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post #2 of 120 (permalink) Old Jun 18th, 2002, 03:08 PM
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I'll start. Here are some from my site


June 8, 2002
S. WILLIAMS/V. Williams 7-5, 6-3


Q. On court, your sister said it was a bittersweet victory for her. What are your feelings when you're playing your sister? Just how difficult is it for you to try and shut out the fact that it is Serena on the other side of the net? How much more difficult does that make it?


VENUS WILLIAMS: Really not very different at all because obviously she's one of the best players in the world, so I have to put the full concentration into my game.


Q. You had won with Serena the doubles title here. This is a new step in your career even though you lost today, or you think you are going to try to win on all surfaces? You can try?


VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, definitely I'll have my opportunities. I'm still a little young, so I think that there will hopefully be chances for me to be through to the finals again.


Q. That probably wasn't one of your better serving days in a Grand Slam final. Did things pretty much fall apart because you couldn't seem to get rhythm on the serve?


VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I just think I just wasn't the best player today. Normally I think I had sometimes better appearances in my Grand Slam finals. But it's impossible to win all. So I've got to go for the next one.


Q. Your sister aside, being a sister aside, what makes her a tough opponent as compared to some other top players on tour?


VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I just think that with every player that you play normally in the Grand Slam, that they get better, because the better players get to the later rounds. It's just that when you're a top player, you just do everything a little bit better than the next player - you serve better, you move better, you fight better, just those kind of things. Serena does it better than the next player.


Q. Is there anything that's a particular strength of yours that, after you've played her now, may be different from Jennifer Capriati or Lindsay or anything?


VENUS WILLIAMS: Different?


Q. Yes.


VENUS WILLIAMS: No.


Q. No particular strength? Was today the start of a new career for you as photographer?


VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, my mom was in a bad position from behind, so I just did my best. Hopefully they'll come out.


Q. Do you think you were maybe suffering from a little bit of lack of tough competition coming into the final, whereas Serena had that really tough match from Jennifer? She seemed to feel that gave her some extra edge and momentum.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Not really. I think I played well to get to the finals. I think that she was just playing a little better. Kind of hope for the best next time.


Q. How disappointed are you? Are you also happy for your sister and disappointed by your loss? What are your feelings after this match?


VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I try not to be sad about my losses, every loss, when I lose, because I don't really want to concentrate on my loss, I want to concentrate on the future. I realize that tennis is just part of my life, it's just my work, and after this I go home and I live my real life, the real reality. And I'm happy for Serena because, you know, she hasn't won a Slam in a while. But then again, I also have to look at the areas where I have to improve in my game, to do better. So there's a lot of ways to look at it. But Serena won, so I can kind of like live through her and say that I won the French, too, because I beat her once, so that means maybe I could have won the French.


Q. You mention your mom. She's always emphasized what she's tried to teach you, that you're a normal human being, no better than anybody else, to remember where you come from. Could you talk about what your mom has given you in that way?


VENUS WILLIAMS: Really just realizing how fortunate I've been just with having a great family, my mom and my sisters. Just things like my mom, my dad always taught us, "When you shake someone's hand, shake it firm, it just shows character." Really, if they hadn't told me, that I just wouldn't know what to do. So I just think they've been there in my life and Serena's life, all my sisters' lives, and really guided to us where we are today. So without them, I wouldn't be here. I don't know what I'd be doing.


Q. She also said that except on the tennis court you always let your little sister get her way. Can you talk about that? Is that true?


VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. An example, she stole my toothpaste. I had no toothpaste. I was fighting for my life in the mornings and at night. So I'd have to go all the way to her room, get the toothpaste, put a little on my thumb, go back and brush my teeth. I didn't take the bottle back because I figure, "If I take it back, she won't have any." Just things like that.


Q. What about your studies in French? It's only a little detail for the public or are you going to go on seriously?


VENUS WILLIAMS: I do need to be more serious about it. But next year. Next year I'll do a little better, I hope.


Q. Can you just talk about the match, where you felt it got away from you? You were up a break in the first set.


VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, definitely I was down a break, played some tough games to get back, you know, into the match. It's just about taking opportunities. And I don't think I did. And they don't come that often in a Grand Slam or against a player like Serena. So I realize that I was getting a lot of chances that I didn't take. Normally I do a little better. But you have these days.


Q. Can you talk about her return of serve. She got on your second serve pretty well.


VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, she did. She did real well with that, especially on some of the more important points. But I think that's just how she plays.


Q. You had the backhand that hit the tape in the 10th game of the first set. If you would have made that shot, you would have had a set point. Can you talk about that moment, if you remember it at all?


VENUS WILLIAMS: I should have added more topspin or done something to get it over. I don't really remember, to be honest. I do remember a couple that hit the tape, and they wouldn't roll over. I just couldn't get that lucky break. You know, I guess I just should have done more to get it over the net.


Q. When you play Serena, do you sometimes think that the public are more conscious of the fact that they're watching two sisters play and feel the awkwardness more than the two of you do on the court?


VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm really not sure.


Q. But do you not sense maybe an atmosphere in the crowd of not being certain they can see what's going on, but wondering how difficult it is for you competing, being sisters, same family? It's difficult enough when two friends are playing or two people from the same country. But in your case, everything is combined, isn't it, sisters as well?


VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I just think that they probably don't know which one to root for, I guess everyone has their favorite player. But when it comes to me and Serena, probably people see us as the same.


Q. You obviously lost the match today. You must not feel too good about that. But your mom did say of the two of you, that you were the much better photographer. Does that make you feel good?


VENUS WILLIAMS: I try a little bit of photography. I read some manuals, so I know some of the basic things. But I guess I have to keep improving.


Q. You seemed to be struggling out there a little bit.


VENUS WILLIAMS: I've never used a manual camera. Hers is a manual. You have to wind it and focus it. So actually I got the hang of it real quick, but I had never used that model before.


Q. How much motivation does this loss give you for Wimbledon?


VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I can try to win Wimbledon again. The chances, I suppose, are good. But I still won't have the French. But I think I've done well. I think people also have realized that Serena and I, we do play well on all the surfaces. If they put us on the clay, it doesn't mean that we aren't going to show up that day.


Q. What are your plans for next week? Are you leaving right away, going back home?


VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, go home and fight and practice, I suppose. A few days before the Wimbledon starts; there's not much time for rest. We have to become focused. We've never been in this position before. We've normally lost a little earlier. Normally we have plenty of time to prepare for Wimbledon. Definitely a different experience (laughter).


Q. Serena and you have won six out of the last 10 Grand Slams. Is that good enough? Is it satisfactory?


VENUS WILLIAMS: It's been real nice. I think with everything we do on the tennis court we've done okay. I guess we can't ask for too much more.


Venus Williams Interview 56Kb|250Kb



June 6, 2002

V. WILLIAMS/C. Fernandez 6-1, 6-4


Q. Did you tremble a little bit on the brink?


VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I never felt like I was going to lose the match, but I certainly didn't want to prolong it. But I did feel comfortable in the rallies. But just a few shots I missed here and there.


Q. She doesn't have too much experience in such a match. Is it disturbing for you to play such an opponent like this?


VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I think in her case it was difficult to come out there in the semifinals. It's never easy. I've been in the position where I've been in the finals for the first time, and I was really young. So I guess either you can come out and play really great or not so well. I think she's a good player and that she can be back, that she just has to build on this.


Q. For you to find your rhythm, is it more difficult when you don't have a lot of reason from her?


VENUS WILLIAMS: I think sometimes I play -- today I guess was just a tough day with Serena's match going on first. I was watching a little too much of it. It was hard to really be calm in my match (laughter). I was too excited, too stressed maybe about hers.


Q. You and your sister wrote history by becoming 1 and 2 in the world. What does that mean?


VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, it's real nice. I guess I did read a couple times if Serena won the match, we would be 1 and 2. But I don't think we were even really thinking about that. We were just wanting to do so well for the French Open because we hadn't always done our best here, done as well as we thought we could do. But this makes it all the much more sweeter to be No. 1 and 2, and also to be in the final. We feel it's been a long way.


Q. What does it mean to you, the second time you play your sister in a Grand Slam, in a final? What do you expect?


VENUS WILLIAMS: She's been playing real well, intensity level, running well. She definitely had a tough match against Jennifer. I had a tough match against Monica. Then today to get through against a player I never played is also very good.


Q. One thing a lot of people forget is if you're No. 1 and 2 in the world, you're going to be the 1 and 2 seeds at tournaments, her coming out on the same side of the draw for you is over. That is a nice part of being 1 and 2?


VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, for sure. I think more than anything, though, it just means that we've reached the best of our profession, which is what we always have achieved to do, is to be the best at what we do because we take pride in what we do. Actually, I'd like to stay No. 1, but I'd like to see Serena No. 1 also. I'm not giving it up, but I'm sure she'll get there.


Q. What do you think of the fact you'll be playing this match on clay, which you haven't done before, might change the complexion of the match for the two of you?


VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, we practiced a lot on clay at home. I guess we'll be running down a lot of balls.


Q. Is there any relief that your father's prediction has finally come true, it's over and done with? It's something that people in tennis have talked about for a long time.


VENUS WILLIAMS: Not really relief. I don't feel there was any stress. I mean, we live a great life, have great opportunities that most people don't have. So when I get out there and play my matches, most times I try to enjoy it because of that.


Q. Four or five years ago, when he first said it, did it annoy you? Did you think he was right? Pressure on you?


VENUS WILLIAMS: Sure, I thought he was right because I believe in my dad, and my mom.


Q. Was it your first wave here when people are standing? Is that the first time it's happened here to you?


VENUS WILLIAMS: I think. I don't remember another time.


Q. Is it disturbing? Is it nice?


VENUS WILLIAMS: No, to me, I can play with it noisy or not noisy. As long as I can see the ball, I can play the game (laughter).


Q. What have you found has worked best with your game on clay since you've improved this year very much? What has worked for you, which shots?


VENUS WILLIAMS: Just taking my time, really just moving in when I can, really just cutting back on the unforced errors. I've just had a really great experience here at the French this year.


Q. Did you feel you had something to prove?


VENUS WILLIAMS: For me, to myself, sure. I wanted to do better here because I was starting to think that I had maybe a jinx at this tournament. There's always some tournaments on the tour where you always lose. There's a few besides the French where I never can seem to get past the first or second round. I didn't want this tournament to become one of those. Also the Australian Open, so I'm still crossing my fingers for that one.


Q. Of course, Jennifer had a tough loss this afternoon. When she did come into the press room, she said you and Serena would not have been No. 1 and 2 without some careful planning, meaning not playing each other, and it probably might not have happened if the other girls had been healthy. Could you please comment on those two comments?


VENUS WILLIAMS: What was the comment?


Q. The comment was you would not have been -- you and Serena would not have been No. 1 and 2 if there had not been some careful planning, in other words, not playing against each other; and, secondly, the two of you wouldn't be 1 and 2 if the other girls, presumably Hingis and Davenport, were healthy.


VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, actually, I miss playing Hingis. I just played Hingis. But I miss playing Lindsay.


Q. Do you?


VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes. She suits my game. We get out there, we just hit the ball. And it is just great tennis. You know, I hope she comes back. It's never fun to be injured. You know, I hope Martina recovers from her surgery, too, because it is different without them. It makes it more interesting when they're in the mix.


Q. Aside from missing them, do you think there's truth in what Jennifer was saying in terms of you and Serena maybe not being No. 1 and 2 if the other girls were there and if you had played each other more?


VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, it's hard to say "what if," "what would have happened." Those are all different variables that fed in.


Q. Is there any reason that the match on Saturday won't be a bust? Do you think it will gradually get better each time you play each other more times?


VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know.


Q. Do you agree they've been maybe a little anti-climactic and disappointing so far in terms of excitement for the fans and stuff?


VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't think so. I think we always can play better. But we've always done our best when we walk out on the court every time.






6/4/02
V. WILLIAMS/M. Seles 6-4, 6-3


Q. Winning in straight sets, was the match easier than you expected?


VENUS WILLIAMS: I did expect to play maybe a few longer points. Monica, just like me, we're both looking to end the point and play aggressive. So I wasn't looking for three-hour rallies either.


Q. Your first semifinal at the French. Have you worked on a specific clay court game or did you always know this would just happen anyway?


VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, for sure, I've always felt I had the groundstrokes and the speed to play well here; it just hasn't happened yet. But now I'm a little older, a little wiser, I hope. I think more than anything I'm just not trying to hit every ball so hard, just keep some in play, move it around, hope for the best.


Q. Have you worked on sliding or anything specifically?


VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I haven't. But I just slide a little bit when I have to (smiling).


Q. Have you had any advice on sliding from anybody? Is there any special technique you have to use, anything different after playing so much on hard courts?


VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I used to practice on clay a lot when I was younger, so I do know how to slide. Whether I decide to do it is another thing. More than anything, I do enjoy stepping into the ball, if I can.


Q. How big of a win is this for you? She got you in Australia.


VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think definitely this was one of the best quarterfinals out of all the ladies' quarterfinals, probably the most interesting match. I felt if I could just play a little better than what I did in Australia, I could hopefully get the win. I don't think she played her best today. Maybe she felt a little rushed, I'm not sure.


Q. The last time you were in the quarters here wasn't a very good day for you. Talk about your progress as a player.


VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, that was tough. You know, I was just coming back from injury. It was all I could do just to keep the ball on the court. Playing Arantxa didn't make it much better. Two years from that point. Different times for sure.


Q. And confidence-wise, how much more confident were you today going out on the court than you were then?


VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I was confident back then, but I just couldn't, you know, make the ball do what I wanted it to do at that point. Now, more or less, I'm not as rusty as I was then.


Q. At the beginning of the tournament there's this whole draw, I know that even now you're just looking to your next match, but you're aware it's sort of down to a final group.


VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. What happens is that the lunch lines are not as long, locker rooms not as busy, the massage schedule opens up, things like that. The practice court schedule, get in a little easier. This is the privilege of sticking around, really fighting to this last part of the week.


Q. How about mentally, how does it affect you?


VENUS WILLIAMS: More than anything, I get even more serious and focused. I become a different person. So I can kind of feel that happening now. I just try to lay low.


Q. You become a different person?


VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, not Venus.


Q. What does Serena become?


VENUS WILLIAMS: Serena (with French accent). I don't know, you have to ask her.


Q. Do you refer to each other as such now?


VENUS WILLIAMS: We should, to get mentally in that position. That's a good idea.


Q. In the court there was obviously more cheering for Monica than for you. Does it bother you at that moment?


VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I actually subconsciously did hear it. But, really, I was just so focused on playing well, keeping balls in play, fighting for each point. Personally, I don't really hear it that much. But I do realize she is a crowd favorite, she's had great results here, played great matches here. I remember the matches she played, too, 9 and 10. I remember those times, too. They do, too.


Q. The next match is the surprise of the women's singles here. Have you played her? Do you know much about her?


VENUS WILLIAMS: No, no, this is definitely a great tournament for her. Get her up in the rankings, give her the opportunity to play a lot of the higher-level events, give her the opportunity to get in there and compete. So this is nice for her. Also, I think that I'll have to walk out there and play well, like always. Somewhat like when I played Justine in the finals of Wimbledon. You play someone, they have nothing to
lose, so it makes it a little bit more difficult. But also I have a smaller advantage with the experience.


Q. You knew Justine, didn't you, when you played her at Wimbledon?


VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, sure. I've seen Clarisa play. I think she's playing well. Of course, you have to get to the semifinals. But I'll play well also.


Q. I'd like to go back to this whole issue of Venus and Venus. Can you see one difference in the character or personality of these two different players?


VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, that's at the French I become Venus. This happened this year. I don't know what happened the other years. It only happens once you hit the semifinals (laughter). Now it's getting too crazy. We should move on.


Q. Is the French Venus nicer?


VENUS WILLIAMS: Actually, no, you can't talk to her that much because she's so serious and hardly ever leaves her hotel room, only to eat. If she can, she'll have her food brought to her. She just reads books, concentrates. You can't get her to smile that much. That's Venus.


Q. Do you have a hard time resisting the nice parts, like a lot of us do, Paris, going out, seeing all the sights, going to the restaurants? Is it pretty tempting?


VENUS WILLIAMS: Not really because I do a lot of studying when I'm off the court. I have like work to do.


Q. Would this be your biggest challenge now, to win Roland Garros?


VENUS WILLIAMS: I just think I'd love to do well here. I'd love to win. Especially being so close, in the semifinals, it's a great opportunity. But I'm not going to put any more pressure on myself than what I should. All I expect from me is to get out there and compete, play my best. Whatever result comes is what comes. But I always do expect to play well.


Q. What are you studying?


VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, right now I study interior design.


Q. Still interior design?


VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes. Correspondence courses.


Q. Not cutlery?


VENUS WILLIAMS: Maybe I'll get to that part, but that's part of the accessories. Hope you don't have to study too much about that. I don't know.


Q. Does that appeal to you more, the designing of clothes?


VENUS WILLIAMS: Fashion design?


Q. Yes.


VENUS WILLIAMS: Interior design is something that I could possibly do more of now because with fashion design, it's such a competitive business. Interior design is also, but at least I could open my own firm at home and watch over it. Whereas, fashion, you have your factories all over the world, this, that, shipping. I couldn't handle all of that - not right now. But I just love all the arts. I love administration, too.


