here’s what Serena had to say:
Q. What did Michael Jackson mean to you personally? Would you think about dedicating today’s victory perhaps?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I mean, he was a great guy, a complete icon. Words can’t express my shock and horror, you know, just thoughts and prayers that go out to him and his family and just everything. It’s just terrible, terrible, terrible thing.
Q. Did you listen to his music much? Were you a fan?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I think Michael Jackson, everyone listens to his music. It’s like you think of the Beatles, you think of Elvis Presley, you think of Michael Jackson, those are just lifetime icons that I’ve never forgotten.
The things that he did was beyond iconic.
Q. Do you have any remembrances of Farrah Fawcett? Did you watch Charlie’s Angels?
SERENA WILLIAMS: She played in a couple shows I watched. She was struggling for a while. I know her husband ‑‑ well, not her husband, but the guy she was with forever, and her son, you know, I pray for them in the situation, too.
She, again, was an icon, like a style icon when you think of her hair. I know I’ve done Farrah Fawcett hair before. What a great loss.
Q. Did you know Michael Jackson at all? Ever meet him?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I’ve met him a few times. I was honored to meet him. You know, everything. He had such a great heart and wonderful kids. You know, it’s just really a shame.
Q. It happened quite late last night. Did you get the news last night or was it this morning?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I mean, I’m always online. I’m always looking at the latest news up until I fall asleep, so I saw it fairly early.
Q. Michael Jackson obviously is one of the greatest celebrities in the world culture. Can you talk about the whole phenomena of celebrity, living your life as a celebrity? Is it all upside and glamour? Are there downsides? How do you deal with that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I think he was an ultimate celebrity. I think any celebrity who met Michael Jackson was completely awe. I know I was. I kept thinking, Oh, my God, oh, my God. It’s him, it’s him. So for me he was the celebrity of all celebrities.
To be in that position, I can’t imagine. Since he was a child, he has always been Michael Jackson. He’s always been famous and he’s always been, you know, a celebrity. And he’s never really had a different life.
Q. Are there parallels between that and you and your sister at all, in the fact that you started so young?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, uhm, I wouldn’t even mention my name and his in the same sentence at all.
Q. Can you moonwalk?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, not at all.
Q. Are you a little bit in shock of the news?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I mean, like I said, I’m always online. I’ve been following him. He’s really not been well from what I read. He’s been in and out of the hospital. So I wasn’t super shocked.
But, I mean, it’s Michael Jackson. He’s just the greatest entertainer for me of all time.
Q. What do you think the one quality he had that just projected him to this great stardom?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Innovation. He did things that no one else did. Like Thriller is the best video ever made still to this day. The videos that he did for his songs, no one had ever even went that far.
And he started a whole new trend with that. Dances, singing, beats, you know, everything.
Q. It’s also an incredibly sad day for his fans. So many people idolize you, as well. I know through your website, your blogs, you do twitter, so you are in touch with your fans. Really how important are your fans to you? How much do you appreciate the people that sleep out all night to get to see you for a few minutes?
SERENA WILLIAMS: There’s no words for my appreciation. I feel like I’m honored. I feel amazing there’s even one person out there who feels that way. I still feel kind of weird like, Wow, people really feel that way?
Because I’m pretty much down‑to‑earth. I don’t consider myself, you know, Serena Williams. I’m just Serena.
Q. When you were talking about Michael Jackson, his iconic status, is that a status within the black community, or is that beyond that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, I mean, Michael Jackson goes way beyond the black community. I mean, everyone of every color, every nation, every race, you know, is Michael Jackson fans. The guy literally couldn’t walk the streets.
Even though I met him, knew him, if I would have saw him on the streets, I still would have been like, AHHH. He is just iconic on all levels.
Q. Have you got one favorite song?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I do. I don’t remember the name of it, though. It’s a slower one. It’s a slower one. It’s a duet with someone. I don’t remember.
Can anyone take a guess on Serena’s favortie Michael Jackson song?