Interview with Venus Williams after retiring from her third-round match against Germany’s Andrea Petkovic at Australian Open. This is the first time in her career that Venus Williams retires from a match.
Q. What happened?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Um, I just obviously couldn’t play. I mean, just couldn’t move. Just too painful.
Q. We saw how debilitating it was two days ago when it happened. How has the last 24, 48 hours gone for you? Take us through that.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, the last 48 hours I did as much pain management and recovery that I could. I just hit some balls at 6:00 just kind of standing still. Just kind of warming up standing still and trying to give my best for the match.
You know, a lot times when you play, too, you get this adrenaline that blocks pain. But I just didn’t get enough of that today.
Q. How disappointing is this for you?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I mean it’s super disappointing because this is just not how I envisioned my Australian Open being. I’ve never had to retire from a Grand Slam especially after working so hard to pull out the match the other day. Just hoping for some magic that I could recover.
But I have peace of mind that I really gave more than my best to be out there.
Q. Did you get any medical advice that it wasn’t a good idea to play?
VENUS WILLIAMS: What do you mean? When?
Q. In between the other day and this match.
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, my parents/coaches probably didn’t think I should play. What do you think, mom? (Off microphone.)
Q. Just to follow up on what your mom said, I’ve seen you over the years and seemed like coming into the tournament you weren’t in prime condition and moving that well. Did you ever consider taking another month and rehabbing after what you went through in the fall? Do you think you pushed it too much just trying to play here?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Um, I just wanted to give 100%. I mean when I think of myself and my career I don’t make any excuses ever to myself or anyone.
For me, it was just important to give 100%. I think I learn from experiences like this. If I’m not ready to play or if I’m still hurting maybe it’s better to stop. That’s just learning from life. I’ve learned now more or less what my limits are. Just learn from that the next time.
Q. Is this an injury that’s likely to stay with you for a long time and set you back from future tournaments as well?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don’t know. I don’t know yet. When I come back to play next time, I’ll be a 100%. So I won’t be back until whenever that is. Hopefully, who knows, maybe it’ll be for Fed Cup.
Q. Will you get some scans before you fly home so you know how badly injured you are?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I’m not sure, because I just got off the court. I don’t know really yet what I’m going to do.
So obviously it’s an option.
Q. Does it hurt a lot when you’re just walking around the hotel or up and downstairs or anything like that?
VENUS WILLIAMS: My last match it just hurt walking around between points. I was able to calm down from yesterday to today to where I could pretty much walk without pain. After aggravating it today I’m not as comfortable now.
Q. Were you kind of hoping for a miracle, that you could get out there and the adrenaline will get going and you would be able to move? Because it wasn’t just about tonight. Did you really think it would heal enough where you could play at a decent level?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, of course that’s in the back of my mind. It’s tough to come into a match not knowing if what level you can give. Normally you go into a match and you’re already focused anyway, and it’s hard to focus on so many other things outside of just the game.
So that was hard. Then to think about if I could last five more matches like that and what the future was. So it was really just one match at a time. Hey, can I make it one more match? Obviously I just couldn’t.
Q. Serena tends to be a little more emotional outwardly than you have been. How sad are you? Does it hurt you badly or is it just something where you can say, I’m a tough woman and I can shake it off and tomorrow is another day?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think it hurts more when you lose and it’s your fault, like you made bad decisions and didn’t get the ball in play. This time I feel like I tried really hard to be in this tournament. At this point I have peace of mind that I gave everything I had at all points.
So more than anything, I can’t be disappointed in that aspect.
Q. You played great at the US Open and played some great tournaments last year. A lot of gaps because of injuries.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah.
Q. At what point is tennis just not worth it to you?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I’m still pretty good, even when I’m injured. I mean, at the Open I came pretty close to winning that tournament just on a hope and a prayer and little to no preparation.
Here, you know I was grinding. So I’m just going to focus obviously on getting healthy and coming back. Because I love tennis and I’ve got a lot of great tennis in me. I love my job, so no end in sight.