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May 17, 2017

Venus Williams

Rome, Italy

V. WILLIAMS/L. Tsurenko

6-4, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. What's your opinion about the draw? Sharapova is out. Kerber is out. Your next round is against Konta.
VENUS WILLIAMS: No big opinion about the draw, because if you don't win your match, then you're not playing. So my goal is to win on my court and then do that again the next day, so it's pretty simple.

Q. You've got Jo next and you've played some pretty epic matches. What are your thoughts about facing her on clay, which is not particularly her best surface?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Obviously she's won a match here. Very competitive. So I have never played her on clay. I don't know really what to expect. I will try to continue to execute my game and, you know, do my best.

Q. You had some issues with the court; is that right?
VENUS WILLIAMS: The court was good. It was just a little sticky on the sides, so once they swept the court, it was fine.

Q. So nothing in particular?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, it played well for me.

Q. How do you assess your performances, the two you have had here so far? Are you happy with the way you're playing? It's been two straight matches and something where you have been able to conserve some energy. That must be something you're pleased with, right?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, on the clay, the points can be very unexpected and you can sometimes lose a point that you thought you won.

All the courts will play a little bit differently, so you just -- it's just so many variables. I have a lot of experience on the clay. I think that helps a little bit.

But I thought my opponent played really well. She's so consistent, super competitive, took her opportunities. It was nice to get a win against an opponent who is playing well.

Q. You had a couple of weeks without competition. How do you keep yourself fresh? You have been doing this for a long time. How do you keep yourself fresh? Have you sort of mastered that skill of clicking into competition gear, or is it something like first match, second match, still takes me a while to find my feet, especially on the red clay?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, the first couple of matches I am still kicking into competition, but I have always been a fast starter. I think I have had to be because I have never played as much as other players or in general. When I come to play, I've got to be ready to play or else, you know, I'm not going to get a lot of chances.

So, yeah, mentally I am prepared to at least try to be in the tournament.

Q. What does it excite you the most? Being one of the possible next slam winner or that soon you will be called Aunt Venus?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, my God. (Laughter.) It's all exciting. I mean, it's so interesting because when you play this kind of, when you live the life of a professional athlete, you feel forever young.

You never feel like you're going to do things that are, like, adult. Now that adult things are happening, I'm like, Oh, my God, life is really real (smiling). I can't even imagine what it's going to feel like, really.

Q. (Off microphone.)
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I mean, I have three nieces and nephews, but they came when I was really young. So I didn't have a chance to be, you know, an adult and to take care of them. I was really young; they were really young.

Now I'm 36 years old, and here is the first niece and nephew as an adult. It's going to be interesting.

Q. I have two brothers. I'm asking you, like, feeling the situation, your younger sister is getting married, is pregnant. Does that bring you any kind of pressure?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, definitely not. I think it makes you think about life, but things happen in their own time. I think she's excited about that part of her life, but also, she's really excited to continue being a tennis player and an athlete. So we will be back on tour together.

Yes, it's interesting. It's really interesting.

Q. Has she expressed to you any thoughts about coming back after having the baby?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, she has.

Q. What did she say?
VENUS WILLIAMS: You have to ask her (smiling).

Q. If I did ask her, what would she say?

No, I always keep my mouth shut.

Q. I mean, as you say, you're 36. Do you feel 36 or do you feel, you know, as young and fit as you did before when you're playing some of your best tennis for quite a long time now?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I don't feel 36, which is -- I mean, 36 is quite young still, but in sports it's not.

But I feel like when I step on the court, I always control the match. So if this is what 36 is, then I welcome it, and I welcome the next years, as well.

Q. What are you looking for to most being an aunt?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I guess spoiling the kid and making Serena's job harder (smiling).

Q. And in what way?
VENUS WILLIAMS: That's what she did with my dog, so I'm going to return the favor.

Q. In what way making it harder?
VENUS WILLIAMS: You know, let the baby sleep in my bed, give the baby candy and sugars, let it do whatever it wants. Then send the baby home. Yeah.

No, that would be awful, but that's not a good plan. She would never let me keep it. If she raises the baby, anyway, that we were growing up, it will be very disciplined and thoughtful.

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