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June 20, 2011

Venus Williams


V. WILLIAMS/A. Amanmuradova
6-3, 6-1

THE MODERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, Venus Williams. Who would like to ask the first question.

Q. Venus, how did you feel out there playing? This is your country, you've won it a few times.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Of course, it's always great to be back. You know, to play a few matches in Eastbourne I think helped me to feel pretty comfortable here. So all in all I was pretty pleased to play today.

Q. Were there any nerves at all today?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think coming into any major, you know, there's a little bit of tension, you know, a little tension. I have a lot of expectations to go out there and play as I do in practice, which I've been hitting the ball really well.
You know, especially having not played a lot, too, you know, I had a little pressure on me to come out and swing as usual.

Q. You mentioned expectations. What are they?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Uhm, I just expect to go out there. Like I said, I've been playing very well in practice, so to go out there and execute the game that I did in practice, not let anything, whether it's my opponent or myself or conditions or anything, get to me.

Q. When you and Serena are not playing, which was the case for a lot of the last year, what is the void on the women's tour, do you think?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I can only speak to myself. Of course, I missed being out, and especially something that's completely out of my control, such as an injury like I had, which, you know, I couldn't do anything but wait.
So for myself definitely I missed being out here playing, especially since I felt like, you know, having left the game about a year ago so highly ranked, and things were going so well.

Q. Did you get bored or...
VENUS WILLIAMS: I definitely find a way to use my time constructively.

Q. What did you do?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I was in school. I became business development manager for my company (laughter). So I was out there developing business for V Starr.

Q. How long have you been studying this?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I mean, I took like a full course load in the spring. So the odds weren't looking too good for me to play. I'm just one of those nerds. I like school.
I really actually have been in school, because I've been -- I was out for a while this summer and the fall. So I've just been in school the whole time. Just doing other things off the court.
So I learned a lot about myself off the court and a lot about life.

Q. Where was the school? Where did you go to?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I go online. No more classroom for me. I went to the Art Institute and study interior design.

Q. You mentioned you missed being on the tour. How would you describe what you think the tour misses when you and your sister are not able to play?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I think Serena and I, obviously we love the sport. We give as much as we can to it, I think, on and off the court.
On the court hopefully we have a lot of fans, and a lot of people are interested in what we're doing on the court, of course bringing tennis to people who wouldn't normally watch. I think that has been what we try to bring to the game.
Of course, trying to keep our game at such a high level that hopefully the game just keeps getting better and better and more competitive. That's I think what we try to add.
But exactly what the game missed, you know, really is I think some more of an outside opinion.

Q. When you are playing, it's a Williams family affair. Do you think your dad and your mom and sisters missed being out here as well?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm not sure about my mom. I have to ask her. I think my dad did. Maybe he didn't. I have to ask both. That would be an assumption. I don't know.

Q. You rushed a bit getting back in Australia. This time around, did you have to tell yourself, Whatever happens, I'm coming back at a hundred percent this time?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I avoided calling my mom because she said, You're not trying to come back too soon, are you? Bullying me about it.
So this time I couldn't come back too soon or I'd be in the same situation as I was in Australia. That was very painful, is not something to go through twice.
So I tried to come back this time when I felt like I was a lot stronger and not injured.

Q. How much faith do you have that your body could go a year without getting hurt again?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, I don't know (laughter). That's a toss-up. You never know with sport. Not really a lot of luck in the last year. But I'm doing everything I can to be fit.
Australia was not ideal, but hopefully I recovered from that. And I try to be smart now, coming back from injury, not doing too much, just coming back and being smart; like not playing doubles here is a smart move in the way we want to play.

Q. What do you call the outfit you wore today?
VENUS WILLIAMS: It's a jumper. Jumpers are very now, as is lace. The shoulders have a lot of draping, which is also in the moment. It's just kind of like a trendy dress. It's fun. I'm really into zippers, so it has like a focal point of a zipper in the front. It's just fun.

Q. The back?
VENUS WILLIAMS: The back is kind of -- I don't know what you call it, like a cutout or like a peek-a-boo. I'm always trying to do something different and fun.
But more lately now I'm really trending towards simplicity. I'm not sure why. It's just how I feel right now. Everything is getting more simple.