Q. Have you seen Venus de Milo?


VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes. At the Louvre.


Q. Did they pose you with her?


VENUS WILLIAMS: No. Come on. They do have the replicas for sale there. I guess they're plastic. I'm not sure what they are.


Q. Would winning here mean more to you than picking up another Grand Slam? Because it's clay, would it mean more about your game?


VENUS WILLIAMS: I think everybody out there, maybe the writers, all the fans would think, "Wow, Venus is a clay court player." More than anything, it would mean a lot to me. I feel as if I'm a clay court player. I'll play on anything.


Q. You said more than anything it would mean a lot to you. How come?


VENUS WILLIAMS: Because I haven't always had the best result here. Also the Australian Open would mean a lot to me, if I could win there.


Q. You started the press conference saying you were a little older and a little wiser. Could you comment on that?


VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, because just when you start feeling arthritis in your back, you know you have all the knowledge here (pointing to her head). Every morning I wake up a little stiff, my feet and back are sore, I can tell, yes, I'm a little wiser.


Q. Are you saying you have arthritis - or you're just a little bit sore? You're not saying you have an arthritic condition in your back?


VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I don't think I played so many long matches to be sore. I'm just joking. Actually, I come from a family of jokers. My dad, me, Serena, my brother, we just joke all day.


Q. When did you first realize "I am a clay court player," but others didn't recognize it?


VENUS WILLIAMS: Always have been. I can play a longer point, I suppose. I move okay. Have a few titles. For me, doesn't matter what I play on.




V. WILLIAMS/C. Rubin 6-3, 6-2


Q. A long time since we've seen Chanda Rubin out on the court. Was it good to see her out on the court, as well?


VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, yeah, for sure. She had a great result last week -- or in the last tournament, getting to the finals, and here the fourth round. I think coming out of injury, that's really, really amazing. When I went out there, I was trying to be serious because I know her record at the French and also against top players, and also because she has such good results so quickly.


Q. You didn't expect an easy match against her, in spite of the court?


VENUS WILLIAMS: No, not at all. I definitely was concentrating on every point because she's known for her comebacks.


Q. The next game is Monica Seles. What do you think about that?


VENUS WILLIAMS: We played in the quarterfinals of the Australian. I just hope to play better than what I did in that match.


Q. Is it difficult for you to play the left-handers?


VENUS WILLIAMS: No. All the same.


Q. Not at all?


VENUS WILLIAMS: No.


Q. Was today's opponent the kind of opponent that is especially good for you to play, someone that hits flat strokes, balls coming in your strike zone most of the time, instead of those slicers and dicers, topspiners out there?


VENUS WILLIAMS: I guess it was nice to play someone who is just as interested in playing as quick a point as I am. That's nice. There are some players who -- doesn't seem like they even look to end a point ever. So that was nice because I knew that I would have to do something aggressive and play a good shot before she did.


Q. Strangely, of all these years of playing Monica, this is the first time you've played her on clay. Will it change the personality of the match, do you think?


VENUS WILLIAMS: I think whatever surface I play Monica on, I'm going to have to play well.


Q. Do you feel you change your game on clay a lot in terms of how you construct the points, how you approach it?


VENUS WILLIAMS: I definitely put more power on the ball today than what I have in all of my matches. In the other first three, I didn't hit very hard. Just moved the ball around some, then go for a winner when I was ready. Today I realized I was playing a player where I would have to put more pressure on her before she put it on me.


Q. When you're playing points, do you sense this is a place, on clay, you're going to hit the shot differently with a different trajectory or try to use the surface to your advantage in a way you weren't doing a couple years ago?


VENUS WILLIAMS: I always try to at least think that I'm smarter and better. If I'm not, find out why I'm not. Really, I just expect to play more balls, that's all.


Q. How do you rate Monica's serve?


VENUS WILLIAMS: Definitely one of the best in the game. There's a lot of players out there who are happy to get the ball in play on the return. Monica is definitely going for each shot. That's what makes a great return.


Q. Do you have an interest in following the World Cup?


VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I watch mostly the tennis. I don't really think I understand the rules of soccer, so that makes it more difficult to watch.


Q. Jelena Dokic. What do you think about her?


VENUS WILLIAMS: I think she's a very good player. Actually, she's one of my favorite players to play. I don't know why, I just like to play against her game.


Q. What do you think how far she can go on the list?


VENUS WILLIAMS: She's definitely doing well. She's had a few injuries this year. That always makes it tough. But she gets out there, she plays hard every point, no matter which one. That's what I admire about her.


Q. Could you tell me your opinion about Serena's dress, this football dress?


VENUS WILLIAMS: It's definitely fashion forward.


Q. Would you design something like this?


VENUS WILLIAMS: I hope so. It's very creative.





V. WILLIAMS/R. Grande 6-1, 6-4


Q. Pretty strong effort with the exception of that little blip toward the end of the second set. If we were in the second week of this tournament, where the players are getting stronger, competition is heavier. In your opinion, is your second serve strong enough right now to get to the final of this tournament?


VENUS WILLIAMS: Definitely, I think my second serve is doing very well. I have very few double-faults. I think my average is like 132, 130, 134.


Q. So you're serving for it at 5-2, you go on this little loss of concentration. You've been playing almost perfect up till then. Take me through what happened there.


VENUS WILLIAMS: I just committed a few unforced errors. It only takes a few before, you know, those games are not on your side. But I felt okay going into the 5-4 game because I was serving pretty good, pretty strong. I didn't feel the amount of pressure that she was going to hit winners on me, because her game is not a power game, it's more finesse and placement.


Q. What's working for you on court and what's not?


VENUS WILLIAMS: Really I'd just like to keep improving on my technique and my footwork and my movement, of course my serve and my return - if I can just keep improving. I'm just doing my best not to power myself out of any matches (smiling).


Q. Have you hit your forehand better at any time than you have the last couple months? Today I think you had eight winners down the line, cross-court. Seems like it's become a real weapon.


VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, at times it's my best friend. I'd like to think that.


Q. As usual, you're cruising through the first week. Even that second set you were up 5-1. Are you happy playing like this or do you wish you had earlier round matches that lasted longer than 50 minutes?


VENUS WILLIAMS: Normally I do play I think longer matches in the first rounds, but this week has been nice - especially coming off of injuries. But nice not to be on the court too long. I think more than anything on the clay court, anything can happen, especially at this tournament. So if you can just shut your opponents out, just keep it not too noisy on the court, not too many mistakes, so that way you don't find yourself in a situation that you feel is out of your control.


Q. These days what gives you the most joy in playing tennis, just playing the game?


VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. Actually, I've been having a nice time practicing these days. I've been enjoying my practices. Sometimes I'm a little lazy as of late because after so many years of practice, it can get a little boring at times. I've been working on a few things, just trying to keep it interesting.


Q. How do you keep it interesting?


VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, it's been nice because -- normally you go home and practice the same place every day with the same people. I've had different hitting partners, different challenges, different places to hit, so it's been nice.


Q. And your sister, of course, came out in the colors of Cameroon. If Reebok said to you, "We want you to come out with the colors of an American team, could be basketball, football, baseball, anything you want, college, pro, what team colors would you choose?


VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know, because I don't know much about sports outside of tennis.


Q. Not even local high school, nothing?


VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I don't.


Q. You have four Slam titles. During those runs, you've talked about good feelings, special feelings, at Wimbledon and the US Open. So here do you have any of that inkling, "Boy, if I continue to play well, I can actually get deep into this tournament"?


VENUS WILLIAMS: For sure. I think more than anything, even if I'm not playing well or I don't feel I'm giving my best - not giving my best, but doing my best, at least if I can just play the big points well, that's what really counts. Just have enough courage to step up and not look back, that's what I'm looking forward to doing as the later rounds progress.


Q. You were talking about not letting the crowd into the match before, not making mistakes.


VENUS WILLIAMS: Not too much noise. Noise as far as...


Q. Whistling?


VENUS WILLIAMS: No, interruption. Maybe just a word I use "noise." Not with the people, but just with yourself, the person.


Q. Can you tell us about the honorary degree, your thoughts on that, how it came about?


VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I found out about it last year, so I made, for sure, an opportunity in my schedule so I could be there because I've worked so hard to get a degree. I haven't gotten one yet. This is all that I can get. It meant so much to me. It's actually at Howard UniversityThat's where my two older sisters went. It was real nice because that's just one thing in my life. Of course, I have lots of great things going on, but that's just one part that I won't really get to live. So it was nice to be there and actually see students, people that I want to be like - as opposed to maybe people that would like to be like me, but I wanted to be like them. So it was nice.


Q. What was your thinking in that atmosphere?


VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I just -- I felt it was really an honor to be there, for sure, a school would feel so intent on giving me a degree or a citation, that was nice. Hopefully I get there one day on my own.


Q. You said a while ago if it weren't for your father, you would probably be a college student now. You seemed to say it with a tone of you were fortunate not to go that route. Can you imagine yourself going that route?


VENUS WILLIAMS: I speak to a lot of people. Some of the greatest years of their lives. I think surely I'd be a struggling college student, fighting for the next Cup of Noodles. At least I can fight for the next fillet mignon here.


Q. Your dad also said years ago that you and Serena would be 1 and 2. People dismissed that fairly much out of the blocks. Now that you're 2 and 3, do you think there's a shot you'll actually achieve that in the coming months?


VENUS WILLIAMS: I think it's a great possibility, for sure. It's what we work for, just to be the best in the world, to do our personal best. I think at this point we're getting close to being our personal best.


Q. If that occurred, what would that say about you and your family?


VENUS WILLIAMS: I just think we worked hard, we believed in what we were doing. More than thinking, we had a fun time along the way.


Q. You travel a lot all around. Did you ever think about learning some other languages, and which one?


VENUS WILLIAMS: I've tried everything, but not everything has worked out the way I'd like. I'm sure one day I'll speak hopefully a few languages.


Q. How different of a player are you now than when you first came here ? Lost to Tauziat. You talked about, "Can't learn to slide on this stuff."


VENUS WILLIAMS: Actually, I didn't want to slide on it is probably the problem. It was hard. My first Slam, I just didn't know what I was doing, to be honest. As a result, I lost in the second round. I've had some tough results here also.


Q. Now do you want to slide? Do you like the sliding?


VENUS WILLIAMS: I do. It's something that you most certainly have to practice. If I try to slide, and I haven't been sliding in practice, then I miss. So now I've been sliding in practice. If I don't have to slide, I don't. I feel that the slide takes more time. If I can just step into it, that's all the earlier I can take the ball.


Q. Your side of the draw opened up a little bit with Clijsters losing. With both Belgians out and Martina not playing, are you thinking this could be an awful nice opportunity for you?


VENUS WILLIAMS: What's really important to me is the fourth round I'm in now. If I can just get to the quarterfinals, I'll be happy. After that, I'm going to move on to the semis, I hope (laughter). At this point I can't tell the future. No matter who you play in this tournament, it can be weird, it can be difficult. You never know. I'm just banking on moving on to the next round.


Q. In the last couple of days, Lleyton Hewitt has been saying he just needs to get through these first couple days to get himself into the second week, then everything changes. Is that how you see an event like this?


VENUS WILLIAMS: It's a good idea (smiling).


Q. I want to ask you specifically about the security here in Roland Garros. Have you noticed the security strengthened than in other previous editions? Do you think it should be stronger?


VENUS WILLIAMS: I think it's always been very good here since I first came. I don't see where they would really need to make any improvements. They're always willing to give you as much help as you want. The other day I went to the Roland Garros shops, I had two guards helping me so I could pick a couple souvenirs. That was nice.


Q. You didn't notice any difference from previous editions here?


VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I always thought it was very tight. The other day I forgot my pass. I had to show my passport so the guy would believe that it was me.


Q. Yesterday Serena gave us the scoop, the shocking news, that your tennis newsletter, Tennis Recap, had gone out of business. We were stunned by that. What happened?


VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, Lord. We went to school. I got that tendonitis, I couldn't type anymore. We were always at least two weeks beyond the printing date (laughter). It was fun while it lasted. I don't know. We should hire someone to type for us.


Q. Going through all that, does that give you any more sympathy for us and what we do?


VENUS WILLIAMS: I've always admired your work because in writing class I had to work so hard. I always thought I did pretty good. But the teachers always found something wrong with my essays.


Q. What was wrong?


VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. I don't know anymore. All I know is I don't have to take any more writing classes. I'm through.



Day 1 at Roland Garros 2002



Q. Not your best tennis, but you managed to get through, which has to feel pretty good.



VENUS WILLIAMS: Definitely played really good in the first four games. I think my first serve percentage was really down, but my second serve just kept going in, so that was nice.



Q. How is the wrist? Are you feeling any pain at all?



VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, it was a little tough this morning because it's so cold. It's hard to warm up. But once I get going, I seem to do okay.



Q. What sort of things have you been doing to kind of keep the wrist in shape?



VENUS WILLIAMS: Really not too much practice, and ice. Off the court normally I wear a brace. Not the day I saw you, I forgot about that day (laughter). I would have been in trouble. It kind of reminds me not to do things with the right hand, to lift things and pull things. It's there for a reason.



Q. You got rid of the suitcase, have you?



VENUS WILLIAMS: No more of that. I got a better bag to carry my computer in. I'm going to pack lighter (laughter). I have a pulley now instead of all that other stuff.



Q. Is this related at all to the tendonitis or something different?



VENUS WILLIAMS: No, no, I think I'm doing much better with the tendonitis. If anything, it's something that gets sore every now and then.



Q. Is there a time scale you've been given by your medical guys, how long this might be like it is? Is it something you're going to have to live with for a while?



VENUS WILLIAMS: I hope not. I don't think so. I think once I get an opportunity just to rest it and really not have to go hard on it, I can heal completely.



Q. What do they say for this tournament? Do they think it can last without a lot of pain if you have to go seven matches?



VENUS WILLIAMS: I wouldn't be able to tell you which shots are tougher for me on the wrist, but...I think as long as I keep my practice down, don't push myself, hopefully keep the number of sets down. That's not a guarantee.



Q. What's going to be the key for you this year?



VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I just think that I have to play well, just like any other place, be willing to compete on every point.



Q. Do you and Serena talk at all about your lack of success here? You're great at US Open, great at Wimbledon, not too good at the Australian Open, not nearly what you should be up to here.



VENUS WILLIAMS: I think it's attributed to our slow starts in the year. But this year's been okay for me. It's been a pretty good start - might have best start ever. I'd like to keep it rolling until the end of this tournament, I guess. But normally, like last year, I didn't get started doing pretty good until Wimbledon. So I think this year -- plus, I didn't have as many classes in the fall. Normally I had six classes. This to time I

only had two, that helped a lot. I had time to practice. I think that will help a lot. That has helped a lot going into this year.



Q. What do you think the key is to great clay court tennis?



VENUS WILLIAMS: I think patience, running a lot of balls down, getting a little lucky. Really just playing the ball and playing the court, really understanding the game, how to move the ball around, move your opponent around, take advantage. Really it's a lot of fun, clay court tennis. Sometimes it can be tough if things aren't going your way, you have a bad day.



Q. You seemed willing to come in a lot today. Are you going to continue that in the tournament?



VENUS WILLIAMS: I definitely think so because if you don't, you can end up playing five or six more balls, losing the point. I'd rather at least lose it knowing I'd done the right thing than losing it not stepping up to bat.



Q. Is there a reason behind maybe cutting your class schedule from six to two? Is it something you just felt like you wanted to do, take it easier this year?



VENUS WILLIAMS: Those are the only courses I could take. All the rest were prerequisites. Happened for a reason.



Q. Which ones?



VENUS WILLIAMS: Pattern details, manipulating patterns, changing just a regular scoop neck to a V-neck. I never could do it right (laughter). I always made mistakes. I had computer design. I don't remember the name of the class. Actually, it was just doing layouts and presentations, designing clothes on the computer.



Q. Do you like that one better?



VENUS WILLIAMS: I like that one much better . Of course, you have to know how to manipulate patterns. But, yeah, I'm lazy. I like to click on the computer and get it done like that (smiling). I suppose I won't be a couturier.



Q. These two classes, when were they?



VENUS WILLIAMS: When was I taking them?



Q. Yes.



VENUS WILLIAMS: I started in October. I ended December. It's 11 weeks. I had to go to a school on the quarter system because it's less time for me. It's more intense, but it means I can start in October instead of September or August.



Q. How do you feel about The Championships being in LA? Is that something you're going to try to fit into your schedule?



VENUS WILLIAMS: Sure, I'd love to go. I have a lot of family out there. It's where I'll be that week.







Hamburg , Germany 05/05/02

Clijsters versus Williams 1:6 6:3 6:4

Q: You played her just once. What would you say was the difference today?



A: I think she definitely played a lot better today than last time, but I expect all players to play better every time. She made a lot of great improvements, but she has a great base to build on.

Q: You had a quick great start.



A: I think I hit a lot of great shots in the beginning and itís difficult to always keep hitting those kind of shots. She played consistent tennis, kept the ball in play and I think most of the time I was going for my shots. They didnít always go in.

Q: What went through your mind in the third set when you lost your serve? You seemed to loose your rhythm completely.



A: Yes, I think I was rushing too much to be honest, so I had to slow myself down, but time started to go a little faster against me. I think thatís what happened.

