ST. PETERSBURG, Russia - Venus Williams made her debut at the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy with plenty to celebrate; the American had just enjoyed her best run at a Grand Slam since 2009, falling to sister Serena at the Australian Open.
"No one plans to lose, so it's never the outcome you work so hard for," she said in her All-Access Hour interview. "But it was still a wonderful opportunity for me to be in the right situation to win a championship. At this point, I can't wait to play another match."
Venus had to make a quick turnaround from Melbourne, but still arrived in time for the Player's Party in her first visit to Russia's cultural capital.
"The party yesterday was beautiful, and very entertaining. I heard that the tournament does a great job with the players and now I'm seeing it for myself."
Most players opt out of returning to the court so soon after a deep Slam run, but St. Petersburg was never in doubt for the No.4 seed, who plays Kristina Mladenovic on Thursday.
"I knew I was coming here, so mentally I was prepared. This is a place I want to be, and have always wanted to visit because of the historic value, and because it's a beautiful city.
"Of course, it was a privilege to be in the Australian Open final because you think about how close you are to the championship and having a chance to play for that. That's everything I wanted, but I always planned to come here, regardless."
Check out more from Venus, along with some of the best photos from the start of her stay right here on wtatennis.com:
On her decision to play St. Petersburg for the first time and adjusting to the Russian winter...
I've always wanted to come here, so that was the first reason. The second is that, I know this tour pretty well, and no tournament can escape my glance.
I think it would been worse if it had been hot in Australia, but it really wasn't so hot. So it wasn't a massive change.
On her intent to never stop improving at 36 years old...
In practice, you try to train harder than you ever would in a match. Of course, you can't practice the emotions of a match. But I'm always trying to improve things; you can't stay in one place, because that's when the world stops for you and the rest of the world is still going. I'm constantly trying to think about how I can do better, so that excitement and passion is always there.
On plans to explore the city...
I just got here, so I'm still adjusting to the time difference, but I'm looking forward to a nice dinner this evening. I'm really interested in the local fashion and the designers here because I like to be inspired by different cultures. Those two things are on the top of my list.
On the next generation of Russian talent...
I'm not sure who's coming. I know who I have to play, and they're all tough. That's a great thing for tennis. But if the same history continues for Russia, the future will be very bright.
On her rivalry with Serena Williams entering its third decade on the WTA tour...
We're just trying to win our dreams, and our dream is to be here. When it's not, we'll watch on TV.
All photos courtesy of the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy 2017.