Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Venus Williams 1st Round US Open Interview | Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Q. The crowd was definitely feeling you with lots of love, you played well, looked good. I think what's amazing about your game is your fearless attack to the net. Do you think that is because of your doubles game that you play with your sister all the time or are you playing fearless, period?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think my game is just an attacking game. I like being at the net, so I don't mind coming in. I feel good up there. I think the doubles actually helps when you get up there to be able to volley a little bit. More than anything, I just feel good.
Q. Can you remember the last time you played a tennis tournament in which you weren't coping with some health issue?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No (laughter). But everybody has their lot in life, and I've had mine. I've had an unbelievable lot. I'm living my dream every day for the last 15 years, so I can't complain.
Q. Did you learn how to cope with things, learn that you have to play with pain, learn that you should not play a certain week, rather than try to force the issue? Is this something that comes with maturity?
VENUS WILLIAMS: For a player like me, I play through everything. So I think for maturity, there comes a point when you have to start realizing you can't play through everything. For me that's been just about a year, year and a half that I've finally gotten smart. For me it's about living life with no regrets. If I have any small chance to hit the ball, I'm going to go for it.
Q. What are your thoughts about the next generation of young American women coming up now?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think the American women have done amazing. You know, McHale is in the top 30, Sloane seems to be closing in as well on the top 30. I saw Vicki last night playing well. I was very impressed. So happy and proud of her first start. You know, a number of younger players, too. So I think that it looks bright.
Q. How have you been involved in supporting and mentoring?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I've been trying to get back on tour. My main focus right now is taking care of my health, so that's a full‑time job. But I definitely want to get more involved. I love seeing the young people do well and have success. It's heartwarming, especially when they're American. It's awesome. Definitely look forward to the future.
Q. Do you feel better now than you felt last fall just waking up in the morning? What are the processes or the medicines that you have to go through to do that?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I'm on a few medicines. I'm definitely better than last fall. Last fall I didn't play any tournaments and I was at home watching on TV. So there's a big difference between watching on TV and being in a tournament. For me it's very rewarding, it's very exciting. It's like, you know, just come full circle to be back out here, winning matches, moving forward ‑ and getting better. That's good for me.
Q. Speaking of mentoring, have you had a chance to speak to Duval?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I saw her this morning. I think we live close to each other, as well. I think it will be an opportunity for us to hit with each other.
Q. She wants to learn all of your strokes.
VENUS WILLIAMS: I saw her rushing the net. I was like, Yeah, I like that. That's good.
Q. The first serve you hit today was 125 or something like that. Does it feel like if the rest of your game is maybe a little bit off, the serve is always going to stay in good stead?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, for me my serve is huge because it's such a huge part of my game. It's important for me to get my first serves in. Of course, when there's a big point, I'm thinking my serve is going to save me every time. I think sometimes I get so involved in my serve I forget to play the rest of the point. It's definitely a balance. But for me and anybody else, when your serve is in, the rest of your game is beautiful usually.
Q. You played today with a very nice dress. Are you and your sister sweet with the dress? Vain?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Vain? Vanity? I do have some points of vanity (laughter), but I don't want to confess what they are. I'm very much into the fashion and EleVen. You know, I had a floral print today which I think is pretty new for tennis. It's pretty fun for me to design this and actually wear it. So it's great.
Q. Speaking of fashion, will you have anything new coming out, different designs you'd like to pursue?
VENUS WILLIAMS: The floral print is new. That's why I'm wearing it at the Open. I'm wearing it in doubles tomorrow. There's a lot of new stuff for next year, as well.
Q. Considering how last year's Open ended, how did it feel to start this year, get the first match under your belt?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I mean, I was a little nervous in the beginning, just coming back to the Open after last year. It was a big deal for me. So to get back out there in front of the crowd was a wonderful feeling. But it felt great once I got on a roll and started playing some good points. Then I felt very comfortable.
Q. Did that nervousness translate into the first two games?
VENUS WILLIAMS: The first two games I couldn't quite get it right. She played some good shots, some good serves. 2‑Love and I'm serving, I feel like I'm going to hold and maybe it's going to be even soon. I feel good on my serve.
Q. At the start of this year your big goal was the Olympics. Obviously not only did you make the team, you had tremendous success there. Is this just added pleasure?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I was expecting to be a little better. But then at the same time I'm very proud of my results this year. I don't know too many other athletes that played under these circumstances. To me, this is all icing on the cake because the Olympics was my goal this year. The Olympics is where I really started playing well. That was great. For now I'm just like building on the good play. Just need a little time to hopefully get back to my same level as before.
Q. Do you have specific goals or steps that you look at?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I do.
Q. Getting into the top 10, winning again?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, but it never happens the way you want it to. That's one thing I found out throughout my whole career. When you don't make it to one goal, just make some more. But, of course, I'm looking forward to the top 10, all that great stuff. I feel like I have it in me.
Q. At the end of last year's Open, after everything had been diagnosed and revealed, what were your honest expectations, sport, and just your health?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Honestly, I didn't even understand what I was going through at that time last year. I feel like just this summer I've come to acceptance. Like it takes a long time to come to acceptance, especially when you're an athlete. You see yourself as this healthy person that nothing can defeat you. So it takes a while before you can kind of see yourself as someone with flaws and chips in the armor. Now that I have come to accept it, it helps me a lot in how I need to prepare for my matches, the mindset I need to come into it. It's not as intimidating. I definitely was intimidated in a lot of matches this year, learning to come back and play with this. So I've come a long way mentally, emotionally, physically as well. I'm sure this is just the beginning of learning.
Q. How long was that 'while'?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Like I say, this summer I just came to terms with it. I'm getting used to this stuff (laughter). I've accepted that now I do have an autoimmune disease. I've accepted that. I think acceptance is good.
Q. Was there a watershed moment or something that happened that helped you to accept this?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think just after time, you still have the same symptoms over and over and over and over again. After a while you start to realize, Okay, I'm not making this up; it's real. It becomes acceptance. You know, it's something you're thinking maybe tomorrow you're waking up and it's gone. It's not how it works. It just takes a while.
Q. It seems like health is such an issue here. You look good. While you're recuperating, what did you do to have fun? Did you watch movies?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Winning matches is fun, so... I'm here to win some matches, and that's the ultimate fun. That's the whole goal.
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