Five minutes with Serena Williams: The best trophies, her pet peeves and more
ROME -- Serena Williams was in good spirits when she sat down with SI.com at the Italian Open for a quick chat that covered everything from her love of comic books to her neat-freak compulsions. Curious what names she would have suggested for Roger Federer's twins? Read on.
SI.com: What's the most surprising thing you've found about being a professional tennis player?
Williams: Tennis is a family. I try to get along with everyone. I don't have beef with anyone. In fact, I actually miss people. When I see people in Australia, I'm like, "Hi!" because we haven't seen each other for a while. It's a super-small world and it's awesome. We play each other, but at the end of the day when things happen -- like with Bally [former British No. 1 Elena Baltacha, who died of cancer on May 4] -- everyone comes together. It's never about any one person; it's about everyone together.
SI.com: You went to an Italian League soccer game over the weekend. How did you find the crowds and how would you compare that experience to watching American sports?
Williams: It's just so intense. Everyone is diehard. In American sports it's super intense, but that's more for the playoffs. This wasn't even a playoff game and it was really cool to see that level. You don't see that in America. It's different.
SI.com: Did you learn anything reading your dad's new book?
Williams: I did. I called him and asked him about so many stories. We talked for hours and I still have to call him to talk about more. He had to go because he's doing all these book signings. But we were having these great conversations. He left so many things out, things that I know that happened. So many amazing things.
SI.com: You've had your hands on pretty much every significant trophy on tour. Which is the best-looking one?
Williams: I'm going to go with the Australian Open [the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup]. It's not classic, it's cool. The bottom is thin and when you're holding it, it's just beautiful. Obviously, the Venus Rosewater Dish [at Wimbledon] is beautiful, too, but I'm going with Australia.
SI.com: What do you order at Starbucks?
Williams: Oh, this is good. You ready?
SI.com: Is this a complicated one?
Williams: [Takes a deep breath] A venti vanilla soy latte, sugar-free, quad shot, extra hot.
SI.com: Have they ever gotten your name wrong?
Williams: Actually, they never get it wrong.
SI.com: Really? You're the first person who has ever said that.
Williams: Well, I never give my name. I always give "Sam."
SI.com: What are your pet peeves?
Williams: Where do I start? I don't like dirty. People who are messy. I hate when my room is dirty. The kitchen always has to be clean. If it's not clean, I go crazy. I can't stand a dirty kitchen. I don't know why. And I can't sleep if my room is dirty. I physically can't sleep. I have a ton of pet peeves, obviously.
SI.com: Roger Federer just had twin boys. If you had twins, what would you name them?
Williams: [Answers quickly] Joseph and Josiah. Or Joseph and Raleigh for a boy and a girl. Not that I've thought about it [laughing].
SI.com: I see you walking around the grounds and everyone wants a selfie with Serena. Whom do you want a selfie with?
Williams: Any of The Avengers. Robert Downey Jr.
SI.com: Are you excited for the new Avengers movie?
Williams: Absolutely. I'm the ultimate comic fan. Anything from DC Comics.
SI.com: What's your favorite app?
Williams: My Amazon app. I buy everything on Amazon. You name it, I get it. And Mobli.
SI.com: What's a pop culture phenomenon that you just do not understand?
Williams: I don't get Snapchat. I downloaded it, but I don't get it. I just don't get it.
SI.com: Do you have friends you follow on Snapchat?
Williams: I have one friend and she snapchats me pictures of her dog and I'm like, "You could have WhatsApped me or messaged me." And now I don't even get to have that picture anymore.
SI.com: The kids like it.
Williams: I guess if you're doing bad things and you don't want it to be seen, it makes sense.
SI.com: But can't you still screencap it before it disappears? Williams: Yeah, but if you screencap, it sends a message that you screencapped. I don't get Snapchat. I mean, I'm trying to stay young, but I don't get it.