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August 14, 2012

Venus Williams


V. WILLIAMS/M. Kirilenko
6‑3, 6‑7, 6‑2

THE MODERATOR:テつ Questions, please.

Q.テつ In the first set of the match, Kirilenko hit a drop shot.テつ After you got the ball back you were holding your arm.テつ Everything okay?
VENUS WILLIAMS:テつ Yeah, I managed to hit myself with the racquet so it hurt.テつ I was trying to shake it off without getting a time violation.テつ Umpire was kind of giving me a few extra seconds.
I have a big lump there, but it's not going to stop me.テつ It happens.

Q.テつ During the second set, at the end of second set, Kirilenko hit a second serve and you looked at it and you almost challenged it but you didn't.テつ Why not?テつ It looked out from my point of view.
VENUS WILLIAMS:テつ I don't even remember that point.

Q.テつ It was set point and she served.
VENUS WILLIAMS:テつ It was in.テつ It hit the line and skidded off.テつ She hit a great serve.テつ I saw it; it was in.テつ What can you do expect get to the third set?

Q.テつ What changed in the third set?
VENUS WILLIAMS:テつ Just tried to stay focused.テつ You know, of course couple of breaks helps, but just trying to stay focused and hold, serve, and try to cut down at errors.

Q.テつ What was going through your mind when you served for the match twice in the second set?
VENUS WILLIAMS:テつ Yeah, I think was putting too much emphasis on my serve.テつ Just wanted to win it off the serve, and then when I had to hit some groundstrokes I just wasn't patient enough.テつ Really should have just kind of stuck in there and just kind of worked the point and hit a lot balls and be ready to win the point.
So I got a little impatient, and that doesn't work, especially against a player like her.テつ I changed my ways in the third.

Q.テつ Roger said the Olympics in 2016 are on his radar.テつ How about you?
VENUS WILLIAMS:テつ Absolutely.テつ I love the Olympics.テつ The last day when it was over, I'm like, I can't wait until Rio.テつ It's no secret how you feel about the Olympics.テつ I'm very excited about Rio.
That will probably be my last one.テつ By that time I'll be creeping up in age.テつ Until that, I'll try to play great tennis.

Q.テつ The Olympics were such a goal for you and you got gold there.テつ How satisfying was that first, and then is it at all tough to keep going after that enormous climax for you?
VENUS WILLIAMS:テつ Yeah, the Olympics was so great for me.テつ I feel like I played really well in the singles.テつ That was the best I played all year, so that was very inspiring for me.
Obviously I would have loved to win the singles, but I'm just overjoyed Serena won.テつ It was an amazing moment for all of us.テつ My main goal was to win the doubles, because we've been defending that title for so long.
To win it again, I really feel like it was the best moment in my career.テつ Just felt amazing.テつ Still very giddy about it.

Q.テつ When did it hit you?テつ We saw you and Serena on the podium sharing a moment as the national anthem played.テつ When did it really sink in?
VENUS WILLIAMS:テつ Yeah, I don't think it really started sinking in until the next day.テつ I was walking through the airport like, Oh, my God, and I just felt so emotional.テつ I'm by myself looking like a teary nut.
You know, it just all set in just like, wow.テつ So I think for USA tennis it was an amazing Olympics with four medals.テつ The best ever we had.

Q.テつ Where did you put the fourth medal?
VENUS WILLIAMS:テつ I have a pin bag dating back to 2000.テつ I keep a pin collection.テつ I guess you all know that I collect pins. (Laughing.)
I keep them all in there.テつ I think eventually when my career is over maybe I'll make something cool, but I feel like I'm still adding.テつ For now it's all in the pin bag.

Q.テつ Serena said she got North Korea.テつ What was the best pin you were able to get?
VENUS WILLIAMS:テつ My best pin was Tajikistan.テつ Now, that was the score for me.テつ She didn't get that one, I didn't get North Korea, so we're even.

Q.テつ You do something special to get that one?
VENUS WILLIAMS:テつ No.テつ You just never know if they're going to have a pin or not.テつ When you're trading with everyone in the Village, you just never know.
She said she got Turkmenistan.テつ I was like, Okay.テつ So maybe she is one up on me.テつ She always manages to do better.テつ I don't know how, but she always manages to get more.

Q.テつ What athletes did you get to meet in London?
VENUS WILLIAMS:テつ We didn't really get to meet any athletes too much because we didn't stay in the Village.テつ The tennis was like an hour and a half away, so I only got go there like twice.
I met a lot of athletes, but no one ‑‑ I didn't run into Usain Bolt or anything like that.

