WTT 2018: The Kastles’ Venus Williams meets the press

In her lone press conference of the 2018 Washington Kastles home season, Venus Williams talked to reporters ahead of what ended up becoming a one-point victory over the San Diego Aviators on July 25.

Reporter: Hey Venus, Hi. Last week I spoke to some kids from Southeast Tennis and Learning Center.  They said they’d known you for years and that they see you almost every summer. So what are your connections to the city and why is D.C. special for you?

I have a lot of family here, and of course there’s the tennis and learning center. I mean, we’re watching the kids grow up. I get over there at least once a year and sometimes twice. I was there late last fall. November or December. So, you know, I got to see the kids again, now at the clinic, so it’s pretty special.

Reporter: Do you get to stay with your family?

Yeah, I stay with my family. They would kill me if I didn’t stay with them. I don’t want to die.

Reporter: Venus, you sort of, held court today with those little kids. Speaking to them. I know that you speak to kids all over the world but what is special about having those moments with young kids that might not necessarily have opportunities, and trying to connect with them the way that you did today?

Yeah, there were a lot of young kids today, so it was a fun opportunity to be able to connect with them and also to hopefully show them the places that tennis can take you. The things you can do with tennis. So, we had a lot of fun interaction there but hopefully they walk away from it that, “Hey, I can use this sport,” or another sport or whatever it is that use, they can choose to be a champion. And to go wherever they gotta.

Reporter: Is that a situation that you walk in and ad lib, or do you have a thought in your mind as to what you’re going to talk about? It felt so natural and those kids were absolutely inspired.

Well I hope they had fun. I mean, it looked like they had fun. And, no, it’s just kind of ad lib because really at the end they have to actually know that the effort they give will pay off. So I hope that they got that message today. That you try every single time. Even the champions who don’t always win, They try every single time, their absolute best and they give it all. And that’s where you can arrive if you do that sort of effort.

Reporter: Venus, have you been able to practice any aunt duties, or babysitting duties?

Only all the time.

Reporter: As you said you’ve been, this is your seventh season with the Kastles, you’ve clinched a championship, you’ve been part of the 34-streak, what’s been your favorite mark?

Oy, the 34-streak was a lot. It was intense, it was something I’ve never been involved in. It’s interesting to have that pressure not over just one season, but multiple seasons. So you can imagine what that experience was like. How thrilling and kind of once in a lifetime experience that was. Also I’ve only been able to play in one World TeamTennis finals with the Kastles, and I didn’t realize it was 5-4. I mean, wow! Really scary. I can’t believe I played that bad.

Moderator: If you watch the introduction video tonight you’ll see Venus’ and the team’s reaction when we won that title.

It was a huge moment. I can’t wait to see that again myself.


Reporter: Are there any particular goals or aspirations in tennis that you still want to achieve during this part of your career?

I think the first part is help the Kastles get to a title. That’s a huge focus. And I really see this as a part of my U.S. Open series preparation. I’ve been on the court working and working on specific things so tonight I’ll have the chance to hopefully implement that and see how it goes against world class players. The winning never gets old. It’s just, it’s addictive.

Meniscus Magazine: Venus, how good are you in basketball? Can you really slam dunk the ball?

I suck at basketball. People assume that I’m going to be awesome but I cannot get it in that hole.  I cannot dribble. I cannot do anything. I can pass the ball.

Meniscus Magazine: I thought there’s a video on that so, I couldn’t find it though.

Yeah, there’s thankfully no video.

Moderator: I had it destroyed.

Ha ha, we had it all destroyed, thank you!

Reporter: Venus, I think yesterday was two years out from Tokyo 2020.

Yeah. Oh, wow!

Reporter: Is that something on your mind at all?

Yeah. Really, it happens in July? Not August?

Reporter: Mid July into August. Yeah.

Well, it’s my goal to take up another Olympic spot. And I hope so, I mean it’s not a given. I’ve had a lot of tremendous opportunities at the Olympics. No one gives you anything, you go in to take it. It’s such a beautiful experience. I really hope That, you know, God willing, I’ll be there. It’ll be another climax of my career.

Reporter: We talked about obviously your longevity on tour a lot. You’d be 40 years old in Tokyo which would be incredible. You mentioned the winning feeling never gets old, is that what you feel like…

Yeah, I’ll be 40 but I won’t look 40.  I love to keep them guessing.

Reporter: Who else of the other current women’s, U.S. women’s tour, do you see a lot of promise in? And have you had any impact or any influence on any of the other players that’s on the tour now?

I mean, the impact is mostly probably indirect, to be honest. But, all of those players, I mean we have so many players in the Top 20 who are really just real forces to be reckned with. And in the coming years with other ones coming up I think there’s a lot of young players in juniors too, who are playing well. Did America win French Open juniors? So, there’s a lot of great action. I don’t think there’s going to be any sort of shortage of American champions.

Moderator: Obviously, you get to see family, anything specific or your favorite thing about playing in Washington in the city? What do you love about coming here?

I love winning for the fans. It feels great! Sometimes you do lose some of the matches, it’s inevitable at times and that’s tough, but you just get right back up and you come back out for the next match and in team tennis every game counts so I’m looking forward to hopefully winning today for everyone.

Video: Venus Williams press conference, Washington Kastles, July 25, 2018
video by Mai D. Chan / Meniscus Magazine