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June 19, 2010

Venus Williams


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Venus.

Q. Ready to go?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. It's just about time to get started and I'm ready to go.

Q. What did you do for your birthday a couple days ago?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I went to practice and I went to the gym. Was it Thursday? Yeah. Nothing special.

Q. What does the age 30 milestone mean to you? What thoughts do you have on age and competing on the tour when so many players don't seem to be teenagers, they seem to be 20s approaching 30?
VENUS WILLIAMS: The whole thing is like when I look in the mirrors, as long as there aren't wrinkles and stuff, just kind of looking good.
Obviously I'm playing well. So that has nothing to do with the age, I guess, so... Just hopefully not getting too much sun damage.

Q. What explanation do you have for the seeming increasing age of the top players on the women's side of the tour?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I think people are just able to accept that you can play tennis a lot longer. I think before people didn't go past 27. But I think at this time, you know, it's when you really most understand the game.
It's actually an advantage to be out here at this stage in the career.

Q. What effect on the psyche is it of being one of the older players on the tour?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I just grind every day, day in, day out. I'm not thinking about age when I play.

Q. What have you come to understand more about the game?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, the more you win, the more you lose, the more you understand. It's pretty simple. By the time you've played as many years as I have, if you don't understand more about the game, I don't know what to say about that.

Q. What have you come to understand more about the game?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I could go on for about nine hours on that (laughter).
But obviously just how to play, when to play the shots. It's just, you know, strategy.

Q. You mentioned losing. Lindsay Davenport was quoted the other day as saying you have to learn from losing. You beat her, one of the best women's finals here in a long time. What is it that you can learn from losing?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Losing makes you come back harder and stronger and better. A lot of times when you win, you aren't as critical of yourself.

Q. It's not just a matter of, Well, I shouldn't hit to her backhand coming to net? Is there some wider idea that helps you when you consider the match you've just lost?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think you get to learn a lot about yourself when you lose. You get to build your character.

Q. Our queen is likely to be here on Thursday, and Serena is likely to be on Centre Court. Is she going to curtsy or not?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. I don't know.

Q. Do you think it's important to respect that tradition or do you think there's a fair chance...
VENUS WILLIAMS: I might not be the best one to comment on it because I'm an American. I'm not well-versed on English tradition.

Q. If you're told the Queen is there to watch one of your games, will you curtsy yourself?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Hopefully I won't get nervous. That would be my focus.
But I guess I'll cross that bridge if it ever comes.

Q. You can't say for sure, the equivalent of a man bowing to somebody, you wouldn't necessarily curtsy to the Queen?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't want to talk about curtsying anymore. I don't understand that tradition. I don't -- I don't really want to talk about that. I'm not educated on that. So thanks.

Q. Some people call a Grand Slam a marathon because it's longer, harder. What's the most important thing, in your mind right now, as you face these two weeks?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Uhm, most important thing? Obviously, I just want to play well. That's really the most important thing, is playing well each match, I guess.

Q. What is the most important thing that you think will help you play well?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. It's hard to pinpoint the most important thing. It's all got to work together. It's just very difficult to say one thing.

Q. Are we likely to say another all-Williams final this year?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I mean, wow. It would be great for us to do the final in singles and doubles. The last two years have been really great to anyone named Williams. So I would love for us to have that again.

Q. Have you been watching the World Cup? If so, what are your rooting interests and impressions?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, Serena watches it, so I have to watch it, too. Yesterday I actually enjoyed the American game. I didn't get to see it all. I guess when you get behind your country, then it's a lot really more interesting.
But I don't understand any of the rules in soccer, too. So when something happens, I'm confused. You know, I don't know. So I'm learning slowly.

Q. What did you think of the comeback of the American team in that game?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, I was excited. I heard we almost got three. But I'm not sure what happened. It's confusing, again, to me, because I don't understand the rules yet. Hopefully there will be more soccer on in the U.S. so that way people like me can get a little more hip.

Q. How would you describe the sport, and what do you like about it?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Obviously I like when they go for the goal. Like I said, I don't know what's happening (laughter).
I probably know a little bit more about American football. So obviously when they get close to the goal, I think that's really the most exciting part for anyone.

Q. This is your 50th Grand Slam. What do you think about that?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, that's right. It's awesome. It's exciting. I think tennis players are very addicted to tennis. I think anyone who loves this game, they always make it a part of their life. So I think I'm one of those people I'm addicted to tennis and I'm addicted to the majors.

Q. Ten years since you won your first title here. What have been the biggest changes in your character and play since that time?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yikes, I don't know. My character is probably the same. My game, I'd like to think that I understand the plays a little bit more.
All in all, I still have as much fun as I did, you know, the first day I played my first match here.

Q. What have been your thoughts on Maria Sharapova's game as she's dealt with the sudden stardom, winning here, the injuries, and now coming back? What impresses you most about her style of play and her persona on the court?
VENUS WILLIAMS: You know, I haven't seen her play a lot lately. Obviously, she's a very intense competitor. We can tell that she really just takes the game to heart and gives a hundred percent.
So, I mean, just with those characteristics mixed with talent, injured or not injured, I mean, she's going to always play well.

Q. What do you think makes her a big asset for the women's tour?
VENUS WILLIAMS: People like her a lot. People like to watch her play. People like to see what she's doing. I think obviously that's a huge asset, besides the fact that she plays very well.

Q. What are your thoughts on having Justine and Kim back here at Wimbledon?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I know. They're playing great, actually. So obviously it makes the draw even more interesting. All the old fans come right back. It's almost like they never missed a beat.

Q. What are your thoughts about your first-round opponent?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I just take it one round at a time, you know, focus on my game. Of course, I love this surface. Having a lot of success here I think helps a lot. So I'll be ready to go.

Q. Have you checked out your half of the draw to see who you could face?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't study the draw because nothing's guaranteed. So what I really focus on is making sure I'm there. If I can't do that, then, you know, I can't control any other part of the draw except for that, you know, my performance.
Thank you.

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