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An Interview With: Venus Williams (Round 3)

Friday, September 04, 2015

Q. We were just talking to Belinda. She was disappointed, but she said you were just way too good today, power, the serve, everything was there. Do you feel really great about the way you played a really tough opponent?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, she's been playing well and her ranking shows and also the results show. Today I just wanted to be aggressive, which is my style of game. She definitely picked her level up leading a break and pretty poised for her taking the second. But it's not over till it's over. Just tried to play some good service games, get a hold, and you never know.

Q. Because of her results this summer, she's becoming more known, walking around on the streets out and about. She said actually people look at me and say, You're the one that beat Serena. They don't know her name. Is there something sweet about beating Belinda?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Whoever is across the net, I want to win. Whoever that person is, that's the day I want to win.

Q. You had a 3-Love record going into this. Did that relax you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It's hard to remember every match. I remember a couple of them. I don't remember all of them. It was always well contested. Even the first match I played against her, it was well contested. She was consistent and competitive. I knew it wouldn't be a match that was just going to be given to me.

Q. When you see footage of yourself as a young player who is just beginning to play at the US Open, what are the biggest similarities and biggest differences between that Venus Williams and today's Venus Williams?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Obviously, I haven't seen a lot or a ton of footage from that time. I don't know how easy it is to find it. I think just the mentality, of course the experience at the time. I didn't really have a plan. Just fighting. (Smiling.) So now I'm fighting with a plan.

Q. How would you compare which is more fun, then or now with that plan?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. At that point it's pretty fun because you don't think so much. You just go for -- I went for everything. You mess up a lot, so that's frustrating, too. But it's all new. It's a wonderful experience to have experienced that, but at the same time now I feel like I have the tools to get the wins under my belt.

Q. I read on the USTA website that you completed your business in Bachelor's degree at Indiana University?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah.

Q. How do you find the time? Those accounting courses can be tough.

VENUS WILLIAMS: It was. I almost went blind. (Laughter). I really liked accounting. Finance was even harder for me, but -- it was tough but it was very beneficial. It's something that I use every day with business, so it was always a goal of mine to get a business degree.

Q. Obviously you and your sister have really transformed our sport over a long period of time. How would you assess the impact that you and Serena have had over all these years?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. I hope positive. I think positive. I think it brought a lot of notoriety for women's tennis around the world. It's not something I think about every day. Wake up, brush my teeth, look in the mirror, like, What has my impact been? (Laughter.) You try and live in the moment and do your best. It's sometimes hard to step out of yourself and see a bigger picture. But clearly, yes, it's thrilling and it's an honor to be part of something bigger than your own self.

Q. This is your first time the women's final here sold out before the men's final.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I didn't know that.

Q. Market progress for women's game?

VENUS WILLIAMS: For me it's not necessarily about progress men or women. It's wonderful when both finals sell out. I'm all about equality. That's all.

Q. Did you have any family member more or less advise you what might be a good way to play today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, but that's between us. I think it worked. (Smiling.)

Q. What were the keys to the win today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think just playing aggressive. My last matches I was in the driver's seat and in great positions. That's the best part, to win the matches in straight sets. But the errors were just too high. Today keeping the errors down really helped me to be able to close the matches out and continue to play aggressive. Sometimes when you're making more errors you want to pull back, but I just need to keep going forward.

Q. It's been a few years since you made it this far here at the Open. Is it new and exciting again?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It's not new. It's always exciting.

Q. For all the people who have brothers and sisters who grew up playing the same sport and are competitive, how do you deal with focusing on your own game when people keep asking about your sister?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It's easy. I have to go to practice and I have to get it in. When I play my match, I can't think about anything else except what I am doing on my side of the net. It's pretty easy to stay focused.

Q. When you have had to play against Serena, how tough was it at the beginning and what's it like these days?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, first match was probably in 1990, so it's been a minute. (Smiling.) We played many informal matches against each other, especially when we were younger. So this is something we have done our whole life.

