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August 27, 2014

Venus Williams


V. WILLIAMS/T. Bacsinszky
6-1, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. If you weren't playing tennis, what would you be doing?
VENUS WILLIAMS: That's impossible to say.

Q. Interior design, fashion, translator?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. I used to run track. So perhaps I would have excelled at that.

Q. What did you run?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I ran the 200 and the 400.

Q. What was your best?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I was a child, so I don't think I got to the best. Maybe I loved it, I probably would have continued that.

Q. Do you follow track?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, no. It kind of passed me by.

Q. What are your thoughts on advancing here after it hasn't gone your way the last few years to get this far?
VENUS WILLIAMS: You know, the last couple years I fought really hard and I really played red-hot opponents. So it wasn't like I didn't try. My opponents, they played so well. Sometimes you don't win 'em. That's why you get up and you live to fight another day. So that's really what it's about for me.

Q. That's about the then. What about the now?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, now I'm happy. I won a match again. Finally I did something I couldn't do the last couple years. That's good stuff.

Q. How well do you think you're playing at the moment?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I feel like I'm playing well. I feel like I play my best when my opponent pushes me really. Once we start to, you know, really start to get into a slugfest, I feel like I really relax. Sometimes I feel like when they aren't pushing me as much maybe I'm a little too passive at times. I don't know. But I do feel like, you know, when things get tight, I feel like I can rely on myself to compete really well. So that's a good feeling.

Q. Are there more moments when you're serving well and moving well where you feel like 10 years ago, 15 years ago, you could do anything?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, this summer I'm playing a lot of tournaments. I was playing a lot of great defense. Even today some good defense, as well. I played a lot of defensive players this summer. It was interesting because my defense was really on par with theirs, which is interesting for an offensive player. So that feels good, as well, to know that I can get over there and retrieve some balls.

Q. When you think about your next opponent, Sara Errani, what do you think about her and what could be the key for the match?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Really just focus because she's so focused. She does everything well on the court clearly, because she's a great singles player and a doubles player. Every time I've played her, I've had to be focused on every single point, because she does not let up on any point no matter what the score is. If she's down 5-Love, 40-Love and never won a game in the match, she is in there still to win the match. That's my main thing: to stay focused and play my game.

Q. Do you ever think when you are so tall, so powerful, how different it could be for the tennis player when you are very short with no power?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, you know, there's some players who are taller and shorter. You're going to have different strengths and weaknesses because of that. For her, because she's not as tall as some of the other players, she's developed other parts of her game. Her foot speed, really an all-around game, her mental strength, all of those things which are equal advantages. What's awesome about it is it makes tennis interesting. If everybody was big and tall it would be boring, but it's a nice juxtaposition.

Q. We know you follow fashion; you're into interior design; you like visual art. Obviously beauty is important to you, the esthetic. How do you think the emphasis, if there's too much emphasis on beauty in the promotion of women's tennis and talent and skill gets short shrifted compared to the glamour?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I don't think so, because if you don't have any talent or skill you're not going to get noticed. First of all, you have to play well. I definitely would focus on the aesthetic. I'm definitely into aesthetic value in terms of presentation, but beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Q. What challenge do the elements hold? Windy tonight.
VENUS WILLIAMS: The other day I played it was hot. Tonight the wind in the stadium is so much different going from a practice court to the stadium. The wind is actually windier. Did I say that right? Real windy, much windy, whatever, in the stadium. It's intense play to play in Arthur Ashe. You have to just focus on the ball.

Q. If you were in charge of tennis, you could change any rule you'd like or add a new rule, what might you like to change about the rules of the game?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I would be against the rule for anyone named Williams to lose. That's very selfish (laughter). I haven't really thought about that really. I think tennis is going in a nice direction. I would just love for young people to continue to be involved, because that's the future of our sport. So, yeah, probably that.

