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August 5, 2013

Eugenie Bouchard

Monica Seles

Serena Williams

Venus Williams


THE MODERATOR:テつ Thank you so much, everyone, for coming.テつ We have with us up here our four participants for tonight's opening night exhibition match:テつ Monica Seles, Eugenie Bouchard, Venus Williams, and Serena Williams.

Q.テつ What does it feel like to be back here in Toronto where you have so many great memories?テつ What are your thoughts on taking the court tonight with two great champions like the Williams sisters and a future champion maybe in Eugenie Bouchard?
MONICA SELES:テつ I'm very excited to be back in the Toronto.テつ Obviously this city holds, or this tournament, a lot of special memories for me.テつ It's my first tournament back after a while, so the crowd's reception I had, any time I get invited back I say yes.
I'm looking very much forward to tonight's match.テつ I have never played with Eugenie, but I played against both Venus and Serena so I'm a little bit nervous with the balls coming at me.
I think we're all going to have a fun match tonight, show the crowd some entertaining times.テつ They will be in for a treat.テつ That's most important.

Q.テつ Monica, this is the 40th anniversary of women's tennis and through your career you have obviously seen a big evolution.テつ What are your thoughts on how far the women's game has come?テつ Do you think that it is getting enough respect today?
MONICA SELES:テつ Well, I think each generation, you know, keeps putting women's tennis further and further.テつ Obviously our founder, Billie Jean King, has laid the foundation for it.テつ All of us were at the Wimbledon W‑40 celebration this year at Wimbledon celebrating 40 years of the WTA Tour.
I think the prize money, the prestige of the tournament is going in the right direction and the future tennis stars, thanks to the past champions, the current champions have really greatly built a system for them.

Q.テつ Genie, how do you feel being onstage with royalty?
EUGENIE BOUCHARD:テつ Really special.テつ Obviously it's such an honor for me to be able to play with three legends tonight.テつ Going to have a lot of fun, and hopefully it will be a good match and the fans will enjoy it.

Q.テつ Does it feel a little strange, or are you kind of looking around...
EUGENIE BOUCHARD:テつ It's just so cool.テつ I mean, obviously I have watched all of them play and I have great respect for all of the champions here.テつ I look forward to playing against them.テつ I haven't played against or with any of them.
It will be a fun experience.テつ Hopefully maybe Monica and I can have a chance at the famous Williams sisters.テつ (Smiling).

Q.テつ Genie, just as part of that, when I came in here today, there was a picture of you, sort of huge, and your name has been on everybody's lips, including Billie Jean King a few days ago.テつ Just wondering how you feel about this burst of, I guess, fame and how you think it's going to affect your game?
EUGENIE BOUCHARD:テつ It's always special coming back to Canada and playing at home.テつ We only have one big tournament a year really, so I try to enjoy it as much as possible.テつ It's great.テつ People know a bit more who I am now, so it's always fun playing here in front of the home crowd because I get a lot of support.テつ I'm just going to enjoy that this week.

Q.テつ Welcome back, Venus.テつ It's been since the end of May since you have played.テつ An update on how you are feeling, both for the exhibition and coming into this week?
VENUS WILLIAMS:テつ Well, yeah, I'm excited about the exhibition, and it's great to be reunited with Serena on court.テつ Great to be on court with Monica and Eugenie.
I'm feeling good.テつ You know, I have been watching a lot of tennis on TV, so it will be nice to take part.テつ (Smiling).

Q.テつ Is the back fully healed?
VENUS WILLIAMS:テつ Yeah.テつ You know, I just started to realize that I couldn't play, especially since I didn't have a serve.テつ It was just really hard to play without a serve, I found out, so especially such a huge part of my game.
Yeah, I feel like I'm at the point now where I can hit the ball pretty well.

Q.テつ Venus and Serena, is there something special you did in preparation for the match tonight?テつ Something that you're planning together?
SERENA WILLIAMS:テつ We're just going to have a lot of fun.テつ This is a great opportunity, always any opportunity to be on the court with Monica, being on the court with Genie I think is great, as well.テつ She's the future of tennis.テつ She has a great game.テつ So it will be great also for Canadians to see their local hero do so well.テつ We just plan on having a really good time today.

Q.テつ Monica, as you probably know, John McEnroe, Pete Sampras, Jim Courier, many other legends, the men, have put together their own tour.テつ I was thinking, you had such a wonderful rivalry with Steffi Graf, Jennifer Capriati, Arantxa Sanchez, probably a few others I have forgotten.テつ I think so many people would love to see a women's legends exhibition.テつ I'm curious if that will happen in the future between you and Steffi and some of the other rivals of your era.
MONICA SELES:テつ Obviously I can't speak for the other players, but I think in my case my singles days are finished.テつ When I retired, there was a reason I retired, physically and emotionally.
I love doubles and playing tennis and doing events like this.テつ But to play singles against someone like a Graf or Davenport, I mean, you look at with Martina Hingis, I played against her, some event a month and a half ago, and it was like, Wow.テつ Obviously she'd like to come back.テつ It's a different level.
But for me, I will pass on singles but I love playing doubles.テつ It's fun.

