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January 24, 2017

Venus Williams

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

V. WILLIAMS/A. Pavlyuchenkova

6-4, 7-6

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. It was quite the celebration from you after match point. Can you articulate what it means for you to be back in the semifinals.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Absolutely. To me, the semifinals is a steppingstone, just like the other rounds. It's an opportunity to advance. The tournament is by no means over. It's definitely down to the business end.

I feel like I'm playing the kind of tennis I want to produce the results that I want.

Q. Serena was saying how important the return is, at least in yesterday's match. Was that the case today, as well?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Return is always important. It's just never not important, so... That's all I can say about that.

Q. Was it more important than the service today?
VENUS WILLIAMS: They're both important. The serve is more important than the return, though, always.

Q. An incredible tournament for you and Serena. Sometimes you don't like to go on about the big picture, but could you talk about the incredible impact that you and your sister have made in tennis on and off the court.
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. It's so not on my mind right now. My mind is on this tournament. What am I preparing for tomorrow? What am I going to do on Thursday? Just the excitement of having the opportunity to compete, compete at my best level.

Anything that's happened before is just so, so before. I'm, like, ready for the future, if I can be honest.

Q. Many players in the WTA get fatigued after a while, even retire. What do you think keeps you going for the joy of competition, of performing?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I have a lot to give. I have a lot to give to the game. I feel like I have a lot of great tennis in me. So any time you feel that way, you continue.

Why not? I have nothing to lose, literally.

Q. What can you say about Coco Vandeweghe, who just had that incredible victory?
VENUS WILLIAMS: What a wonderful result. It's a great win for the U.S. To have that thought that there's going to be at least one U.S. player in the final is great for American tennis.

I'm sure she's going to want to be in her first final. I'm going to want to be in only my second final here. So it's going to be a well-contested match.

Q. How does it change that it's the semifinal rounds? Do things change for you in terms of the mindset, clicking in? The stakes get exponentially higher as tournaments go on.
VENUS WILLIAMS: For me, honestly the mindset is different. It depends if you feel like you're playing well, if you feel like you deserve to be there or not.

For me the mindset now is just complete execution of my game. This is the best thing I can do for myself. There's not another option for me other than to do that.

Q. Playing a player like Pavlyuchenkova, she has a lot of power off the ground. You defended well today. Is that something you expect to see in your next match against Coco?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Absolutely. Power is her game, her strength. She's putting the ball in with it. It's awesome to see really. Of course, when you're playing the person, you don't mind if they make a few errors. At this point in the tournament, you can't expect that sort of thing.

Honestly, I play a power game as well. I've been fortunate enough to play good defense and have good movement around the court. Hopefully this will be a plus for me.

Q. At the start of the tournament, after withdrawing from Auckland, there were questions about the health of your arm. As you started the tournament, was there any sense of, Let's see how we go? Were you as confident then as you are sitting here?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Not at all. I had a lot of anxiety coming into this event. More than anything, you know, you don't want to look silly out there, walk out on the court and just not play well because you just aren't prepared.

So definitely not an ideal road to start the year. No matches, withdrawing with injury. It's stressful. Then to be sitting here, I'm like, All right, it's all good.

Q. Speaking of not making a fool of yourself. You hit the one shot, the backhand in the deep corner, went corner-to-corner with it. What possesses you to go for a shot like that at that moment?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm going to have to look back at that. That's literally a shot that my dad teaches. I'm not kidding.

Q. Really?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes. I don't get to hit it that often. It doesn't always make sense to hit it. When I'm set up and I can, then I go.

Q. You have your fashion company. I would imagine you're enjoying your studies. Can you imagine anything more fun than zooming through a Grand Slam tournament?

Q. You have a lot of different interests in your life. Can you imagine anything more fun than just going through a Grand Slam?
VENUS WILLIAMS: How do you go through a Grand Slam tournament? Am I doing that right now?

Q. Yes.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. Living it.

Q. You were in the semis of Wimbledon, now in the semis again after some downtime. What's giving you that drive to improve so much? Is it maybe your eating, with your Sjogren's? Is it getting that done?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Is that improved? Is that considered improved?

Q. The results in the last two years, particularly six months.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, man, I don't know. Just trying to live, trying to live the dream. What can I say? Just trying to live the dream.

I have no exact answer, except I do know how to play tennis, so that's helpful. If you can get the ball in, it's even more helpful. So those couple of things help a lot.

Q. Do you believe you can win the tournament?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Why shouldn't I? I try to believe. Should I look across the net and believe the person across the net deserves it more? This mentality is not how champions are made. I'd like to be a champion, in particular this year. The mentality I walk on court with is: I deserve this.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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