(January 22, 2015) A few of the more off-beat questions and answers from Day 4 news conferences at the Australian Open.
Q. After some of the results here, how good to be back in the third round?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, definitely. Always good to advance. That’s pretty much the goal when you step on the courts, it’s like, Come on. Let’s get to the next round. Met the goal today.
Q. Helped playing her in your last tournament?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think it definitely helped because I never played her before. She actually hits the ball quite powerfully and she’s very aggressive. I think she played even more aggressive than when we played in Auckland. I think maybe her strategy was maybe to try to take control of the point. So I had to play some defense there as well as offense today.
Q. How do you feel about your game in general right now? Feel like you’re playing well?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, definitely. I’m hitting the ball a lot like how I want to. Yeah, some points you play well and some not as well. I’m just continually trying to be as consistent as I can on the court and still play consistent while taking risk as well. Find that balance.
Q. You seem so relaxed, pretty happy — very happy. Is this the happiest period in your career? How are you feeling about that?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I’m always pretty happy, actually, so… I’ve had a lot of great times and I had losses, just like everyone else, but I’m always pretty happy. I haven’t let tennis affect the rest of my life, whether it was good or bad. Also you can play so well and be on top of the world and that can affect you and make you not so fun to be around, too. I try not to let any of that stuff happen to me.
Q. The other day you said with a smile, Hey, I’m still a big kid. Talk about that. Do you feel just a certain joy?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think just my attitude toward life is just very nonchalant. I’m a hard worker and I definitely work toward goals and I have a serious side. More than anything I’m a big joker. You don’t see that on the court because that’s when you’re most intense. I think people who may know me and don’t know much about tennis, when they see me on the court they’re like, Oh, I’m scared of you are now. Someone told me that recently. So definitely have two sides. You know.
Q. All this about the struggle you’ve had with injuries. Is this part of your career a rejuvenation, a second coming?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I think sometimes in life you just have to learn to deal with the cards you been dealt. I’ve just been trying to get used to my new life, I guess. I think it’s just an adjustment to getting used to how I need to live now. Just hanging in there I think a lot of it, too. The good part is I know how to play tennis and I have a lot of experience, so that helps me a lot on the court.
Q. Are you driving in Melbourne again?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I haven’t been driving. There were times I went on adventures. I think Melbourne is one of the cities I know best because I’ve gone so many different places here on my own actually in a car. Pretty scary. I drive really slow. You always think in the back of your head, I don’t want to get on the wrong side of the road. So you drive real slow and always get a car I can follow, especially on those turns, so I make sure I’m following someone. Just to make sure nothing goes wrong. But it’s definitely an adventure.
Q. Do you remember driving when your dad told you to take over the VW bus when you were going around the neighborhood after the first tournament you won?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, you know how dads are though. They’re usually a little more lenient than moms. Usually, I thought. My dad would let us behind the wheel. Not too crazy. Like in parking lots and things like that. We obviously weren’t on the 405.
Q. You made it to a bunch of third rounds during this phase of your career. Haven’t gotten past this stage in a few years. What do you think it’s going to take to that next step into the second week?
VENUS WILLIAMS: For me, I’ve won in my life. I’ve won a lot of things. For me it’s about titles, so no matter what the title is for me, to the finals is the same thing as the third round if I didn’t win. For me, it’s about hopefully trying to take titles home. You know, last year I got in the circle to hopefully take titles quite a few times, and sometimes came up short. That’s pretty much where I want to be. That’s my focus really is, how close can I get myself to be in that winner’s circle.
Q. Why did you and Serena pull out of doubles?
VENUS WILLIAMS: According to the rules you don’t have to give a reason. I think we’ll stick with that.
Q. Nothing to do with the heat?
VENUS WILLIAMS: It was warm. I don’t think it was as warm as it could have been. But, no, that wasn’t it.
Q. That wasn’t the reason?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Uh-uh.
Q. Were doctors consulted as part of the reasoning?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No further questions on that. I object. Sustained. Thank you.
Q. You play Camila Giorgi next. What do you know about her?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Not sure if I played her before, but she definitely raises her game depending on the caliber player that she plays. I think it’s just important to remain consistent and aggressive, just as I’ve been this whole year. That’s my goal.
