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An Interview With: Venus Williams (Quarterfinals)

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Q. The embrace at the end of the match, what did you say to your sister after an amazing match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I just said I'm so happy for you. I don't remember what else I said after that. Just moments. Just the moment.

Q. You and Serena played on the big stage tonight, but obviously as sisters you grew up playing against each other. What advice do you have for other sibling sets who are coming up in the sport and have to face off?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Just enjoy the moment and try your best and keep practicing. I don't know.

Q. Can you walk us through what was going through your head after the second set? You were sitting there in your chair, one set to go. What's in your head?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, the first set was close. Lost serve a couple times, but I was still leading in both of those games.

Knew I had opportunities and just tried to capitalize on them.

Q. Do you remember the early days when you and Serena would play in the (indiscernible) foundation, playing the Jensens in doubles and playing one another in singles?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, yeah, I remember that.

Q. Yeah. Good memories back then of that fun stuff?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, yeah. Anything for charity.

Q. What's the toughest part about playing Serena both in terms of strokes and in terms of mindset?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, she has of course a wonderful mental game, but she also has ability to come up with a great shot when she needs it. That's just been the hallmark of her game.

Q. This match more important than any of the others you have played in terms of the gravity at the moment?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, it was more unique, definitely.

Q. What makes it more unique?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, obviously because Serena is going for the Grand Slam and I think everybody is interested because she has to play her sister to get to that.

People want to see, you know, how that's going to come out. So it was definitely a different moment.

Q. Did that play on your mind at all during the match? I mean, it seems like you're conscious about it, obviously, but once you get into the match you're focused.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, you have to be focused or else you're going to lose serve. Just try to hold.

Q. What you and Serena did tonight probably promoted tennis as much as the Billie Jean King/Bobby Riggs as far as interest and enthusiasm. What's that make you feel like? How much gratification is there for you in that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm not sure anything can top Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs.

Q. It was very close.

VENUS WILLIAMS: But it definitely was intriguing.

Q. How do you think you played tonight? And second to that, what did you say to Serena at the net at the end?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I thought I played pretty well tonight and served well. Just tried to play aggressively. That's always how I want to play.

I just told her I was really happy for her, and like I said earlier, I don't remember what I said after that.

Maybe she'll remember.

Q. What is the emotional challenge when you play Serena?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I thought I answered that last time. (Laughter.) You know, when you get in the tournament, you want to win the match, you want to win the tournament, so that's both of our focus when we get out there, is to try to be our best.

Q. You said the other day that when you were kids you both dreamed of duking it out on the biggest of stages. What do you think you showed tonight with the way you conducted yourself on the court and after?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. I wasn't trying to show anything. I'm just being myself when I'm out there, so whatever that is, that is.

Q. Is it any different when you played now as opposed to five, ten years ago in terms of all of this? Has it changed at all? And if so, how so?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't think it's changed. Not for me, no.

Q. When you were young you were very much the caretaker of your little sister, giving her a trophy once, and when she lost, giving her a bunch of money and so forth. Do you still feel like you're the older sister taking care of her and so forth? Can you talk about that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I will always be the older sister. That's never going to change. (Smiling.)

Q. But aside from chronologically, how do you feel in terms of the dynamics between you and your sister?

VENUS WILLIAMS: We have always taken care of each other, but also that goes for the rest of my family and other sisters. We have always taken care of each other no matter what.

So it's just that you see Serena and I a little more often, but it's a family thing.

Q. You both obviously have done something very special over the years and played a lot of special matches. We don't know if you'll ever meet in a stage like this again. Was there any part at the end or in breaks or anything where you looked around and just took it in a little bit?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Actually, no. Sorry. (Smiling.)

Q. Too intense?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't think like that. I feel that, you know, luck and chance and blessings from God and we stay healthy, we'll play again.

Q. What was most gratifying and what was most dissatisfying about the experience for you tonight?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, yeah, losing isn't fun. I mentioned that part.

And then gratifying, I don't know if I thought about that yet, but probably the most gratifying is I'm still very excited to see Serena have an opportunity to win the four majors.

I think that's the best part.

