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July 3, 2017

Venus Williams

Wimbledon, London, England

V. WILLIAMS/E. Mertens

7-6, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Can you describe your feelings being back at Wimbledon after still a very tough period.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, this is my 20th Wimbledon. I never thought that I'd play this many. But I'm grateful to be here and to play. I love the game.

Q. How difficult has it been, the last couple weeks, for you?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Definitely, you know, tennis is still the love of my life. You know, it gives me joy. That's what I can say.

Q. How good was Elise today compared to the match you played against her at Roland Garros?
VENUS WILLIAMS: This is a completely different surface, so today she had opportunities to take chances. She played at such a high level. If she can maintain that level, she can win a lot of titles.

There were times where I thought the match was over, and it wasn't. So it was a lot of credit to, like, her playing amazing.

Q. Did she surprise you, certain aspects?
VENUS WILLIAMS: You know, I don't think so much about my opponent as much as I'm thinking about maybe my performance, so...

Q. How would you describe your emotions of the last month, all the way through being here today?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, today walking on the court, I love it here, so it's always a feeling of coming back home. It's a special time of year.

Q. And your emotions before you got here over the last month?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I've definitely played a lot of tennis. It's a good thing to be on the court.

Q. Were you asked to change the pink bra, and did that bother you?
VENUS WILLIAMS: What pink bra? I don't like talking about bras in press conferences. It's weird.

Q. Undergarments, it's in the Wimbledon rules. Were you asked to change it?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, so I don't want to talk about undergarments. It's kind of awkward for me. I'll leave that to you. You can talk about it with your friends. I'm going to pass.

Q. You had your great run in Melbourne. You spoke about the simple life, a dog, love playing tennis. Out of nowhere the incident occurred in Florida. Can you talk about dealing with how life gives you the inexplicable changes, curve balls, how you've been dealing with that yourself, if you would.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, life, you can't prepare for everything. I prepared for a lot of matches, tried to get ready for whatever my opponent will throw at you, but you can't prepare for everything.

Q. Do you think having gone through all the things you have, both mentally and physically, that will help you deal with this situation when you're just trying to be a tennis player?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I have no idea what tomorrow will bring. That's all I can say about it. That's what I've learned.

Q. I saw that you wrote on your Facebook some very heartfelt words about the accident. Anything else you would want to say about that?
VENUS WILLIAMS: There are really no words to describe, like, how devastating and -- yeah. I'm completely speechless. It's just -- yeah, I mean, I'm just... (tearing up.)

THE MODERATOR: Before we take any further questions for Venus, please be aware she's unable to say anything more about this, so I'd ask you to respect her wishes, please. Can we just give her a minute, please.

Do you want to take a minute outside? Shall we?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Maybe I should go.


(Venus Williams exits the interview room.)

THE MODERATOR: Venus is willing to take a couple more questions about other things, tennis perhaps.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about how you felt the match went today. It seemed like there was points where it was pretty tough for you, five set points, five match points.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I mean, it wasn't easy to convert the last points. She played her best tennis there. You know, it's never over until it's over. The last point was nice to end it without, you know, something happening.

Q. Does that make you stronger going ahead to the next matches, having to fight for that?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I mean, I don't mind a few breaks, 6-2, 6-2. People like that. It's a thing.

Q. Venus, when you talk about your love for Wimbledon, you've had great success here throughout the years. When you come here, do you feel, more than any other Grand Slam tournament, that you have a better chance to win or at least go very far?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think I feel definitely very comfortable here. I like the surface. That helps me a lot. I mean, I love all the surfaces. I've never been preferential. I only get to play on grass once a year, so it's not like you get to practice on it. It's like you sprint or not.

Q. Does being back in the tennis world heal those wounds you feel at the moment or not?
THE MODERATOR: I think we'll come over here.

Q. You're going to be an auntie very soon. How is it playing without your sister this year?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I miss her a lot. I think she misses me.

THE MODERATOR: I think we're done.


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