Q: I know you wonít want to take away the credit from your oponent, but were you comfortable with your movement?



A: It was O.K. Iím sure glad to have the next week off to go home and take a break. But, I think she played well.

Q: Do you find it more demanding on clay, physically?

A: For sure, you have to play longer points. Physically you need to be in good shape, but other than that, if you can hit a few balls, itís to your advantage.

Q: Before the tournament it was said that the only player who actually could beat you were yoursel. So, what happened today?

A: I definitely think she played great tennis. She served well and moved well and was determined. I guess thatís what counted in the end.

Q: You said she had a great base to build from. What did you mean by that in detail?



A: Just sometimes itís difficult to build on a game if you have bad techniques from the very beginning from the core. And I think she has good techniques, so you can always do better with those kind of techniques.

Q: Is she a threat of getting to the No. 1 position?

A: I donít know. I can answer for the next person. I guess she could.

Q: How good is she at the moment?

A: I think she is a very good player, for sure. Sheís only 18 or so. When I was 18, I was having fun (laughs).

Q: Can you win a Grand Slam on clay?

A: I think so. I think I have to play better than what I did today and serve a lot better. My first serve was sitting so low, it was hard to move on the second serve. I think thatís a lot of what did me in today. I was having to hit second serves. So, Iím going home to work on that. But other than that, Iím o.k. It will work out. Itíll be o.k.

Q: Would you agree that the competitiveness in womenís tennis is very strong at the moment?

A: There are definitely a lot of great players on the tour. It makes it interesting.

Q: When you go home, how much time do you think you will spend resting and how much will you spend for homework?

A: I just take a day to rest and go back at it again.

Q: That doesnít seem a lot?

A: Well, itís all I need.

Q: Are you still planning to come back next year and bring some sun back?



A: Yes, Iím hoping to come back and Iíll try and bring a little sun from Miami.

Q: Am I right that exactly this time last year you went back home, and came back for the French, but Serena is staying? Why do you think differently on your schedules?

A: I have to go back. I have something to do. Itís something I have to do, otherwise Iíd probably stay and play next week.

Q: Itís not to do with your tennis, but with your other commitments?

A: Yes, for sure.

Amelia Island 2002

Venus says Henin played tough



Venus says she wanted it to look presentable



Venus says she might bring Serena



Venus talks about tough 1st set



Nasdaq 2002

V. WILLIAMS/E. Dementieva
5-7, 6-3, 6-2
An Interview With:Venus Williams


THE MODERATOR: First questions for Venus, please.
Q. Yesterday you said you went for everything and it was just your day. Today did you take that attitude on the court in the first set and then change your attitude after that?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. I just -- you win some points and you lose some points. In the end I won more than I lost.
Q. Were you trying to move things around in that third set when the weather changed?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I never really felt that I was going to lose today. So moving along to 7-5, 7-6, 6-4, 6-2, 6-1, whatever it took for me.
Q. Were you trying to get it over before it would start to rain?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I didn't think it was going to rain.
Q. How do you feel overall about the way you played today in your game?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I feel okay. I think I could have done a lot better. But a lot of times you have some days that aren't your best days, and what counts is that you get the best out of yourself that you can on that day.
Q. You said you recall struggling against Elena, I guess, the second sets and doing well the first set. Today it was kind of different.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Uh-huh. Well, theoretically I should have won the first set. I was up a break. I had so many opportunities and I just couldn't do anything that made a lot of sense. She kept putting the pressure on, and before I knew it, the first set was finished.
Q. But you did very well on your break points.
VENUS WILLIAMS: I did?
Q. Yeah. Percentage-wise. She got 4 of 14. You had 6 of 9.
VENUS WILLIAMS: My word. I didn't know it was that crazy out there.
Q. Did you consciously change your game to maybe not go for the lines in the second set? Because you were erratic in the first set.
VENUS WILLIAMS: No. Really, more than anything I just had to cut down the errors. That's not a way to win a match, is unforced errors. I think she played well. She kept bringing balls back, kept running balls down, returning them with power. I always had to find an answer for that.
Q. She said she wanted to go right at you, take away the angles. Did that bother you the first set?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, nothing bothers me.
Q. You said before even if you're not playing well you manage to find a way to win it. Is that what kind of started to make a difference between you being a champion like at Wimbledon and the US Open, and before - that you learned how to do that?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think anyone can win on a bad day, but also you've got to know how to win the big matches and step it up, accept your responsibility, get out there and compete. Once you can do that, you're a champ I guess.
Q. How concerned are you about your serve, you had ten doubles today. Do you feel that's an area you need to improve?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, yeah, I saw the numbers were getting up there. But I think I'll do better. I always do, as the tournament goes on.
Q. Is it fair to say you have a brooding interest in tonight's match?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, yeah, I want Serena to win. I'm biased.
Q. Obviously, you've been down this road before. In fact, at this tournament. If she does make it to the semis, is it any different this time around?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I always want Serena to win. She always wants me to win. We always want the best for each other. So, it's the same.
Q. Have the two of you played enough against each other that to play her again is just another match for you?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, it's just a match on the way in the tournament.
Q. After the US Open final, a bunch of us were talking to your mom in the player lounge. She kind of intimated that Serena was still a little too nervous and basically said, "It's the sibling thing, that's always how it's been with them." Do you think Serena's ready to overcome that? Are you hoping she isn't?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Serena hates to lose, no matter who it's to. So I don't think she gave me any matches.
Q. No, I wasn't -- but just because younger sisters tend to be nervous. They feel like they...
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I suppose it's a complex. But I don't think it's one for Serena.
Q. What stands out in your memories of the US Open final when you think back to it?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I never thought back to it. I moved on.
Q. Not a highlight for you?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Sure, I love winning - especially Grand Slams. But I like the Wimbledon more. That was more memorable for this year - last year.
Q. You haven't lost here in your last three tournaments. Do you feel like you own this arena?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Sometimes. Not always. When things are going my way, it feels great.
Q. What is it about this place? Do you feel extra comfortable here?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I guess I've just picked one tournament that I'm going to win always. It just happens to be this one (laughing).
Q. We kind of look at you as the older sister to Serena. In your family order, you've actually got a few older sisters. Did you ever have those jitters or nerves playing Candyland or whatever against your three older sisters, because they had the edge because they were all older? Did you feel that with them?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No. No.
Q. Did you ever beat them?
VENUS WILLIAMS: In what?
Q. Anything. Candyland, cards.
VENUS WILLIAMS: We always lost and broke our pieces to the game. We didn't have it long enough to enjoy it (laughing).
Q. Who was a sore loser?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Serena.
Q. Is she still?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I don't think -- she just hates to lose. She's the ultimate competitor.
Q. Will you, indeed, stick around tonight?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. I like to watch the matches. It's rare that I get to see them. Especially in the beginning when we first started on tour, I was always playing the matches. So when she started playing, for me it was fun to watch them.
Q. Would you ever, tonight, when you're watching, think of her match in terms of you perhaps meeting her? Or you know how she plays so well you'd never think like that, as far as strategy, what you would do? You wouldn't think like that?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I go into a strategy in each match. If you don't plan, it's most likely you'll fail. So no matter who I'm playing, I'm going to have a strategy. I hope (laughing).
Q. Are we going to see a lot of signs from dad if this does happen?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think he -- I don't think so.
Q. I didn't see him in the third set.
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think he likes his camera the most now.
Q. What does he do with the pictures?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know.
Q. Hasn't shown you any?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I've seen some. He gives me some copies.
Q. Could you hear him shout out to you today? He was yelling a lot of stuff out there.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Sometimes. But just with all the people shouting, it's hard to pick out a voice.
Q. How do you think the fans are here? Do you feel like you're well-supported here?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think that they want to see a good match. But at times, like in my first matches I played, I felt a lot of support. Today I thought it was pretty even.
FastScripts by ASAP Sports...











3/23/02
V. WILLIAMS/E. Dyrberg
4-6, 6-2, 6-1
An Interview With:


VENUS WILLIAMS


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Venus, please.


Q. Kind of tight early on, huh?


VENUS WILLIAMS: Uh-huh.


Q. First set, kind of off your groove?


VENUS WILLIAMS: I didn't really feel particularly off or anything. I just felt that she was playing good tennis, and I felt I was playing okay, too, but just on some of the key points I was missing my shots. That doesn't bring in a win. So I had to tighten it up throughout the second and the third.


Q. Did the rain postponement change anything as far as your focus?


VENUS WILLIAMS: I think probably I would have played a little better today because last night I'm sure I would have been tired, a little bit out of focus from just sitting around.


It was a little bit disappointing also to have to wait to the next day to play. This was supposed to be my day off..


Q. What would you have done on your day off?


VENUS WILLIAMS: Would have hit the beach. I live in Florida but I never get to the beach. It's disappointing. So when I'm at a tournament, I actually relax a lot more than I do at home. It's my turn to be lazy..


Q. Before you went on court, you saw your dog. Your dog had a new haircut. You didn't look too happy. Did that distract you at all?


VENUS WILLIAMS: Bob distracted me. Little Yorkie, he just got his hair cut. He was stinky. I think he's happy now. He's probably happy..


Q. How did you feel about your play today?


VENUS WILLIAMS: I thought I played well. For once I was pretty happy because I did the things that we were working on in practice, so I was happy about that part. And, you know, in the first round, I haven't played in a few weeks, it can be tough to get your rhythm..


Q. Did you feel like you worked into it a little bit and played better as the match went along?


VENUS WILLIAMS: I think that I played better. I played smarter. Also she's a very good player. She moves well and she blocks back my power shots, where I would have to hit three or four good shots instead of just one..


Q. How about your serve? How did you feel about it?


VENUS WILLIAMS: I felt okay with my serve. I served better than I thought I would because I haven't been practicing my serve at all hardly..


Q. You hit one that actually landed in front of the net there. What happened on that?


VENUS WILLIAMS: Too much spin. When I try to put too much spin and come down on it, the results are devastating for me (laughing)..


Q. Can you talk about what it was like yesterday afternoon when you can see that first the clouds are coming, and you can tell that there's going to be a storm, then it starts raining and you think it might stop. Then it starts pouring. You have to have a pretty good idea there's no way you're going to play. How does that work on you?


VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I won Wimbledon twice, so I'm used to it. I'm used to the rain. It's not a problem for me. But really I would have preferred to play yesterday..


Q. You mentioned the challenge of playing in your opening match and working your way into the tournament. Can you talk about that a little bit more and the hazards there. We saw Roddick lose yesterday, and how it's difficult to get going sometimes.


VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, if you haven't played in a couple weeks, at times you can be a little bit rusty. Can't get your feet to move no matter how much you beg them. Today I did okay as far as getting myself back into the match..


Q. There's some folks that say this is your house, Venus' house, if it were yours, how would you decorate it?


VENUS WILLIAMS: Green's my favorite color. I wouldn't change it..


Q. I know you've got the OWL Foundation coming up. We hear so much about your father. Tell us about your mother, the contributions she's made to the family and to you tennis -wise.


VENUS WILLIAMS: My mom's a great person. She doesn't talk much. She's an introvert. But if you get to know her, she's really funny..


Q. One last question, your dad's told me many times he thought you'd be terrific in broadcast. They've got the tennis channel coming up. Would you like to be involved with that at all?


VENUS WILLIAMS: You know, once I did do a commentating on Serena's match. I was really unhappy with the results so I don't know if I have a career. I guess I'd better keep the tennis up.
.
Q. How good do you feel that channel will be for our game?


VENUS WILLIAMS: I've heard a little bit about it but I don't know very much about what it's going to do.
.
FastScripts by ASAP Sports...












March 31, 2001 (Ericsson Open)

V. WILLIAMS/J. Capriati


4-6, 6-1, 7-6
An Interview With:
VENUS WILLIAMS
THE MODERATOR: First question, please.
Q. Did you ever win a match saving 8 matchpoints?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I haven't. This-- I guess there is a first for everything. She missed a few shots. I was able to stay in there.
Q. When she hit that passing shot on one of the matchpoints, when you let it go, you were thinking it could go in or --
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well I don't think I really had a really great play on it. I had some play on it but not all the best and it went long, so, I was back in it again. I just kept getting back in it some way or another. Then, I had breakpoints and kind of ruined those, but I was just really trying to just take advantage of my opportunities and eventually I was able to.
Q. Earlier in the tournament, Venus, you said I think we have learned a lesson how people can be. Two days ago you were jeered by most of the stadium. Today you got tremendous applause and held up the winner's trophy. What lesson can we learn or you learn from the two different days?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think both Saturdays are exact opposites. But I don't think there is anything to learned to be honest. Just a nice match.
Q. But it felt good after all you went through before to emerge the victory here today?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I don't think it had anything to do with it. That was two weeks ago in Indian Wells. It was a different crowd and I can't expect people to like me just because I am a good person. They don't know that. They don't know me. And most of them will never have the opportunity to even meet me. So I have got to like myself, that is how I feel.
Q. Can you remember the last time you played Jennifer in 1997, how do you think she has changed and how do you think you have changed?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I play a lot smarter. I played more percentages I think. But even then it was nice not even to play smart because you go for broke and that kind of makes you even a greater player. I think she is playing a lot better. She adds a lot more spin on the ball. She has always moved very well and she has even stepped that up some. So I think most of all mentally she is a lot tougher.
Q. How physically and emotionally draining is a match that long? I am sure you get a little perky when you win -- but...
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah.
Q. Talk about that process.
VENUS WILLIAMS: I just think the heat was a major factor today because it was so hot that I think it took a lot out of both of us. If it had been a cooler day it probably would have been much easier to go out there and run, run, run. I think most of all it was the heat but we both pushed each other to the limit.
Q. Was there ever a point you thought you were going to lose?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Not really, no. I just didn't feel like that. I just-when I was facing my matchpoints I just kept telling myself what to do at the right time, everything that my dad had told me to do, that is what I tried to do. And I never really felt like I was going to lose. I felt disappointed when I lost serve those two times to go down 5-4 and 6-5. That is the only time I felt badly.
Q. What sort of things has your dad told you to do when you are matchpoint down?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Really just the basics, look at the ball, stay down, hit your topspin, turn your hips, all those little things that are really important under pressure.
Q. The dropshots seemed to keep her a little off balance as well. Then she tried to hit you with a couple of them. How much did that help to get you past those match points?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I have a really good drop shot especially off the forehand side and really I had her on the run and on the rope and she was far behind the baseline. It just seemed like a good idea when I hit them to hit the dropshots because she was far away, and she really -- she ran most of them down. I actually had to hit a shot afterwards, so.....
Q. You have had a quite a bit of success here. Is there an advantage -- have you ever been sleeping at home first of all?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No.
Q. Do you consider this your home tournament; is that why you feel so good here?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I feel good here because I feel like I have all the conveniences of home even though I am not exactly at home. I do stay in the hotel because it means about hour an 45 minute drive for me. It is too far. It is too exhausting to drive so far. Plus if you run into traffic it could be longer. The way Miami is, normally I take the turnpike because I95 is not just reliable anymore.
Q. Serena was asked to summarize last week's tournament in terms of just one term or phrase and she did a good job. If you had to summarize this week and the results here in just a word or a phrase what would that word or that phrase be?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I just think I was just able to hang in there through it all, through all my tough matches, through any ridiculous comments or questions that I had to face and things move on. Time moves on, things pass. So that is how I feel.
Q. What is your schedule look like in the next couple of weeks?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Home. I am a little tired, little broken. (Laughs) I am tired of taping because it really pulls your skin off. It is irritating and it is tough to get the spray off and I am -- I don't like the tape. So I am going to go home and train so hopefully when I am playing my next tournaments I won't have to -- I don't really like have to go out there and rely on my tape to get me through the matches. So I am really happy that this has been the last day of my competitions.












V. WILLIAMS/J. Capriati(US Open semi 2001)
6-4, 6-2


Q. How do you feel?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I feel real good. Yeah, just happy I got the win and I guess maybe the significance is just settling in still.


Q. At what point in the first set do you feel that your forehand ground stroke really locked in, you really felt you could hit anything?
VENUS WILLIAMS: It was just windy. I was having a tougher time with the wind today and, you know, if anything, I feel like my forehand was better than my backhand these two weeks. If anything, I was struggling more on my backhand really. So once I got in touch with the wind, it was okay.


Q. What do you think? Around the sixth game?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I knew I was only down one break. I just didn't feel like it was my day to leave the tournament. A lot of times you can feel your demise. Today I just didn't feel it.


Q. This is an historic afternoon. You and your best friend, sister, two African Americans, into the final of the US Open. Could you comment on the significance of this in terms of tennis history.
VENUS WILLIAMS: It's sweet. It's sweet. Just real nice. Had a lot of blessings from God. And we're happy that we're healthy and we're happy to be here.


Q. Is it possible for you to want to win against your sister as much as you do against anyone else?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Definitely. I'm still trying to take the title home. I know that she won't be giving up anything tomorrow, too. It's been like two years for her since she's won. It's been a year for me since I won here, too. So...


Q. When you took the court knowing that Serena was already at the final, is it more motivation or is it more pressure to go on the court?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I didn't feel any pressure because, more than anything, I wanted to win my match. So I didn't take into account that she had won. I was really happy she had won, for sure. The way she closed it out was impressive. So I think maybe I had a little motivation to close mine out, too.
But today I wasn't so much into the score. I was more or less like into keeping those points for me. Finally, it was finished.