Q. You made the quarterfinals at the US Open; got a set off the No. 1 player in the world. At age 35, what do you think of what you still have left in the tank?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I try my best every match, and sometimes you win and sometimes you lose.

I generally play against a lot of inspired opponents. No easy matches for me ever. So I think when I play people they come out swinging because they feel like either they have to or that they have -- that they have to.

It's wonderful to play and win against opponents that are playing well and to be able to move on and continue to do so.

Q. Is it emotional to still to face your sister? What's it like playing her?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Is that the question?

Q. Is it still emotional? I mean, was it emotional for you out there tonight facing your sister, even though you have talked about so many times?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, my main goal when I go out there is to hold serve. I think that's her main goal, too. Then you have to look at a break. That's a lot of what I'm looking at when I'm out there. That's kind of a peek into my mind.

Q. You mentioned a couple times holding serve. Does that pressure feel different against Serena because you know she has such a good serve to hold on to?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, she has great returns, as well. How she ends up returning my serve is unlike any of the other players that I have played.

So on my first serve in my other matches I'm definitely getting easier points, but I think the trick is not to go for too much. She's a good shot. Hey, what can you do? Try to put another first serve in.

Q. Serena said after the match that when she's playing against you she doesn't think of you as her sister. What do you think of Serena during the match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I still think of her as Serena still, but I don't -- I don't separate it.

Q. You were playing your sister out there on Arthur Ashe Stadium in front of a packed stadium. Presidential candidate, Oprah, and other dignitaries. If Arthur Ashe was there, what do you think he might have to say?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I have no idea. That's a good question. I never knew him so well. You might have to ask someone who knew him well. I imagine he would enjoy the moment.

His exact words, that's a mystery right now.

Q. Serena said that you helped create her in a way and made her the player that she is. What would it mean to you if she doesn't go on and go for the Grand Slam and actually succeed?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think that would be a huge, not just for me, but for my family just for what it represents and how hard we have worked and where we come from. So it would be a moment for our family.

But at the same time, if it doesn't happen it's not going to make or break you. We don't have anything to prove. She has nothing to prove.

She's really the best ever, so what are you going to do? Just try to make it. If you don't, then that's that and go to the next one.

Q. How do you feel when you say that she's the best ever? What feeling does that give you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I think she is the best ever because of the level of competition that she's faced. There have been some unbelievable players in the past, but I have played in this, you know, seems like multiple eras at this point.

I have played the best from different eras, as well. I have seen the level of competitiveness go up, and I have seen players who are ranked 100 who didn't believe they could win a match against you to this point fight you tooth and nail and try to take you down.

So that didn't happen when I started. So just to be able to win at this level, I think that's what makes her the best.

Q. If you have the chance to win your sister, will you take this chance?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I tried. Were you there? (Laughter.)

Q. What do you still want from tennis?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, of course I want to win majors and I want to feel good when I'm on the court and just feel confident that I can practice there the way I want, prepare the way I want, and be able to do what I need to do on the court.

So that's what I want. I want to be happy with my results personally. As long as that happens, then that's good for me.

Q. She's obviously going after Steffi's record. Can you be a bit more specific and compare and contrast Serena's game and Steffi's game?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, yeah. I played both.

Well, if you compare the serve then you probably give it to Serena. If you compare the speed, they both are very fast, but probably Serena. She's dangerous on the run.

Mental toughness, you probably have to give that to both of them. But it's a different time. It's a different time. You have to expect that perhaps 10, 20 years later that the next generation is going to be even at a higher level.

So let's say Steffi played at this time. Then she would be even at a better level than she played at then.

Q. Pretty good forehand?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, yeah, huge forehand. Serena has a huge one, too. I don't think anyone would want to face either one.

Q. Some people may think because you have taken care of Serena that you'd be conflicted tonight, that there is a part of you that doesn't want to get in the way of her achieving a Grand Slam, but then there is a part of you that obviously wants to win and beat her. Is that a silly notion, or is there something to it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I feel like if I cared deeply about what people thought of me, I probably would have never made it out of Compton, California.

So my whole thing is to live up to hopefully my own expectations, which is the hardest thing to live up, anyway, probably to your own expectations than to other people's.

So if I can live up to that, then I'll be all right.

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