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July 5, 2016

Venus Williams

London, England

V. WILLIAMS/Y. Shvedova
7‑6, 6‑2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How would you describe your game today compared to the last two or three that you have played so far?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Every game is different, so I don't necessarily compare them. Different day, different conditions, different player.
So, I mean, every day that I'm able to have a victory is a day that I can build on.

Q. On two occasions I would say you could have challenged the call, but you did not, especially in the tiebreak.
VENUS WILLIAMS: I honestly don't even remember any of those points. I do the best I can.

Q. Obviously you've been to these rounds many times before, but it's been a while, six years since the last Grand Slam semi. Does it feel like a breakthrough to get to the last four?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, semifinals feels good. But it doesn't feel foreign at all, let's put it that way.

Q. Given how long it's been, how would you describe your road to getting back here?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, the road was six years. They go by fast thankfully. But I've been blessed, been really blessed, to have an opportunity to be here, have had an opportunity in the past to do this.
I don't have any regrets about anything that's taken place in between. It's been a journey, but it's made me stronger.

Q. What about your belief during that time? What were the challenges to your belief that you would be back?
VENUS WILLIAMS: The good part is I always felt like I had the game. This is always a plus, when you know you have the game. So you just have to keep working until things fall into place.
It's never a given. Everyone plays well. I mean, today, she played so well. There were so many times we were dead even. It's never a given. She could have easily won that match, as well. So just grateful.

Q. How do you think you're playing now compared to six years ago?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't remember. Six years ago is ages ago (laughter).
Like I said the other day, I think I was most likely kicking butt six years ago if I was in the semis or the finals. You have to be. This year as well. Just getting through, no matter what, playing tough.
It's always got to be like that as you advance in the further rounds.

Q. You used to be in so many semifinals. Does it feel much sweeter this time, given you've had to wait so long?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Of course, it feels great. But at the same time all those other semifinals helped me to have the experience to be in this semifinal. So I needed those experiences. It just all adds up.

Q. When you had your physical problem, many people said, She's had a fabulous career, and that's it. Then you've gone on this incredible journey. What has been the most difficult part of the journey and what have you learned the most?
VENUS WILLIAMS: The most difficult part of the journey is just not being in control because when you're an athlete, you're used to being in control, being able to work for anything. Not being able to do that is a challenge.
Also it was a relief for me to know, you know, what was wrong with me because I hadn't felt well in a while. That was, Okay, I'm not crazy. So that was a good moment.
This has been my life. What can I say? I wouldn't wish it any other way. It's been my life. It's been a beautiful life. It's been a great experience. It's been everything.

Q. What have you learned through these past years when you've been dealing with everything? What's really the takeaway?
VENUS WILLIAMS: It's hard to say just one lesson. It's easy to be afraid. You have to let fear go. Another lesson is you just have to believe in yourself, you just have to. There's no way around it. You've got to believe in yourself. No matter how things are stacked against you, you just have to every time.

Q. Obviously you're playing Kerber next. How does that work, will you talk with Serena next, with a coach, not anybody at all?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, we always encourage each other before the match. I feel sometimes at times, Well, maybe she doesn't need to know what I might think because she's so successful. Other sometimes I'm like, I don't want to throw her off, she might play the match the way I would.
Everybody plays the match a little different because we're all different players. I always want her to go out there and play her best match, not necessarily how I would play it.
We try to, I guess, find that balance of supporting each other but not brainwashing each other.

Q. With you and Serena both at this stage in the singles competition, what are your thoughts about doubles?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, my thoughts are that we're going on fourth match on Court 3, one of those courts, so I got to get ready.

Q. How does that blend with your singles? How does that work to help or add an extra burden to your singles?
VENUS WILLIAMS: The schedule's challenging. I won't deny. Especially with the weather, that sort of thing. Thankfully it's been better. We love the doubles. There's been so many doubles titles. That's been very special for us. It's been very hard not to be able to play the doubles.
We're going to give it everything we got.

Q. Was there ever any kind of thought of retiring at any point while it was at its most difficult?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Retiring is the easy way out. I don't have time for easy. Tennis is just hard.

Q. It's noticeable that you use words like 'blessed,' you speak about your illness. Were you never angry, did you never feel robbed, what you would have been able to achieve in these intervening years if you had not been ill?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I don't think about that because you can't change what happens. It could have happened differently, but it didn't.

