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July 13, 2017

Venus Williams

Wimbledon, London, England


6-4, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. When you're breakpoint down, you hit your first serve long, where does the instinct to hit a 106 mile-an-hour second serve come from?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm just out there competing. I try to produce whatever I need at that time. There's, like, no plan or anything like that. I don't plan. I'm just trying to compete.

Q. Given the way Johanna has played this tournament, do you think she could go on to be a Wimbledon champion?
VENUS WILLIAMS: She played an amazing tournament. She showed a lot of courage, played in tough situations against players who were in form. I feel like she wants these majors, she'll have an opportunity.

She's played some amazing matches against me, as well. They were all well-contested, and today was, too.

Q. After announcing you had Sjogren's and things weren't going well, here you are back in your second final of a Grand Slam this year, could you reflect on that, where you were, where you are now.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, yeah. There were definitely some issues. I had a lot of issues. This year has been amazing in terms of my play, playing deep into the big events actually. Of course, I'm excited about being again in another final. Try to take it a step further.

Yeah, I just am still focused, I guess, on this next match.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about obviously you're the Williams standing here, having that responsibility on your own. And also, will you talk to Serena about Garbine since she played her last time she was in the final?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, Serena did play her in a final. I don't know when that happened. I definitely will ask her. I'm sure she's going to give me hopefully some things that will make a difference for me in the match.

I don't remember the other part of the question.

Q. About being the Williams here.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I miss her so much. Even more yesterday and today. I try to take the same courage on the court that she would have. I did think of that. I tried to do the things she would do.

I don't know that I play exactly the same way she does. But I really tried to be inspired by it.

Q. You seem very emotional. Is this an emotional step for you, being in the final again here?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I feel very focused still. There's still a lot to be done. I have one more match that I'd like to, you know, be the winner of. I have to go out there and take it and play well.

But I like to take courage in the fact that I've been playing well this tournament and this year, and all these moments have led to this.

Q. People who know you and love you talk about your incredible belief in yourself. Talk about that. Where did that come from? Is that a big strength for you as a person and a tennis player?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. For me it's just about betting on myself every time. When I look across the net, I don't think it's the right mentality to believe in that person more than me. It doesn't mean that I've won every time, but I've tried to give myself the best chance no matter what the circumstances were.

Q. When you're out on the court, perhaps your most expressive moments are after a match when you wave. What do you recall about when you first started doing that, who it was aimed at, and what you were thinking?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think the wave is just to acknowledge the crowd. All the players do that. If you've won a match, it's definitely an expression of, a moment of, Okay, now I can relax.

Even though this is entertainment, for the players it's complete and pure focus. You don't see anything or hear anything except the ball and what's going on in your head.

Yeah, that wave is finally a moment of, I can enjoy this moment before I go off the court.

Q. Talk about your ups and downs, and if persistence is one of the factors with you being so successful.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, there's definitely a lot of ups and downs. I just try to hold my head up high, no matter what is happening in life.

In sport especially, you have injuries. You have illnesses. You're not going to be always playing 100%. If I decide to walk out on the court, I try to just compete that day. That's what I try to do.

Q. How much are you able to, when you're hitting 106 mile-per-hour serves or other shots, how much are you able to appreciate it in the moment? Do you have to stay focused? You're playing some of your best tennis in a long time. I hope you can notice that, too.
VENUS WILLIAMS: I mean, at those points it's like, Well, the game isn't over yet, got to still hold serve.

I don't know what to say about that. I just want to win the point (laughter). I hope that I can have more of that in the final, honestly.

Q. There seem to be some comparisons or similarities between what Federer is doing on the men's side, and you: age, you're both healthy, being in the Australian and Wimbledon final. He talked about that coming a lot from confidence, playing loose and carefree. How much of that is true for you? Do you all talk at all?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I'm not sure exactly what his experience has been. Mine may have been a little bit different than his.

But obviously you can play this game for a while if you love it, you put in the work and stay healthy. So those are definitely similarities.

