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July 1, 2016

Venus Williams

London, England

V. WILLIAMS/D. Kasatkina
7‑5, 4‑6, 10‑8

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How would you describe your day and the result?
VENUS WILLIAMS: My word, what a lot of rain delays. You know, you never know what to expect. Obviously my opponent and I, we were playing under the same conditions.
I can't say that I've ever had a rain delay at match point. Probably not ideal. She handled it well. She played smart.
It was just, I guess, non‑stop action. It was like a Hollywood script.

Q. What is your feeling about what you accomplished today?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I mean, at the end, the goal is to be at the net shaking hands the winner. So however you get that done is usually how you get it done. I just want to continue to play as well as I can as every round progresses.
She's a quality player. She played amazing. That was definitely my biggest problem outside of the rain, was her play.

Q. How hungry are you to win another slam title at this point?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Of course, I want to win. There's 128 people in this draw who theoretically are here to win. But you have to do the right things at the right time. That's what I'm trying to do. I'm trying to push myself to be right there.

Q. Does the hunger to win get more intense as each one goes along, as each year passes?
VENUS WILLIAMS: It's always the same, I guess. I mean, the players, we all do so much work. You do so much work. So, of course, you want to win. You want to see your work pay off.
I'm not the only one out here who's put in the work.

Q. What did go through your mind when it started on that match point? It was like a Hollywood script in a way.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, there was honestly such a roar in the crowd. I thought, Did someone faint? Are there rats in the stadium?
That actually happened to me once, there was a rat in the stadium. I didn't know what was happening.
All of a sudden the rain came. I thought, Really?
But I felt really confident coming back out at match point. I felt like I could take it. But she played too well.

Q. I was wondering what being able to play at Wimbledon, having had so much success here, means to you? Would you have any advice for kids to come and actually visit if they've never been to Wimbledon, as well?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I mean, obviously if you have a chance to come to Wimbledon, it can be inspiring. What I always tell kids is I was really fortunate. I had a great team, my whole family, supporting me.
Sometimes you aren't born with that team, but you have to get one around you, get people who are positive and who are there on your side. I always tell people, Build a good team.

Q. Is it typical to have the ebbs and flows that you had during the match with your serve? When you're playing twice in 24 hours, is that what happens?
VENUS WILLIAMS: That was thrice in 24 hours. I don't know, I'm out there trying to do whatever I can. Sometimes it's not perfect. I wish I could be perfect every time.
I try to do more of the good ones and learn from the bad ones.

Q. How different was it for you during the 70‑minute wait knowing you might only be coming back out for one point? What did you chat about with your coach?
VENUS WILLIAMS: It didn't feel like 70 minutes. It didn't feel like that long. I felt confident. I felt like I could do it. When it didn't happen, I was like, I just had to start. I really just wanted to return serve in the warmup the whole time. I didn't want to hit any serves. I thought, Just in case. But I felt very confident.
She played a good match. She didn't let down.

Q. Do you take extra pride when you and Serena come through matches like you did today? She won just a few minutes after you. Is there extra happiness in the Williams' household tonight?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, of course I want to see her come through, and she wants to see me come through. So it's all good vibes when both of us have gotten a win.
When one of us has lost, of course there's a sense of loss amongst ourselves and our team. Obviously we're playing doubles the next day, too. You have to, like, get your mind back together so you can hopefully lead the team to another win. That's kind of a unique thing between us.

Q. You said you didn't know what was happening as the rain came down. Did you actually feel the rain or were you so wrapped up in the match point that nothing else mattered?
VENUS WILLIAMS: There was no rain. The crowd was just in an uproar. I didn't understand what was happening. The rain didn't come until quite a few seconds later. She and I were both like, What is going on here? She handled it well.

Q. Can you be satisfied with getting back to the top 10 as opposed to winning a slam? Is it a mutually exclusive kind of thing?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, of course it's nicer to be in the top 10 than not. So, yeah, that's good (smiling). I want to keep going. I don't just want to be in the top 10 or the top 8. I'd like to continue and I'd like to win majors.
But there's a lot of people ahead of me, seven girls ahead of me and thousands behind me that want the same thing. So every day is, like, focus.

Q. Did you see your mom after? How did she handle?
VENUS WILLIAMS: It's all too much. It's easier to play than to watch. Watching, it's horrible, I think.

Q. Do you think with that level of drama and entertainment, the schedulers might think again before they put you on Court18 again?
VENUS WILLIAMS: To clarify, I don't mind where I'm put. I've never had an issue with where I played. I've never once, to any tournament, had any complaints on my court scheduling. That was never my issue.