Q. Is there anything you can't do on the court now that you could do five years ago?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Uhm, I think I'm smarter, if anything, than five years ago. That's the beauty I think of being able to have a long career, is being able to use the experience that you learn on the court.
I think more and more players are starting to realize that it's an advantage to be able to play longer, because then you actually understand the game.

Q. Were you disappointed you didn't start on Centre or Court No. 1 today?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I was really happy to play with no rain, which has been hard in the last week and a half, in Eastbourne and here, to even practice on the grass. I was happy to be playing at all, which has been not very frequent for me in the last year.
So I only see pluses for today.

Q. When you returned to play, when was that exactly that you came back for a full practice? End of March, April? When would that have been?
VENUS WILLIAMS: What is a full practice? Like a normal practice?

Q. You can hit the ball normally in a practice, do a full session.
VENUS WILLIAMS: I feel like I did a full session maybe - I lose track of time on the road - maybe, you know, four weeks ago or so. It hasn't really been that long.
It's really a long recovery from this injury. It's been real slow and something I couldn't rush, so...
I felt like I started to, you know, get some normal practices, like spending a couple hours on the court, but really trying to be smart instead of like saying, Hey, this is where I was six months ago, let me run as hard as I can. Instead spending extra time on the court standing still a little bit more, being realistic.

Q. I know your mom is worried about Serena. How worried are you about Serena playing here?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Uhm, well, I think both of us, we get in the moment and we start focusing on the tennis. I hit next door to her every day at home and usually here at Wimbledon. She looks pretty good, so I don't think I should be worried.

Q. Do you bring a consciousness in your mind when you come to an event like this that, I don't really need a lot of matches under my belt to play well and win?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I guess so. I don't think things could have gone as well for me today had I not been at Eastbourne, because I really was able to play a lot of points there. I had some long matches. That was great. I was so happy about that. So I think that was key.
You know, I do realize I don't have as many matches. So, yeah, for sure I know I need to kind of come out firing. Been pretty good at that in the past and today.

Q. When you think about how long you've been on the tour, you and your sister, are you disappointed at all that you haven't seen more minorities come up the ranks in the U.S.?
VENUS WILLIAMS: At this point I don't think there's as many people in general in U.S. tennis as we're used to seeing. So I think that's a priority, especially in terms of the U.S., is so used to having five and six people in the top 10 on each side.
So I think just in general, uhm, I guess tennis in the U.S. in terms of champions hasn't been what we're used to.

Q. You've been out here a long time, 12, 15 years. It's not recently we've seen what you might expect.
VENUS WILLIAMS: That's tough. I give a lot of clinics, hit with a lot of kids. I don't have the opportunity to follow through on their careers, but that's something I definitely want to get more involved in, for sure, making plans to.

Q. What do you think about Kimiko?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I thought it was amazing when she came back. I watched her results. She's been playing so well. I always root for her actually.
But this time I'm playing her, so I will be rooting for me this time. But I know this has always been a really good surface for her, especially with the game that she plays. So I definitely won't take anything for granted, because I've seen that she's taken out a lot of top players since she's been back. I'm looking forward to it.

Q. Did you and Serena decide you wanted to come back at the same time or is that a fluke how it worked out?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I had no idea if she was going to make Eastbourne, or if I was going to make Eastbourne for that matter. It was like hope and try to make it. So I'd ask her sometimes, Are you going to make it to Eastbourne? She was like, Yeah, I'm going to make it to Eastbourne.
It just happened.

Q. Given how long you've been playing now, is it fair to call you an 'old school player'?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Uhm, 'old school' has a lot of good connotations, you know what I mean? But, uhm, I'm not sure like in the style of my game I'd be old school. I still think I come out with a lot of new moves, so...

Q. You mentioned the U.S. players, not as many coming up. Why do you think that is?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, everyone asks me. I don't know. But we have a lot of good players, but maybe not as many in the top 10 as we're used to, so...
I'm not sure.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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