Q. With your interest in the Dolphins, wondering if you had any thoughts on the Patriots and the “deflate gate” controversy. What affect in tennis do the balls have as the matches go on? They change your play at all?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I’ve been so focused on my own match that I’ve lost focus on football, especially since the Dolphins aren’t in the playoffs. I have no idea what “deflate gate” is.
Q. What affect do the balls have? Do they change much?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I’ve never been a sensitive player, so I just keep hitting whether the balls are heavy or light or whatever ball it is. I just go. So there are other players who are much more sensitive. And I’m happy that I don’t notice or it doesn’t affect me. I’m not the player to ask about that.
Q. Pretty intense situation to have to deal with all your health situations as a young woman. What are the one or two things that you’ve taken away from this experience in terms of lessons and how has it affected you as a person?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think more than anything I’m appreciative of all the opportunities I’ve had in my life. I’m appreciative for good health, because there was a period where I couldn’t even play professional tennis, so I had to not be on tour. So I’m appreciative for good health and just to be able to feel good every day. You know, there was a point where I didn’t just in regular life. So to overcome that, I’m grateful. And also I think when things are out of your control, it’s easy to be afraid and fear can really hold you back. So I think you have to just conquer that fear. That’s I think something I’ve learned as well, just to not be afraid. If you are, you have to learn how to deal with it.
Q. Is it fair to call this a rejuvenated version of you or is that something we projected on to you and you don’t feel that way?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I’m just doing the best I can. (Laughing.) I always was, even when it wasn’t what I wanted. So whatever that is, I’m doing absolutely the best I can. I think as long as I’m doing my best, something good will come out of it. There is a Scripture that says faith without works is dead. So you have to have faith, but you have work too. So I’m doing both.
Q. So the same old Venus, just back to where you were sort of thing?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I’m in a lot of places. (Laughter.) Which one we talking about?
Q. Level of tennis, I suppose.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. Honestly, I think I understand the game a lot more. Even when I’m not playing as well, I think I’m able tactically to be more strategic than even, let’s say, Venus of 2000. So I think there is a big difference. I watched some old matches, and I’m like, Wow, if I could have been more strategic I could have won this match a lot easier. So I think strategically it’s more helpful, even if I am not on top of my game. I understand things a lot more. So that’s one of the beauties of continuing to play as you get a lot of the years under your belt.
Q. You mentioned work. What have you learned the most from doing your whole EleVen project? Has it impacted your tennis in any way?
VENUS WILLIAMS: You have to make a lot of hard decisions, and sometimes the hardest decision is the right one but not the easiest to make. I think that’s what I’ve learned. It’s important to know everything about the business that you’re in and not just specialize in one part. Oh, I’m going to do the design. It’s great. It’s pretty. I love colors. You have to know the whole business. Am I liking this to tennis? I don’t know. I don’t even remember the question. I learned a ton, a lot of which I would like to not get into because some of the lessons are also failures as well.
Q. Is business tougher than tennis?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. (Laughter.) It’s always hard. If tennis was easy, everyone would be doing it. There are a lot of people that would love to do this. It’s not easy, whether you don’t have the physical talent or the mental endurance to put up with all this. It’s definitely a roll of the dice if you’re going to play pro tennis or any professional sport.
Q. Learning more about the game and learning how to play it – said you were watching little videos of yourself or however you’re doing it – how much of that is net play for you and understanding how to use the net and your strengths up there, and do you wish you maybe had done it differently over the years?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don’t know. I think I’ve always been a player that likes to come to the net. I think I may have even come to the net more in the past actually. But I think you have to be a little bit more strategic when you come to the net now. The courts are a little bit slower so the ball will stand up a little bit more, so you have to be a little bit more strategic to make sure you don’t get killed when you get to the net. So things change in the game, and you have to be willing and ready to adjust. The best players are the ones that can transition. Typically it’s always has been that way.
Q. What’s a lasting memory, if you think back to playing Serena here 15, 16 years ago?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I just remember what a tough match. It was just relentless. I think it finally ended with a break in the third. That’s all I can remember. It was very tough I think for both of us. Neither one of us could get the upper edge. It was just a marathon. That’s mostly what I remember.
