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August 26, 2019

Venus Williams

New York, NY, USA


6-1, 6-0

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You have played 22 first-round matches at the Open. You're 22-0. Is this as well as you have played a first round at the US Open?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't recall the first rounds that much anymore, but this was a good one. She's playing really well, honestly. Confident. Does everything well. So it was great to be able to perform well against her. Good win today.

Q. What could you have possibly done any better today than you did?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I was happy with today, so I'm not going to ask for more. Whether the win is easy or whether it's tough, a win is a win. Getting to the next round is about getting the win on your side and building yourself up during the tournament and patting yourself on the back for every good achievement.

Q. You were expressive in your interview about how much you love your job and things that come with it. I'm curious if that love feels renewed for you now, been there consistently, or if there is something you're appreciating more about it recently than you always have?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, it's a wonderful job, and it's all-consuming. So if you don't love it, it's really hard to do well at it. And the fact that I have done well has shown that I have loved it and will love it and I'll always love it. Even when it's all over I'll still be a tennis player.

Q. What are your thoughts on today's dedication of a statue in honor of Althea Gibson?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I didn't actually see it, so I'm sure it was a beautiful ceremony. Sometimes it's hard to stay connected to everything that's going on, but I'm still happy it happened.

Q. What do you make of her legacy? What would you like people younger than yourself to know about what she has meant to people who followed?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I have spoken about Althea extensively. I would love if people knew her more. It wasn't easy to be African American in the '50s. It was actually, I wouldn't even say easy, it was impossible to do that, and she did it and was a champion. I can't even imagine what she went through.

And because she went through that -- she went through it so I didn't have to. What she achieved, her story hasn't been told, so that statue is the beginning of what we should be doing for Althea.

Q. The Today Show has been highlighting moms for the last few months. Just this last month was your mother on the show. I was wondering if you saw it. One thing she said was she always made sure that on the court she might have been a coach but at home she was always a mom. How important do you feel that aspect of her personality in this whole role was?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, we never talk about tennis off the court, thankfully. Because you've got to have a life.

It's good to separate it. The older I got, the less we talked about tennis on the court. Especially with my dad, too. We don't even really talk about tennis ever.

Parent first. They did a great job. I mean, probably a handbook to how to do it.

Q. Did you watch the segment?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I was probably at practice. I'll definitely, you know, get the replay.

Q. You were surprisingly not re-elected onto the WTA Player Council. Surprising from the outside looking in. Wondering what your thoughts were on that decision and whether you could reflect on your time with the council, what you think you have achieved?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think every single player is capable of representing the players. We're all united. I'm very excited for the players that were elected. I have been on the council pretty much almost every year of my career. It's always good to get new ideas and new perspectives. That's what keeps an organization innovative and young.

So I'm a player. I still have input on this tour. You know, I don't think we can go wrong.

Q. You weren't disappointed or anything?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, actually not at all. I mean, I was fortunate to win the elections I was in. I never went into any election thinking I could win. I was just hoping maybe it could happen, and sometimes it doesn't.

Q. In your time coming to New York, wondered if you have ever taken the subway and just your experience of it.
VENUS WILLIAMS: I haven't taken it in a while, but I have.

Q. What do you make of it, going from place to place?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think it works (smiling).

Q. In your experience would you prefer walking when you're in the city?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I'm a person that lives in fast-forward. Walking frustrates me. I have to run or -- I'm not a walker. I cannot. So, yeah, I'm not someone who is going to walk around the city and be pumped about it.

Q. Can you talk about your potential second-round opponents.
VENUS WILLIAMS: I have never played Whitney before. Svitolina and I have played before. Probably not any surprises there.

Whitney, I don't know her game at all. I'd have to look into that. Regardless who I play, I have to focus on me. That will be my main objective.

Q. You just spoke beautifully about Althea Gibson. Such a big day for her. I want to ask a follow-up. What is your thinking about the one quality or the inner character that it took for her to do all she had to do in the '50s? What would you say?
VENUS WILLIAMS: So many qualities that you have to, you know, deal with, what she dealt with. You can't find a doubles player. Who knows what kind of line calls she got. I mean, I don't think people really -- I don't even get it. I really don't. I don't think anyone really understands what it was like in those days.

My mom and dad do because they grew up in the '40s, '50s, Mississippi and Louisiana. You know, this is, you know, a country where we came here for freedom and it was unfortunate that many people were not given that. And because of Althea, people fighting for it, we have gotten a lot closer to it.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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