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March 30, 2015

Venus Williams


V. WILLIAMS/C. Wozniacki
6‑3, 7‑6

THE MODERATOR:テつ Questions, please.

Q.テつ You have had some big wins this year.テつ Is it fair to say that tennis is fun again for you?
VENUS WILLIAMS:テつ Oh, tennis has always been a blast.テつ You know, there is your professional life, and then there is life on the court, as well.テつ I try to keep those separate even though they are very, you know, very close together obviously.But, you know, I'm feeling good out there.

Q.テつ You have had a tough road back though from the time of your diagnosis to now.

Q.テつ It seems like your persistence is really starting to pay off.テつ How would you describe that road from then to now?
VENUS WILLIAMS:テつ Definitely a road not traveled, you know.テつ There is no handbook that says how to handle yourself.
I'm persistent.テつ I don't give up and I believe in myself no matter what the odds are and what you may experience.テつ So I have always seen it as something to overcome and not something that could stop me.
Having that perspective of glass half full helped me a lot.

Q.テつ I think you made your debut here like, God, 1997.

Q.テつ Do you remember meeting Hingis in the third round?テつ Did you ever think you'd be here all these years later still?テつ You're in the quarterfinals.
VENUS WILLIAMS:テつ Yeah.テつ At that age I was so young and didn't know much.テつ I think my first match there was a rat in the stands.テつ They had to stop the match.テつ (Laughter).テつ That was intense.
I think I was playing Ginger Helgeson‑Nielsen.テつ I can't remember.テつ I played Capriati in the second round.テつ It was a long match.
You know, Hingis at that time was so much better than I was.テつ I had a lot of potential, but I needed some more experience.テつ She had kind of been out there a little bit longer than I had.テつ It was one of our early matches.
She definitely, definitely dominated that match, but it was a good experience I learned from.

Q.テつ But did you think you'd be here 17 years later still?
VENUS WILLIAMS:テつ You know, I didn't even give it any thought, but I'm glad I'm here, that's for sure.テつ (Smiling.)

Q.テつ I think she got you in the US Open that year, but you got her in Miami the next year in the semis when you won your first title here.テつ That was almost like a launching pad. テつTalk about just your history at Miami and how that's been for your career?
VENUS WILLIAMS:テつ Miami was my first big win besides the Australian Open mixed that year was my first title ever.テつ So '98 was definitely a great year for me.テつ I learned a lot.テつ Kind of just catapulted.テつ I don't know.
I think today I played similar to how young V would have played:テつ either knocking a winner or knocking an error.テつ It's fun to just hit out, though.テつ It feels good.

Q.テつ Do you ever get bored with tennis at any points in your career?テつ You have been doing it so long.テつ You have pretty much won everything, done everything.テつ What keeps you going every day on the practice court and when you come to these tournaments?テつ What drives you?
VENUS WILLIAMS:テつ Yeah, I never get bored, actually.テつ Tennis is definitely not pushing paper.テつ I mean, when you get out there you have no idea what's going to happen in the point.テつ You can try to plan it the best you can, but it's all up in the air.
You have to improvise every single time.テつ That never gets boring.テつ You have to work very hard and you have to be very focused and disciplined, and that's something you can't get around.
But it's all worth it when you get to the tournament.テつ That excitement level comes up and I love it.

Q.テつ So as many times as you have been here on Stadium Court, when you went on the court today to play Caroline, you still have that same feeling stepping on the court?
VENUS WILLIAMS:テつ Absolutely.テつ It just doesn't get old, the adrenaline and the competition.テつ There is nothing like it.

Q.テつ I was just wondering, having seen Serena play at Indian Wells and the reception she got there, has that altered your thinking at all about whether you might ever play there again?
VENUS WILLIAMS:テつ Yeah, it was wonderful to see.テつ I definitely watched every moment, and it was great to see her and my family there.テつ Next year will be a big year for us being an Olympic year.
I can't exactly say what my schedule will be, but it was wonderful to see her reception.

