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An Interview With: Venus Williams (Round 4)

Sunday, September 06, 2015

Q. If you were not here will you be watching your sister's match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, definitely. But also after the match you have to cooldown and do different things. Have to still respect the process as well. So it's a balance between both.

Q. What is the most challenging thing emotionally and what is the most challenging thing in terms of tennis when you're facing Serena in a match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, obviously that she's so good. What else can you do except try to win the point and hope she doesn't hit an ace.

Q. Emotionally what are the challenges? Obviously none of us have ever experienced anything like what you do. How would you best describe...

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I mean, we're both prepared obviously hoping she gets through this match. She's looking good. We both know the draw so we are both prepared to play each other in case we both play well. It doesn't always happen, but sometimes it does. Then we go. We go.

Q. Do you have fun when you play against her?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Tennis is fun, so any day that I'm out doing what I love, and I think she feels the same, then that's the day that you feel blessed.

Q. Which is the more powerful feeling looking potentially to a match with her? The irony of meeting her at that stage here, or the sort of joy and wonder of the fact that you're meeting her again here after so many years?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know about the joy and wonder, per se, but it's still all focus. You still have to prepare. Still have to play well. Even though you're playing your sister you have to be prepared and focus. The preparation doesn't change.

Q. We know what will be at stake for her. (Indiscernible.)

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, obviously getting to a Grand Slam semifinal is the next step toward the final. Pretty clear what's up for grabs here.

Q. A lot of other players were asked, How does it feel to be the spoiler of the Grand Slam, trying to derail Serena?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Would they feel bad?

Q. Most of them said they would feel fine with it. Just wondering how you would feel.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't think anyone wants to be a spoiler. I think people love to see history being made. I think. No one is out to be a spoiler, but at the same time, you're focused on winning your match even though the circumstances are really much different than you.

Q. When Serena was asked to name the one thing that got under her skin about you, she said your dog, who was loyal to her until you come home and she abandons Serena. I know you love her dearly, but the one thing that gets a little bit under your skin about your little sister?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, we have a family gathering every year, and every year I don't get much say. She always picks the theme, and so that bothers me. (Laughter.)

Q. On court when she makes a great crosscourt forehand or good volley or something, an ace, do you ever get a little frustrated with her?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Because I play a lot of opponents who just play out of their head, that's kind of a usual day for me. There's no easy days. At least you expect that from Serena. She's not playing at a level that's abnormal, it's just her level.

Q. How do you account for the level of your play this week?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Been great. I'm happy. Whenever it's a win, doesn't matter what the level is because you have a chance to improve. So today definitely was my highest level; the last round was pretty high, too. I think my opponent today was very good. She took a lot of risk. She has power, determination. I think just the experience helped me to be able to keep the scoreline a lot easier. I think she's not used to those kind of balls coming back or coming back at the pace or facing a serve at that pace or the constant focus, so those are probably new things for her. But if she continues to play then she will experience that more and it will be more commonplace.

Q. Anything different in your approach or your training to the game this week?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. Just try to focus on the good things and try to not be too hard on yourself in these tournaments. You have to really give yourself a pat on the back for the good things. As a professional athlete you're always going for perfection, but it's not always realistic.

Q. A lot of talk has been made about you getting your college degree. Serena is taking pre-med classes, as well. Can you just talk about your parents and the importance that they stressed education and being a well-rounded person growing up?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. It's great to know that they didn't put all the eggs in the basket of you're going to be a professional tennis player, because if that doesn't happen it can be tragic. So to be a well-rounded person and know what's going on in the world around you, to have a perspective outside of your sport, is important for every athlete. I'm blessed that our parents gave us that.

Q. Can you recall your first match versus Serena? I remember reading in the newspapers a lot of speculation saying, Oh, father Richard is saying that today Venus should win or today Serena should win. Of course you always say it wasn't true, but what your father was saying to you before your matches against your sister, and what would he say today when you have to play Serena in such an important match for her especially and for you also?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. He wouldn't say anything. Just stay relaxed and have fun. Especially when we play each other, he doesn't even come to those matches.

Q. Didn't come but he was talking to you.

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. No. No, at that point it's both of your daughters, so whoever wins is a win anyway for you. I think that's how my parents feel.

Q. So much focus on Serena, but do you think you can win the US Open this year?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Of course. I'd love to. But it's easier said than done.

Q. What would it feel like to win this?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. (Smiling.) It feels so good. But, you know, that's not the thing that you focus on. You focus on the moment of whatever round that is. Next round is the quarterfinals. That's my focus, and not really to win.

Q. Genie Bouchard has had a head injury and doubtful she will actually play. I guess it's up to her whether she will be able to play. Do you think it's a situation where tennis doctors or officials should prevent a player they think might be endangering themselves by taking the court to play, or should that always be totally up to the athlete?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't even know what the rule is on that.

Q. I think the rule is up to her.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Okay. Well, it's up to her. It's difficult for anyone to tell you not to play, especially at this stage in the tournament you want to give it your all. So I don't know what she's going through. I have no idea what the circumstances are. But it's just super unfortunate and just not ideal, and especially she's playing so well. It's like the last think you think is going to happen.

Q. You're getting a lot of questions on your legacy and impact, especially this year. How does it make you feel? Do you feel lucky to get them or what

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. A question is a question for me. I don't take anything personal. Unless it's a crazy question. Then we're going to go toe to toe. But it's all good as long as long as it's respectful.

Q. You said a few minutes ago that it's fun even when you're playing Serena. What has the opportunity to play against Serena as many times as you have had that opportunity on the biggest of stages, what has that meant to both of you, you in particular, and what do you think it's meant to the sport?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I like to think it's helped the sport to grow because it's been such an unusual circumstance and so intriguing for everyone. I don't remember the other part of the question.

Q. What has it meant to you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: What's it meant to me? I don't know. I feel like that's what we always wanted growing up, just to be out there on the big stage duking it out when someone named Williams will win. That's a given on that one.

Q. You talk about the informal matches that you and Serena had growing up. Do you remember the first time she beat you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, in (indiscernible) she didn't. That was a giant, though. It was always so tall and she was really small at the time. So it wasn't a fair match, really.

Q. You and Serena have so many offcourt ventures in the business world and philanthropy. Is there comfort whenever you decide to walk away from the game you have all these opportunities lined up for you the second you leave?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Absolutely, absolutely, because there's a big part of me that wants to be able not to move away from tennis but to explore other things in life and to transition and to find new challenges. Of course I will always be involved with tennis, but it's a certain challenge when you try something new. I love that.

Q. You have talked about in the past Kimiko Date has been the elder statesman and now you are. Following on his question, once you decide to hang it up, whenever that is, with the tennis involvement involve going back to Compton, helping kids there?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think I will be low key, just helping kids in the neighborhood or people who might want advice. Definitely need a break from traveling. I will take a break from tennis in terms of that. Maybe I will come back at some point 20 years down the road and someone asks me to coach. I'm all right, I'm...

Q. Academy of some sort?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No.

Q. An English writer wrote a line about siblings know every little detail and every little nuance of the other sibling. Do you think you know everything there is about Serena? And if not, what do you think it might be?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I hope so. It might help me in the match, right? I don't know what the score is, but theoretically, so...

Q. Can you see yourself playing doubles for...

VENUS WILLIAMS: For?

Q. You could continue to play doubles until after you're 50 years old. Can you see yourself after playing singles playing doubles in Grand Slam tournaments?

VENUS WILLIAMS: If Serena wants to, yeah, maybe. We'll see.

Q. Have your other sisters said who they will root for if Serena makes the quarters?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, that's never come up. That's never come up.

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