Q. So what happens tonight? Do you see your sister? Is it like all war until tomorrow, it's all over?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, we'll just keep on keeping on. In the end, we're taking everything home.


Q. I'm saying tonight, will you go to dinner with her? Or is it like, "I don't want to see her until this is all over"?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, definitely not. We'll probably go out and eat. That's necessary (laughing).


Q. You played your sister a few times now. On the morning of a match when you're going to play her, do you actually still hit together? Maybe a half hour or so?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I guess it depends on if I choose a different practice time, then I won't hit with her. If we choose the same time, then we'll hit together. Sometimes we choose different times.


Q. Why do you feel the nation is so avid to see you and Venus play tennis? I ask that, when you have played, the matches haven't been considered all that enthralling?
VENUS WILLIAMS: A lot of matches we played haven't been considered championship, heroic matches. I think that tomorrow will be different, especially since the fact that I'm going to be returning, you know, a serve very similar to mine and I haven't had to do that in quite a long time. So that's going to be an experience, too.


Q. Why do you think in the past your matches with your sister haven't necessarily been of the same quality that your individual matches are?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I just that in general I just rise to the occasion with each match. I wouldn't say today the match I played was an epic thriller. You can't expect that from every match. The match Andre and Pete played, that was fantastic. That doesn't happen every year, every tournament.


Q. Are you and Serena capable of playing a match like that, do you think?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I hope so. We come out there, compete, and just play well.


Q. Do you think you're mentally stronger on the court than Serena?
VENUS WILLIAMS: We're just two different players, two different persons, react to situations differently. I think -- I hope at least tomorrow that I'll be.


Q. Given what happened the last time you were supposed to play each other, do you feel like you have to prove anything to anybody tomorrow?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I have nothing to prove in my life. All I have to do is live and pay my taxes. That's all (laughter).


Q. Your dad said both you and Serena are injured. Is that the case?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Everyone has injuries, you know, every player. It's hard. Especially toward this point of the year, because all the hardcourts, all the matches, your body gets worn down naturally. You strain muscles easier. So actually I'm in better health physically this year than what I was last year.


Q. Are you both in good enough health to play a match tomorrow that's not influenced by injury?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm okay. I haven't asked Serena.


Q. Has some of the criticism been unfair about your previous matches, where people would hint that there's fixing going on? Was that unfair?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think that anyone would have wrote that or said that was very unprofessional. I take pride in my sport and my performance. You know, I'm just appalled that anyone would hint something like that. But I don't think that has ever been the case and that it ever will be.


Q. Can you talk about one of your epic practice sessions, one of the more memorable ones with Serena, kind of what goes on there when you're going all out?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, one time we had to hit from eight to three in the afternoon. But that was a long time ago, when we were kids. We didn't want to be there.
But it happened. Finally, we left.


Q. Why did you have to hit from eight to three?
VENUS WILLIAMS: When you're little, those kind of things happen. You just keep hitting and hitting. You're ready to go, but you just keep hitting. When you're young, you put those hours in. When you get older, the time's less and less.


Q. What is the most competitive match you guys have played? Not necessarily here on the tour, but LA, Florida?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Maybe the mixed doubles we played in '98 at the French Open. That was pretty competitive. No one seems to remember that (smiling).


Q. Your dad said it was the happiest day of his life. What does that mean to you that your father would say that?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I just think he's put a lot of work into this, a lot of hours, a lot of sacrifices on his part. I guess he's just proud of both of us.


Q. I'm guessing you may have dreamed what it would be like for you and Serena to play here at the US Open in the finals. When was the first time you imagined this happening?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Basically, it was my dad's dream, my mom's dream. They told us we'd be here playing each other in the finals. That's why we believed it. If they had told us we would never make it playing tennis, I don't think we'd be here today. So it all started with my parents giving us positive reinforcement.


Q. Opponents talk about how physically demanding it is playing against yourself and your sister, how it's different playing against you guys. What do you expect tomorrow? What kind of a match do you expect when you put those two powerful players against one another?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, a lot of times when you put two powerful players against one another, it's more difficult because the unforced error count can become high because of both players. If you put a powerful player and a less powerful one, they both have to adjust to each other's games. I guess we'll have to keep the unforced errors down.


Q. I know you're used to seeing your miles per hour clock being higher than your opponent's. What will it be like tomorrow when it's a much closer miles per hour on the serve? How will you react to that?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think Serena and I, we both mix it up. Should we go for our speed, because it's easy to get points off a short ball we can move in on. Then also we do hit some kick serves and some sliders. So it's variety that's the spice of life. That's what keeps our opponents on their toes.


Q. Do you have any sense of how difficult this is for your mom and your dad, too, because they're helpless to control the match; they want both of you to succeed certainly?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think in their minds we've succeeded already - not really with just tennis, but just with being people and good citizens. That's all they wanted for us, is for us to be happy in our lives and to do what we want.
At this point, we've done what we wanted, we've been successful and we're healthy. That's all they wanted from us.


Q. Were you at all bothered by the booing at the end of the first set?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No.


Q. Over the line calls.
VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm here to compete. I couldn't be too bothered. I won the first set. Things had went my way.
I was feeling pretty good at that point.


Q. If you could step back and get one of Serena's either strokes or one of her qualities as a tennis player, what would that be?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I did take one of her qualities. You know, just her will to fight. That's how I became a fighter, too.



2000 women's champion Venus Williams



V. Williams v. L. Davenport
6-4, 7-5


An interview with: VENUS WILLIAMS


MODERATOR: Questions for Venus.


Q. Would you consider this your sweetest victory of the year or is it just satisfying because you felt like you had something to prove and you proved it?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I feel that it was a very nice victory because I feel like I played Lindsay when she was playing some of her best tennis, and I won the match. That was nice because I've beaten the No. 1 and No. 2 players in the rankings successively. That's always really exciting when you win a Grand Slam tournament, that you know you performed your best and beat the best performers, too.


Q. No matter what the computer rankings say, you won the two most prestigious tournaments of the year. Do you feel like the best player of the year?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. I feel very good. I've always felt like the best player. I think it's just about an attitude, the kind of attitude you take out there towards your game, towards everything, and it paid off. I wasn't playing too well in the beginning of the week, and even yesterday. But in the end, I guess I did the right things at the right time.


Q. After the match you said something to your father. Were you indicating that you were hurt somewhere?
VENUS WILLIAMS: We were just talking, you know, like fathers and daughters talk.


Q. But you haven't hurt yourself in any way?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No.


Q. Can you talk about your ability to come back? You did it against Martina; you did it again today.
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. It's like yesterday I really don't remember really what happened. I remember the first set, but after that I don't really remember too much until about maybe 5-All. And today, I was just playing. I didn't feel like I was playing the US Open final; I felt like I was just playing a game and that it was just only a game. That's how I felt. At one point, I didn't know in the second set if I was up 3-2 or she was up 3-2. I had to ask the umpire the score because I was just playing. So that's a nice feeling.


Q. Anything going through your head down 4-1 the first set?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I had been playing all the wrong tennis, I felt, and my strategy was not working. So I just had to change it up. And I think it was just some minor changes, but it worked out.


Q. What did you change? What were the changes?
VENUS WILLIAMS: You never noticed?


Q. How does this compare to Wimbledon? You always said Wimbledon was the first you wanted. Now you have this.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, at Wimbledon I was playing pretty good tennis throughout the whole time, all the time - my serve, my forehand, my backhand. This two weeks, I didn't really play extremely satisfying tennis, and maybe even I was less confident than, let's say, Wimbledon. Wimbledon was something totally different. I just had a whole new attitude. It was like I was going there to win and I knew I was going to take it home. And then I did. But this two weeks, I've been a little shaky because I've been working hard but things haven't always gone the right way. But I played the big points.


Q. Can you talk about your emotions from a year ago and how you came back from that?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. I guess, as far as tennis, I'm a different person, just making it happen basically. Last year at this time I was watching Serena in the stands, you know, cheering her on. Whenever she made some mistakes, say, "That's okay, Serena." She pulled through.


Q. You didn't look too happy when she won.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Of course I wasn't happy. I played horribly. I mean, come on, if you had lost a match like that, you hadn't given it your best, you hadn't stepped up, do you think you would feel -- I still haven't gotten over that loss. Ever since then, I've changed my attitude. But it's good that she won, and I would never wish the next person would win. Come on.


Q. Did you talk to Serena after this match?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, a little bit.


Q. What did she say to you?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, "The Brady Bunch" was on TV so we were watching it and talking about how much she loved it.


Q. Did she come back? You said she was in Florida yesterday.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah.


Q. When did she?
VENUS WILLIAMS: This morning. She just walked in. She never called me and told me what time she was arriving.


Q. But you knew she was coming back?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Not really. Well, she left me a note. She said, "I'll see you on Saturday holding up the check," something, I don't know. So I thought maybe she'd come back, but I wasn't sure.


Q. Were you disappointed that because of the rain, President Clinton left and wasn't able to see you play? Did you speak to him at all?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, we did. There was a whole interview, I guess, on CBS. We talked about a few things that were pressing in the nation.


Q. Like taxes?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Like taxes (laughter).


Q. What did you say about taxes?
VENUS WILLIAMS: How I was really unhappy about my tax bracket. He said, "You really worked hard." I said, "See, I did work hard and I want to keep this for me and my earnings. I'm a good citizen."


Q. Does that mean you're leaning toward Joe --?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't really know that much about the presidential race. I don't read the paper. I think that's the main problem. I don't watch TV. Sometimes I'm -- I don't know what's happening in the country.


Q. Do you vote?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No.


Q. Not registered?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I don't vote.


Q. Can you elaborate on why there aren't too many African Americans in the Top 100 or the Top 50, you're the only two?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I mean, I would say there are more Czechoslovakians and Slovakians in the Top 100 than maybe black people. We just aren't playing that much. I'm only one person. I'm 20 years old. I can't tackle a problem of race. I'm doing my best. I'll do what I can.


Q. I just wanted you to give or elaborate on some factors why you think there aren't any. I know you're an individual person. I just would like to know if you have any idea on what the reason is.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Because we like basketball and football. We just haven't played tennis as of late. Now we're more visible, so it should be going - hopefully turning different ways.


Q. How young were you when you started?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Four. I was around tennis all my life, though. I started at four, but I'm sure I hit some balls before that.


Q. What does it feel like to finally have done what you always thought the two of you would do?
VENUS WILLIAMS: It honestly does not feel as like exciting as I thought it would, because you think that things will make you happy. But if you're unhappy already, it doesn't make a difference. When you're a tennis player - not for me - but a lot of times it's really a big part of my life. To be successful in the way that I am is really important. But I think you feel it more when you're unsuccessful, like last year when I wasn't very successful, than when you are. I'm really happy now, but I was really feeling it last year. It's great to win, but it was a -- there's a lot more things more important.


Q. Did you carry that feeling when you were down 4-1 in the first set, "I don't want to feel the same way I did last year"?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I felt like I wasn't taking my opportunities very well. I was just missing a little bit too much, maybe even hitting it a little too hard.


Q. Did you feel Lindsay was playing high level?
VENUS WILLIAMS: She was playing high level, but I think I was giving her exactly what she wanted. I sat down at 4-1 and I thought about it. I said, "I can't feed her like this. " I was just giving her the spoon, so I had to change it up.


Q. How much do you think you were tested by Martina and Lindsay, and what sort of accomplishment is it to beat 1 and 2 back-to-back, do you think?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I did it at Wimbledon, and I've done it here. I know I can do these things. Yesterday, I really didn't play well. Today, it's a totally different match. It's the finals, and I just was able to keep my game under control because yesterday I had a lot of errors, and today I was just able to keep myself under control.


Q. Lindsay said she felt her serve really let her down in this match. You were five out of eight on break opportunities. Do you feel like you really took advantage of that?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Basically if you miss your first serve, you're going to be a little bit vulnerable. I like to see second serves coming. I like to see first serves coming, too, especially if they're not around 110. I don't really feel very intimidated. I just feel that did probably play a role into it because you're always feeling on the defensive, you're always hitting second serves. I was taking some pretty good strikes at some of them. You just got to play your best when you get to the Grand Slam finals, because these days, especially since the 1997 US Open final, no one's giving these finals away.


Q. Do you feel that you get the level of support from the fans here at The Open that you deserve?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think that when I play the lower-ranked players that it's very strange. But like yesterday, I just felt they applauded any point that was good. Today I just really didn't hear them. I don't really remember.


Q. Tauziat match, was that an example?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't remember.


Q. Are you looking forward to the Olympics?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I am. It's tough for the tennis players to go straight from here to the Olympics, but it's okay. I'm looking forward to it. It will be a good experience.


Q. What, other than tennis, will you be looking forward to?
VENUS WILLIAMS: To watching? From what I heard, you have to do a raffle with all the players. By that time I think I'm going to be a little bit tired because I've played a lot. I just am going to look forward to maybe seeing the city because I've never been able to do that before. I think for me that would be more interesting.


Q. The other day you spoke about going back to school. Can you clarify how much time you're going to take away from the tour versus going to school?
VENUS WILLIAMS: School starts in October. It's 11 weeks. So for 11 weeks I'm going to be grinding. I'll play one or two events during that time. It's the fall season. There aren't as many larger tournaments, so I feel like I can take the opportunity to do something a little different.


Q. How many classes?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Six.


Q. Can you discuss the dance that your father did at the end?
VENUS WILLIAMS: It's not a dance really. I don't know why you all say it's a dance. He was just jumping.


Q. But he was looking to you to join him.
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know.


Q. You wanted nothing to do with it.
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I really don't remember that.


Q. When you came back to Hamburg after your injury, at that time it was a tough time for you. Could you imagine you could win two Grand Slams in a row?
VENUS WILLIAMS: In my mind I felt like I could, but my game really wasn't there yet. I was really having a tough time keeping my balls in. All my balls were flying three or four feet behind the baseline. Even at Wimbledon, I was still having a little bit of a tough time keeping them in. But I got through it. Now I still feel that way sometimes, but it's better than missing short in the net. That's when you know you're really afraid.


Q. When you were down 4-1, in the past maybe would you have kind of said, "I have to hit more winners, be more aggressive"? It seems like this time you said, "I've got to stay calm, get a break back." Is it accurate to say that's how your approach differed?
VENUS WILLIAMS: It's tough to say because now I think I'm a different competitor than what I was in the past because I was just competing. For me, it didn't matter if I was down 4-1. I was just competing. When I did that, I just managed to get that first set. It wasn't for me about the score; it was about the point and about playing well. I don't know. It's hard to explain. I was playing the game.


Q. When you talk about competing, do you mean on the defensive points when you were running side to side?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Sometimes I do have to get on the defense. I do like to dictate, but still all these two weeks, even last week when I was playing in the tournament before this, my balls are flying, and I can't keep them in. I feel like I have to keep myself under control. Today I didn't hit for corners really hard as much because I wasn't keeping them in. So I used my speed as an ally, I guess.


Q. At Wimbledon you were all excited about going to the gala in the dress you brought from Florida. What do you think you can do here to give yourself a special treat to celebrate this great win?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I've been eyeing this ring for a little while. It's a designer ring. They never go on sale. I believe I'll be able to get that.


Q. What store?
VENUS WILLIAMS: It's at Saks Fifth Avenue in Florida. If it's not there, I'll get a nice piece of jewelry. Just one, though.


Q. You said you've always felt like you've been the best player. Will it affect you or bother you at all when you look at the ranking list and see third?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I've done my best, really I have. It seems like I can't move forward, but I know I will. I will move forward, it's just a matter of time. I haven't given myself a platform to do it.


Q. Does that mean it's your goal till the end of the year to reach the No. 1 spot?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I really won't play enough tournaments. I want to play tournaments. I think at this point I feel like -- see, I have a problem with getting bored. I'll start something and not finish. I went to school, and I have to go back and finish it because I have to finish things in my life.


Q. Does it mean that it's more important, the Grand Slam title than the No. 1 spot?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Grand Slam titles are great because everyone comes out and plays their best tennis. No one gives anything away. You have to stay concentrated because it's such a long period of time, two weeks. Being No. 1 is definitely one of my goals. I've never been there before, so I'm trying.


Q. Do you feel that your mental toughness is something you were born with or is it something you've developed over the years? If so, how do you approach it?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think it was something that I was born with, but I think I lost it for a while, then I had to get it back - or else. I had no choice, either stay a mediocre player or move forward. It wasn't easy, but I moved forward.


Q. What are your thoughts on raw talent versus training? You and your sister seem to have a lot of raw talent that your careers have been built on, whereas there are some other players that get high-profile coaches and don't break the Top 5. How important do you think raw talent is versus training?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, you know, I don't know because I think at times it's even harder for the people who have a lot of talent because they don't work as hard, and things come easy. Then the player who doesn't have as much talent, they're working hard, doing their best, then they get on top. The other player is kind of wavering along. Either way you've got to work hard because you've got to build the confidence in what you're doing so you can do it when you're playing in the match situation. Whether you have talent or no talent, you've still got to work hard.


Q. Pete Sampras points to his losing to Edberg here in the final when he had to turn his game around. When did you know that you had to get mentally tough?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I think maybe I was expecting people to give matches to me. Maybe that's what it was. It seemed like I would get to the point where I could take the match, but I didn't, and I would lose it. I think now I've just gotten to the point where I go out and take it, not just hope that someone will give it to me by making mistakes.


