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Venus Williams first round

Monday 23 June 2014

Venus Williams speaks to the press following her 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 victory over Spain's Maria-Teresa Torro-Flo

Q. You lost the second set on sort of a fluke let cord thing. I know you're trying to save energy and not play three sets. How do you come back from that kind of frustration?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, yeah, I mean, she just kind of got the return back. Goes to show if you get it in play, anything can happen. Unfortunately it clipped the net.

But stayed focused in the third set because you got to play it. So that's all I did.

Q. How did it feel to get back to winning ways at Wimbledon?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, it was great. I mean, I think my opponent played amazing. She just was playing so well, going for everything. So it was definitely a challenge today against someone who is just playing such inspired tennis.

It's definitely a nice start.

Q. Does it give you confidence to have gotten through quite a tough first set, especially on grass, a surface that you love?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Of course, obviously it feels good to win. I mean, it feels good to, you know, play well against an opponent who is playing well and advance to the next round. That always helps. First match on a new surface.

Q. You looked like your strength is fine, like you've gotten it back. You did an interview with a magazine about the syndrome you had, how difficult it was, how tired you'd get. How do you fight back from that and how was it even diagnosed? I researched it and it's a strange kind of thing.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I mean, you just get diagnosed when you have symptoms, so that's pretty much it.

Q. Did it take them a long time for them to figure it out?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, it took a long time. Unfortunately it's not something you had; it's something you have. So on a daily basis I'm trying to get the best out of myself. That's all I can ask, is to get the best out of me. I never compare myself to anybody else.

Q. You're treating it in such a way you feel like your strength is back?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm doing the absolute best I can. So, yeah, every day.

Q. Is it still the same coming back every year? Is it different now?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It's just absolute focus in this tournament and in all tournaments. Obviously I've done well on this surface. The surface is quite different than before. Now it's more about rallies. The courts are very slow. The ball stays up. So it's very different.

I definitely come in with a different mentality than before.

Q. If you can think back to a year ago, what was it like for you not to be at Wimbledon? How much did you pay attention at all to the tournament?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I watched all of Serena's matches. That's pretty much what I did. Last year was a crazy year for the men and women, so...

It's a whole other year. Most people are determined.

For me it was best not to come because I couldn't really serve. You can't really play tennis if you can't really serve. It was in my best interest not to come here. It was pretty clear that I needed to stay home.

Q. What was that feeling like? Every year in June you come here. It was the first time you weren't able to come and play.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I tried to spend my time on other things, you know, be productive in other ways if I can't be on the court or at the tournament.

If anything, it was a relief because I just played the French Open. It was just terrible having to play like that. Just didn't want to be in that situation again.

Q. You've spoken in terms of your work as being in the tradition of Billie Jean in terms of equal opportunity, equal pay. When you heard that this Scottish guy, Andy Murray, hired Amélie to be his coach, what were your thoughts?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. I'm not as up on ladies tennis as some of you are in here. I didn't know they were working together. I'm sorry.

I know they are now. It's great. A coach is a coach; it doesn't matter what gender it is. That's my opinion.

Q. Just wondering what the Body issue shoot was like? Sounds like in the article that was attached that you were surprised that it was going to be like that.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I was. I was (smiling).

Q. Was it fun?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. I just kept cracking jokes and that definitely made it fun. It was interesting, though.

I think I'm in better shape now. Hope we can do a reshoot (smiling).

Q. Over the years you and Serena and other women who have had great records here have been put on the outer courts a lot. Tomorrow's schedule came out and there's two women's matches on Centre Court and Court No. 1.

VENUS WILLIAMS: For Wimbledon, I think they always listen to the players. The women have - you know, the tour has voiced our opinion on equal coverage on the courts. I don't think we want more or less.

It's so wonderful that Wimbledon listens to not only the women's players but the men's players and all the players.

It's just wonderful to have that dialogue back and forth.

Q. You were involved in the prize money discussions here. Was the court placement also something that you were involved with or the WTA council, to your knowledge?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I'm on the council so I'm always involved in many things that is involved in the majors, all the tournaments. That's pretty much it.

Q. Back to the Body issue. How were you approached to do this and why did you do it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think I did it because Serena did it, so... I don't know (laughter). I think she was a big influence on me.

Q. Do you have any idea about your next opponent?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I don't know who I'm playing yet.

Q. So when you play someone you know almost nothing about, do you usually try to find out about your opponent or just go out and stick to your tennis?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I just try to get there myself. I mean, like at the French Open, Serena and I both theoretically should have been in the third round but it didn't happen.

At the end of the day you have to get yourself in the round. You have to put the ball in. If you don't, then you're gone. That's my whole thing nowadays: I got to get it in. That's pretty much it.

Q. How frustrating is it that the courts are so much slower here than they were when you first played here?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, it's definitely different. I mean, the ball sits up a lot. I don't know. I think what I enjoyed about all the surfaces is that they are different and that's what makes it challenging.

If you want to be a great grass court player, you have to adjust. If you want to be a great clay court player, you have to adjust. The hard courts, all of them are a little bit different.

I do miss having that nuance of here is the challenge, you have to be a diverse player. Unfortunately I think the courts are becoming so similar that it's not encouraging players to play different.

Q. You said Wimbledon always listened. Have you made that point and do they listen?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I try not to complain too much. No one's going to want to see me coming. There she goes again, she talks too much. I try not to let that be me.

Q. Is it possible to go into a tournament or match and think you'd like to conserve energy? Is that a dangerous thing to think?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, trying to conserve is not the right mentality because you really have to go out there and give it your all. You really just have to play smart. I think that's probably a better way to put it, is really play smart, be focused, be intense. Hopefully that helps you get on and off the court. That's never a guarantee.

Today I thought I played pretty well. But a shot here, a shot there, the set is over. So you just have to somehow come through.

Q. So many years at this place, so many moments. If you could choose one favorite moment from when you were young or more recently, which one would you choose?

VENUS WILLIAMS: More recently, definitely the Olympics here was the best moment.

Q. What was that like?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It was awesome. That was my whole thing in life at the time, was to be at the Olympics. It just meant a lot for me personally. Of course, to do it with Serena, it's much more special than to win one alone.

That's probably the best moment in my career, I would say.

Q. When you came off court, you spoke about the need to stay hungry. Do you still have that hunger for the titles inside you? Do you think, I'd love to surprise a few people in this tournament and go as far as you can?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm not really here to surprise anyone. No one is going to get behind you and pet you and say, It's okay, you can do it. I have to do that for myself.

I'm not looking for anyone to believe in me or anything like that. You have to believe in yourself these days.

I have nothing to prove, nothing to hide, nothing to lose. So for me it's about continually playing better and getting back up every single time when things might not go my way. It's not going to go the way of 127 people in this draw. It's going to go the way of one person. So you just keep going.


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