Q. I understand you're pursuing a degree in business administration at Indiana University. What has that experience been like for you?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I have no life, but it's made me a better boss and it's made me more aware of how I can make better business decisions. I've had to take classes, too, that I didn't think I'd be interested in or that I was interested in that I didn't like at all. I have to say accounting almost killed me. I'm telling you, it messed my vision up. Now I'm not an accountant but I'm okay.

Q. What do you think about the WTC's program and what it's doing for women?

Q. The WTA, I'm sorry.
VENUS WILLIAMS: In terms of programs? There's a lot of players now pursuing degrees at Indiana University. It's a great school. You work extremely hard. You have to be focused, balanced. You have to balance your time so you don't get that F. I think it's important to explore yourself outside of tennis, because there's so much in life and it opens your eyes.

Q. You mentioned young people in the sport. There's been a lot of attention on CiCi Bellis here. What sort of advice would you give her on how to handle a big arrival into the sport?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think just stay relaxed in the match obviously, because she can hit the ball. I haven't seen her play. If she won, she can hit the ball it seems like. That's great for women's tennis in terms of, you know, a great Fed Cup team. I hope she keeps playing well. She's so young, though, so sometimes it takes a little time. For her I would say to don't be in a rush, build a good team around you, family, positive people, whoever that is, and just continue to grow.

Q. Do you see yourself being a Fed Cup captain one day?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No. Huh-uh, no.

Q. Why?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Because it's not easy to deal with the players (laughter). It's hard to sit on the bench, and the players aren't doing anything. On the bench, you never miss. It would be tough. I don't think I could do it. But you never know. I would maybe do it if Serena and I were allowed to co-captain. That would be fun.

Q. What do you value more in terms of you won Olympic gold and Grand Slam championships; is one more important or valued more than the other?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I would say the medals, because those were beyond my dreams. Let's say I never won a major, I would still say the medals because I never won a major so I'd be trying to pump that up. But in terms of having experienced both, the medals mean the most to me.

Q. Are there things that the WTA does for the player development programs or the mentoring programs you do that are particularly helpful to other players, that were helpful to yourself? Is there anything you'd like to see added?
VENUS WILLIAMS: You know, I don't know as much about the player development programs. I'm so far removed from it. I was in it and it was just starting, so I'm sure there's so much that has changed. So I'm not on that particular committee, but I imagine they're doing a great job.

Q. What do you enjoy most about watching Roger Federer play and how he's conducted himself during his career?
VENUS WILLIAMS: What I love about Roger is he gives 100% even if he's not 100%, and he never complains. If he's not feeling his best, he still competes well and just comes back and lives to fight another day. So in any case, besides the fact that he plays beautiful tennis, I hope we all keep playing forever as 30 somethings.

Q. What is beautiful about his game?
VENUS WILLIAMS: He's so effortless and he makes it look easy. Sometimes maybe it is too easy for him. That's a good problem to have, I guess. But just the entertainment value of how he executes his strokes. You don't get to see that one-hand backhand too often as well. It's nice to see that beautiful stroke.

Q. Why do you think women's tennis is so unpredictable? Depends by the serve, which for men is so important, or because women are unpredictable?
VENUS WILLIAMS: In the men's game they play a bit different. They're always doing cross-court to cross-court. If they have a short ball, it's down the line. It's a little more clinical. With the women, you know, you never know what you're going to get. Women are going down the line, cross-court all the time. When I play my opponents I have to be ready for every shot, because maybe it's not going where you think it should go. It's interesting and it's different. But I think as women start to get even better - because the depth is so intense right now - as the depth gets even more, perhaps it will start to be like that. I think it's interesting, too, because you can't really say, Oh, yes, they're going to be in this cross-court rally for a while. The ball is going everywhere, and that's exciting.

Q. You were saying the other night how important the doubles were to you. Taylor Townsend talked about playing doubles and mixed doubles. Would you recommend that to young players?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, definitely. Especially if you're going to come to the net, it probably will help your game even more. If you stay at the baseline, probably not as much. It will be a wonderful experience, especially if you can win. But to truly benefit, you need to get in.

Q. Winning those titles are always important.
VENUS WILLIAMS: They're always yours forever.
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