Q. You have two majors now. How many can you see yourself in the future getting?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I've never had a goal to have all the Grand Slam titles, more than anyone, more than Margaret Court. I've just had a goal to play good tennis as long as I can.


Q. When you came in and sat down, you looked at the trophy. When you look at the names on there, how do you feel when you know your name is going to be added?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Feels real nice because it's going to be right next to Serena.


Q. You now have the most Grand Slam titles in the Williams family. How does that feel?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. I feel like we have three.


Q. How important is the support from your family?
VENUS WILLIAMS: There was a lot of people this week - sometimes too many. I guess in America, everyone wants to come to The Open, everyone needs a ticket. It's been good. Everyone's trying to help us out.


Q. Who is your pick for tomorrow's match?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. It's nice to see the young people win, seeing that I'm one of them. I don't know. I didn't even think about it.








Nasdaq100 3/21/02

THE MODERATOR: First question for Venus, please.


Q. Why did you decide to forego Fed Cup this year?



VENUS WILLIAMS: Well... I don't think I've decided yet, have I?


Q. I thought the team was announced today.



VENUS WILLIAMS: Was it? Okay. Sorry.


You know, I think that at this point, is Monica playing and Jennifer? Who's playing?


Q. Monica and Jennifer.



VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think that -- I think it was a great team, and I think Billie felt that maybe she would need Serena and I in the summer.


Q. Wasn't your choice not to play?



VENUS WILLIAMS: I was 50/50 because I was playing here and in another tournament. Believe it or not, I have a few things going on in my life and I needed to be at home, too.


Q. Is this a match by match decision?



VENUS WILLIAMS: Not to play Fed Cup?


Q. Yeah.



VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I love Fed Cup.


Q. But there will be other opportunities this year?



VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. Uh-huh (smiling).


Q. And you haven't ruled those out?



VENUS WILLIAMS: No, not at all.


Q. Had you told her you would play if she wanted you to? Or you never even got that far?



VENUS WILLIAMS: I never actually spoke to her. Serena did, I think Serena got the chance to. But I never had the chance to.


Q. What were you doing last week in terms of keeping yourself busy for this tournament? Were you doing extra work?



VENUS WILLIAMS: Just practicing. Not too much extra work. Basically, I made a full recovery from the first part of the year. That was a miracle in itself.


Q. Can you elaborate on that?



VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, it was just very tough and I was very tired. I had so much tennis, it was a lot of tennis. So, now I'm back and I'm happy to be playing.


Q. You said after winning the Australian that tennis is mental and technique. What's your mental frame of mind going in to this tournament?



VENUS WILLIAMS: Mentally, I always feel like I can do it. Sometimes my technique is not always there (laughing).


But really, mentally, if I feel I'm in the match or I feel that mentally I'm in the tournament and focused, I feel that's more than half of the battle.


Q. After the match you gave in Australia, were you surprised or not that Hantuchova came through last week?



VENUS WILLIAMS: No, she has a lot of talent. She's a tall player, a powerful player. That was a great result for her. My first tournament was a tier three, I loved it, every minute of it. But that's a major achievement for your first title to be such a big one.


Q. How special is it for you to play here, a place where you had so much success?



VENUS WILLIAMS: I think the best part is that I'm playing at home and all my friends and family can come down and see me play in my own setting.


Q. Do you look forward to this tournament?



VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, always. Always. This is my -- largest title before the Wimbledon 2000, so it was all I had before the Wimbledon 2000.


Q. What's the joy of winning again and again?



VENUS WILLIAMS: The fact that you don't have to go home and consider your loss. When you lose, it isn't a lot of fun. Winning is always much more fun. When you lose, you go home, you got to practice a little bit more, and it's not as easy. It's not a good feeling.


Q. How long does it typically take you to get over a loss?



VENUS WILLIAMS: A Grand Slam loss is a lot tougher. If I felt that I've given my best and the person has outplayed me, then it's a lot easier. But if I feel I had a bad day or I didn't do what I was supposed to, then it makes it a lot more difficult because you have regrets.


Q. There was a security press conference where Martina and Mary Jo talked about security. I'm just curious, have you had fans that have acted inappropriately?



VENUS WILLIAMS: Not at this point. I hope it continues in this way.


Q. Venus, an issue that came up at the Australian Open, thanks to Marcelo Rios, about the depth of the women's game, do you think some of the points that he made were valid about the early rounds of major tournaments where perhaps the lower-ranking women are not as equally matched as the men. Do you think that has anything to do with men being able to hold serve better?



VENUS WILLIAMS: I didn't give a lot of thought to any of the comments or anything that went down in Australia.


But in my opinion, women's tennis is great. There's not much more to be done to make it better.


Q. Even in the lower echelons?



VENUS WILLIAMS: In my opinion, all the players are playing better and the level is going up. It's not going to go backwards in any way; it's only going to go forward, the level of play in the competition.


Q. Do you take any precautions against crazy fans?



VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, I definitely watch where I am and watch who's around me. For me, it's my job, when I go out, to see who's saying, "Oh, is that her," and who's looking at me.


I can tell these things. I do watch what's around me. If I don't, then I'm not living in a reality. Especially in this world today.


Q. Were you still in New York when September 11th happened? It was not too long after the US Open. How did it impact you personally?



VENUS WILLIAMS: I was in the air. I was still asleep. Really, I didn't understand what was going on. It was quite confusing. I know they made an announcement on the airplane, but I was still asleep, I didn't understand. We were exiting the airplane. I didn't know if we should try to get back on, get our luggage.


I made it to Florida, I got to Jacksonville. But one of my sisters was on her way to California. You know, she could have well have been on one of those flights, so...


I don't know. God has blessed us to be here today. We have to be with the families that are having a hard time.


Q. Did it impact the way you see life or feel about the game or yourself and your family any way after that?



VENUS WILLIAMS: I think it impacted a lot of people. I think it's something that has never happened before outside of a war. You don't expect these kind of things on a regular day. So, I think that was the toughest part to accept.


Q. Venus, when you finish your work at the Art Institute, could you see yourself leaving tennis and embarking on a completely different career? Is that conceivable?



VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, yes. I love art and business. I love organizing things and setting things up and putting things together. I consider tennis an art at times (laughing).


Q. Would you leave the game without regrets, even within two years?



VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't want to leave in two years. I think I'd have a lot of regrets. At this point, I'm young and I can't say at 35 that I would want to come backwards and start winning Grand Slams. I've got to do that now. So, I'm definitely giving it all that I have.
[/color[
Q. Can you see yourself having an event like this one?


[COLOR=orangered]
VENUS WILLIAMS: No. No. I think this event is run beautifully. But I don't think I'll have a tennis event.


Q. What do you remember most about the match you had with Jennifer last year?



VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, I don't really know what was going on with either one of us in that match. It was all kinds of pressure points. I watched a tape of it, and I actually hit a dropshot with a matchpoint against me. I was more nervous watching the tape than when I was playing the match (laughing).


So, more than anything, I think it was just -- whether I won or lost, that would be one of the most memorable matches in my career.


Q. Can you talk about the challenge of repeating this year.



VENUS WILLIAMS: For me, in a tournament, whether it's a quarterfinal loss or a finals loss, I haven't won the title, for me it's about winning titles and not about if I finished well. So a repeat would be wonderful.


Q. When did you watch that tape, and what prompted it? Do you often watch yourself?



VENUS WILLIAMS: Only the matches I won (laughing). You won't find the ones I lost.


Q. Burned? When did you watch it?



VENUS WILLIAMS: I guess a few months after, someone sent me a tape or one of my family taped it and let me watch it. It was a real competition; that's for sure. I don't know how I got through that.


Q. Did you think you were going to lose it, as you were watching?



VENUS WILLIAMS: Did I feel I was going to lose it?


Q. As you watched, did you think, "How did I do this?"



VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. It was just a great experience. Just the competition level was great.


Q. Don't you think you learned more from watching the matches you lost?



VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, for sure.


Q. But you don't do that?



VENUS WILLIAMS: But it's painful.


Q. Venus, you don't want to play 20 tournaments a year. You want to limit your schedule somewhat to big tournaments. If someone was to organize like, the eight best players on a tour, a ten-event tour around the country every year, would you see yourself part of that?



VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. I'm very much happy with the tour, and I think I'd like to play more than ten events. Actually, this year I'm trying to get it up to about 17 or 18. So...


Any idea is worth while entertaining. Without ideas, you can't move ahead. But at this point I'm happy with the tour. I think we're progressing.


Q. The fact that you're planning to play 18 events, is that in response to the discussion last year that Lindsay went to No. 1, Jennifer went to No. 1, but everybody said, "Venus is the best but she doesn't play enough to be No. 1." Are you responding to that at all?



VENUS WILLIAMS: I want to live up to the commitment, the tournaments and the tour. Really that's my goal this year, is to at least play 17. That might not be easy, but I think I owe it to myself and I'd like to help the tour also. The events, people want to see the top players play, and I need to show up.


Q. Who convinced you of that?



VENUS WILLIAMS: I make my own decisions nowadays (laughing). Once you pass 18, you couldn't tell me anything.


Q. Having won Wimbledon the last two years, there's probably not much temptation to change your approach to that tournament. Is there any likelihood you might play Eastbourne?



VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm not sure. I'm not sure. I enjoy having the two weeks in between and going home and training.


Q. Could you be tempted?



VENUS WILLIAMS: Plus, I lost on my birthday at Eastbourne one year, so that was a devastating experience.


Q. The way the tournament is set up, you would face your sister in the semis. Does it make a difference to face her in the semis as opposed to the finals?



VENUS WILLIAMS: I think the finals would have been nice, especially since we played here once in the finals already, especially the fact that we both live in south Florida. But the semifinals is nice, too.


In the meantime, we both have to make it there.


Q. How tough do you think it will be to win here again?



VENUS WILLIAMS: It's always difficult at a larger tournament because the level of play is -- and more of the top players also enter. Plus, this is a six-round event, which is much more different than playing four rounds at a regular event. So it takes more stamina and mental focus.


Q. How happy are you to see the strides Alexandra Stevenson has made?



VENUS WILLIAMS: I think it's very exciting. We played each other all the time in the Juniors. There was a lot of girls out there who we played against, and it's kind of dwindled down to Serena, me and Alexandra. I used to play with Marissa Irvin also. But really that's about it at this point. Only four of us on the tour that I played with.


I think she really deserves it. I think she's a good player, has a lot of potential. All she has to do is capitalize on it.


Q. Would you say Serena's played a role in your success? If she has, how would you describe it?



VENUS WILLIAMS: I think she really has played a role in my success, especially after, you know, the '99 US Open. I think she really - sounds strange - but she paved the way for me. Just to realize, you know, "Venus, you can step up and do it also." Because if anyone else had gone out there and played as, in my opinion, courageously as she had, I probably wouldn't have noticed. But since it was Serena, it was like a role model. So I kind of started doing the things she was doing.


Q. Why was she courageous?



VENUS WILLIAMS: She just had no fear. She went for every ball with reckless abandon. She just executed. So I started to take a look at myself and realize I wasn't executing.


Q. Has she declined since then, do you feel?



VENUS WILLIAMS: I think she's had a lot of untimely injuries, which has been the tough part. Things like in Australia, twisting her ankle, in Sydney. So that's been hard for her.


THE MODERATOR: Thank you.


VENUS WILLIAMS: Thank you.

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post #3 of 120 (permalink) Old Jun 18th, 2002, 04:17 PM
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1997 STATE FARM EVERT CUP

1997 STATE FARM EVERT CUP
Indian Wells, CA



March 11, 1997



V. WILLIAMS/I. Majoli

7-5, 3-6, 7-5


An interview with:


VENUS WILLIAMS



Q. You seem like you're getting stronger after each match. You seem to be in great shape. What do you do to stay in condition?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't do the threadmill. I don't do the Stairmaster. I am forced to ride the bike for ten minutes, but usually I don't turn it on. I live in Florida, so I think that is enough. Actually, I am not too much into aerobics. I really don't know how -- it is just being 16, just playing tennis everyday, staying in shape. But I think most of all the gym. I enjoy riding the bike most.



Q. How about the whole issue of being competitive. Venus, when you are out there in an intense match like that, is some of what -- some of the fuel you are running on competing, you know, you are in the heat of competition out there?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, I think that some of it is also because no one goes out there to lose or give a match away. And certainly, today, Iva didn't give me that match. I had to work for that. And the crowd was on my side today and I really wanted to win.



Q. Could you have won that match a year ago, do you think?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Probably so, yes. I wouldn't say anything negative about me.



Q. You don't think there is something -- you got more mature in the last year?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I definitely think I am much better, but I definitely don't think I would have lost it last year.



Q. What about the year before (laughter)?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I really would have won it that year (laughter).



Q. When she came over at deuce and took off her shoe and started -- were you getting upset or --

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I mean, if she was hurt, then she probably needed some medical attention. I just needed some water. (laughter).



Q. You just went and got a drink of water and relaxed?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Actually, someone behind me yelled to get some water. I wouldn't have thought of it. (laughter) So, I went and got some water.



Q. You are going to play Lindsay Davenport next. Talk a little bit about playing her.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I am going to go out there and play my game, get more first serves in and improve the second serve a little bit. I know Lindsay attacks the second serve a lot of the times. And, most of all, I am going to go out there and have fun because when I do that I can stay relaxed. And, when I am relaxed, I can hit my shots. If I do that, then that is the recipe.



Q. This was your best match on the circuit, would you say? It is about the 26th match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: 24th.



Q. You feel good beating a top-10 player?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, I feel good beating a top-10 player.

I always felt that I could beat anyone who ever came my way. I never -- I don't go out there and say that I am going to win. I always go out saying -- I feel that if I go out there and say I am going to win, I am really tight and I can't stay relaxed and I am busy thinking about winning. Then it becomes a chore and when I go out there, I don't think about thinking top-10 players; I got all these points; look at all this prestige, I don't do that. I try go out there and stay relaxed.



Q. Do you know the reason why you didn't get a wildcard in the main draw?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I didn't want a wildcard in the main draw. I feel that when I get a wildcard in the main draw I am not as relaxed. When I go out and play qualifying, it is kind of actually a real good warm-up; play some matches; get some points by different players. And I just requested a wildcard to qualify.



Q. Lindsay was saying she watched you in your first qualifying match; she said the difference between that match and then watching you play against Sugiyama was almost like watching a different player; that you didn't --

VENUS WILLIAMS: That match I was more tight. And, even in this match today, I wasn't playing anywhere near what I can play. I wasn't attacking the short balls. The high balls I wasn't taking those out of the air. And, on the return of serves, I wasn't attacking those. It was nothing near what I can do and I know that if I can go out there and just go for broke, "Venus, go ahead," it doesn't matter then. You guys will see a real match.



Q. Did you ever play Kournikova? Did you see her? She was watching you today.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah.



Q. What do you think about her?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Good player.



Q. You had a bead problem today. What was that all about?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Got to get some attention for that.



Q. Just one strip came out?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Actual what happened, sometimes the rubber bands that hold the bead, it just comes loose somehow. From there the beads just come falling.



Q. Did you have a special goal for this year or what is it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: My goal for this year was to be in the top-20. And, the way I am playing right now, I believe I can do a little better than that. But, I think it is important just to have a goal because you have something to work toward and you are not blind aiming this way and stumbling that way.



Q. Are you still in the regular school? Are you going to continue with that at this point?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't to a public school. I go to a private school because it fits my schedule more and get a lot more done. Public schools teachers are always baby sitting more or less.



Q. So you are not home school anymore?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No.



Q. When did that stop, not going to school?

VENUS WILLIAMS: When did that stop? 1994, September.



Q. What tournaments do you play between now and U.S. Open and will you play the U.S. Open?

VENUS WILLIAMS: That is a moot topic. I don't know. I don't know if I am going to play the U.S. Open.



Q. What other tournaments before then are you thinking about playing?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Before then, I definitely want to play Manhattan Beach, and San Diego. I will most likely be there, good chance. Before that, Wimbledon. Eastbourne, I had that on my list, wow. Before that -- okay, then Italian Open, French Open. I really think I am going to play those, Italian and French. And, then there is Amelia Island. And, Lipton, I think I am already in that tournament.



Q. Do you know how you get into the French Open and Wimbledon if your ranking is not high enough?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I will definitely get in there.



Q. You stayed positive there in the third set when she was up; it seemed like you were exchanging breaks. What was your frame of mind in the middle of that set?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Actually, these days I stay calm. I just try to relax. I try not to get on the run too much. Because it is kind of hot out there and if you start all that running, you start cramping, things like that. So that was my main goal, stay off the highway. (laughter). I was the beginning driver. If I could have the right technique on my serve, I knew that could pull me through. In a lot of other matches against two in the qualifying and second set, when I was playing second round qualifying, my serve pulled me through. I knew that if I just stayed calm, I could do some magic, pull it out of the hat.



