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January 19, 2011

Venus Williams


V. WILLIAMS/S. Zahlavova
6-7, 6-0, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. What was the injury today?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Psoas. I guess a strain of some type.

Q. Your thigh or hip or stomach or...

Q. What does that mean?
VENUS WILLIAMS: It's a muscle.

Q. So you're not saying.
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, it's a psoas.

Q. How pleased were you to be able to come through and how do you think you'll be able to carry on to the championship?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know, because -- I don't know. But I'm going to just try to recover for Friday and try to get ready to play and bring my best tennis no matter what. Hopefully I'll come through it.

Q. Did you consider not going on today?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, no. No. What do you mean like after my injury timeout? No, I mean, after the injury timeout you have to just kind of see how you're doing and how you feel. For me, especially, you kind of have to get past the fear of getting worse and just kind of have to feel it out and see how it's feeling.
So thankful I was able to get some games on the scoreboard, and that helped a ton.

Q. It's not the first time you've gotten hurt in matches and continued on. Can you compare this experience to some of the other ones?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think this is probably the most acute one that I've ever had.

Q. Even worse than when you played Kim and you had a stomach muscle tear?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I forgot about that. It's been a long time ago so I don't remember that pain anymore. But, yeah, that was quite a while ago. In recent time that I can remember pain, I think this was one of the toughest ones for sure.
But I just wanted to stay on the court and try to survive and see if I could feel better another day.

Q. Do you remember screaming out after you got injured? It was kind of hard to tell whether that was just a scream of pain or a combination of a grunt and...
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I didn't even run for the next ball, so you can take your guess. It was a bit of shock and just kind of involuntary.

Q. What does the injury do? How does it inhibit your play?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm not going to get into that, but obviously I wasn't able to play at my exact level. Just had to try to play smarter and just be tough.
But, you know, I'm hoping by the next 48 hours it'll calm down a lot.

Q. Is it in the abdomen or is it in the top of the leg? Whereabouts is that?

Q. I don't have a medical degree.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Neither do I. It's in the area around the groin like that, you know.

Q. After your break, you came on the court and had a look on your face. What was going through your mind when you walked out there?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I wasn't very happy, to say the least. I mean, with an injury-like that, you just don't know what to expect. So I was just really trying to get tough, I guess.

Q. Do you think that if this wasn't a Grand Slam and as you said on the court afterwards you're long way from home, it's a long way to come here and play, that perhaps you might not have carried on? Because it is slam you really feel as though you want to give it as good a shot as you possibly can?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think this being a major definitely has a lot to do with me staying on the court. I really haven't retired from a match in any tournament in quite a long time. I think that's a testament to how I feel when I step on the court. I'm there to stay.
Definitely this being a major I definitely gave it my best. It wasn't easy out there at all. Had it not been a major, would have definitely been harder to continue.

Q. We couldn't find one. When did you last retire from a match?
VENUS WILLIAMS: '98 or '99.

Q. So on tour at some point?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I have, but it's been a while.

Q. Is that a badge of honor for you as well, that you don't stop, you carry on going regardless.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, for me it's definitely -- I carry on because I want to know at the end of the day that I gave 100%. When I look back, I have no regrets that I could have done more or I could have done less, whatever it may have been.
For me it's piece of mind.

Q. Do you have any sense of why this happened? Obviously you had some tough injuries at the end of the year last year. Was it lack of preparation or one of those things?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I might have a couple clues. I'll keep those to myself.

Q. Are you worried it's going to affect the rest of the season?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I haven't even worried about that at this moment. I'm just so in the moment of like preparing to get ready for the next round already, so that's really what it is.

Q. Have you ever gotten mentally tired of dealing with the injuries? It's not like this is the first one you've had.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I think mental fatigue from dealing with injuries comes from when you just don't think you can make it back. I've always felt that I can make it back. When I'm off from injuries, I'm really productive with my time and try to develop myself as a person off the court. So I stay busy.

Q. So this fall, for example, there wasn't any time where you said, I'm just so sick of having to rehab?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, yeah, I hated rehab every day. But it was what it was.

Q. What keeps you going? There's got to be some goals.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think what keeps me going is knowing that when I'm healthy I play really, really well. And knowing that I have so much good tennis in my body keeps me motivated to keep going to rehab.

Q. Caroline Wozniacki joined you in the WTA Player Council.

Q. Tell me about your thoughts of having her on the team?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I was very excited that she joined the council. I think it's a big step for her to being more involved, which she already is, with women's tennis. It just shows a really big sign of maturity that not only is she playing great tennis on the court and has the maturity level at a young age to be a champion on the court, but also off the court to show that she cares about the game.
So I was very impressed.

Q. Any specific things you're going to talk about in the future?
VENUS WILLIAMS: There will be a lot of things, believe me. A lot of things. I'm not sure what those things will be just yet.

Q. Could you talk us through your outfit tonight?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, the outfit is inspired by Alice in Wonderland. Yeah, don't laugh. But it's kind of about a surprise, because when Alice goes down the hole, the rabbit hole, she finds all these things that are so surprising.
This outfit is about having a surprise in tennis a dress, and kind of, you know, showing some skin and then just having a print. Prints don't happen that often in tennis. So it's called the Wonderland dress. It was fun.

Q. You have as much input into that as your other dresses?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I put a lot of thought into my dresses. I love fantasy, and this was kind of a way to express who I am on the court.

Q. As the match went on you started to run and looked better once you came back. Were you in less pain or just had more confidence down the stretch?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think that just in the beginning it was just to get a little more confidence, but also really tried to push myself on key points. You know, if it's breakpoint or game point, then kind of push yourself a little harder than if it's 40-Love and trying to step on the gas at the right times and be smart about it.
So that's really what of it about, just giving everything I had.

End of FastScripts

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