Venus Williams vowed on Wednesday that she and sister Serena would bounce back, warning it would be a mistake to think their era is over after a disappointing Australian Open.
The American six-time Grand Slam champion was sent crashing out of the tournament in the quarter-finals by Serbian fourth seed Ana Ivanovic 7-6 (7-3), ending her ninth unsuccessful attempt to win the title in Melbourne.
With defending champion Serena also stumbling at the same hurdle, talk is building that their time is over.
But Venus said they both of them, who share 14 Grand Slam titles, still felt like champions and would be back.
"Well, there's been a lot of talk every single year," she said.
"I think what's important to me is what goes on in my head. I've been a champion. I have full expectations and aspirations to continue to play high quality tennis and to continue to be a champion.
"And I think Serena and I, we don't have anything to prove. We get out there and we play our best.
"I think the way we're playing still maintains what other women are doing in tennis. So I think we still set a very high standard.
"Players are still playing very well. Everyone's improving. I don't get too caught up in what the next person thinks."
Venus, her left thigh heavily strapped, said she wished she could turn back the clock and do things differently against Ivanovic, but gave credit to her opponent for playing a better game.
"I would have liked it to be different. But, unfortunately, I don't have a time machine, so I cannot reverse this loss. If any of you have one, please let me know," she said.
"But I think she played good tennis today. Definitely I have to give a lot of credit to her. She played really well, made a lot of good shots.
"I think she's improved a lot. That's really what it takes at this level. You want to keep improving and playing, because we're all improving."
The Williams sisters have been at the top of the game for almost 10 years and have been credited with taking tennis to another level.
And Venus, 27, believes she is has plenty to offer, and only when that disappears will she consider her future.
"I definitely think I'm still improving. That's my goal: to be better every tournament. If I don't have that goal one day, then that's a problem," she said.
"I have no one to blame but myself today. I definitely could have made a couple more shots. I have to take full responsibility of my life and my career.
"I would love to win here. I still think that I can. Unfortunately, it won't be this year."