Q. Maybe I missed it, but seems like it’s been a long time since we’ve seen your wonderful dad. How is he doing? How is his health? How is he doing as a new dad?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, dad is good. Everybody is happy. He’s really done his time since the ’80s, so… He’s done so much tennis there is a point like, All right, kids, go ahead and do it or not do it, but I’m proud of you anyway. So I think he’s at that point.
Q. Going back to another match, what do you remember about the time you played Karsten Braasch.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, that was a long time ago. I remember that I didn’t win. I was a kid; I was 17. Let me tell you, his strategy was a thousand times better than mine could have been. Yeah, it was one set though, not a full match.
Q. You do a little better today?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, he’s older and I’m smart now. But it was really just for fun really.
Q. Things really clicked halfway through?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, things really clicked. I had no other option but for things to click. Yeah, I just had to start playing better.
Q. How important is luck of the draw for you, even as No. 1 seed? You can get somebody who hasn’t done much in their career for the first few rounds and get somebody like her.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I mean, it depends. That’s one thing about the Grand Slams. You have to be ready for anyone at any stage. Playing Vera is like, I had to get my mind like, Serena, this girl has been ranked as high as No. 2 in the world, she’s been on the tour and she’s a very quality player, she knows what to do. She knows how to win. I had to kind of snap into that.
Q. When you look at your sister at this point in her career, what do you see from her?
SERENA WILLIAMS: She is really motivating. She is playing so well, she’s doing so good right now. Yeah, it’s like makes me look behind my shoulders and like I have to play better and I want to do better. I always want to be able to stay ahead as much as I can. So I think that’s been, for our whole careers, we’ve kind of motivated each other. We hopefully continue to do that.
Q. She also seems just really happy.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah.
Q. And in a good place.
SERENA WILLIAMS: She’s in a good place. She talks about how she feels and like, Wow, it was a good match today. She’s like, Yeah, if I win it’ll be great. If not, I’m not going to worry about it. I think that’s a great attitude because it takes a lot of pressure off of you. She’s done so much in her career. She doesn’t have to win another match. The same thing for me. As long as we can kind of look at it that way, then we both will do really well.
Q. When she came in and things were pretty intense; wasn’t easy to have success on the tour. She’s gone through all these different phases. Talk about how she’s grown from basically a girl to an incredibly mature woman.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, she came in as a new face, a black woman that was shaking up the world. She had all the pressure on her shoulders. I kind of came in behind her. You know, just snuck in there. There was no pressure on me at all. She dealt with it so amazing. She had a lot of confidence and she had so much class and still does throughout everything. You can see that her personality is pretty much the same. She’s definitely grown but she’s always been very mature and very regal.
Q. Was there a public moment in public when you were most proud of your sister?
SERENA WILLIAMS: So many things. I mean, her sticking up for equal rights in Dubai when they wouldn’t let certain players play, her sticking up for equal prize money for the WTA in Wimbledon. So many different things that she’s done for the tour that’s made it a better place not just for me but for all the female players.
Q. What was the thinking behind pulling out of doubles this year?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think we were just here. I don’t think we have to give a reason. I think Venus answered that already.
Q. Just affects on singles for both of you.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Sure.
Q. Speaking of luck of the draw, what do you make of Victoria and Caroline having to play each other second round? You know both of them pretty well.
SERENA WILLIAMS: That is not good luck. Those girls are really sweet to me and I really like them both obviously. So it’s definitely a tough draw, but I think no matter what, just got to go out there and play.
Q. I don’t know if you saw any of Nadal’s match last night. He had 6-5 in the fifth.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, wow.
Q. You didn’t know about that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No.
Q. Smyczek let Rafa rehit a first serve after a fan shouted out. What do you think of those gestures, especially with what happened at the French Open with Henin and the hand and everything?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I didn’t see that, so I can’t comment on that. I was proud to see another American player do so well. I went to sleep at the start of the fifth set, and — actually, the fourth. After Smyczek won the fourth I thought, Wow, this is crazy. I went to sleep. I’m a big Rafa fan, but obviously anyone that’s American, especially on the men’s side, I’m always proud of and always rooting for. So it was good to see both.