Q.テつ It has possibly softened your attitude, by the sounds of it.
VENUS WILLIAMS:テつ Oh, yeah, absolutely.テつ I have heard so much about how much the tournament has just improved in general in terms of the fans and the players.
So it will be something to see for me.

Q.テつ Have you talked about it with Serena at all or asked her about her experiences?
VENUS WILLIAMS:テつ Actually, no.テつ We don't talk a lot about tennis.テつ (Smiling.)
It's not unusual that we haven't spoken about that.テつ Sometimes we give each other advice before matches, but once we are off the court we are off the court.テつ We're not like obsessed with tennis.
We are obsessed about winning and being prepared, but we don't continue to go on and on about the game when we're done.

Q.テつ You have been to so many tournaments all over the world. テつAs far as this tournament goes for you specifically, what is special about this tournament and the way it's run that makes it stand out, if anything?テつ That's the first part of the question.テつ The second part is:テつ What improvements would you like to see at this tournament compared to other Premier events?
VENUS WILLIAMS:テつ Yeah, for me, I love this tournament just being at home, and I have a lot of great memories here.テつ Like I said, it was my first big win.
I don't know.テつ The tournament is also dedicated to improving the facilities, and they have a long‑term plan actually for improvements.テつ It's just a matter of time, I feel, until that happens.テつ It's all in the works and all positives.

Q.テつ Is there anything you'd love to see, you know, improved here?
VENUS WILLIAMS:テつ Like I said, they have plans to improve the facilities.テつ It's not always easy to get that through the infrastructure of the city and the residents.テつ It's something that's in the works.
So no comments really because things are happening at some point.

Q.テつ You mentioned Venus playing today kind of like the young V.テつ How would you say your game has evolved overall since 1997?テつ How are you a different player and how do go about trying to win a point?
VENUS WILLIAMS:テつ Well, '97 I was a girl without a plan, really.テつ You go out and swing.テつ There is a certain freedom to that, but there is also very costly mistakes.
At this stage in this life it's about finding that happy medium of playing the percentage, being smart, using your experience, but at the same time continuing to be aggressive.
For me, it's innate.テつ I just want to be aggressive on every single shot if I could.テつ It's not the smartest thing to do.テつ You have to work the point and you have to realize what to do at the right times.
Yeah, there is always a part of me there that's very free and like the young player who just went for every single shot.

Q.テつ Is coming to the net more part of that equation?テつ You were up there quite a bit today.
VENUS WILLIAMS:テつ I like to get in when I can.テつ You have to play the courts, as well.テつ The courts have slowed down so much in these last few years that players are getting to more balls.テつ If you don't hit a really good approach shot you're going to get passed.
You know, I guess it's good for rallies, but it also takes a lot of variety out of the game.テつ People get more complacent to stay at the baseline.テつ I like to be at the net, so when I can get there, I do.

Q.テつ Size up your next opponent:テつ Suarez Navarro.テつ What do you have to do to kind of beat her?
VENUS WILLIAMS:テつ Just gotta go out there and play good.テつ She plays a good mix of defense and offense, actually.テつ I that's what made her such a strong player, and continually has a good season, is that she does everything well.テつ You know, I just have to go out there and, I guess, try to make my shot and use my power.テつ Go for it.

Q.テつ I always remember how intelligently and how well you spoke about the Shahar Peer situation in Dubai quite a few years ago now.テつ Is there something inside of you that before you finish wants to go back to Indian Wells and just sort of cover over that thing and just put it to rest for good and all?
VENUS WILLIAMS:テつ I think really what Serena did and how she went about it was just awesome for me as a big sister to see, because I feel like usually I'm the big sister. テつI feel like in this instance she took the role of big sister.
It was really nice.テつ I love how, you know, we continue to protect each other no matter what.テつ She did a fantastic job out there, even though she wasn't feeling her best.
So like I said, I think the tournament's amazing.テつ I also said next year is an Olympic year, so my whole focus is on trying to get to the Olympics.
So I don't know what tournaments I'm going to play as long as I'm at the Olympics.テつ So that's my goal, to be healthy enough.
So I think it would be awesome to return, but I don't know what my schedule is next year.テつ It's going to be all around that.

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