Q. In terms of the history of this tournament specifically, who are some of the players that you grew up watching and idolizing? How have you continued to draw inspiration from them?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I definitely grew up watching Becker and Edberg. I remember that specifically. Obviously Graf. Was definitely a huge Seles fan. I really enjoyed watching her. The year, too, that Zina got to the final is amazing. So those are my memories.

Q. You seem to be an evergreen. Do you feel you're playing the best tennis you ever played?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I've played some good tennis in different points of my life. I think it's wonderful to have the opportunity to play well and to be strong and have experience. So I think experience can either work against you or for you. I like to think it's working for me.

Q. May I ask you why you talk so softly, like you are not enthusiastic about what you have done? We have seen you so many times smiling, waving, excited. You don't seem to be. I'd like to know why.
VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm definitely in the position I want to be in. It's a long two weeks. Now, you know, knocking on the door for a title. This is where I want to be.

So I'm definitely excited. But it's, like, you know, there's still more to happen. I'm still very focused.

Q. Do you recall your very first match here 20 years ago? Will the nerves and emotions be much different on Saturday?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I think I was so nervous in my first match here, it was a total disaster. Poor young V. But definitely come up since that time.

I don't think I could ever be that nervous. Also I know how to handle it a lot better. There's moments where maybe you aren't as relaxed as other moments, but it's about handling it.

Q. You spoke of watching Boris Becker. What did you specifically like about Boris when you used to watch him?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I loved his serve. He was playing big. I loved that. I was really young, so I don't know if I had the focus to like really focus on the whole match. But I just liked how big he played.

Q. What was the atmosphere like out there for you? How did it compare to years past?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I mean, walking out there, I knew that I was playing against the home player, that maybe the crowd could get really loud. But I think the crowd really supported her. I thought the crowd was really, really grateful for the great tennis.

I didn't feel like, you know, they were against me. I just felt like they were for her, that they enjoyed the match. They tried to get her up. It was, like, a really nice atmosphere.

Q. When your opponent double-faults on her very first serve, do you think, Uh-oh, she's nervous? Or does it make no difference to you at all?
VENUS WILLIAMS: What happened?

Q. I think that happened in the second set, her very first service of the match, sorry.
VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm not one of those players that remembers all the plays. I'm sorry. I wish I was. Sorry.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about playing Garbine on Saturday, what you think she might do, what you might have to do.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, you know, we played a number of matches. I don't know how many. But we definitely have played. I've never played her on grass, so that becomes definitely a different factor. I'll have to see what's working. I'll want to try to continue to play like I have in all these matches that I've played so far.

I haven't really seen her matches, honestly. Even this last one before I didn't see. I'm not sure exactly what she's doing. I'll have to see what happens in the final.

Q. You've talked about getting into this Wimbledon bubble by yourself, being internal. Do you enjoy that process? Is it a growth experience for you?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Of being in a bubble?

Q. Well, just having quiet when you're here at Wimbledon, a focus.
VENUS WILLIAMS: I mean, it's definitely -- I don't know. I just try to play and just try to win. I don't necessarily think about quiet or focus. I mean, it's nice because you're actually in the village of Wimbledon. You're not having to travel back and forth long ways. In that sense, you're like in the bubble of the whole Wimbledon spirit, all that stuff.

Q. In the past we're used to seeing you fly around the net here at Wimbledon. That's really the way you got the five titles before. Here it's been a little bit more of some grinding baseline work. Is that an adjustment because of the way the game has progressed? Is that an adjustment in your game? Is it because the opponents are who you've been playing?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, honestly outside of maybe the quarterfinals, I've played really big servers every match. So there hasn't been a ton of time to get to the net.

If I have an opportunity, I'll get in. I feel like I'm just adjusting to whatever I need to do at that moment in the match. Points have been quick.

Q. Your performance in the second set, was that as good as you ever played?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I mean, in the second set, I didn't really know what to expect because the first set was so well-contested. I didn't know what was going to happen except that I was going to try to make the gap bigger. The gap did get bigger. That was better luck for me today.

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