Q. What's it like now versus the early days?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I used to always win in the early days. (Laughter.)

Q. Did you notice how loud the crowd was today? Do you feel that that is at all a function of the partial roof that's up in the stadium? Does that make it more intimate playing?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Loud in terms of cheering?

Q. Cheering for you, specifically.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes. I felt like especially when I got down the whole crowd was really, really into supporting me, and that felt great. I didn't want to let them down so I tried to hit some good shots. You can tell this crowd really loves great plays, they love great points, and they love big shots. So it's nice to entertain as you win, but even if you aren't entertaining you hope you win.

Q. At this stage, is it fair to say that you put maybe more focus on the slams?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Not necessarily, because you have to play well -- you want to feel confident going into the majors. It's not always going to be possible that you are playing your best, but you hope that you get a chance to play your way into the tournament and continue to play better. I don't really think anyone necessarily thinks like that. You don't want to lose. If you're losing all the time and then wining only at the slams, that's not good either.

Q. There has never been a tennis parent quite like Richard Williams. We miss having him around, or at least I do. Could you just share with us a little bit about how he's doing?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. I think my parents are tired of tennis, a little bit. They are a little bit tired of tennis. My mom doesn't come as often. Honestly, I don't know how they do it. It's too much pressure. It's stressful. They have done a superb job. So last tournament, I don't know, maybe he'll come. It's tough as a parent to watch, too.

Q. Does it impact your game one way or the other whether they are there or not?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It's always wonderful to have support. It's always nice to hear from the box, Go. You can do it. That sort of thing. That really helped me in some key moments in my career, as well.

Q. Have you thought about what it might feel like to play Serena in the quarters with everything at stake?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. Of course I have thought about it, and I would like us to have that moment so we can see how it is. (Smiling.) We both have to get there. I think we both have a great opportunity to do so, but there are no givens. So the whole focus is, win your match one by one.

Q. Playing Kontaveit next.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Did she win? I have no idea how she plays or anything. I will try to put the ball in the court again. (Laughter.)

Q. Your comment about your dad, can you take it a little bit further? When were some moments when he really helped you out in some matches?

VENUS WILLIAMS: There have been -- I remember I was playing like -- I hate going down memory lane, but if you insist, I think my first big tournament final in Miami I actually remember my dad saying something. You're on the court, and it just kind of echos in your head. It's bananas. I recall in the '05 Wimbledon final I was down match point. I was so disgruntled. I looked over at the box and they were all, Come on, you can do it. I was like, Oh, I can. So those are moments that you need that moment. All the moments, you never know which one is going to be so helpful when you have family and friends in the box.

Q. What did he say in Miami?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Raise the ball. That's all I remember. It was an interesting match, and I just raised the ball.

Q. What do you think about playing a player who is so much younger? Do you consider it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Not at all. Not at all.

Q. You don't think, I have this experience or, Oh, my gosh, she might have more energy because she's only 20-year-old or whatever?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Not necessarily. There are some young folks out there who are doing well. When I go out there, I'm thinking about, Okay, how can I play my game the best way that I can? And then of course I consider my opponent more or less on what are their strengths and weaknesses rather than how old they may be.

Q. How has the technology of your equipment helped you in furthering to get better?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I try to update as much as possible. You don't want to be in the past. I try to be in the future or at least in the future.

Q. Did you watch Hingis? Did you see Hingis watching the match today? How did that feel?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I did see her a little bit. I thought if she was -- you can't help but think about if she's kind of putting herself in the position of when we used to play and what kind of advice she may have given her. So it's interesting to see your opponents, you know, still -- and she's playing well. I think if she wanted to, she could still play singles.

Q. Do you remember the last time that you or maybe along with Serena or with your father visit back to Compton where the whole story started?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, it's been a minute, but I'm very proud of where I came from. I don't get to California as often as I would like, but I'm proud of it.

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