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June 16, 2011

Venus Williams


6-2, 5-7, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Difficult conditions out there, Venus?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, today was really tough. It was hard to capitalize on the serve. Right up until the last point, I took my racquet back and the wind blew it forward. I was like, Oh, no. I think I probably even said, Oh, no.
But, you know, it wasn't as predictable out there, but I give her credit to hanging there. Pretty much on a day like today, you just have to hang in there.

Q. She got a lot of balls back.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, she got a lot of balls back. I think she had a lot of extra motivation, too. We have been playing I don't know how many years. I'm sure she had a lot of extra motivation to get a win against me after a long, long time. She played some good tennis most of the time.

Q. Do you think you've had enough grass court practice for Wimbledon?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I do. Yeah, I played a lot of matches here, spent a lot of time on the court.
It's not the best luck today, but I feel good about my preparation.

Q. I suspect it's not very often you hit a serve and it comes off the frame and goes...
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, not very often. It's windy, too. It's just hit or miss if you are going to get a good toss and the wind is blowing it and sometimes you're chasing after it. So, you know, just bad luck.

Q. You seemed to play a bit better when the sun came out. In the second set I think you broke back after the sun came out again.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. Today I just continued to try to work on my game and continued to try to move forward when I could. Not exactly the cleanest tennis.
But I'm -- you know, I don't know. It's much nicer when it's sunny, I guess, as opposed to cloudy.

Q. Do you feel you came out a little bit slow? You seemed a little bit sluggish in the first set.
VENUS WILLIAMS: I definitely wish I could have came out harder. I think she was a little bit tentative in the beginning, and then to lose serve wasn't ideal, but I definitely thought I was gonna break back.
That didn't work out the way I wanted to.

Q. How are you physically feeling?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I feel good, but I'm definitely happy that I'm going to have a couple of days to rest and prepare for Wimbledon.
And I feel really positive about my matches here. I thought I played pretty good. I thought more than anything I was able to get a lot of great competition. This has been ideal.
Yeah, I would have liked to have gotten a win here, but there are a lot of positives I'm taking out of this.

Q. What's it like when you have been out for a few months and then start playing again? You must be sore and stiff in the morning.
VENUS WILLIAMS: There's nothing like playing matches. It doesn't matter how hard you push yourself in practice, there's nothing like a match.
So definitely it's important to acclimate, and that's why it was crucial for me to get the opportunity for me to play three matches here.
That was, you know, all I was dreaming of. More than anything, I think a lot of times I played really well down. You know, even today, even though I lost today, it was good to have the opportunity to, you know, not necessarily be up in the match but continue to come back. It was all good experience.

Q. Are you surprised at the speed of your progress considering how long you have been out?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I tried to work as hard as I could coming back. It was definitely a long and slow road, but, you know, no pressure on me right now. It's just all about improving my game, and not only in the next tournament round by round but for the rest of the year. There's still quite a few big ones coming up.
So I am pleased. I know every day I get better.

Q. Is that how you feel about Wimbledon now? You're going in there under no pressure, sort of under the radar, really?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, the only pressure I have is the pressure I put on myself. I feel -- you know, I feel I'm a good player. A lot of people think I'm a good player, so that helps out a lot.

Q. You have only played Grand Slams for the last year or so. Is that going to be the future or...
VENUS WILLIAMS: You know, I played the Majors because they were important to me, not necessarily because I was actually prepared to play. Finally at the French, you know, I was honest with myself, but to be honest, I was nowhere near ready to play any kind of tennis on a professional level. Quite possibly on a recreational level I could have played against my physio or something, but she's a beginner. (Laughter.)
But, you know, I really didn't want to come back this time until I felt like I had some fighting chance. I always come out and play well but really not healthy. And I tried to give myself a good chance this time to be able to have at least a healthy match, you know.

Q. Why do you think you're able to, after such a long time out, to come back and play as well as you have, and Serena?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Because I'm determined. I believe I can do this.

Q. A lot of players couldn't, could they?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I'd like to think I don't need as many matches as the next player. I've never historically played a lot, a lot of matches.
So for me I know I need to hit the ground running because I'm not going to enter extra tournaments. So I don't have a chance to play as much as the next player, so I know I've got to do this now.

Q. Would you have come back so soon if it hadn't been Wimbledon?
VENUS WILLIAMS: That's a good question. I probably may have had a couple more weeks.
But this is Wimbledon, after all. So I didn't want to miss it. But regardless, I think I'm playing pretty well.

Q. You said when you arrived that you were determined to try and win Wimbledon this year. Having played your matches here -- that was before you played your first match. How do you feel now? Are you still as determined you're going to win?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think what I said is I'm determined to win every match I play, so regardless of Wimbledon or Eastbourne, I'm determined to win that match. I don't just come out and say, Gosh, you know, looks like she's playing well. Maybe, I don't know, hang it up today.
That's not how it goes. I come out, come out to win, bring my best game and be extremely competitive and most of the time it works out.

Q. What are you going to do the next few days, go straight up to Wimbledon tonight and be on the practice courts tomorrow?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, things have gone by so fast. I will spend some time just recovering. There were a lot of hours put on the court this week, a lot of hours on the grass leading up.
So I definitely, like I said, took a lot of positives out of this. Even though I didn't win, it gave me the opportunity to kind of get ready for Wimbledon now. I'm going to go do that.

Q. Are you going to physically be at Wimbledon tomorrow? Are you going to be staying there tonight?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No big choices yet.

Q. Dinner in Southwest England?
VENUS WILLIAMS: It's still a mystery right now. If you have any suggestions, let me know.

Q. Do you and Serena, in the days before a match, spend much time together? Or do you get into your own bubbles really and have your own focus?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. We just hang out like normal sisters. And encourage each other right to the end unless we play each other, and hopefully I hope maybe she won't play as well, or usually I hope so, but it usually doesn't work out that way. You know, we just hang out.

Q. She said yesterday she didn't want to meet you too early in the tournament, but you could, with the seedings, could be early as third round, couldn't it?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, you never know.

Q. You don't mind?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I just gotta do what I have to do regardless of who's against the net. That's pretty much how I see it right now. I've just got to grind it out and be on my game.
If it's her, hopefully, you know, hopefully I'll play well.

Q. What have you and Serena done to help each other? You know, what have you said to each other? What have you done to each other through the bad times?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, we always encourage each other by singing a lot of songs. We sing a lot at home. You know, I'll wake up and I'll hear some singing in the living room. I know that she feels good in her heart when she sings and I'll sing a song for her.

Q. What do you sing?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Many, many songs. I specialize in '80s and alternative rock. (Laughter.)
I sing Tears for Fears, I sing Blondie, I sing OMD, I sing Michael Jackson. I sing -- I sing a lot of '80 songs; Bobby Brown, Whitney Houston, although I'll never let you hear me sing that.
So I think crazily enough singing has been very positive for us. I don't know if you ever tried it, but it makes you feel pretty good.
I think another big motivation, too, is I can hear when she goes to practice because the door beeps. Then I know I have to get up and go, too.
I think she feels the same way. If she hears the door beep, Oh, Venus went to practice. I better get up. I think that's huge motivation for each other.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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