THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. What do you think made the difference in the end besides maybe winning the last point and winning more points?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think just I have played more matches in the last year.
Q. How difficult was it to play?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I mean, obviously Serena is playing very well, so the biggest challenge is really her tennis.
Q. I know this is your 29th time playing your sister, and watching you guys play, you guys are very professional on the court. But knowing if I was playing my sister in the sport I played, I would be saying something to her. Do you guys talk at all or say anything to each other before or after the match competition-wise or just have a little fun with it or strictly professional?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Like you said, it’s been 29 times.
Q. How would you evaluate her level right now, having played her her whole life?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Her level is super high and it was very difficult to close out the match, just getting one ball back. Like I said, I have had a few more matches. Even though I haven’t even played that much this year, the matches in the last year count.
Q. What were the level of nerves when you were trying to close that out? There were double faults and all that in there. Was there an element of nerves, seeing what the situation was?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don’t exactly remember the points right now, but I think I tried my best till the end. And some points you’re going to get and some you’re not and that was pretty much the case.
Q. Is there a sense of relief you finally got to play this match after 17 years? Does it bring closure to that incident in 2001?
VENUS WILLIAMS: It never crossed my mind.
Q. Out of any athlete, you’re the one who would have insight into your sister. Wondering what you think…
VENUS WILLIAMS: Her what?
Q. Insight. I’m wondering what you think it says about her, her return to the game, you know, after 14 months away.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think she’s going to be speeding back to the seedings and to winning tournaments sooner than later. That’s all I see. I think that’s what everybody sees.
Q. Can I just ask you just regarding Serena’s return and the whole protected ranking aspect, do you think that maybe when a woman player leaves because she’s going to have a baby, she’s out of the game for so long, like Serena, like Vika, that when they do return with their protected ranking that they should be able to get seeded?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I hadn’t given that any thought, so I can’t necessarily speak to it. You know, who knows?
Q. Warm crowd reaction to you, especially with Andrew. After the interview, the crowd went nuts for you. I know you’re used to it, but good feeling for you, especially after a win like that?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think so. Honestly have to get focused for the next match. I’m playing a completely different player, new challenges. I really already was resetting, because the tournament is far from over.
Q. Will it be easier emotionally to play somebody else now, now that you don’t have that sibling-bond rivalry, what have you?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Every match is hard. Nobody gives it to you. It’s all a new challenge, each and every match. Gotta earn it.
Q. But I mean in terms of your emotions.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, my first answer still applies.
Q. What parts of your game do you think you have improved versus Serena in the recent years?
VENUS WILLIAMS: We have both improved. That’s just hands down. You have to if you want to stay relevant.
Q. Is there a specific part of your game you have improved in the last few years?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I hope so (smiling). I mean, I think my forehand is bigger than ever. Still fast. Still just trying to — honestly it’s always about improvement. And in tennis you can have a bad day, too. You never know when it’s not going to work, too.
Q. Thoughts of Sevastova?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I played her maybe once. Like I say, completely different match. You never know what people are going to do nowadays. I still have to control my side of the net and walk off, try to walk off the winner again.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
Rev #1 by #366 at 2018-03-13 05:06:00 GMT