Q. Did you get even a little pumped up at the end there because you hit a couple of big serves?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I definitely was. I was pumped up. I mean, it is not like I was nervous. I was extremely happy and that my serve kicked in because it went on vacation, but we met (laughter). We met after the game; got back together. So last two matches it was, you know, separated, but things are going well.
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post #4 of 120 (permalink) Old Jun 18th, 2002, 04:21 PM
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1997 STATE FARM EVERT CUP

March 12, 1997



L. DAVENPORT/V. Williams

6-4, 5-7, 7-6(1)



An interview with:


VENUS WILLIAMS



Q. Was it a little bit of experience or did you make too many mistakes?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It could be a lot of things. Serve, could have been experience. It was a lot of mistakes. It was a lot of things.



Q. Was it fun, Venus?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Fun things?



Q. Was it fun, the match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, it was fun.



Q. Why was it fun?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Because I went out there and I played the best I could, and I played hard. I had a good match. I was really challenged. That's fun.



Q. When you're playing seeds like Lindsay, does anything intimidate you at all, any player intimidate you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I'm really not intimidated on the court, no.



Q. What are you trying to take from each match as far as like learning?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I never really answered that question before. I never really try to take anything from each match, to be truthful.



Q. We talk a lot about you, Lindsay talked a lot about you. Can you tell us something about her? How is it playing with her this night? Can you point out some of her qualities?

VENUS WILLIAMS: She hits the ball really hard and pretty deep. She keeps the pressure on. She doesn't hit the ball to you; you're always on the run. She serves some pretty good balls. She has a pretty consistent serve. Lindsay is a very solid player. She's one of those players you're not going to run through too often. Today I didn't run through her. She didn't run through me; she pulled the match out.



Q. You started serve and volleying in the second set. How come you abandoned that when it worked for those couple points?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Because I didn't want to do that anymore.



Q. Even though you were effective at it; you won those two points?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah.



Q. Venus, do you go out there with a game plan or do you go out there just trying to hit your shots?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Generally I go out with a game plan, yes. I feel it would be somewhat unwise not to do so. I go out there and I try to go for my shots. Usually I make them. If I don't, just the next time.



Q. Venus, I notice you seem to have an international following. I saw you at Manhattan Beach, you seemed to appeal to old people, young people, different races. Is this about the same thing everywhere you go?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, it is. It's like that everywhere I go. Maybe I have an international name. I don't know (laughter). People generally seem to be on my side. I try to be on their side also. I try -- they're good fans, everyone is always a good fan. I like it when I have good fans. I try to be fair to them and give them autographs, whatever they want, if I can.



Q. Venus, can I ask you a business question?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes.



Q. Your racquet didn't have any stencil or logo on it up till today, all of a sudden it had a logo today. Any reason for that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: To tell you the truth, generally I don't play with it because I just felt it made me play worse. But today I don't think it made me play any worse. I don't know why I thought that. I think maybe because I had some racquets before, and the strings were loose. It had like the stencil on it. I just thought "This is making me play bad, I don't like it on the strings." That's why my dad wanted the racquet stenciled. I was a little hesitant, but I went ahead and had it done.



Q. So it worked okay?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes.



Q. Venus, with your success this week, are you thinking of scheduling more tournaments this year?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, not at all. I might add one tournament because I missed one tournament in my schedule, but not much more than that, I don't think so.



Q. You talked about playing Wimbledon, with it's history and tradition, is that something you're aware of or for you would it be like any other tournament?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think when anybody ever goes to Wimbledon, it's a special tournament. There's a certain air over there, a certain feeling. I don't know. I haven't been there. I should ask someone else and get the information on that. Definitely, when you walk out there on that stadium court or hit the grass when you go out there, you definitely just feel probably like you can do anything. When you go to Wimbledon, it's just definitely something different. Everybody's heard of Wimbledon. That's just the premiere tournament.



Q. How do you keep yourself from getting too anxious? You say you're thinking of adding one more tournament. Some people might play as well as you did against Davenport and say, "I want to get out of there more often." How do you keep from getting too anxious?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I've been here like ten days. I missed school, I missed midterms, I missed my dogs, missed my car.



Q. Are you going on Friday?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I go to school this week. I promised myself two things if I did well in this tournament. You were asking about being anxious. No, I don't get too anxious. Actually, it's a very long time to be away from home. I was going to play four tournaments in a row, but I didn't because I was going to school. I was going to play this tournament, Lipton, Hilton Head and Amelia Island. I probably most likely can handle that. I usually am pretty calm about it, stay relaxed, but it's a lot, especially for someone my age. I'll miss a lot of school, a lot of homework. I definitely don't get anxious over all the things I'm going to miss.



Q. Do you think you'll be giving up too much to play more?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Not too much, I think it's just a lot of strain to travel, work for the ranking, where I can get that ranking next year, the year after that, ten years later. I mean, I don't plan to be on the Tour too long. It's always going to be here, so there's nothing for me to be anxious about.



Q. Do you think that given your serve and return, ability to volley when you decide to do it, that grass is potentially your best surface?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think grass definitely is a great surface for me and also I'm working on my slice. I don't hit it much. I don't pull it out of the closet very often, but it's definitely there. I think I just forget to hit that slice in the match, except when I'm on the run with my forehand. I definitely think about the slice. I think grass is a great surface for me. I have the hard strokes, on a hardcourt they stay down low when I really strike it. On the grass, it's not going to come up. Also I'm very fast, where other people wouldn't be able to get to the ball when it skids, I might be able to get there. So grass, I think, we'll get along.



Q. You started to say that you were going to promise yourself something.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Two things. At one point, I was buying too much jewelry. It was out of hand, so I just had to quit. I said if I could do well in tournaments, I could get something. I'm going to get an Omega necklace, 18-inch, six millimeters, and a green Tourmaline ring. I was going to get Aquamarine, but I'm going to wait till after Lipton. I have to keep it out of control. I know this. You have to go to a 12 Step program for that. It was terrible, though, because I was buying Serena things, buying myself things, my mom, my grandmother. I looked at this, "Wow." I had to stop. You should see the jewels on Serena.



Q. You said that you don't plan to be on the Tour very long. Why would you say that? What makes you think you might not play that long?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I can't see myself playing through pain and injuries, year after year doing the same thing. I can't see it. I can understand it would be hard to quit, especially when you're on top of things and you're the best. I'm not going to stay there that long because I don't want to say that I spent all my youth on tennis and didn't do anything else.



Q. What's been the biggest sacrifice you've made for your tennis?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I haven't made any big sacrifices.



Q. Are you planning on going to college?

VENUS WILLIAMS: College? I really can't go to college full-time. It's a lot of work, to go to college and play tennis and have high school. It's not going to be a full-time thing. Probably mostly after tennis.



Q. What effect do you think you've had on young black women playing? Do girls come up to you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think that I've had a good effect. Generally, you don't see too many black people playing tennis, not on the Tour, not anywhere you go really. It's mostly because tennis is kind of an expensive sport at times, like ice skating probably is, too, where you have to keep stringing the racquets, buying the balls, buying the shoes. Usually the most common courts are hardcourts, and your shoes wear out quickly on that. It's just an expensive sport. If the parent doesn't know how to play, they have to pay for lessons, which are very expensive every hour. A lot of times most people, black, white, Hispanic, can't afford that. Tennis, it was generally basketball or hockey -- not hockey. Baseball, football, track, things like that, which everyone does. Those are common things on the playground, all those sports. Tennis really isn't a common sport. I think I've really helped bring it. If they see me on TV. "Who is this? This is Venus? She plays tennis? I've never seen a girl playing tennis." I think so, probably.



Q. So you would follow in the footsteps of Zina Garrison and help the community in the way she did also?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes. I feel I should give back to the community because generally not everyone has a role model that is actually doing a lot of positive things, just staying out of trouble. Everyone's just falling into trouble these days. I want to be a good girl, be a good role model.



Q. Has this week been different because you played through the qualifying, all these matches in the main event, coming into press conferences, all this nonsense? This is how it is if you're a real champion.

VENUS WILLIAMS: This is my sixth singles match. I was playing doubles with Serena. In the singles I'm not nervous at all. In the doubles I am. I don't know why. Sometimes generally in the first set. Doubles is a lot of fun with Serena, because we don't talk that much. We just nod to each other like that (indicating). It was really crazy. We were losing the first set, coming back 7-6. It was a lot of fun. I played like ten matches this tournament. Usually I play about three.



Q. Do you plan to keep up the doubles with your sister?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, yeah. We're going to play doubles. I always had a built-in doubles partner. We would probably play some mixed doubles, the Slams. It's definitely a lot of fun. We didn't practice that much for doubles. We played about maybe 15 sets, that's it. We came out here. Sometimes you could see that we were pretty much novice at doubles. Sometimes we wouldn't cross in time. We are definitely going to work on it because we saw what we needed to do.



Q. On the tiebreaks, too?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Pardon me?



Q. Work more on tiebreaks? Do you like tiebreaks?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Do I like tiebreaks? That was my third tiebreak. I won one and I lost two, so. Tiebreaks don't bother me. I like tiebreaks.



Q. Who would you like to play mixed doubles with?

VENUS WILLIAMS: A lot of people. A lot of great doubles players. I don't know. Serena and I, we don't know. There's a lot of people to play with. We really don't know. Do you have any suggestions?



Q. Do you like playing with the men here at the same tournament?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think it's a lot of fun. You get to watch the women's matches, men's matches, learn from all of them. Usually when I go to tournaments, I don't watch matches, I play my own and get out. This tournament I've been watching all the matches. It's a lot of fun.



Q. Did you watch any of Pete's match today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Actually, I was there on and off. I was matching the Philippoussis match over there, then I would turn around and watch the stadium court match. I guess he went ahead and lost it. I don't know, maybe he was tired. I really didn't see a lot of it.



Q. When you watch the men's matches, do you pick out things that you might try to work on? Do you emulate any of the men players?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, yeah. Serena and I are watching saying, "No way would I have gotten to that ball. We have to do this, play like a man." Especially in doubles, saw say, "This is real doubles, let's watch this, get this together." We really need to improve on our doubles. We watch the men and take up some tips, watch everyone and take up from everyone the best we can.



Q. Usually so far this tournament your top has been out. Tonight you started with it tucked in. Your clothing manufacturer putting pressure on you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Tucked in?



Q. The other night when you played doubles, your top was out.

VENUS WILLIAMS: This one right here is like a full body suit. Generally, when the top was tucked in, it didn't look nice. Plus, I'm very uncomfortable with the top tucked in. I feel very uncomfortable. That could make me lose, you know.



Q. But your sister had it tucked in.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Like when you wear this, it's like a full body suit. It goes all the way down to the leg. I'll show you. It goes all the way down here (indicating). It can't help but be tucked in unless it broke or something. Wouldn't want that.
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post #5 of 120 (permalink) Old Jun 18th, 2002, 04:23 PM
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THE 1997 LIPTON CHAMPIONSHIPS

March 20, 1997



V. WILLIAMS/G. Helgeson Nielsen

6-1, 4-6, 6-3


An interview with:


VENUS WILLIAMS



Q. How did you feel about the rat?

VENUS WILLIAMS: The rat? That was very odd. I really didn't know what was going on. Actually I thought it was some type of creature. I guess I figured it was a rat. I thought it was some type of mouse, not a rat. A full-blown rat?



Q. It was big.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Did they put it in a box or something?



Q. They were chasing it around.



Q. Did it disturb any of your momentum or anything?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, it didn't.



Q. You always hate to pause that long.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I mean, nothing like that ever happened before. I don't think it happens too often. I don't think it disturbed my rhythm too much. I don't think I was playing as well. I think she started playing better. She really gains momentum, especially if you give her some points. Actually, she has a very good forehand. She was running around her backhand to hit the forehand. She just played very well today.



Q. What bothered you the most, especially after the rat thing?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I wasn't bothered at all.



Q. As far as with her play and all, the things she was doing that might have bothered you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: She felt she was getting a lot of bad calls. I saw the balls. I didn't think they were in. I think I got a couple bad calls, but I just kind of move on with the match. Only in doubles I argue. I don't know, maybe the day will come when I start arguing in singles.



Q. The big Lipton tournament and all, your first time here in south Florida where you practice and live, how does it feel to be here?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It's a lot of fun. I've been coming to the Lipton for so long, maybe three or four years. Every stadium is really nice. Did they have it last year? I don't think I came last year. It's a great tournament, it's near home.



Q. To actually be here and play in it yourself, what was it like for you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: What was it like? I mean, it was like playing a regular tournament. The Lipton is great. It's a men's and women's tournament, 128 draw, something like a Slam. Everybody tries to get into this tournament.



Q. Don't you feel you're more relaxed like you're in front of your crowd, like it's home?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No.



Q. A little more nervous?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No.



Q. It would be the same if you played a tournament somewhere else in Europe, in front of a foreign crowd cheering against you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know what it would be like with a foreign crowd. I never played out of the States. I'm going to play the Italian Open in May. That's the first one out of the States. I really don't know too much about the other side, I would say.



Q. Where will you be playing between now and the end of the summer?

VENUS WILLIAMS: When does the summer end?



Q. Say after Wimbledon.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm playing Italy, France, Eastbourne, Wimbledon.



Q. Is that absolutely definite?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. It's a lot of talk. No, it's not. I have great plans to be there.



Q. What could alter those plans?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Me changing my mind.



Q. Your decision?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, or if my parents said, "Venus, we don't really want you to play." They would let me play still, but I would think twice about it. If they didn't want me to play, there's probably a reason.



Q. (Inaudible)?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes.



Q. Do you have homework tonight?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't want to talk about it. I have like nine geometry assignments. I have chemistry, I'm taking some college courses. I haven't written a report that was due today. That's what happens when you go to tournaments, really.



Q. What's the report on?

VENUS WILLIAMS: We had to do a people poll in political science, take a poll on political issues. I have to write about the results of my part in the poll, how I felt about the poll. I'm really going to tell her how I felt about it, how I want to do it.



Q. What are your favorite subjects in school?

VENUS WILLIAMS: In school, when I do geometry and know how to do it, I love it. The worst part was dihedral angles. I almost gave up on it. One day it clicked. Yes. I love dihedras, that's what I started calling them. My favorite is psychology, maybe. What else do I like? French. I'm not the best French speaker, mostly mute. I can say hello and good-bye. About two minutes later, I can't hold a conversation after two minutes.



Q. Is all your homework done?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, no.



Q. Don't tell your dad.

VENUS WILLIAMS: He knows. I told him I wanted someone to help me with my geometry. I missed a midterm from playing the Evert Cup. I had to study all night for it yesterday, like three hours. It was all multiple guess, so it was great.



Q. How are you finding balancing school and tennis now, within the couple tournaments that you're in?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It all started when I was at Evert Cup. I went and watched every match. I stayed in the lunchroom too long. When I got in, I watched TV. I admit it. If I deny it, it would just lead back to that cycle. I know it's true. I want everyone to know I did this.



Q. Now I'll ask you, where are your books?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I put myself in this whole situation, so.



Q. Are you playing doubles here with your sister?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I wish we were. Doubles is the best with her.



Q. I'm sorry?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I said doubles is the best with her.



Q. Who would you play mixed doubles with?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't have a partner.



Q. Who would you play mixed doubles with?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know.



Q. Who is like your favorite ATP Tour player? Who would you pick?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I wouldn't pick, because right now I'm not the best doubles player. Serena and I are good doubles players. I have to pull it together more. I haven't played doubles hardly all at all. When we went and played at Evert Cup, we didn't have experience at all. We just played. We barely played ten sets of doubles. I'm going to pull it together, and that way I'll pull my serve together and things like that. Then I can think about getting a mixed-doubles partner. Serena can accept my mistakes, but the other person doesn't know me.



Q. How do you feel about your momentum, a lot of confidence coming off the last tournament, doing so well?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, yeah. I think anyone gets a lot of confidence after they play very well in a tournament. I think that's definitely a plus for this tournament.



Q. Did you feel really good coming off of that tournament, feel real pleased?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I felt really great, especially about the doubles.



Q. Even the loss to Lindsay, did you feel really good about how you played, though?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I felt good about how I played pretty much.



Q. What phases of your game do you want to improve?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I definitely want to make my serve more consistent, some technical problems that I refuse to fix. They want to stay a part of me, like little demons. I'm going to get rid of them, though. There's a lot of things. I don't want to talk about that at this time.



Q. Why? I noticed before the match you were warming up with Serena. Is that is that a confidence builder? Does that relax you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Usually I'm pretty relaxed before I play a match. Yeah, we always have fun, laugh, talk, whisper.



Q. Does it feel different playing doubles with her than playing singles?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Against each other?



Q. When you play with her versus playing alone.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, it's a different. Especially with Serena, it's kind of like a team sport. I never played a team sport like basketball or volleyball or things like that. It's something like a team sport. We don't even have to talk too much because we've known each other so long. It's a lot of fun. It's a difference. Singles is a lot of fun, too, but it isn't as much verbose.



Q. Are you looking forward to her playing singles also in a tournament, that way you guys can support each other?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes. We've already told each other, if we come against each other, it's each woman for their own. I don't want to lose, she doesn't want to lose. I don't know when she comes on the court when I play against her, who is she? We've already discussed these things. I'm going to be glad when we play singles together. We'll have built-in hitting partners. We probably won't always play the same tournaments.



Q. Are there big differences at this stage between the two of you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, big differences. I would say Serena is more aggressive, more willing to come to the net. I'm willing to come to the net, but not always in the first round. I think that's something I need to get over. Especially if I play against more someone like in the Top 20. I don't know what she was ranked. Anyone know? Usually I'll come to the net more. Serena, she comes to the net, serve and volleys, returns the volleys, does everything all the time.



