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May 13, 2019

Venus Williams

Rome, Italy

V. WILLIAMS/E. Mertens

7-5, 3-6, 7-6

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How did it feel to close out that third set after being close to the finish line for a while?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, it was a very long match. Couldn't really tell when or how it was going to end. Was happy it did.

Q. First match on clay this season, a long one. Can you talk through what you were pleased with after having kind of practiced and gotten ready for the tournament, seeing what translated onto the court?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think the first match after a while, you're just trying to hang in there, just get the motor going. I think that's really what today was about. Just try to get going.

Q. At the start of the of match, the conditions were a little bit different than the end of the match. Does that impact things at all, how mentally and tactically you're playing the match in the beginning versus when it's cold and heavy at the end of the match?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, the ball is heavier, so you just have to play a little bit smarter. But, yeah, you can expect it to change out here in the spring.

Q. Can you talk about your rivalry with your sister Serena. Do you think she's the favorite?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I guess not really, can't talk about it.

Q. Are the Olympics for Tokyo a goal for you?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, I'd love to be there. God willing, it will happen.

Q. How much of an inspiration was it to see Serena and Roger Federer competing at the highest level in the late stage of your career? Did you ever speak with Roger about this concept of longevity?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, we haven't had a chance to have coffee about that yet.

Q. You talk about changing conditions, solving things, moving the ball around. Seems like you've been using even more variety than usual this year. Do you enjoy doing other sort of problem-solving things off the court, crossword puzzles...
VENUS WILLIAMS: No. You have to sit still for that. That's not my thing.

Q. Are there things you do to challenge yourself outside of the court that are at all comfortable or is this it?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I stay pretty busy off the court, if you can imagine.

Q. For sure you have no challenge more left in yourself. You always won everything, seen everything. You think just about the joy of the game every day. Happens inside yourself playing a match like tonight, you have the idea I already been here, I already play this game, I already play this girl, I already been in the same situation, I mean, to already live many times the same situation. After this, how do you find motivation to play again, to win again, to practice again? Must be very strong inside.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Thank you. I like my job, you know. When I'm done, I'll be done. For now, I'm still here. Now that I'm here, even if I played this girl, it's another match to win.

Q. Anything about your match with Serena last time here, which was in 1998, your second-ever match against her on tour?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, that was a long time ago. What do I think about it?

Q. Do you remember anything about it?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Not much. Pretty much zero.

Q. Any other match of yours and hers that feels relevant to anything? Do you look back at past matches with her for the next one? Is it sort of more innate at this point, you know what's going to happen?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I know that she's going to play really well and compete really well. That's a given.

Q. How has being an auntie changed your life?
VENUS WILLIAMS: It's been pretty easy. I don't have any hard work to do, so...

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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