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Quotable Quotes... A Whole New Ball Game

From props for Samantha Stosur to playing with an illness, Venus Williams has been talking...

Published April 19, 2012 12:00

Quotable Quotes... A Whole New Ball Game
Venus Williams

CHARLESTON, SC, USA - Venus Williams has made a sensational return to the WTA, reaching back-to-back quarterfinals in her first two tournaments back - Miami and Charleston - and taking out some very big names along the way, including Petra Kvitova, Jelena Jankovic and Ana Ivanovic. After a three set loss to World No.5 Sam Stosur in Charleston, she talked to the press...

On the loss to Stosur...
"It was a well-contested match, and she came out on top. It took me a set and a half to really get used to her game again, because I haven't played her in a long time and she plays a lot differently to everyone. I don't mind power, I enjoy the challenge of it, but she plays and executes a power game very well.

"Especially in the third set I let her dictate the points. At the same time, whenever she got her racquet on the ball she was just going for it, so sometimes it's hard to defend against that. And her shots were all landing."

On Stosur having won her third round match earlier in the day too...
"She's so fit. She's extremely fit. She works very hard. She's very focused, so I definitely wasn't expecting a letdown or anything like that. And I wasn't expecting her to not play well either - I got everything I expected today."

On her overall level of play in Charleston...
"I did my best. I know I can play even better. Sometimes my errors didn't help my cause this week - I have to make less errors, definitely. But at this point I'm just learning, learning and learning more. I learned a lot from these matches, and sometimes from a loss you learn more than from a win, as well.

"I wasn't quite right on my groundstrokes this tournament, I don't think, but it's nothing to be upset about. I'll get better as time goes on. And my serve will continue to be a threat the more I get a chance to work on it. I'll definitely be working on a lot of things going into the next clay court tournaments."

On moving back towards the Top 70 after Charleston...
"I've never been so happy to be 70 in the world. But I would love it to be better. It's quite a big jump already, and I'm going to go home and try to get fitter and do my best to prepare for the rest of the clay court season."

On the Olympics...
"I feel like I'm on the brink of my first goal, which is to compete at the Olympics, and I'm going to play Madrid and Rome and the French Open. I think I have three more tournaments. I just need to stay healthy enough and fit enough, and with the way I've been playing, I should be able to make my goal."

On how she felt when she was diagnosed with Sjögren's Syndrome...
"It's relief and denial. I don't see myself as this person with an autoimmune disease, but then I have to accept that I do. Some days it's frustrating if I don't feel great and can't train - I rarely get frustrated, but every now and then I do, once in a while. But I just do the best I can that day. All in all though, I've come so far, so far from the US Open, and I really shouldn't complain."

On how long ago she thinks the illness started affecting her...
"Oh my gosh, I would say since 2004. I didn't have anything affect me off the court until this past summer, but definitely on the court. Every week I'd say I wanted to train hard that week, because I never was in great shape - but even warming up and running around the court once was really hard. It was just years and years of living that way. Now I'm not in the dark anymore."

On whether she thinks the illness affected her during certain matches...
"Yeah, totally - it was something I lived with all my matches, and I was always stressed out because I didn't know what was happening or how I was going to play. It was always in the back of my head, kind of subconscious. Every now and then I'd get a work-up and nothing would come out, but I would just keep going, and I actually had a lot of great results with all those issues. But now I'm more forgiving to myself, and it's all definitely mental for me. I have to be focused 100% all the time now. But at least I have a second chance."

On whether playing with the illness is tougher physically or mentally...
"Probably the physical side. I was nervous my first match back - that was hard - but after that, it got easier and easier to play. It's something I live with every day, and every day I have to be mentally stronger than the next player and push myself more, but now I'm used to it, and I like it. It's part of me.

"Sometimes I don't do as well as I want, but I just have nothing to lose. I'm out there playing. It has definitely given me a different perspective."

On already having a win over the World No.3 and two more Top 20 wins in just her first two tournaments back after seven months out...
"It's all been unexpected for me. I didn't know what to expect when I came back. I was like, 'I hope I can make it through a match.' I didn't know what was going to happen on the court. So all of this stuff was icing on the cake.

"What I do know is I'm going to give 100% mentally and I'll do everything I can physically. When I do have really good moments when I'm playing well, for me it's in my head - it's not even in my body. It's like I'm willing that to happen. It has become a whole new ball game for me, and I've learned a tremendous amount how to improve my mental game. I'm improving a ton."

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