Venus Williams Press Conference
by ATP Staff|
March 21, 2012
V. WILLIAMS/K. Date Krumm
6 0, 6 3
An interview with:
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. How did it feel out there?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Um, it was great to be back out there. You know, it was definitely nerve wracking, especially playing an opponent that I know how talented she is and first match back.
But, you know, I was able to get a great start and settle in and play well against, you know, a really difficult opponent.
Q. Were you surprised at how fast the start was, 6 Love?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I do have experience on my side, but of course it can go any way. You can go out there and play a few bad points, and at this level if you play a few bad points, then you're down quick.
I definitely wanted to come out focused, so that was definitely an ideal, ideal start. I'm glad it happened that way.
Q. You seemed so excited afterwards. Was it obviously the emotions and not being able to play?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. I mean, just to be in this tournament is a huge win for me; just to be here is a win. You know, that's what I told myself going in, that this is a win. I have nothing to lose. Just, you know, to gain. Just to get back at this level is a win for me.
Q. I know you said you felt a lot of uncertainty with how you're feeling day to day, week to week. How sure were you that you were going to play this tournament at all?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I try not to think about that. I just tried to get in the tournament and hopefully make it. There were a lot of tournaments I didn't make.
So I wasn't sure, but I'm glad I'm here.
Q. I saw you played doubles at Fed Cup, and you played pretty well there. How much better are you playing now than then?
VENUS WILLIAMS: My game is a lot better, for sure. I think I feel better than I did then, as well. It was an opportunity for me to play Fed Cup. I'm really glad I didn't have to play singles. I don't think I would have got a lot of balls in.
But for the doubles I was super determined. That was a great start for me there.
Q. Were you feeling totally energetic today? Any fatigue? How did you feel out there?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I feel like a person that has an autoimmune disease. You know, for me, I'm not gonna probably feel like everybody else. But for me, my personal best is to give 100%.
You know, I felt good enough to
(Dog comes out of bag.) (Laughter.)
Why doesn't anyone ask him a question? He goes everywhere with me.
Q. What kind of dog?
VENUS WILLIAMS: He's a Havanese. He's my baby.
Q. You tried to give your best. I thought you were fighting for every point. Was that important for you? You were into it, setting the tone.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, totally. I don't have the time to give any points away. I have to really stay focused out there and take everything from me. So tried to stay focused on my game plan.
I'm an attacker. That's what I do best, and that's what I tried to do today. Any time I didn't, then she was attacking. I didn't want to let her control the points.
Q. Is that part of your strategy with what you're dealing with, keeping points shorter? You're coming to the net more.
VENUS WILLIAMS: At this point in time it's important for me to play smart. I have to understand the game and understand the plays. So if the play requires me to move forward, that's what I'm gonna do. If the play requires me to hit a defensive shot, that's what I'm gonna do.
For me, it's about making the plays and playing smart.
Q. If you have to give from 1 to 10 how you played today, what would you give?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I was happy with how I played today. I wasn't sure how I was gonna come out. I mean, I'm always positive, but it's definitely hard to play the first match.
I'm scoring high today.
Q. Would you say 11?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, 11, awesome.
Q. Are you confident that you can make it through this tournament or you don't know at this point?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Um, I'm confident I will give it 110%. My goal is to peak for the Olympics. Like just to win a match helps me in my goal, and to win another match helps.
So the good thing is that I'm playing well. I know how to play, so I haven't lost any steam in that, you know, the fact that I can play tennis. So that's really comforting.
Q. Can you talk about the adjustments to your diet and how that's helping you health wise?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I started eating raw, and I started eating vegan. And I also cheat. So I'm a chegan.
Q. What's that?
VENUS WILLIAMS: A chegan? It's vegans who don't always... (Laughter.)
Q. Very creative.
VENUS WILLIAMS: It's a transitional period. I finally found that last week I'm starting to really, really get it. It's not like I'm out there like secretly buying all this stuff.
