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August 31, 2015

Venus Williams

New York, NY, USA


6-4, 6-7, 6-3

An interview with:


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How tough and how good at the same time is that first match, to play the way I did, to get through it?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I mean, the first round, you don't want to play your best tennis there, but you do want to play well. I think by the time I got to the third set I was able to clean my game up a little bit.

Give her a lot of credit, too. She had a lot of great shots at the right moments, so she's a really good competitor.

Q. Years ago it was all about Venus. Now it seems to be Serena. You started it, and Serena seems to be at the closure of where you are all in your life. Certainly ending it quite well. How have you been able to deal with it? You seem so calm. We still think you're fabulous. What are your thoughts about all the attention your sister's getting?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, she deserves every single thing that she has. At the same time, she's not focused on the attention, she's focused on her tennis. So she's focused on the important things, and the results show.

Q. How are you doing now overall health-wise?
VENUS WILLIAMS: It was definitely warm out there. It seemed like not so much breeze. It will be interesting to see how the courts play, whether or not the breeze will be in there - it's usually quite windy and tough conditions on Ashe - or if it will be less wind.

If I play there next round, we'll see how the conditions progress.

Q. Having played there so many times, what is the difference?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, it definitely feels different. There's a lot more shade. It feels different. The court looks different. You get a little bit different vibe. Different isn't always bad.

So far I don't have any complaints. I played a few hours. I played first on. Maybe the shadow is a little bit different. Maybe it's challenging.

Q. The second set were you worried? Did you still feel confident? Tough tiebreaker.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I was kind of a little bit shocked that I was still out there. I thought I had the match wrapped.

You know, she played really good points. She really did. Just kept playing aggressive and played her shots. You have to play like that. She plays well down.

The third set I definitely felt some clarity and just wanted to take the opportunity to play better.

Q. What did you tell yourself after you lost the second set tiebreak?
VENUS WILLIAMS: What do you do? It's over. You have to move on. That's it.

Q. Mardy Fish won today. How can you relate to him, the off-court health issues that take away from the actual play?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, everybody's got their problems. The important thing is not to complain about it. He's taking it like a man. It's really bad luck what's happened to him, but he's really held his head high. He's really made something of his opportunities here.

Q. Many say that Serena is the best player of all time. When did you sense your little sister was really an exceptional tennis player? Secondly, what do you think has been the key to the surge in the last 11 or 12 slams that she's played?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I always thought she was a great player when we were very small, so that's something that was apparent to me a long time ago.

And I think just confidence. When you get into that habit of winning, it gets - I don't know if you call it contagious - but it gets to be a habit. She's developed an unbelievable habit.

Q. When, as the older sister, did you sense that your younger sister -- do you remember her doing really well as a young girl?
VENUS WILLIAMS: She always did well. She did well in her first tournament. She beat three top-10 players in a row and then lost only because she twisted her ankle. There's no doubt she took off like a rocket.

Q. V Starr has been doing exceptionally well. I checked your designs out on the website. When is your next project and what will you be doing?
VENUS WILLIAMS: We're always going for another project. I would love to do a big stadium only because I love sports. We do a lot of commercial work mostly, so we stay busy.

Q. How great was it to have the fan support after all these years? You've been here, done that year after year.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, the fans really got behind me the last two or three years. It definitely feels wonderful to have that support at home. It's what you, you know, hope for when you're playing at home.

Q. Four years ago you withdrew from this tournament. You came back nine months later and said the Olympics were your primary goal. The next Olympics, what do they mean to you in comparison to three and a half years ago? How do you size up the competition?
VENUS WILLIAMS: The Olympics were my dream come true. I believe I'll be a real asset for the team, were I to make it. I'll try to put my best foot forward, up, and down try to get there.

Q. I know Serena says when you're not on the tennis court you never talk tennis. Has she expressed to you in any way the magnitude of what she's on the cusp of achieving?
VENUS WILLIAMS: We don't talk about tennis (smiling.)

Q. Not at all? Even right now? She hasn't said anything at all?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I didn't ask her. I figure she knows what she's doing. I mean, what am I going to tell her? Sometimes it's better not to talk too much and be able to go into a match with a clear head.

You don't need too many people saying different things. Before individual matches we always give each other advice. But, no, maybe I should ask her. I don't know. I think she feels good really. I don't see any signs of her not feeling good.

Q. You said you have good days and bad days with your Sjogren's. Has the nature of that condition evolved at all?
VENUS WILLIAMS: When did I say that?

Q. I think when you were first diagnosed.
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't talk about it that much, so...

Q. Has it changed at all since you've been playing?
VENUS WILLIAMS: You know, I believe that everybody has their challenges. I have mine. I put my best foot forward, whatever foot that is. So left, right, whatever, you know.

So I'm definitely not here to talk about what's wrong or what's not wrong. I see myself in the draw. Everybody's got problems. You get out here and play. If it doesn't work out, you go and work harder or go home. That's it.

Q. Obviously the roof is on its way. Do you see that as a total positive or do you see there's some negatives to a Grand Slam having a roof?
VENUS WILLIAMS: It is a positive. The roof seemed to be born out of some strange storms hitting and extra bad luck. I don't know that a roof is necessary, but it's here. In the case there's bad weather, it will really help out.

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