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September 3, 2017

Venus Williams

New York, NY, USA

V. WILLIAMS/C. Suarez Navarro

6-3, 3-6, 6-1

THE MODERATOR: Before we start, Venus will not be making any statement regarding Serena. If you need an official statement for your stories, the official statement is: No comment. At the end of the day, this is still a family matter and personal matter, so we ask that you respect her privacy in this particular instance, and we'll entertain all tennis questions. Thank you.

Q. You said earlier on the court you have to have the love, and you're going to try. How did you come to that?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Love for the game?

Q. Yes.
VENUS WILLIAMS: You do have to have a love because it's a lot of work. Being a professional athlete is a lifestyle. It's like your life. Every decision you make is based on getting better out there. So there are sacrifices you make with your family, your loved ones, you know, just doing normal things like sitting on your own couch that are taken for granted.

You have to have the love to deal with the pressure, as well.

Q. What was going through your mind heading into the third set? What helped get you through that match?
VENUS WILLIAMS: In the beginning of the second, she definitely caught fire. There were probably a few points I could have converted on. But honestly it was all credit to her for really stepping up her level.

I think in the third set maybe she was a little nervous, and it was an opportunity for me to be even more aggressive. That's what I tried to do.

Q. You seemed so happy after the match. Is there something different or more special about the US Open for you than maybe some of the other slams?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I mean, I was happy about this match because, you know, she wasn't seeded here, but obviously she knows how to play. She's played deep in the majors. She's won big titles. This was my best match, so I was happy to see my level rise as the tournament is continuing because I know my opponents are going to be better, I need to be better. To be able to be out there and execute things that I wanted, it was a good feeling.

Q. You may get Muguruza next, which would be a rematch of the Wimbledon final, a month and a half from that match. What do you think of that?
VENUS WILLIAMS: If I play her, we've played more than once. I've had some wins against her. She's had a couple against me this year that I'm going to have to think back to and, you know, obviously learn from.

It was a big moment for her. I'm happy for her. I was happy for her in that moment really actually. I know what that feels like to win a big title. There was nothing I could do but be happy for her, get ready for the next one.

Q. If the opponent is Petra, what do you make of what she's gone through from an outsider's perspective? You haven't seen what went into her comeback. From your perspective as somebody who has been through many challenges, what are your thoughts on what's gone on in her life and in her comeback this year?
VENUS WILLIAMS: What she's gone through is unimaginable, unreasonable. The world we live in is just shocking. So for her, I think to be playing well is such a blessing. To be able to come out here and do what she needs to do, to clear her head, it's such a beautiful thing to see.

What else can I say except I'm glad to see her back.

Q. You said many times that your toughest rival is your sister. I'm sure you miss her greatly on the one hand. In a way, not having your greatest rival here, do you think that relaxes you?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, not really. I like having her here.

Q. How is your mindset different at Grand Slams these days than it was way back when when you first won them? I'm not sure if you remember what the feeling was way back then.
VENUS WILLIAMS: I mean, the depth in the game is so much deeper now than it was at the time. It's never easy to win a slam. I mean, now I'll play players who I've never seen or know their name, and you can't let up one point. Players come out with a lot more confidence now. Every time I step out on the court, that person is coming for me. It doesn't matter if I played for a year, not even if I'm ranked 100 or number whatever, they're coming for me.

When I get to these majors, I know that's what it is.

Q. What do you know now that you didn't know maybe even five or ten years ago about how to dig yourself out of things, confront situations?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think I was always very good actually at digging myself out. But I think over time I've learned that I can push myself a lot further than I thought I could. I do have to push myself a lot.

I think that's the biggest thing that I've learned. In the beginning, when everything is easy, you're healthy, it's easy to play when you don't have those odds against you. But when you have the odds against you, it's hard to find that in yourself every day.

Q. You share an anniversary at the US Open with this stadium. When you think back to that, what do you think about the Venus then with beads and all that? What is your recollection? What stands out the most to you of you back then?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think at that time during the Open, something just clicked for me. Just understanding, like, how to win these matches. So that was huge.

I think during this time, too, you don't think. I didn't think. I just went big all the time (smiling). That's fun, too. But over time you have to learn, like, the time to go big and the time not to go big.

Obviously it was a very beautiful moment for me. After that I never looked back, I just went bigger. It was awesome.

Q. It happened a long time ago that you won the title here. Is it crazy that you're the only one left here in the draw that's actually won this championship? Does it give you any type of advantage?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I'll take any advantage I can get, let's face it. But at the end of the day when I go out there and someone's across the net from me, they're playing well. They're playing well. They're not going to give you any matches. In the case if they do, I will accept it, as well, if they don't play as well as they want. I'm accepting all major credit cards and unforced errors (smiling).

Q. When did the moment change between the time where you were going big all the time to when you maybe got a little bit smarter or just chose those moments when you went big?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Definitely, yeah, probably in '97. But also there's moments, too, where you lose matches because you didn't go big enough. There's so many things you learn, especially as a young person. Like, okay, I'm never doing that again, I didn't go for it. This time I went for too much. You have to find that happy medium and you have to choose. If you're going to go big, you got to put it in the court.

The surface is so much different than it was, let's say, when I played then. It's a lot slower. You are not necessarily rewarded for coming in because the ball's going to sit up. There's differences, and your game has to evolve with all of that.

Q. A great run here on the 20th anniversary of the stadium opening, named after a great man. What do you know about Ashe? Have you read some of his work or about him? Where do you think he fits into this dynamic in tennis where there's so many forces for change?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, he's a total legend. He played during a time where he couldn't just focus on the tennis. I'm very blessed to be able to focus on my game. But he had to fight because of the color of his skin. It was a complete different time. So I can't even imagine the pressure he was under during that time.

To come out of it with grace, as a champion, it's incredible.

Q. You spoke a little while ago about some of the differences between your game now and your game years ago. What about your appreciation of your own success? How does it compare now with when you were just a kid on the tour?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think success breeds success. If you win, you learn how to win, and you win more. But I'm firmly a person that lives in the future. I don't get nervous or tight because I have to defend points or because I won a tournament last year. I don't care about the last year. I'm about, Is this win happening today?

I don't know. I'm very focused on the next result. No, I don't focus on any success. I'm looking forward.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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