Q.テつ Michael Phelps?
VENUS WILLIAMS:テつ I saw him passing but I didn't want to bother him.テつ He needed to focus, and he did focus.テつ Other than that I met a lot of athletes in general, but no one like super famous.

Q.テつ Serena mentioned the overall medal count.テつ How conscious of that were you during the Games?
VENUS WILLIAMS:テつ The whole time you're thinking, Man, I got to add to the medal count.テつ During the Games I checked the medal count like three times a day.テつ I was all day checking our medal count.
Of course it's a friendly competition though, because I enjoy seeing everyone succeed and do well.テつ I hate to see someone lose unless they're against me or Serena.テつ Other than that, I like to see people succeed.
Yeah, I think we were all obsessed with the medal count.

Q.テつ How is your health?テつ How are you doing?
VENUS WILLIAMS:テつ I'm doing a lot better than this time last year.テつ So much better.テつ So much better than a couple months ago as well.テつ I also am learning to deal with everything a lot better.
If I wake up and I don't feel great, then I would panic and lose my match 2‑1.テつ I had a few 2‑1s this year, too, but I had to take those losses in order learn and get better.
Now I realize that I just kind of hang in there if I'm not having the best day and still try to get the win.

Q.テつ Given that the Olympics was an extra tournament to think about, did you have to think about curtailing your schedule at all?テつ Everything going the way you wanted it to here?
VENUS WILLIAMS:テつ No, I'm eager to get matches.テつ Like I have never been so excited to play a tournament.テつ I couldn't wait for Cincinnati.テつ So I need matches and more matches in order to keep building on my form.
The rest of this year for me will be about just improving my game.

Q.テつ Because you're learning to contend with your health better, is that the reason you played better at the Olympics and got a good win here today?テつ Roland Garros and Wimbledon obviously weren't your best matches?
VENUS WILLIAMS:テつ Yeah, I wasn't really feeling well during that time either.テつ It was a very hard time for me.テつ It was very difficult, so actually qualify for the Olympics during that time was definitely one of my biggest achievements for sure, a personal battle.
I started feeling better definitely.テつ I was really nervous in the first‑round match because I didn't want to go out there feeling horrible and lose again first round.テつ At Wimbledon it was really tough, so...
But I'm learning to cope better.テつ I'm trying different things all the time.テつ I keep working with my doctors.テつ You know, nothing can prevent bad days, but the bad days aren't as bad as they used to be.テつ I am learning it deal with it.
It's a work in progress.テつ My main goal is to be 100%, but it's not like it goes a way.テつ It's still in my body trying to fight against me, but I'm fighting it as well.

Q.テつ When there is a bad day do you have to skip or curtail practice?
VENUS WILLIAMS:テつ No, I go to practice.テつ I still go.テつ Every day counts.テつ This is my life, so I have to learn to play with it.テつ I can't say, I'm over it today.テつ Even if it's a hard day, even if every day is hard, I have to.
If I want to play professional tennis, I have to learn to deal with it.

Q.テつ So you're coping better with it.テつ Just being a player ranked 14 in the world, what kind of expectations are you bringing into the US Open?テつ Are you excited?
VENUS WILLIAMS:テつ Of course I'm excited about the Open.テつ I'm still really focused on this event.
I know I can play great tennis.テつ I need some more matches obviously, and I need to execute out there on the court and I need to feel halfway decent.
So there are a lot of things that have to fall in place for me maybe more than other players, but I'm up for the challenge.テつ You know, if I can get more wins, they're a lot sweeter for me.

Q.テつ Given the fact that you're not 100% all the time, have you made any changes to your game?テつ Have you done some different things on the court?テつ Tried different shots?
VENUS WILLIAMS:テつ No, it's important to make more shots.テつ That way hopefully you're on the court less time.
No, I think more than anything I don't panic anymore when I don't feel that great.テつ It's not always easy, but sometimes you can panic and you're like, Oh, God.
So that's something I've been working on.

Q.テつ How have you been practicing here?
VENUS WILLIAMS:テつ Good.テつ I love this tournament because everybody is so nice.テつ In middle America, they're the best people in the world I think.テつ So hospitable.テつ So behind me.テつ I could feel that on the court today, so it's awesome.テつ I like this tournament a lot.

Q.テつ You're saying you're aiming at playing Rio, which is 2016, 22 years past your first match as a pro.テつ That's a long time.
VENUS WILLIAMS:テつ That's an awesome career.テつ I figure I'm going to spend more time retired than pro, so while I'm here I'm going to go for it.テつ If I'm on one leg and I get to Rio, that's great, too.
That's my whole goal:テつ continue to work on my health and stay healthy as much as I can.テつ I think if that happens, I can get to Rio.

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