Q. How are you feeling generally? Energy levels and general health?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I’m feeling better every day. I think in the beginning of the tournament every player feels a little sluggish; at least I do. Now I’m feeling like I’m starting to hopefully feel better.
Q. Last night, I don’t know if you saw this as well, Bouchard was asked to do a twirl. There was a bit of a reaction on social media about that saying it’s sexist. What are your thoughts on that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don’t know. I twirl all the time in dance class. It’s called a Chaines Spin. I’ve been working on it. I have to really work on my spotting. My coach tells me to whip my head around. As a dancer, we do lots of turns and have soft of hands.
Q. I guess the reaction has been you wouldn’t ask a male athlete after a match to twirl. Do you think it’s sexist for a commentator to ask her to twirl?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, a commentator asked me to twirl. I wouldn’t ask Rafa or Roger to twirl. Whether it’s sexist or not, I don’t know. I don’t know. I can’t answer that.
Q. Were you bothered when you were asked to do it?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I didn’t really want to twirl because I was just like, you know, I don’t need all the extra attention. But, yeah, it was fine. I don’t think and look that deep into it. Life is far too short to focus on that. We have so many other problems we want to deal with that we should focus on. Whether I twirl or not, it’s not the end of the world. It’s about being positive and just moving forward.
Q. In general though, you obviously do a lot of press and you’ve seen what Roger and Rafa get asked. Do you feel like the women get asked different categories of questions because they’re women?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Contrary to that, I don’t watch press conferences, so I don’t know what the men get asked. I do know that I’m often asked about my age. Maybe Roger is too, I’m not sure. So I can’t answer that fairly. Sorry.
Q. It’s one thing to talk about sort of fashion dustups, but you’re also a pretty serious person. You sent out a pretty serious or interesting tweet after the situation in Ferguson where I think you said it’s shameful; what will it take. Long way from home, but could you reflect on what your thoughts were.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think a lot of Americans were affected by the decision. You have to look at both sides of the picture. I wasn’t in that jury room. I wasn’t in the area. But we just all come a long way. In retrospect, my shoes are Black History Month shoes, so I’m starting Black History Month a little bit earlier. It’s been a great opportunity with Martin Luther King’s birthday just passing and all the stuff that’s going on with that over in the States as well. I’m really honored and proud to represent Black History Month by wearing my special Black History Month shoes that Nike made for me. And also just to support African Americans in the United States. I always try to have a voice of reason and be positive and try to look at both sides of everything. You know, things definitely, you know, may or may not be a good decision, but it’s hard to say when you’re not there and you’re not experiencing it.
Q. When you use the phrase, What will it take? What are your thoughts on that? Do you think it’s a long process?
SERENA WILLIAMS: What will it take? That’s just the question. What will it take?
Q. A lot of news back home is on Deflate Gate with the Patriots.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Deflate Gate?
Q. The Patriots supposedly deflated the football for their game, the AFC Championship, which is apparently easier to use.
SERENA WILLIAMS: No way.
Q. It’s true.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Allegedly or for real?
Q. I think it’s pretty close to for real.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, we at the Dolphins, we don’t do that, so…
Q. What was reaction in Madrid when Medina Garrigues was fluffing the ball in your match?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I didn’t realize it. I was just trying to play and get out of that match and get a win. At the end of the day, whether the ball was fluffy or slow or fast, I think really depended on what I was able to do and how I was able to play. I don’t know about football. That’s a totally different sport. I don’t play it. I can throw the ball well. You can ask Peyton. I threw it really, really well. But I don’t know anything about deflating or anything.
Q. How much does the ball affect your play?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Ask Caroline tonight when she comes in here. She’s asking me, How are the court? I don’t know. How are the balls? I don’t know. She has to ask Aggie. She’s like, I can’t ask you. I grew up in Compton. This is amazing situations for me. The ball is great, you know. Wow. We used to hit with dead balls. What am I going to complain about?
Q. Patriots or Seahawks?
SERENA WILLIAMS: That’s a tough one. I mean, I do love Tom Brady. I do love Russell Wilson. It’s gonna be a great match to match. Flip a coin.