Q. A few years ago you said that you would never expect to be playing tennis being 35 years old, still in the pro career. If someone would tell you you'd be still playing being 40 in the pro tennis, do you think it's feasible or not?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, you have to understand that 21‑year‑olds are foolish. I didn't think I was going to be here at 36. Now, if I'm here at 46, I will say that 46‑year‑olds are foolish.
I don't think I'll be here, but we'll see.

Q. As everyone keeps mentioning, it was six years ago since you last got to this stage. Is there anything about your training or diet that you've changed over the years to ensure you're at the top of the game? What do you think has helped you get this far?
VENUS WILLIAMS: By God, let's see, today was 74% first serves. That helps. You know, a couple errors from your opponent helps.
There's no magic formula. Everyone's playing well. Even the times I lose, I'm not always playing badly. But you just have to take your moments when you get them.

Q. In terms of your training and fitness in between matches, any new routines you've taken on?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm always trying to peak. I don't know that I found the secret, but I'm trying.

Q. With everything that's gone on, if this was Hollywood, you'd go on and win. How easy is it going to make that reality?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Like that movie 'Wimbledon'. Real life is what Hollywood is based off of. So, hey, let's do it.

Q. Seven of the men in the top 10 are married, four of them have children. None of the women in the top 10 are married or have children. Not that you need to. But I was wondering, how much harder is it for a female to have a balanced life, to do those other things that you might want?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I heard being married is tough (smiling). Have to stick around, be supportive, listen. It seems really hard (laughter).
Everybody does it at some point, I guess. So for the guys, maybe they have it harder in the top 10, I don't know. Everybody's life is different. I can't say. I don't know.

Q. How much of Serena's match did you watch today before coming in here? What does it add for you that both of you are in the semifinals here?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I got to see some of her match. She's just playing the big points really well. That's what you want. When it's time to step up, you just constantly put your foot over the line. That's what she's doing.
Of course, this is great for both of us. But when you're a player, you're so focused on the next match, and that's what we're both focused on.

Q. You mentioned about not being in control, finding that the hardest thing. Are you able to be more in control now than you were back then?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I guess. Yeah, it's interesting, life.

Q. Aside from your height and size, which is a great asset, what do you feel are your one or two best qualities as a player?
VENUS WILLIAMS: To reach the highest level, just the belief that you ought to be the one. Just the passion to fight. In any sport you see it. Somehow these athletes, we all figure out how to make a play.

Q. When did you first get that feeling that you could do it?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think when I was playing my dad in the '80s. It was like '88 at Compton Park. Probably then.

Q. Did you beat him?

Q. Have you spoken to Serena at all about playing each other or given it any thought? Obviously you're focusing on the next match.
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, we don't really talk about that because we are focused on the next match. Even though we both won today, our opponents played really well. We actually have to get out there and play well to win. So it's very focused.
We get out there and we're focused on that moment because we have to be. So the talk about what could happen is not as important as what's happening in that round.

Q. How big a threat is Angelique Kerber?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Obviously she's been in this position before. Playing well, presumably. She knows how to play on the grass. She's got to be another opponent that I have to figure out how to get a lot of balls in.

Q. Angelique beat your sister in the final at the Australian Open. What do you recall from that match and what is the challenge for you in facing her now?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, clearly it was one of her best days on the court. That's what people remember. When you become the champion, they remember your best day. That was her best day.
I imagine that she will try to recreate that. Who wouldn't?

Q. With your busy schedule on tour, how do you find time to take care of your different charities, especially the ones in the developing world, Africa? Do you have somebody in charge?
VENUS WILLIAMS: There's so many opportunities to be charitable. That's a wonderful, wonderful part. The sad part is there's not enough time because I'm constantly on the road.
I think once I have more time, that will be one of my main focuses.

Q. The youngest player in the semifinal is 28. Is it a coincidence, or has the game changed in a positive way for the more experienced players?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't think it's a coincidence really because once one or two players start playing longer, other players realize, Oh, wow, I can too. Really it's an opportunity, because at that point you have the experience, you've learned a lot. You really can use that to be better.
So it's great that tennis players are playing longer because that's exactly when you should peak actually.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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