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June 27, 2016

Venus Williams

London, England

7‑6, 6‑4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. When did you arrive at Wimbledon and how many days on the grass have you had?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I got here on Wednesday, so what is that, five days on the grass, yeah.

Q. Over the weekend, Serena said that when she thinks about the experiences of watching you play, the first match she thinks about and she relishes this memory was you against Lindsay Davenport and how you came back to win that. What are your memories of that match?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I just remember her playing amazing, some of her best tennis. She really wanted to win. So it was a match that I just remember being down the whole match, maybe perhaps even until finally the last game.
So it was wonderful to be a part of something so great and so amazing.

Q. What is your favorite memory of watching Serena play?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. It's hard. No one ever asked me that.
It's hard to watch, too, because I get really nervous, so... That's part of the problem.
I mean, in terms of Wimbledon, I think probably in 2012, I think that was her first major. Was it her first major after coming back from injury?
It was just a great time. We came back for the Olympics, it was just really nice.

Q. Can you talk about today's match. Not an easy opponent to start off a tournament against. What did you think was the key in getting that done in two sets?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I mean, she hit more winners than I did. She seemed to track down every ball that I hit, produced a lot of winners.
When I go out to play my matches, I definitely expect my opponents to play well, so that's kind of a given.
If she can build on that play, you know, that will be very great for her for the rest of the year.

Q. In terms of memories, do you remember when you first came here, your first 'Wow' moment when you saw Wimbledon?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I do remember my first year. It wasn't very fantastic. I was just so nervous. It was tough to play your first time.
But thankfully since then, I was able to handle my nerves a little better. You know, there's nothing like the first time.

Q. Talk about as a young person coming to this great tennis institution.
VENUS WILLIAMS: The first time I played, it rained for five days, so that's pretty much what happened. It was a pretty crazy year.

Q. You mentioned the 2012 Olympics. Obviously Rio is coming up. Many people have spoken about having some doubts with the Zika virus. You and Serena have always been huge Olympic boosters. What are your plans and how are you looking forward?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think, you know, qualify for the Olympics, which has been my goal since the Olympics ended in 2012. That's pretty much where I stand. I guess there are risks. You can take preventive measures. That's what I'll try my best to do.

Q. Are you thinking of playing singles, doubles, mixed? Do you have a schedule in your mind?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think the mixed sign‑in is when you get there. So I imagine it's up to the team captains of both U.S. teams to figure out what that mixed team is. Obviously we're trying to play for gold. So whatever the captains think is what we'll have to do.

Q. Where do you try to find a balance between form and function in fashion? Do you have to tread that line carefully sometimes as a designer?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I've had a lot of fashion adventures, that's for sure. But it's never stopped me on the court. I've been able to play my best. It hasn't been an issue.
The best part is that usually there's a prototype that comes out before the real deal hits the streets, so you can figure out what's working and what isn't.

Q. When you design, is fashion or function the first thing you think about?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Fashion is very important for me, so it always has to be fashionable. But clearly it has to be functional. They go hand‑in‑hand. I wouldn't say one is ahead of the other.
But it's easy to design something functional without being fashionable. It's about challenging yourself to push it a little bit.

Q. Wimbledon is a little different than some of the other places. Most of the players stay in houses or apartments here as opposed to hotels. How does that make your stay at the tournament better? What's the downside of that?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, the first year I came, we didn't know about staying in houses. The next year we kind of got hip to that.
It's just a lot easier. Going back to London is not easy. Traffic, rush hour, all that stuff. Maybe it's part of the Wimbledon tradition. I think it's the same kind of thing at the Masters, too.

Q. Anything that you miss about not being at a hotel?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I miss my dog.

Q. That's an England thing.
VENUS WILLIAMS: I miss that little short guy. I think I could probably get him here somehow.

Q. How is the thigh? Also, talk a little bit about how your post‑match routine has changed over the years.
VENUS WILLIAMS: My thigh, you know, I had it wrapped, yeah.
Then my post‑match routine, I do a lot of stretching. I stretch a lot heavier now because I feel rejuvenated afterwards. So I have a feeling of euphoria from intense stretching. That's about it.

Q. I know you like to stay in the moment. For the fun of it, if you could go back and whisper in the ear of the young Venus Williams, give her a tip or two on how to navigate the world of tennis, what would you say?
VENUS WILLIAMS: That's so interesting because people ask me that question. I don't have any regrets because I've always worked my hardest. I've lost matches, I've learned from it, it made me better.
I really wouldn't change a thing.
Yes, I would have liked to have won matches or hit that one shot differently. But that's competition. You learn from it.

Q. Is there a match that you can recall that you really learned a particularly good amount from?
VENUS WILLIAMS: My last one at the French. You learn every single time. That's the thing, you never stop. You never reach the perfect equation in sports, I don't think, in tennis. There's always a loss around the corner that you've got to learn from.

Q. Now your dad doesn't travel over here. Do you talk much during Wimbledon or does he just leave you alone during the fortnight?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I mean, he's my dad, so of course I talk to him.

Q. Do you talk about the games, tactics, or is the more of friendly dad‑daughter stuff?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Not much. He might say one or two things. More things like, Stay relaxed, something simple. I think that he believes in both Serena and I, that we've put the work in.
He comes on the court at home, but that's about it.

Q. You retain your curiosity about the game, you're engaged. Looking back to 26, would you have thought that you would still be engaged at 36?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I still feel 26, so...
You know, I don't think anyone feels older. You have this infinity inside of you that feels like you could go forever. That's how I feel on the court. As long as I'm halfway decent, can get my racquet on the ball, I think I can make something happen. So far so good.

Q. You were talking about Wimbledon traditions. Two players earlier today were talking about the towels, how popular they are, so many people want them to bring them back. What has been your experience?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I've got a lot at home. Got some since '97. Got some men's towels, too. You can do a barter program, trade 'em up. Black market on towels. No.
But they're very popular. They are very popular. There's something special about the towels. But they're also available in the gift shop. If you're not a player, you can't miss out, you can still get a towel.

Q. You spoke earlier about the Olympics. What does it mean to you to play doubles with Serena? How formidable do you think your partnership would be in Rio?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I mean, we've started playing a few matches. We're back in action, which is great news for us. We'll have a chance to really continue to get better. Our goal is to peak in Rio.
But both of us on the court is a good combination any time.

Q. What is the level of appreciation you have to continue doing this with Serena?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I know. We have to start looking at 2020. That would be impressive. If you think this year's impressive, hold on. That would be a blessing if we did play.
I'm so grateful for each and every time we've had a chance to play and qualify. It's been beyond our dreams. It means the world to us to play together.

Q. There's been a lot of talk about the top female players not at Wimbledon this year, like Ana Ivanovic, Maria Sharapova. How do you think it weakens the game?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Ana Ivanovic is here.

Q. Sharapova then.
VENUS WILLIAMS: You know, there are times when you can't play, whatever the circumstances are. Tennis does go on. You just have to find other things in your life at that moment.
I think anyone who's not playing here, they're either preparing to play or finding other stuff in their life. That's what you've got to do.

Q. You put a video of you practicing with Serena on Instagram. How often do you actually practice doubles?
VENUS WILLIAMS: We make each other better because there's no better hitting partner than Serena. When I play with her, of course, I don't want to miss. Our rallies last for five minutes.
We started practicing a lot more doubles to make up for the time we haven't had a chance to play. Especially when you're constantly playing well, we didn't get a chance to play last year because Serena was really focused on the majors. It was really important for her to save her energy. So it's nice to be back on the court.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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