Q. Who are the coaches that have given you the foundation for your game?

VENUS WILLIAMS: My mother and my father gave me everything I've got.



Q. Your mother is a tennis coach?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, yeah.



Q. What are the coaches that you're working with now?

VENUS WILLIAMS: The coaches?



Q. Do you have one or two coaches right now that you're working with?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Just one, yeah. Usually I don't get too much coaching anymore. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't. It just depends.



Q. Who do you work with now?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I work with my father and sometimes I work with Dave Rineberg, see him. Some days I really need a lot of coaching, a lot of talking. Sometimes it's irritating, but you need to hear it. I usually say nothing. I don't have fits like most people do, like some people I know. Some days I don't get much coaching at all, so those are my coaches.
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post #6 of 120 (permalink) Old Jun 18th, 2002, 04:25 PM
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THE 1997 LIPTON CHAMPIONSHIPS

March 22, 1997



V. WILLIAMS/J. Capriati

7-6(5), 3-6, 6-2


An interview with:


VENUS WILLIAMS


VENUS WILLIAMS: I finished nine out of 14 geometry assignments and nine out of the 13 chemistry assignments and I took a French test, English quiz. I was busy on Friday. I did that in like four hours. I didn't even have time to breathe. Fortunately enough, my teachers gave me till Wednesday to get it in instead of Friday. I'm allergic to bad grades. I was talking about how I couldn't get my work in the last time. We can start now.



Q. Venus, what turned this match around?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, the first game you could tell that Jennifer was a little nervous, she was hitting some double-faults. Then I think in the fifth game when I went up 4-1 she hit some, too. She was a little nervous. She hasn't played that much in this year. Sometimes when you aren't used to being in a certain situation a lot, you do that. I was hitting some double-faults, too, in the beginning. Then she really took command and saw if I wasn't going to take control, she ought to have taken it. She was right. But I felt that when I'm down, I'm not one of the players that gets down on myself, to show my opponent what I'm thinking. I really try to stay real positive. I always think this isn't over, even when it's 5-1. That's mostly what I was thinking.



Q. Venus, were you surprised at the pace of her game?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I mean, I remember that one match against Monica and Jennifer, and they both were striking the ball. She hits it hard consistently, over and over and over. I hit it hard, too, but not all the time like that. They were very deep also, and sometimes it would catch me off guard. I was having slow turns, just wasn't prepared for that. She was hitting them hard and deep consistently, all the time.



Q. You like that pace?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I like to take it as it comes. I don't care.



Q. Venus, what's your first memory of her?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Of her? I do remember her first round match, I think it was the Virginia Slims, Delray, Boca Raton. She played Gilda in the first round. Why do I remember that? I think that was her debut in 1990. I'm sure I probably remember a little more before that because she did a lot of stuff with juniors, I suppose. But I don't know.



Q. What do you think was the difference in the first set, came back?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. I'll have to think about that afterwards. I was putting some pressure on her, I was hitting the ball harder, a little more away of her. I think I took some of the short balls and put some pressure on her, came to the net sometimes. She had to rush her shots. I think I might have served a little better. I feel that she made a lot of mistakes also, and that helped all the time.



Q. What are your thoughts about Martina Hingis?

VENUS WILLIAMS: My thoughts?



Q. The match coming up.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, uhm, I think it's going to be a good match. Look forward to playing her. She's been around town, in the world, globe trotting. I'm ready to play her, probably tomorrow.



Q. Do you think she has an edge because she has more time to rest than you have?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, no. I can go on and on. I can go on.



Q. You seem to be very at ease today on the court. I think you hit one into the net and were actually smiling about it.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I try to smile some, even when it's a very serious time, like 5-1. There were a lot of 5-1's in that match today. I try to smile. Even when you don't feel like smiling. Smile, not because you're angry, but because you're intense, if you smile a little bit, the crowd is happy. No players really smile a lot. You're happy, you get more relaxed.



Q. Venus, can you imagine a match from tomorrow will be a match that you'll see over and over in the next couple of years, the two of you fighting to be the best players in the world?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, no I think it will be my sister and I fighting to be the two best players in the world. I don't see that at all.



Q. Since she's No. 1, are you interested to see how you measure against her? Will you measure yourself and your progress?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I measure myself against myself. I would never measure myself against someone else. I feel that I'm the best, okay? That's just how I feel. Even if it wasn't true, that I can feel that way, it makes you play better, makes you have more pride about what you're doing, saying, "I'm the best player out here, why am I losing, pull it together." What was the question you asked?



Q. You answered it well.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I wanted to say something else, but I forgot the question.



Q. Since she's the No. 1 player, were you interested to see your progress, whether you measure it against the No. 1 player?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. Because even tonight I didn't play anything like I can play. My serve, I thought it was terrible. Even though I was very happy with my second serve, even though it can be better, today I was hitting 60s. That's terrible. I can play much better than that. Jennifer, she was playing, she forced me to play. If she didn't play, I probably wouldn't have played. It's very sad but true. She went out there and she forced me to play.



Q. Did you have any expectations going into this match that kind of surprised you maybe playing against her?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Actually, I didn't have any expectations at all. I just wanted to come to the net more because the last match against Helga (sic) Nielsen, is that how you say it, I really wouldn't come to the net. You couldn't force me there if you put a gun to my head. I would have said, "No." It was very sad. Even tomorrow's match I'm going to try to come even more because obviously I'm a pretty good volleyer, have a pretty good touch, nice overhead. No need why I can't pull that out of the closet.



Q. Do you go to sleep with this (indicating)?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I go to sleep with this. It's very easy.



Q. In the second to the last serve, you served it pretty wide out, what were your feelings?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't remember. What happened?



Q. 40-30, you served out that wide serve.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't remember. I probably just went out and served it.



Q. There was a big smile on your face. You seemed pretty relaxed maybe, serving for the set. Did you feel yourself getting a mental edge over Jennifer as the third set went on?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I didn't really notice myself getting a mental edge. A lot of times I've been up 4-1 and I managed to really blow it. Last week at Indian Wells, I was playing in Oakland against Brenda Schultz, I managed to find some way to lose. I didn't want to find that path again, I wanted to find the other one to the win. I think I was more or less focusing on me staying focused. Once I had her down, I guess the mental edge is what you're saying, for me just to go and run with it, take the torch or baton, whatever.



Q. For the second time in a row, you won the first set and lost the serve in the second set. Do you think there's a reason about that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, my mind. It really is. I have to work on that. There's a lot of things I have to work on. That's what it is.



Q. Are you relieved that you play more tennis now, that's where you belong, to have more experience, matchplay?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't understand the question.



Q. Do you play more?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Do I plan to play more?



Q. Now that you play more matches, tournaments, is it better, about time that you do this?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I feel it's about time I do that. Right now I feel ready to play more. About four days afterwards, you don't feel as excited, but a week after playing a tournament, I feel really excited and ready to go out and play again. I'm ready to play.



Q. Venus, you know a lot of comparisons have been drawn between you and Jennifer. Do you think beating her maybe validates the way you and your family have managed your career, to come along more slowly, build up?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It probably isn't the path for everyone because everyone probably needs to go out there and play matches and get confidence. But as for me, it was a path. It just shows that there is an alternative way, rather than playing juniors, junior Slams, satellites, whatever they do, I wasn't there. It probably does. I wouldn't say beating Jennifer does that because Jennifer is obviously on her way back. You can see that out there today. She's doing real well. I don't think that beating her validates that.



Q. Did you yourself want to play? Was there ever a time when you were saying, "I wish I could be playing at the junior Wimbledon, nationals"?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't think the juniors are significant. I just don't think so. I mean, it makes a name for someone, if you do real well, when you come into the professionals. But it's a total different ball game.



Q. Just in terms of being around other players, the whole society of tennis that you're going to function in, did you ever wish you were kind of on the scene, to see who you would be playing against for the next couple of years?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I could see it on TV.



Q. Do you ever feel nervous when you walk out onto a court, or the bigger the crowd, does that give you more encouragement?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I like big crowds. I suppose everyone feels a little nervous sometimes on the court. Usually I try to hit through that or ignore. If you lose a match because you were nervous, at the end all you can say is, "I was nervous, I lost." That's a sad thing. I don't want to ever have to say that. It's different when you first start your career or haven't been there. Obviously, I haven't played that many matches. Under 30, there's no reason for that, I feel.



Q. Was there ever a time when you were at all impatient to get out here and try your stuff against the top Tour players?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. Sometimes I'd be watching a match on TV thinking, "Man, let me get at it. I'll show them." I never was very uptight, breaking out, things like that.



Q. How did you become sort of a big critic watching others, seeing a shot, saying "She should have done this or that"?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Actually, I don't get into watching as many films as I'd like. I'm doing homework or other things. When I get free time, I don't necessarily want to watch films or watch tennis.



Q. What are your plans school-wise? Do you want to finish high school?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Do I want to finish high school?



Q. Yes.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes.



Q. Do you want to go to college?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm taking some college classes. Unfortunately, I have a report that's due Thursday and I haven't even started. It was on a poll. I had to have the statistics and I lost that. I don't know what to do. It's going from worse to worse. I missed the midterm when I went to the Evert Cup. In freshman communications, I did terrible on that midterm. I just don't know what to say.



Q. What's terrible for you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Terrible?



Q. What's terrible for you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: When I don't know the thing that they're talking about. That really makes me sad. Losing a match, I can learn, but I can't get back to that test. One time I did bad on geometry, I got a 60. After math, I never cried. After that test, I did cry. I had to put my head down, "My God." The worst part, Serena started laughing, wouldn't stop for five minutes. That made it worse.



Q. What's your GPA? What's your average?

VENUS WILLIAMS: In high school I was like 3.75. I'm only taking two classes in college, political science, freshman communications. I really don't like all that writing. I don't know. You guys might like it (laughter). It's not for me. They're trying to tell me all these mistakes I had. It looked right to me.



Q. Is there a major that you're going to pursue? How does that work?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I plan on being an architect. I change my mind. Right now it seems like the right course.



Q. Have you graduated high school yet?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I'm getting there slowly but surely. Actually by the time May comes around, last year I burned out. I was crawling to the finish line, bleeding, dying, barely breathing. It was terrible last year. I could barely get all the work in. This year it seems like I haven't burned out at all, and it's almost April.



Q. What do you consider yourself in school, a junior, senior?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Last year I went to summer school, then I took extra classes throughout the semesters. I'm somewhat halfway down. Probably just have to do fall semester. Probably supposed to take three classes, but I'll go ahead and take five, go ahead and get more smarts in my head.



Q. Do you play in doubles?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, yes, I play doubles. I play doubles with Serena. It's the best thing. We have fun out there, smiling, laughing. We have major league comebacks. We came back from 6-Love. One time we were down 4-2 in the tiebreak. It was crazy. We were having fun. We weren't that very experienced at doubles, but we'll get better. We're going to work on it.



Q. We know a lot of things about relation between you and your father. What about you and your mother?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Okay, uhm, my mom usually always getting on me how I'm not responsible and I'll get killed if I don't learn to get better. Things like not locking the door. I'm much better at that now. Usually, Serena and I are always teasing and laughing at her. We're always laughing together, usually always give her the car keys to drive so I can sleep. There's a lot of things. My mom and dad are always keeping Serena and I straight, always sitting us down and talking to us. I listen, try to do better. You don't always do better. Sometimes takes three years, but you get there.

VERONIQUE MARCHAL: Thank you.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Thanks y'all.
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post #7 of 120 (permalink) Old Jun 18th, 2002, 04:29 PM
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THE 1997 LIPTON CHAMPIONSHIPS

March 23, 1997



M. HINGIS/V. Williams

6-4, 6-2


An interview with:


VENUS WILLIAMS


DEBBI EDWARDS: Questions for Venus.



Q. Sum up the experience.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I made a lot of mistakes and lost the match.



Q. Did you have some fun?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Pardon me?



Q. Did you have some fun?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, I did.



Q. In what respect?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It's always fun to go out and play a match anyway, win or lose.



Q. What did you think of her?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think she's a very good player, and she capitalizes on your errors, basically, yeah.



Q. How much of it was you having an off day with the errors and how many of those errors does she force?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't think I was having an off day. I usually make that many errors. I just think she didn't give me those errors back. Everyone else I play usually gives me the same amount of errors.



Q. You've played the current No. 1, Steffi Graf. Can you compare or contrast her to the coming No. 1, Martina Hingis?

VENUS WILLIAMS: They're very different players. Steffi Graf has a real good serve. Hingis' serve is a little bit weak right now. Steffi Graf uses a slice. They're very different games. It's quite obvious.



Q. Which one would you rather face?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Any one that comes my way.



Q. Do you have the sense that this is the start of a rivalry, Venus?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Until my sister gets here, yeah.



Q. Do you respect that kind of game, that kind of counter punching, a little bit of off pace, change of tempo, because you're so opposite yourself?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, I guess I respect that type of game. I don't know. It's her game. Everyone has a different game. She probably can't play the game I play. I probably wouldn't be able to play the game she plays as well, so everyone is going to be different.



Q. Venus, you made a big effort to go to the net more. How would you evaluate your performance there?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think that maybe I was getting a to the net a little too slow. After I hit the shot, I decided to come to the net instead of deciding when I hit the shot I'm going to the net. That made me go in a little slower, get the ball late. Sometimes I probably wasn't doing my split, I'm not real sure. That's probably another reason. Basically I wanted to just come in. At least I learn to come in. I'm going to try to do that every match.



Q. Apart from her consistency, what would you say is her greatest strength out there?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Maybe her down-the-line shots. She pulls those out sometimes, especially in long points.



Q. Does this get you all fired up to go back to the drawing board and practice and work at things you can do?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Uhm, yes, it does, because you can always improve. There's a lot of things I need to improve on, my consistency, making the shots that I need to make. I'm going to get there.



Q. Could you tell us your thoughts when you went up 3-Love, two breaks right away.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I just started making a lot of mistakes, maybe rushing some of my shots, not using enough spin at times.



Q. But what were you thinking at the time that you went ahead so quickly?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't remember right now. I'll have to think about that later.



Q. Next stop Hilton Head or Amelia Island?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Amelia Island.



Q. Serena is coming along and we'll take your word for it. But right now, do you have a sense of the importance of this match in two such young players meeting for the first time?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I don't.



Q. Why not?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Could you tell me what's important about it? You know, I don't know why you're asking me that if you didn't answer the question yourself. I don't know the importance either.



Q. There were great expectations about it, two players of similar age, different styles, different backgrounds, and meeting for the first time. You go back sometimes in history like Chris Evert playing Evonne Goolagong.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Maybe it's going to be in the history book, of some importance.



Q. It will be.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Probably so.



Q. Had you seen her play matches before?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes.



Q. Did she show you anything different on being opposite her that you were surprised by or startled by or even disappointed by?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I don't think she hit as many double-faults in the match, and that's probably because I was trying to attack second serves, probably not. But I don't recall her hitting as many. I guess sometimes she does, sometimes she doesn't. I haven't seen too many of her matches. I guess not as many are televised, at least during the hours that I'm awake.



Q. Venus, did your father have anything to say to you before you went on the court today, and if he did, would you share it with us?

VENUS WILLIAMS: He just said to go out there and relax, don't put any pressure on yourself, hit the ball.



Q. Is that the way you felt out there?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes.



Q. Did you feel any nervousness across the net when suddenly you're ahead 3-Love with on a couple of breaks, did you think she looked or felt tense?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I don't think she felt tense. She might have been a bit upset, but not tense, I don't think so.



Q. A lot of players like to listen to music to relax. What's your favorite sort of music, and who are your favorite artists?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't listen to music to relax.



Q. Do you listen to it at all?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, sometimes.



Q. What do you listen to? Venus, what do you think was the turning point of the match, you had a 3-Love lead, attacking the second serve. What happened?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Didn't someone ask me that earlier?



Q. No.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Really, I thought someone asked me what I was thinking. Okay. I think I made a lot of errors.



Q. What do you like to listen to?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I listen to a bit of everything. Even sometimes classical music.



Q. Do you know a lot about it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No.



Q. Do you know what you're listening to?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I don't know a lot about it. Just change the channel all the time.

DEBBI EDWARDS: Any other questions?



Q. What will you be working on now?

VENUS WILLIAMS: My serves and return of serves, as always, and probably my consistency, just coming to the net. Probably work on my slice a little more. I don't use it very often. Basically that's about it.



Q. Venus, looking at the big picture, what do you think you're going to take away from Lipton, these three matches, the whole experience?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It was a lot of fun playing in Florida. At least Southern Florida, I never played down here before. I'll take away a lot of experience because I played three different players, three different matches. When you do that, you always learn a little bit more about players who play similar.



Q. Do you expect more of yourself today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think everyone always does, yes. I did. Myself didn't come through.



Q. I've just come in. Are you playing the French or have you already said that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, I plan on playing the French Open.



Q. At the moment you do plan on playing the French?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Uh-huh.



Q. Thank you.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Thank you.



Q. Have you ever played on red clay?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I have not. Not the real deal. I've played on a hard red clay, just red. Never felt the real stuff. And, yes, I've played on grass.