It's just that I might find something on someone else's plate that I in that in my past life I was accustomed to eating, so that's what cheaganism is all about. It's a crossover.
I'm not perfect. It's hard to change your life completely, but I think it's definitely worthwhile. I think it's helped me. It's definitely a lifestyle that is good for me so I can play pro.
VENUS WILLIAMS: I do wheatgrass once a day, sometimes twice. I'm getting used to it. It takes a long time to get used to that.
Q. Have you had to change the way in which you practice and prepare for a match? Do you find yourself hitting a limit maybe sooner than anticipated physically?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Um, I think my preparations are better, you know. I have pretty good preparations. I guess I'm not I don't go out there like with expectations of how I'm gonna feel that day. I just give my best on that day.
So that's kinda how it is. I just do my best, and that's all I can do. I give everything. That's what it's about for me.
Q. Are you planning on going to the Fed Cup?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I know. That's right around the corner. I've totally like been so focused on this match that like Fed Cup is three weeks away. We had such a great time on that team.
You know, it would be awesome to play again. We'll see.
Q. When you were diagnosed, did you consider retirement?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No.
Q. Like you had had enough?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No. Totally when you've been diagnosed it's a journey. After that, it's to understand what is going on. So I kinda feel like I have a grasp on it a lot better.
And also, you know, I'm not at my worst anymore. So that helps, as well. You know, someone with an autoimmune disease definitely faces different challenges than other people, but it doesn't mean you can't be successful.
Q. Your dress also is very conservative, is it not? For Venus?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. Well, before it was an experimentation for me. It was like a case study almost in fashion and sports. Like I was just trying everything because it was fun.
So now the line is available to everyone. Now this is not a test, you know. It is like the real deal. So this is like the EleVen classic, so it's my take on classic sportswear. It infuses like some of the trends of today, which is color blocking, and then it has kind of an abstract print in one quarter of it. I think it's very flattering. It's still different than any sportswear, but it's a lot more conservative than perhaps what I wore.
But it was important for me that everyone could wear it. No matter what the body shape is you still could look good and feel good in this dress, but still, you know, not fall into the mold exactly.
So it's a balance, for sure. Doing design, it's a balance.
Q. It's available everywhere?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, it's available at the tournament. It's available. So now it's, you know, available.
Q. Are you confident that you'll receive any Olympic berth? There are people ranked ahead of you, you know.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I have been talking about the Olympics ever since I played the first one, so, um, for me there's no limits to what I can achieve. Even if, you know, the odds aren't in my favor I have still been able to do really well.
So I believe I can do it. So just stay tough, I guess.
Q. Have you looked forward into your next match coming up with Petra? If so, what kind of game plan are you looking at doing? What kind of challenge will it be for you?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think in some ways we play a very similar game. Obviously she's been playing very well in the last 12 months or so. It's just totally a credit to her.
For me, you know, I have had a lot of experience with playing well. I played all right today. I'm going into this just focused on executing my game and just trying my absolute best, and, you know, execute my game more than anything, which is the same thing she'll be trying to do.
Q. Your thoughts on adding mixed doubles to the Olympics?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, my God. Yeah, back in the day I thought about that. But if I'm at the ultimate fitness level, right now I just want to play singles and doubles and then it's just one event.
I don't know. I'd love to play all three. We won't know what's gonna happen, but main goal definitely doubles with Serena.
Q. You talked about having fun at Fed Cup, and Sloane Stephens was talking about how she became friendly with you and Serena. Can you talk about your relationship with her?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, she's, I think I'm looking forward to her playing even better and better as she climbs up the ranks. She's a great addition to tennis. She has a great personality. She's the kind of person that people will actually care about, you know, win or lose and relate to her.
I think she's great for tennis. She's a really good person and interesting and funny. We had a great time. She helped me not to be cheating a little bit, because I like to dip into the candy bag, which is really, really, really bad for me (smiling).
She helps me somewhat. But once I'm going, it's hard to stop me. I have an iron will. But she's a cool girl.
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