Former World No. 1 Venus Williams looked back on her first professional tennis match with fondness during an interview in 2016.
Now known as the Silicon Valley Classic, the Bank of the West Classic is the oldest women's-only tournament in the world. It also served as the site that launched Venus Williams onto the tennis circuit back in 1994.
At the time of the interview, Venus Williams was the No.1 seed and two-time former champion. She claimed that playing at a venue where she had enjoyed success in the past gave her extra confidence.
According to the American, players feel more self-assured in such tournaments. The Bank of the West Classic is extra special to her because it also contains wonderful memories of when she played professionally for the first time.
"There is something different about walking on a court where you've done well, because you feel comfortable, you feel confident, you bring back those memories. And this is an even more special place because this was the first time I ever hit a professional tennis ball," said Venus Williams.
The seven-time Grand Slam champion added that the journey from that point in her life to the present had been a rollercoaster, albeit a very enjoyable one.
"It's been quite a ride. And my arms and hands are still up. I'm on a rollercoaster, and I'm the one screaming and laughing," she added.
Speaking about her and Serena Williams' legacy in tennis, Venus observed that it was something that happened by accident. All the sisters wanted to do was play their own game and do the best they could. The fact that they became an indispensable part of the game in doing so was merely a happy coincidence.
"We just wanted to be our best, and then all of a sudden, wow. You've changed the game. And I think that'll be our legacy - being an integral part of the game," said Williams.
Venus Williams' history at the Bank of the West Classic
Venus Williams reached the second round in the 1994 edition of the Bank of the West Classic before losing to World No.2 Arantxa Sanchez Vicario. She finished as the runner-up in 1998 and 1999, losing to Lindsay Davenport in the final on both occasions.
Venus Williams became the champion for the first time in 2000, finally beating Davenport. She won the tournament again in 2002, this time getting the better of Kim Clijsters.
The American never won the tournament again, although she did reach four more finals, including in 2016. In the doubles, Venus won the tournament once in 2009 along with her sister Serena Williams.