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September 1, 2017

Venus Williams

New York, NY, USA

V. WILLIAMS/M. Sakkari

6-3, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Such a day of great joy. The announcement of Serena's birth. What went through your heart when you heard your sister gave birth?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm definitely available to answer questions about tennis. That's all right now.

THE MODERATOR: Tennis questions, please.

Q. Was it particularly hard to focus today?
VENUS WILLIAMS: You know, I'm a real professional, because I have been doing this for a long time, so when the first ball starts, it's a ton of excitement out there. So, you know, this is the US Open.

Q. What does it mean to you to be in the second week of all four majors this year? And do you recall when that last happened for you?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. I mean, my best tennis this year has come at the majors. I don't play nearly as much as some of my contemporaries, but this year when I have played, it's definitely been quality tennis. That's exactly what I want, and obviously to play my best tennis at the Big 4.

Q. What do you think it says about your determination that seven years after you last did it you're doing it this year?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. I don't keep the numbers (smiling). Every day is a day that you just try your best, and that starts on the practice court, starts in the gym, starts long before you ever walk out on a stadium like Arthur Ashe.

So there is so much heart and determination and preparation that goes into it that you don't think about the numbers. You think about the process.

Q. You face Carla Suarez next. She says you've played each other so much that you know each other well. What do you expect against her?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, honestly I don't remember the last time we played. Maybe not so recently. Yeah, we have played. I've seen her play. She's seen me play. It's not going to be, Oh, my gosh, I need to figure this person's game out.

So I know that I have to obviously play a little better than her and see what's working and go for that.

Q. Is it kind of strange to play? I didn't see Isha or your mom there. They are usually there. Was it weird to look up and they are not there?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I have been spoiled my whole career of having my family surrounding me.

I don't think many players get that opportunity, so I'm, like, more than blessed.

Q. What improvements the first three rounds are you most proud of heading into the second week?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I mean, obviously the last two rounds, straight sets, that's awesome. And a win is a win. Whatever happens in the win gives you the opportunity to play the next day. Or, you know, God willing, you're in the last round, you get to win. You win tournament. That's the main focus is to cross the finish line.

Q. Wondering if it's harder or easier for you to play when your family isn't here. Is it easier to pay all your attention to tennis?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I mean, I have definitely played a lot of tournaments without my family. You know, there is times when they don't come. There's a lot of times when they do come. More often than not.

I have definitely had -- I think I know how to process it all.

Q. Does it make a difference?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I mean, if I say yes, maybe I'm handicapped, and if I say no, maybe I'm not appreciating them (smiling).

I think the key thing is to have done your training. When you have done your training, then it shows on the court.

Q. What will you do today and tomorrow?
VENUS WILLIAMS: The usual. I will be out here practicing, be in the gym, I'll be stretching, hopefully eating right, not fries, anything like that. So that's the goal.

Q. Do you think Serena will call you to give you any tips about tennis?
VENUS WILLIAMS: We always talk. We always talk, so she's always encouraging me. Yeah, from every step of the way, every match, always.

Q. Did she call you before this match, then, or text you? You said every step, every match. I'm following up.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I talked to her before this match, too.

Q. Can you give us the gist of what she told you?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I mean, she's never played this player before, so she's always, like -- you know, she didn't have any specific advice about this match but more motivational.

Q. Did Serena talk at all about her daughter's tendency? Does she have a two-handed backhand? Enough depth on the forehand?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, my gosh (smiling). That's hilarious.

Q. When you and Serena text, I'm curious if there is an emoji-ing the two of you use a lot with one another?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, we don't use a lot of emojies at all.

Q. Exclamation points?
VENUS WILLIAMS: We actually use the English language. Yeah.

Q. When she contacts you before the matches, are you guys texting or does she actually use the telephone and you talk?

Q. How about today? Was it texts or speaking?

THE MODERATOR: Let's keep it tennis focused.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Who is going to have the last word so we can continue?

Q. We spoke at Wimbledon about age-related questions, and here we are a couple of months later, you're in the second week of another major. How would you describe what age means to you?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I feel great, so to me it's nothing. You have to have the desire to want to be here and you have to have the health. That's all you need. Yeah, skill. Those three.

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