(September 6, 2015) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Venus and Serena Williams have set up a sister versus sister clash in the quarterfinals of the US Open set for Tuesday. This will be their 27th meeting overall. Serena hold the edge with a 15-11 record.
Older sister Venus knocked out 19-year-old qualifier Anett Kontaveit of Estonia 6-2, 6-1 in only 50 minutes. At 35 Venus is the oldest competitor on the women’s side of the draw.
No. 1 Serena Williams took just 68 minutes to defeat the 20-year-old rising star 19th-seeded Madison Keys on Sunday 6-3, 6-3.
Sunday, September 6, 2015
S. WILLIAMS/M. Keys
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. You were asked the other day if you can remember a match this year that you really felt good after and satisfied with. Is this a match that you feel good about?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think I played really well. I had to play well. I did hit a ball that bounced before it hit the net, so that is a first. (Smiling.)
Q. When Venus was here earlier she said even playing against you is fun, that it’s always fun playing tennis. What is it like for you on the court and even thinking about it before you step on the court to play your sister?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Nowadays, I would agree, I think it’s more fun than it used to be. We really relish the opportunity. We’re both happy to still be involved in getting so far.
And it’s still super intense. She’s doing well and she wants to win this. So do I. It’s not easy.
Q. What do you think your rivalry has meant to the sport?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think it’s been an amazing rivalry. I think it’s meant a lot. We’ve done a lot for the sport. I think, you know, hopefully it can continue as long as we play.
Q. You said you have been calm for a while. What was it about this match that made you so relaxed?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I haven’t really felt a lot of pressure. Only in that second round; for whatever reason I got tight. The whole tournament I’ve been really kind of rather relaxed.
I don’t really feel like if I win this tournament it’s going to make or break my career.
So, you know, I look at it that way.
Q. How do you prepare differently to play your older sister?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I mean, I’m playing, for me, the best player in the tournament, and that’s never easy. She’s beaten me so many times. I’ve taken a lot of losses off of her – more than anybody.
Yeah, she’s a player that knows how to win, knows how to beat me, and knows my weaknesses better than anyone.
So it’s not an easy match at all. Hopefully things will go right.
Q. Genie Bouchard just withdrew with a concussion. We’re not used to seeing that much in tennis. Have you ever had one or tried to play through one?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I’ve never had it. Well, there was one time I was at the pizza joint in Palm Beach and I did fall and hit my neck and head. I don’t know if that counts as one. I came to the next morning.
Anyways, that was it. (Smiling.)
Q. When was this?
SERENA WILLIAMS: That was an interesting story. But the pizza never fell. It was perched perfectly in my hand as I slipped.
But anyway, that’s the closest I’ve been to a concussion.
Q. When did that happen?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Earlier this year.
Q. Venus was in here earlier and she said she loves you dearly, but you have an annual family reunion. She wasn’t thrilled with the idea that every year you seem to pick the theme of the reunion. How would you respond to that very serious accusation?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, you know what? Her team are just haters, to be honest. They’re jealous. Our team, the Kryptonians, do well. We tend to win every year.
We’ll just let it slide off our shoulders. We don’t take it personal.
Q. Because you know each other so well, is it hard not to overthink?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No. For me it’s about that moment, about doing well at that moment. It’s not very easy. Like I said, for me, the only player in the draw I don’t want to play, not only because she’s my sister, but for me she’s the best player.
So it’s not easy.
Q. Will the two of you interact more or less the next couple days before you play?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don’t think anything’s going to change. Whatever the outcome is, I don’t think it’s going to change either.
Q. What is it about her game that you admire most?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, we play a lot. She plays similar. She’s fast; I’m fast. She hits hard; I hit hard. She serves big; I serve big.
We have a very similar game. We’ve had the same coach for a long time. It’s like playing a mirror. I have to be really ready.
Q. Is it harder or easier to lose to Venus than another player? If you have to lose, would you rather lose to her?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I would rather lose to Venus as opposed to anyone else. I, in general, don’t like to lose.
Yeah, so hopefully we’ll just go out and do the best that we can, and whatever happens hopefully have a good attitude about it.
Q. The match you had in Montréal was really high quality last year and just tooth and nail. What do you remember about it?
SERENA WILLIAMS: She played really good in that match. I mean, she did everything well. I won the first set barely; probably shouldn’t have. She came back and never gave up.
She served well. Yeah, she just did everything to win that match, so…
Q. She’s playing really well right now. Is that a concern, that she’s in top form?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Always. It’s always a concern. I’m going to have to play better, keep up my level, keep playing better.
Q. You didn’t serve many double-faults today. Did you think about that at all during the match?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I did, obviously, because I’ve been serving so many recently. Normally I serve like this my whole career. Past year and a half I haven’t.
But, no, my serve was definitely better. I also was hitting them a lot harder than I normally hit ’em. Still didn’t hit the double-faults.
Q. Is there a match that stands out in your mind when you played Venus where you felt like you played the best match against her?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don’t really remember a lot of matches I play against her. I don’t like to remember them.
Q. How do you deal with the pressure that in a long time you may become the first player to win all four major tournaments?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I have to play Venus Williams next. I have to deal with that pressure first.
Q. Can you imagine being as successful without having Venus as your counter?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Definitely not, no. I think she helped create me, for sure.
Q. From the outside looking in it looks like you flip a switch. From your perspective, how do you do that? You all of a sudden turn it on.
SERENA WILLIAMS: You have to. If you’re playing a great player, someone that knows how to win, you have to play better or you can go home.
You can choose one, so…
Q. Venus talked about you guys playing informally growing up. She recalls winning all the time. What do you remember most about that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, she always won. Like always. I don’t remember much. I just remember I never was able to beat her, and I don’t think I liked playing her, so…
Q. You and Venus are so popular and well-known. There are a couple of other sisters, the president’s daughters. Have you ever met them?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, well, I met them. They’re really nice young ladies, beautiful young ladies. They’ve matured. I’ve met them at different stages of their life. They’ve really matured.
They’re just becoming really ladies to look up to and be role models.
Q. Did you chat with them at all about life?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No. Maybe now I can, but no.
Q. You tapped into your intensity when you needed to in your matches. When you play Venus, it’s a little bit muted, probably out of respect. How do you deal with that balance when you’re competing against her?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I guess I just try to be more internally excited. I still have a few C’mons, maybe not as many, but I’m definitely obviously as intense.
Q. What do you think of the example of the way you and Venus have conducted each other on the court has meant to people about friendly competition and sisters going at it but not disturbing their relationship?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think it’s been a great experience. I feel like Venus and I have definitely proven that you can be friends and you can be sisters, you can be enemies on the court, and you can be friends and sisters off the court.
Q. Do you have any idea why it took so long that any player came up, after Steffi Graf, who has a chance to win all major tournaments in one year? What is the reason it took so long?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don’t know why it took me so long. (Smiling.).
Q. Back to Genie Bouchard. She’s had a rough patch. Now she’s playing great this year. How much the confidence comes back when you win?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, it comes back fast. This is just a little hiccup. Hopefully she’ll be okay.
Q. You mentioned before that the girls you have in Africa, the schoolgirls, they see you play, they play some tennis themselves. Is it instructional? Do you have any designs to put an academy over there?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Not yet. That’s definitely something I want to look forward to when I’m done with all this.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
Sunday, September 6, 2015
V. WILLIAMS/A. Kontaveit
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
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.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
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