Q. But you want it to be equal between the men and the women?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Equal between the men and women is what all the women would like. The All England Club is an amazing place, such a wonderful history of women playing alongside the men since the 1800s. So much has happened here. Just want to see continual positive things happen for the women here.

Q. How would you describe the physical and emotional ups and downs of this match?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I felt very focused. I mean, in the first set I was up 5‑1, then it was 5‑All. You have to think, The rain delay worked better for her. I'm coming back serving at 15‑30, not ideal.
But, you know, it's intense. I think I've had enough experience to handle it well, don't lose my head too much. But certainly not the easiest of circumstances.

Q. Of all that you've gone through the last couple of years in trying to get back to the stage where you want to be, what is your feeling right now about the status of your game and getting into that second week of Wimbledon?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I just want to get better. When you're an athlete, 'great' is still not enough. You want to be extraordinary and perfect. If you don't reach that, you're not happy. I think every athlete here would say that ‑ the serious ones, at least.

Q. You mentioned the history here. You've had a couple of decades in the sport now. Just wondering what you think, as someone who is conscious about those sorts of issues, about equality, what do you think the general arc of progress has been over the period of time you've been in this world?
VENUS WILLIAMS: When I started, there wasn't equal prize money in the majors, so that's been a difference. You see the struggle in other sports outside of women's tennis. You see the struggle in the secular world.
So what we're doing here parallels everything in life. There is always some sort of unequality [sic], but there's also people that want to stand up and speak their voice and fight for what's right.

Q. Are you an optimist about these sorts of things or a pessimist?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm always an optimist about everything. I think people around the world love Wimbledon. The players love Wimbledon. It's a wonderful place. So you feel positive about being here. There's so many positives.
To focus on one thing that's not as positive is not our focus. The focus is to, you know, make everything perfect.

Q. Was there a moment in your career when you went from being kind of young and innocent, to being aware of the politics of tennis and trying to make a difference in them?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think I first went on the Player Council in '98 and have been on ever since. It's been a long season for me. Hopefully the players will keep wanting me to serve on the Player Council. You do have to get voted on. Hopefully they will still want me there.

Q. Sam Querrey is up a set over Djokovic, and 5‑1 in the second set. What advice would you give to him?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Keep fighting. Querrey is American. Of course, there's a part of me that wants to see him do well. There's a part of me, too, that likes to see champions win, because I know what it's like to be out there. People come out and play their best against you every time. There's no room for breathing.
So I understand what he's going through.

Q. You just said athletes just don't want to be great, they want to be extraordinary. Many people would say you've had an extraordinary career on and off the court. What do you say?
VENUS WILLIAMS: It's been a blessed life, a charmed life. It could have been anyone, but it was me. More than anything, outside of being successful, that sort of thing, is that I've been blessed to live my dream and do what I wanted to do. Not everyone has that opportunity.
So that really is what it's about. I've lived my dream. I've been fortunate enough to achieve the things I've wanted to do, but I've had a chance to do so.

Q. It's been worth being away from friends, family and your dog?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, it's worth having no life (laughter). Everybody's got to sacrifice, right? That one's mine.

Q. What role has your experience at Wimbledon played in your living that dream?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Clearly whenever I get out there and play, everyone is talking about, She won this Wimbledon, that Wimbledon. It's played a big role in terms of, I guess, how I would be remembered in tennis history, yeah.

Q. What does that mean to you?
VENUS WILLIAMS: It means that I'm trying to add to that. That's what that means right now. I think I'll have a lot more perspective on that when I'm done and I'm watching on TV. I could say, Wow, I won there.

Q. Do you think you're ready to win this tournament next week?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah! Bring it! Of course, I want to win, but I got to beat some people before then. So let me try. Let me try.
Of course, when I walk out there, I'm betting on myself every single time. That's what I have to do.

Q. How is your workload having doubles as well as the singles, the rain delays? At the midway point almost in this tournament, what are your thoughts on the burden of all of it to get to where you want to be?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, if it wouldn't rain, it would be a lot easier, but it's going to rain. I mean, we had some very challenging circumstances at the French Open as well. We want to play the doubles, and that's important to us. As long as we can get out there and do it, we will deal with the challenges.

Q. Your thoughts on your next opponent, Carla? I don't think you've played her on grass before. What do you think that match will involve?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think I did play her on grass once. Wait a minute. Don't remember much. But I think it was on Centre.
Different day, different year. I got to go out there and go for broke again.

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