Q.テつ Monica, as someone who had so much fan and media attention at such a young age, do you have any advice for your partner tonight in handling the newfound attention she's getting now?
MONICA SELES:テつ Well, I think she already had a taste when she won Juniors Wimbledon.テつ So I think she earned already with a lot of hard work.テつ I think it's just a fun new world she's entering where, you know, just hard work.テつ That's probably No. 1.テつ Have fun at it.テつ Enjoy the ride.
Tennis is such a compressed, short career.テつ Try to make the most of it.テつ You're lucky to do something we love, get paid for it, travel the world.
Surround yourself with a good support system.テつ I think both Serena and Venus can attest to that.テつ They played longer than I played, so, you know, I think probably they can answer better than I.
Taking care of your bodies.テつ That's key.テつ I think all of us know how important that is because tennis is so grueling, day in and day out, to play at this high level.

Q.テつ Serena or Venus, either one, you have seen a lot of good young players get some excitement and get touted as the next thing.テつ What separates some of those players who get a lot of attention from those who actually push through and end up being contenders that you guys play in finals and things like that?
SERENA WILLIAMS:テつ Oh, it's hard to say.テつ You never really know who's going to be that special player to come out and do so well, because I think tennis is a sport where anything can happen.テつ Anything can happen.テつ Someone could have a bad day.テつ Someone could play amazing.
I just think there is so many to choose from and everyone is doing so well.テつ I just think really for women's tennis it's probably one of the most exciting times it's ever been.

Q.テつ I'd like to get back to the fact that this is the 40th year of the WTA.テつ Given the champions here, it will be sort of a good question to ask from your perspective that over these 40 years, the women's tennis is not quite in parity with the men's yet.テつ I was wondering, what do you think the WTA needs to do to really raise it to the next level that would, in fact, you know, create the kind of excitement that I'm sure all of you would like to have?
SERENA WILLIAMS:テつ You said women's tennis wasn't exactly what?

Q.テつ In parity with the men's, ATP.
VENUS WILLIAMS:テつ I think there is a lot of opinions out there, and I think all of us ladies on this stage and I know Karl, the tournament director, too, thinks that's kind of an opinion.テつ Everybody has their own opinion.テつ Some people like men's tennis more and some like women's tennis more.
It's all great tennis, but it's just a perspective.テつ The competition and the level of play is higher than ever before, so that's the reality of the matter.

Q.テつ Venus, you mentioned that you have been watching a lot of tennis recently.テつ Is that unusual for you?テつ What observations have you generally made?
VENUS WILLIAMS:テつ Yeah, I have watched a lot of tennis, but during the day I had to go to the gym and to rehab, so I missed most of Wimbledon.テつ So like by the time I got home I missed a lot of it.テつ But of course I record Serena's matches if I can't be there, set my alarm to wake up.
Mostly watching ‑‑especially Serena Williams, I watch a lot of her matches.

Q.テつ What do you make of everything that happened at Wimbledon?テつ Because it was a pretty eventful tournament.
VENUS WILLIAMS:テつ You never know what's going to happen in the draw.テつ Never guaranteed.テつ You have to win your match whether you're the best player or the worst player.テつ That's pretty much what Wimbledon proved this year, I think.

Q.テつ Monica, it's been what, 11 years now since your last match?テつ Right around there?テつ 2002?テつ You're watching the games.テつ Just talk about some of the fundamental differences you see between the beginning of the century and now.
MONICA SELES:テつ Well, I think the fitness level of girls has really gone up.テつ There are no more easy matches.テつ Kind of when I came on the tour, you know, first few rounds you'd be cruising more easier through it.
I think now from round 1 you have to be very on.テつ I think the schedule is very tough, because the fitness level, you always have to be in top shape and that's not so easy to be 11 months of the year, not just physically but also mentally.
I think probably the tour is a little bit spread out more because a lot of tournaments are in Asia, Middle East, because it was just coming as I was leaving the tour.
I also think the offcourt commands, with the social media stuff, there is so much more demand on the players to be interactive than in my day.テつ You might have had the media conference and the sponsor parties, but you didn't have all this other social media stuff that for me is foreign because I'm that generation that kind of missed it.
But it is here, and it's very real.テつ Players participate in it.

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