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. 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. 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. Can you moonwalk?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, not at all.
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.
Whatever you thought about his personal life and controversies, one thing is for sure: he was a musical pioneer, and his songs and performances had an indelible impact on pop culture and people's lives, including my own.
UPDATE: Roger Federer was also asked about his thoughts on the passing of MJ:
Q. Where were you and what were your immediate thoughts when you heard the news that Michael Jackson had died?
ROGER FEDERER: I was at the house late last night. Obviously, you know, I love his music. It wasn't clear, you know, what had happened, you know. So I waited for sort of to see what's gonna happen and the confirmation.
Sure, a very sad moment I think in the music world. You know, he touched many people. Same for me. But I'll obviously still listen to his music for many more years to come.
Q. What do you consider the aspect that you appreciate the most of his performances?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I remember, I don't know, back maybe in '88 or '89, he came to Basel. I was outside of the stadium, because there was such excitement that he would come. I was still very young. I think I went there with my sister, and we just listened from the outside, you know.
Yeah, always listened to his music. And, yeah, it's sad. You know, it really is.
(image via getty)