MELBOURNE - Seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams said Wednesday she will use her stirring Australian Open run as a springboard for further success as she bounces back from a lengthy illness.
The 34-year-old American became the oldest Grand Slam quarter-finalist in 25 years when she faced compatriot Madison Keys, losing to the teenager 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 in a tight three-setter.
Williams, seeded 18, admitted she lost focus when Keys took a lengthy medical time out but refused to blame it for the defeat, saying she simply made too many errors.
"It's within the rules. If you don't feel well, you need an injury timeout," she said.
"I guess that's what happened with her. I've had them before as well. I don't really have any complaints about that rule. You have to give credit where credit is due, she played really well."
Williams, who went into the match with a 9-0 record for 2015, said there were plenty of positives to take from the match, which was her first Grand Slam quarter-final since 2010.
"It's a great start. Hopefully, I'll be able to keep this level up," said the American, who was diagnosed with the energy-sapping Sjogren's Syndrome in 2011.
Her comeback this year means her ranking is set to move up from 18 to 11 or 12 after the tournament.
Her run included winning the Auckland Classic warm-up event and three back-to-back three setters at Melbourne Park, a workload that would have been unthinkable in recent years.
Williams said she was still hungry for success, despite being the oldest Grand Slam quarter-finalist since Chris Evert at the 1989 US Open and facing an opponent in Keys who was not even born when she turned pro in 1994.
"It's definitely been a great last four weeks," she said.
"A lot of match wins, a lot of momentum, just a lot of great things happening that everybody wants to happen in their career," she said.
"I think a lot of players would have been happy with this tournament. I'm happy with progress. I'm not happy with a loss, I'll tell you that."