Q. Maria Sharapova said she loves her own outfit yesterday. She didn’t say much about others. Just wondering, do you like her design for her outfit? I’m sure you love yours, but how about hers?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think it’s great. I think it’s kind of cool we’re both wearing a little cutout in the back. It’s amazing. It’s cool. I think the whole — Nike did a wonderful job making the bright colors. All the Nike athletes look unified. I really love that about it. Everyone looks great in their outfits. It’s amazing. So I think it’s the first time all Nike athletes can take one big picture together and all look really great.
Q. How far away are you from playing your very best tennis?
KEI NISHIKORI: I think getting close. Maybe these couple matches didn’t play 100%, but still winning good three set and four set. I think it’s getting there. I’m playing good. For sure this match will help for next match. You know, try to be 100% little by little.
Q. I don’t know if you saw last night when Rafa was playing Tim, do you know what happened in the end?
STAN WAWRINKA: Yeah, I saw the end of the match. It was quite interesting match. (Laughter.)
Q. The fact that he gave Rafa another serve at that point in a match, is that a smart thing to do? Is that something you think…
STAN WAWRINKA: I think it’s great. I don’t know when I saw the match. I think it’s tough a little bit to serve also. I think it was great for him to give back the point. You don’t see it so many times and it’s great sportsmanship.
Q. Would you do that?
STAN WAWRINKA: I don’t know. Let’s see. Yeah, I don’t know. You cannot answer that. After four hours of match you don’t know what’s in your mind. Sometimes you react just like that. So it’s not like you don’t ask you that question when it’s happening. You just do it. Hope so I will do it.
Q. What did you think in general when you watched the match?
STAN WAWRINKA: In general? I think Tim was playing really great tennis. I think that’s what you can expect from Rafa, especially at the beginning of the tournament after few months out of tournament, so many tough battle, big up and down. I don’t know what’s happen with him physically. But, yeah, I think, like I said before the tournament, if you get through the first week he’s going to be really, really dangerous to win the title. Let’s see what’s going to happen now.
Q. The first two matches, how are you feeling within your own game? Happy with where you are?
STAN WAWRINKA: Yeah, I’m happy with my game in general. To win two first matches in three sets, it’s great. I’m playing great tennis. I’m practicing well, feeling well the ball. As I say, if you want to get far in the tournament, it can be two long weeks. So you need to be ready to have some up and down. So far it’s been good tennis. I’m happy.
Q. How is it compared to your experiences of last year?
STAN WAWRINKA: What?
Q. How do you feel compared to this time last year?
STAN WAWRINKA: I don’t know. I don’t compare from last year to this year. Just a new Grand Slam. It’s been two matches now. Going to be ready now for the next one, Jarkko. I have one day off tomorrow where I can practice like I always do with my coach. That’s it. Nothing compared to last year.
Q. The feeling of coming into the tournament as defending champion hasn’t changed anything about your preparation at all?
STAN WAWRINKA: No. We already middle of the week, so it’s too late to change something or to think about anything. As I say, when you start the tournament you focus on the new — on this tournament this year. Again, all my focus are on what I’m doing and that’s it.
Q. You go to the same tournaments and same places every year. Is there anything in particular that you always have to do when you come to Melbourne?
STAN WAWRINKA: Not really. Win matches. (Laughter.). that’s it. I’m happy to come back. There’s many things I love to do every year, but there is not one thing that I have to do it.
Q. Were you surprised to see Rafa in such a physical state of distress last night?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I watched a little bit of the last few games of the fifth set only. I haven’t seen the whole match. He knows to answer the best how he feels on the court. I don’t know. From what I have seen, he was out there fighting, you know, deserved to win because he fighted his way through. Now it happens that you have opposite the net an opponent that plays as well as Smyczek played, has nothing to lose. I don’t know about his health issues or physical state. Definitely was not expected to see him playing four and a half hours against Smyczek. People expect him and top players to dominate most of the matches that they play on, especially in the opening rounds of a Grand Slam. This is tennis. This is sport. People need to realize that other players are playing as well as the top players do. In the Grand Slams, you have motivation more. If you have a fight like they had last night, you just have to congratulate the better player. I’m sure Rafa spoke nicely and praised his opponent. I’ve seen actually the great gentleman gesture and sportsmanship from Smyczek in the last game. I think that’s something that people should talk about. This is something that is not very common in the sport today, you know, where media and people generally emphasize on the rivalries, feisty, aggressive kind of approach to matches. It’s nice to have something that is greater than sport itself, you know, the sportsmanship and fair play.
