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OLYMPIC GAMES RIO 2016: TENNIS


August 14, 2016


Rajeev Ram

Venus Williams


Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

MATTEK‑SANDS ‑ SOCK/Williams Ram
6‑7, 6‑1, 10‑7


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Venus, what is it like having five Olympic medals, particularly with how you started out this event? Raj, also you were a last‑minute onto the team, now you're taking home a medal. How special is that?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, wow, we've been here for two weeks.
RAJEEV RAM: How about that?
VENUS WILLIAMS: It's been an amazing partnership. We really couldn't have asked for more. I mean, we would have wanted to win gold, but we played a real good match. We faced a lot of great opponents. It's nice to be sitting right where we are.
RAJEEV RAM: Yeah, for me, obviously, like you said, it wasn't something I thought was going to happen just a few weeks ago.
When the draw came out, when I knew I was going to get a chance to play with Venus, I thought our chances were pretty good to do well here. We fought through some difficult matches and put ourselves in a pretty good position today. Unfortunately came up on the short end.
But very happy and proud of what we were able to do.

Q. Raj, what were you doing exactly three weeks ago when you got the call?
RAJEEV RAM: I was being a normal tennis player. I was playing in Toronto. Just lost. Was about to fly to Atlanta for the next tournament, just like everybody else. That's when they said that, you know, I had a spot on the team if I wanted it.

Q. And no hesitation?
RAJEEV RAM: No. You know, Olympics is something that comes around once every four years. Atlanta comes around a lot. So I was happy to skip that one.

Q. Venus, how do you balance sort of the excitement of winning another medal, a fifth medal, and probably the disappointment of not winning that gold? Also, just reflect on your Olympic history. This is a fifth Games for you. Quite an accomplishment.
VENUS WILLIAMS: You go into the match trying to win it. You never know if you're going to be able to cross that line. So I really feel just excited that we played really well the whole tournament. I'm excited that we had chances. We put ourselves in a position to win that match, and you can't ask for more.
You know, it's been an amazing experience, five Olympics for me. It's surreal every time I think about that I even came out with any hardware at all. It's so well‑contested, these matches, every single one.

Q. Venus, talking about hardware. When you take this fifth medal home, where do you put them? Where do you keep the Olympic medals as distinct from all the gazillion others?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I know. I never tell where I keep them, so... That's always my secret.

Q. Venus, you have such perspective on Olympic Games. These Games, there were a lot of questions about Ryan Lochte. Can you elaborate what your Olympic experience has been like here?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I haven't really seen any news. I don't really watch the news, so...
Whatever it is, I know we athletes, we train hard. We fight hard. The Olympics are an emotional moment. So whatever it is ‑ win, lose or draw ‑ it's emotional.

Q. Where do you think, at the end of your career, not to rank it, but where will you put the Olympic medals in your mind?
VENUS WILLIAMS: The Olympics has been so unreal for tennis. All I can say is that it's been beyond my dreams. It's been beyond my dreams. There's no way to prepare for it. There's so much pressure. When you can cross the line in any sort of way, it feels great.

Q. Venus, when you left London last time, you were already talking about Rio. Is it too farfetched or anything for you to contemplate Tokyo?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I mean, God willing. I imagine if I really wanted to be there I could. So Tokyo is about if I want to be there and if I want to continue to work this hard. It's a lot of hard work. So I'm going to have to want to do the work.
So we'll see.

Q. Raj, where does this rank for you and can you put it in perspective of what you've done in your career?
RAJEEV RAM: Yeah, I mean, tennis is a slightly different sport to most others in that we don't play team events ever. So just to be on a team and play for your country, play for something bigger than yourself is special. And then obviously to win a medal, it's right up there with anything else I've done. It's so different. The emotions are different, the pressure's different.
I would say the experience, being part of it, was great. Winning a medal is right up there with anything else I've done.

Q. Raj, given that your hometown has been so phenomenal in so many sports over the years, how meaningful is it to you?
RAJEEV RAM: It's great. I'm proud of where I come from, for sure. Not many tennis players from the area. Definitely happy to represent my city and the sport, come home with a medal.
It's great. It's nice to be part of a community that supports athletics so well.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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