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August 7, 2017

Venus Williams

Toronto, Ontario, Canada


6-1, 3-6, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Venus, you had the seventh game of the third set there, back and forth battle, saving break points, having break points against. Moments like this, especially at this point of your career, does it make you kind of appreciate it that much more, especially when you come through with a big win like you did tonight?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Pretty much I want to win those moments. Obviously, you know, you regroup. If you don't... I came up with some good shots, but then she came up with some good shots too.

So I'm hoping to maybe play a more streamlined match next round, I hope.

Q. I mean, there aren't too many things that you can say that you have done for the first time in your career. So how does it feel tonight to get your first win in Toronto?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, it was looking shaky. I've got to figure out how to play my best tennis here. I enjoy the city. I've had a blast. I have just never won a match.

So 22 years in, here I am finally raising up my hands as a winner in Toronto. You know, maybe I should celebrate tonight. I'm going to celebrate by going to bed.

Q. A tough match to start the tournament. Do you find that these kind of battles early on help you in the long run or does it wear you out a little bit?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Not really. I want to win all my matches really straightforward and never lose serve and hit big winners.

I don't know that I have ever appreciated a tough match, per se, but I will say that the wins that I really remember are the tough ones. So that maybe puts it in perspective.

Q. I wonder how you learned through your life how to deal with stress in your life, whether it's in a match like today, a little bit stressful, or just things that happen in your life like obstacles and things like that? How did you learn how to handle them?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, it's a privilege to be in those situations on the court. It's exactly where I want to be. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else. And I know I've put the work in.

So I think it's all about putting it in perspective. And I'm really all about doing something, everything I can, about a situation to rectify it. And if I cannot, then I don't worry about it.

Q. Please tell us what you think about her game, about Irina's game.
VENUS WILLIAMS: You know, we've never played before. I think this is the first time, yeah. So I didn't really know what to expect.

And, you know, the first set I was playing great. The second set I missed some. And then there was rain. So the match was very up and down.

But, you know, she really knows how to compete, and she knows how to get into the match even if it's, you know, a 6-1 set. So I think that's one of her biggest characteristics is she's really fighting every point.

Q. I had a question about the rain delay. I'm curious how you spent it. I mean, obviously it helped. You won. But I'm curious if it helps with your momentum and maybe with reevaluating how you were playing after the second set.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. I was just thinking, Well, I want to start out with a break. And then I did, and then somehow it was 3-All again. And I'm like, Okay, that wasn't the game plan.

But, you know, I relax. You're always kind of ready because you don't know when it's going to stop raining. So you kind of just wait.

Q. Francoise is playing right now. You're one of her childhood idols growing up. Does it ever get old hearing players on the tour say that you're their idol?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I guess not. But it's pretty interesting because, you know, I've played her before and we could play again. So it's definitely very interesting.

But, you know, obviously I'm hoping that she can win at home today. That would be so exciting for her.

Q. Talking about the stress and how you deal with it, you just described it. Can you remember the first time you really had to deal with a big disappointment or a setback, whether it's in your life or in tennis, that you learned how to deal with it the way that you do now? Going back to when you were a kid, when you fell off your bike once and got back on? Not that simple, but something that was really formative in how you deal with the pressures right now?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. I don't necessarily see disappointment as a setback. I see it as a lesson to get better and a part of my win.

Q. Outside of the court also? Off the court?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. I mean, I keep my life pretty drama-free outside the court. So that helps me sleep at night.

Q. Do you ever just get tired of people always kind of pointing out your age or sort of saying, like, you're a tour veteran or anything like that? Does it ever get old, I guess, to hear that?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. I mean, that started happening, like, 10 years ago minimum or more, since I was 25 or so. So, I mean, it is where I am in my life. These things I know, that I'm quite strong and I'm quite capable, so that's all I need.

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