Q. Kuznetsov said he’s going to get a tape of today’s game and watch it to see where he has to go as a player. How well do you feel you played in the first two sets?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: First two sets definitely have been great. Overall I executed the game plan. Everything I intended to do, almost 100%, from every second in my game, serve, baseline play, aggressive shots and aggressive returns. He dropped his first-serve percentage a lot in the second set and obviously allowed me to have a lot of looks at the second serves. That, as well, gave me an opportunity to step in and just swing through the ball.
Q. Viktor was talking about how much you helped him. How happy are you that he is at the stage he is at?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I think it’s fair to say that he did a fantastic job reaching top 50 of the world, and he can go even further, with playing only six months, maybe even less, after more than a year of absence from the tour. As his great friend, I’m very proud of him. I’m very happy to see him win, to see him feel good on the court. We talk a lot, of course. He won now 10 matches in a row. He’s going to play now a top-10 player. Tomas, he doesn’t have a great record against him. Again, I think Viktor is a different player than what he was two years ago. This experience that he had in some way helped him to get stronger and change his approach maybe to the court and allows him to do things that he didn’t have a chance to do before. Sometimes a few months’ rest from tennis, from sport, from kind of a lifestyle that you’re basically following on a daily basis for many, many years sometimes is useful to kind of refresh, regroup, and get a different kind of philosophy and approach. So I wish him all the best. I think if he’s playing as well as he did in last two weeks, he has a fair chance.
Q. You’ve had the question before, but your coach is Becker. His biggest rival in his playing days was Edberg. Yet you name your son Stefan. What do you have to say about it?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I have nothing to say about it. I didn’t name my son by Stefan Edberg, if you refer to that. Well, generally it’s good to see the legends of our sport being in an active tennis right now as a coaches, you know, having this role. Stefan with Roger, Boris with me, Cilic has Goran, Michael Chang with Kei Nishikori, Magnus Norman with Stan Wawrinka. It’s good for sport. They get a lot of attention, fairly so, because they have incredibly successful careers and did a lot for this sport on and off the court. I’m glad we have them again back on the tour.
Q. Last night I watched your Jacob’s Creek commercial. Is it the best commercial so far from you?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It’s definitely one of the best that I’ve done so far in my career because it’s different in a way. We did three short films that allow people to see a different side of me. Yes, I’ve said many times about my childhood, growing up, so forth, how it was in these circumstances of war and so forth. But to put it on the screen, make it alive in a way, was very nice. Was very emotional for me to go through that, to create such story with people from Jacob’s Creek. I’m very proud of what they’ve done. Hopefully the people can enjoy the films, as well.
Q. Since 2007 you’ve only lost a total of two sets in your first and second round matches here. You’re playing lesser-ranked opponents in these matches. What is it that you find so comfortable in this tournament in the early stages?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, generally this is my most successful Grand Slam and the tournament where over the years I’ve performed my best tennis. Reason? I think there is not one reason. A few reasons together. Probably the fact that I enjoy the conditions of play. Even though last two years the courts have played faster, significantly faster than they were before, still I do enjoy being here in Australia. Some nice, positive, easygoing, sport-oriented energy going around. People appreciate the sport and make you feel good. Of course, it’s the beginning of the year. It’s the first big tournament. Everybody comes fresh and motivated. I guess in this kind of package it’s a combination of things that make me feel comfortable on the court here.
Q. You had such an epic battle with Venus at Wimbledon last year. What makes her so tough as an opponent at her age still?
PETRA KVITOVA: You know, I think that she’s playing still because she really love it. I think that she’s really true champion, otherwise she’s not playing probably. She’s still coming up. She’s very dangerous player, I have to say. Of course, she has a big serve. She has a very good confidence still. I think she really believe that she can play good tennis, what she is doing actually. So that’s why.