Forced time away from the game she is born to play only serves to keep Venus Williams hungry.
Hungry to be doing what she loves the most, hungry to carve her path through draws, hungry to feel the buzz of playing before a rousing centre court crowd.
At 36, when the bulk of her fellow Grand Slam-winning rivals have long since hung up the racquets, Williams finds herself in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open for the ninth time after a victory over German qualifier Mona Barthel 6-4 7-5.
It is the first time she has advanced to a Slam quarterfinal without conceding a set since the 2010 US Open.
“She played well today, so many balls came back. I was really challenged to play my best tennis,” Williams said. “So wonderful to get to the quarterfinals against an opponent who was on fire.”