Q. Venus, how long does it take you to get over a loss?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm over it right now. If you can't get over a loss, the next thing you'll know, next match you play, you'll be tight and tense, think about the things you lost. "Last time I was up 3-Love, can't let it go back to 3-All." When you have that type of thinking, you can't move on, can't let go. I have let go. I've said good-bye to the match. I don't think we'll meet again. I don't want to meet that type of match again.

DEBBI EDWARDS: Is that all? Thank you.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Thank you.
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post #8 of 120 (permalink) Old Jun 18th, 2002, 04:31 PM
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1997 U.S. OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP

August 25, 1997

V. WILLIAMS/L. Neiland

5-7, 6-0, 6-1

An interview with:

VENUS WILLIAMS

VERONIQUE MARCHAL: Questions for Venus.

Q. Is the first match the biggest one to get over here, playing in a new stadium?

VENUS WILLIAMS: You guys hear me good enough? Is that better? I like playing in big stadiums. I like playing in this stadium. So that has nothing to do with nervousness. I really wasn't too nervous. I really wanted to pull that match out because I haven't been playing too well the last tournaments I played.

Q. What are your expectations for this tournament?

VENUS WILLIAMS: My expectations, my goal for this tournament is when I play my matches, for not one bead to fall out of my hair.

Q. You've done that so far.

VENUS WILLIAMS: It's two weeks.

Q. Did you have to get over a slow start today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't think it was necessarily a slow start. Larisa played well. She has slice on both sides. Someone tall as me has to get down for that. Have to keep the balls deep. I was giving her some short balls. She loves to come in and slice it, take advantage of it. I wasn't really playing the game I really can play. I can overpower her if I get a chance to. I just started trying to do that when I got a short ball. Had to start playing aggressive, keep my feet moving.

Q. Playing in a big stadium you said doesn't bother you.

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I like it.

Q. Let's attach some names for it. Arthur Ashe, 70th birthday for Althea Gibson, 40th anniversary of her winning the national title, and the first two matches involve African American women on this court. What does that say to you? What does that mean to you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, it was definitely a privilege playing on this court. Definitely a perfect name to name the court after. And Arthur has done a lot for the game, a lot for the world. He was a great role model. Just not off the court -- on the court, but off the court also. It's a good thing.

Q. What were your general impressions of the stadium itself?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I got to play on it a little bit on Arthur Ashe Kids' Day. It's not a fast court. Some of the courts around here are fast, because I was practicing on some, so. I get used to it. But it's a nice court to play on, a lot of running room. I do like to run.

Q. Would you describe it as a slow surface?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It's not a fast court, but it's not a slow court. It's just a regular court. I mean, a slow court for me is a claycourt, I guess.

Q. Is your dad with you at this tournament? Is he coming or did he have any advice going in?

VENUS WILLIAMS: He's always with me with at every tournament.

Q. Physically?

VENUS WILLIAMS: In every way.

Q. Venus, today happens to be Althea Gibson's 70th birthday. Could you talk a little bit about that, the inspiration of her?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I spoke to her once. Obviously she did a lot for tennis. Players like myself and a lot of other African American players on The Tour, she was -- she paved the way for us to play because other than that, we would still be fighting to play on The Tour. So it's important that we recognize this, that I recognize it, and for me to know my history.

Q. It's interesting because Chanda began the program today. She had a real tough loss.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, but she was playing a good player. She's had injuries, so it's not her best year. We all know she's a good player.

Q. Have you spent a lot of time with Chanda, too?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Not really. I mean, I'm not on The Tour too often. But probably playing Fed Cup together or something.

Q. What do you have to do to get your game to the next level? Do you have to play more? Do you have to develop some other aspect of your game?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think most of my game actually is there. I just have to go out there and play my game and not become nervous or become too involved with what the other person is doing. And also, I had to stay focused today, all the time, which I tried to do today. Sometimes I look ahead in the match, look back in the match at what happened. I just want to stay focused on that point, that shot. That's what I have to do.

Q. Do you have an instructor beyond your father?

VENUS WILLIAMS: My mother co-coaches.

Q. So you have no other instructors outside of your parents?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No.

Q. When you were growing up on the courts in Compton, did you ever envision that someday you would be playing a 23,000-seat stadium?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think that when I play -- when Serena and I played, we always just expected to be here. We were playing so long. When I was ten, I had been playing likes six years. So it's just something. Tennis, I was around tennis all my life; I started playing when I was young, so it was just what I expected, not what I hoped. I just knew I would be there, something I lived with.

Q. You had kind of a rough go in the first round at Wimbledon. After the troubles there, does it make it sweeter to win today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm definitely pretty happy, but I'm not happier than when I was at the French Open when I won first round. I was pretty happy then. I'm happy now. I just want to make sure I play well in the next round.

Q. How do you handle players and even the media who sometimes say negative things about you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, they don't say too many negative things. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and I'm not in the business of trying to mold people's minds. So I just have to go on my program.

Q. Venus, you said you're not really on The Tour too often, as you put it. Do you think there will come a time pretty soon when you'll feel that you are with The Tour, so to speak? You'll be -- enough that you'll feel part of it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Next year I'll play a lot more probably.

Q. What will determine that? School?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Next spring I'll play a lot more. Just depends on what I want to do. If I don't want to be out there, I'm not going to go.

Q. Do you have any further schooling plans?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Schooling plans? I can be out of high school right now, but I wanted to go back. I took algebra two last year, but I did not do well in it, so I had to go back to algebra one. I took geometry. I did well in that. Actually, people told me it ruined their high school, but I liked it. When they just gave me the rules and I could apply them and memorize them, it was good. This year I want to take algebra two because later on I'm going to want to go to college, I want to know that. Physics and --

Q. How far are you from graduating?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm actually kind of graduated right now. Actually I have about 24 credits, 26, something or other.

Q. Venus, do you feel that you'll be able to attend college --

VENUS WILLIAMS: And play professional tennis?

Q. And play professionally?

VENUS WILLIAMS: This year I took some college classes in the fall and I hardly played any tournaments. I played during the -- during the classes, I played about three tournaments. It wasn't easy. I would have to stay up late at night and write reports. I couldn't even type. I had to type my own. It was just a lot of work. It can be done, but I don't want to do it. I only had a couple classes. I didn't have a full load, so. Right now I think tennis is like one of the most important things in my life and I have my high school education.

Q. Where did you take these courses, the college courses?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Palm Beach Community College, short drive from my old home.

Q. What did you take?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I took freshman communications, a writing course, cohesive writing. I didn't like it too much. I took political science. I liked that. I was supposed to read all 22 chapters. I made three and a half.

Q. If your communications teacher told you your assignment is to write a story about your experiences and your match so far today, how would you start your story? What would be your lead?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I would say I held serve, my serve started breaking down. I began to think what I was taught about, my serves going in, hit a first serve, second serve. Stay at home, stay with the tournament, never give up. A lot of things went on in that match. Actually I wrote a story about my match. I ended it with Serena's and I double's match. I ended it in the second set. The teacher asked if I was going to write more. I ended it at the high point. I think I did finish it.

Q. How did you manage to stay calm today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I've been in the situation a couple times. I played my fair share of three sets in my little career at this moment in time. So I've been there. I know that I could pull it out. I knew that I could play well, knew I could win that match.

Q. What did you get on the paper?

VENUS WILLIAMS: On the paper? An A.

Q. Of course. Venus, your tennis career has been accelerated, academics are accelerated. Is there any part of your life you feel like you're behind and why?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Behind? There are some things I want, some people my age don't know what they want, but I do know what I want. Other than that, I don't think I'm behind anything. I don't know too many more that have much more than I do, I have a good family, good career, 17, three dogs.

Q. Venus, you said before that you haven't made up your mind whether you're going to join The Tour full-time next year. Is there a chance you might not?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I just said like next year I was going to play some more. I don't know. I might start my season in January this year. Who knows?

Q. What will determine that, though? Is it discussions with your parents that will determine it? Is it your own willingness to say that you have to step it up in order to be a champion?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Just depends what I want to do usually. If I wanted to play in Australia in January, I would do it. But I didn't want to because I won't be there. Of course if I tell my dad and my mom I want to play, usually they'll allow it. Except last year I wasn't allowed to play the Slams. I just was not there.

Q. Venus, you mentioned you met Althea Gibson once.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I talked to her once.

Q. Did you ever meet Arthur Ashe?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, I did. He had a program in Philadelphia. I was about 12. Took a picture with him.

Q. Other than a picture, what do you remember about him or anything he said?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, he was mostly just like tall, graceful. I don't remember what he said. I'm sorry. It was like five years ago.

Q. Was it like a tennis clinic?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, it was a clinic. A lot of the top junior players.

VERONIQUE MARCHAL: Any last questions for Venus?

Q. You mentioned that you thought you could overpower Larisa. Do you feel you can do that with a lot of this field? Does it come to a point where you're meeting players who aren't going to be overpowered by you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, it depends on the player. Some people get excited when they get overpowered. A lot of times if I move up to the ball, take it early, I don't even have to hit it as hard. It's just you take the time away from your opponent. If I do that and have power, then no one can do too much with it. But some players are able to handle the power. But if I want to, I can hit it hard. If I want to, I can hit a slice. I don't too often hit those because I just prefer to go with the two-hand backhand. If I have the power, no reason for me not to use it. Sometimes she had late preparation on her shots. If I overpowered her, hit a lot of power on the ball, speed on it, sometimes it probably could ruin her timing.

VERONIQUE MARCHAL: Thank you, very much.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Thank you.
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post #9 of 120 (permalink) Old Jun 18th, 2002, 04:33 PM
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1997 U.S. OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP

August 27, 1997

V. WILLIAMS/G. Garcia

6-0, 6-1

An interview with:

VENUS WILLIAMS

Q. How would you describe today's match? Was it as easy as it appeared?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think Garcia was a bit nervous. She probably wanted do well in this Open. She just didn't play like she usually would. It was a bit easy, because she had it pretty easy for me and I was able to take care of it.

Q. Next round you play Anke Huber. What do you think about Anke?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think that Anke is playing well this year. She has a lot of experience. She wants to do well this Open, so I've played her actually about four weeks ago or so, like that. It's going to be a good match.

Q. But in California, you lose very well?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I lost the match.

Q. And how big is your chance? How big is your chance to win next match with Huber?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think I'm just going to have to play well and just to stay focused on each point, just try not to let her in the match at all. So I think definitely my chances are very good.

Q. Are you playing the best that you've played so far? It's unusual to hear a person as young as you talk about your opponent being so nervous. You seem so calm.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I try to stay calm. I guess if I'm not, you can't tell.

Q. Are you playing as well as you have?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't think I'm playing as well as I have this year, but I'm playing pretty good. I think so. I don't think I'm ever happy. I'm happy with the way I play, but I always think I can do better, even if I win a match or if I win a tough match. No matter what match I play, or if I'm practicing, I always think I can do better.

Q. In terms of your next round, is it at all a disadvantage that you were only out there for 35 minutes?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. Like before, in my first round, I had a tough match. I think I got to practice a lot of short balls today, so I don't think it was a disadvantage at all. I won't be worn out or anything.

Q. Is your game suited best to the hardcourts?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I believe so, possibly. I think I can play on any surface, but I grew up on hardcourts. I like playing on that. Most of all when I practice, I like to play on clay. I don't like to practice on hard.

Q. How far would you have to get in this tournament for you to consider it a successful tournament for yourself?

VENUS WILLIAMS: A successful tournament? Actually in this tournament I'm trying not to look ahead at all. I do that a lot. I'm just trying to play it a point at a time, game at a time. I don't want to start looking ahead and just become disappointed, things like that. I just want to do in matches what I worked on in practice. Once I'm doing that, I will develop. I'm going out there and I'm playing matches safe, just not doing what I'm doing in practice. I'm not going to develop my game. I'm going to get better, but not as quick as I could.

Q. Venus, how much of a different player do you think you are today than you were, say, at the Lipton earlier this year? Do you think your game has developed?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I believe so.

Q. How?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think I'm definitely probably return serves, first serve is more consistent, second serve is better, learned to place the serve a lot better, better slice. My volleys are much better. There's definitely a lot of improvements. I might be even faster, too.

Q. Were you happy with your serve today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Actually, she was a very short girl, so I thought that I just put a lot of spin on it and get it over her head, a lot of spins, because she wouldn't be able to handle that. I didn't try to go for the big ones today unless I wanted to. But she stood far back. I thought that the spin would be better. I think I served well today. I definitely think I could serve better.

Q. When you see where Martina Hingis is at very close to your age, do you think if you had played more, in more tournaments at age 15, 14, you would be close to where she is now? Do you look at her and say, "Gee, I could be there"?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I really can't say, but I really wouldn't want to take anything away from Martina, because she's doing a great job and she's helping women's tennis, and everyone is interested in watching her play. I definitely think I like the way I did things. We just had different agendas. I had different things to do. She had different things to do also. I don't regret any of it. To say what I could have done, I'd rather not say that because that's in the past now. I can't change it. I'm happy with how everything is going now.

Q. What have you done off the court in New York to enjoy New York?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I did a little bit of shopping. I eat (laughter). I haven't done too much actually. I just want to make sure I don't get tired. My mom wanted to see the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building. The better I do at the tournament, I'll do more shopping. In these rounds, I'm not going to do any of that stuff.

Q. What kind of stuff have you been buying?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Clothes. I don't know. I don't buy anything else on the road. I try not to buy any jewelry.

Q. Do you plan to stay here after the tournament for a little while? Are you going straight back home?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, no, school starts. I'm not going to have much time. My next tournament is in October. I guess I kind of know what it feels to be cramped for tournaments. I guess some people have tournaments right after the Open, though. It's not that bad.

Q. Where are you playing?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm playing in Russia, Germany, Switzerland, and possibly the Netherlands. Who knows.
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post #10 of 120 (permalink) Old Jun 18th, 2002, 04:35 PM
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UNITED STATES TENNIS ASSOCIATION

August 29, 1997

V. WILLIAMS/A. Huber

6-3, 6-4

An interview with:

VENUS WILLIAMS

Q. What was the key to today's match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: This time I was really ready. The last time I played her, I really thought I was going to win, but I didn't pull that one out. This time I felt the same way also. Not because Anke isn't a good player. I was just feeling good about it is way I was playing. I sort of believe in me. I'm not trying to take anything away from Anke because she's playing good tennis. She's taking out big people these days. She's playing Top 10 tennis. She has a Top 10 ranking. She's doing well.

Q. Do you think she really played Top 10 tennis tonight?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I think she let the pressure get to her. I ran down a lot of balls. When I returned them, they weren't always deep. If I'm not going to get to the ball, I won't run for it. If I run for it, I intend -- I know I'm going to get to that ball. If you see me running for the ball, you know I'm going to be there. If I'm not going to run for it, I'm not going to get it, so why run?

Q. Are you surprised at your success so far here in the Open? Are you surprised with your age at your success here?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I know I can play well. A lot of times I just don't play well in the matches. A lot of times I'm just not able to pull it out, not able to stay calm, not able to stay focused. I make a lot of mistakes, which I did for about a two-game period in the first set. But I just had to bear down and say, "Man, I can't do these things. Time when you have to move on. It's a time when these things have to stop." I said, "Venus, it's foolishness." I became aware of my surroundings (laughter). No just kidding.

Q. Is this the beginning of a trend for you? Do you think this is a good stepping stone?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think it's definitely a beginning. I think I'm just going to stay focused, play hard on every point, every match, because everyone's really going to be ready. It's not like those people go out there and they don't want to win. They do, just as much as everyone else does. So have you to be ready.

Q. How exciting for you is this? Has that the most excited you've been after a win? You looked thrilled?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Not really. I've had other wins. I had wins when I was down match points. One time I was down like 5-1. Lots of things been happening this year. Definitely probably when I won my first match, I was pretty happy. Maybe when I played doubles with Serena, three set epoch match. I was pretty happy about that, too.

Q. Venus, can you reflect in the first set, I think the game score was 2-2, and you were up Love-40 and you lost the game. What thought process did you go through at that point?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I'm really not one of those players who gets angry after a game like that. I really don't go back in time. You know, some players, they can't stop thinking about that game, can't stop thinking about it. I'm really not that type of player. I just kind of move on because it's in the past; nothing I can do about it. I have to move on. So I just was staying calm, and I had to just play well and just not let up, because she's been out there a long time playing matches, and she really will take an advantage and run away with it if given the chance. So I just have to stay in there.

Q. Did you sense she was getting angry at herself?

VENUS WILLIAMS: She's the type of player that gets angry. I think most players are like that. I'm just not like that.

Q. Venus, she was pretty disappointed in here. She said she didn't necessarily think your performance was anything special. She was just more disappointed in hers. How do you feel about that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I would have to agree, because I don't think I played as well as I could. She didn't make me play a lot of long points. A lot of times she missed the shot, things like that. Missed a lot of shots in the net, a couple double the faults on some key points, so I think it was a lot of her that helped me win that match. She wasn't as consistent as the last time I played her. She didn't play as well this time. I know she probably can play better.

Q. In general, do you detect any kind of hostility from older players toward younger players? And if so, how do you detect it? What do you pick up?

VENUS WILLIAMS: These things do not matter to me. Everyone has to have their own opinion. I can't change the way someone feels. I just kind of have to move on in my own life. I can't get involved in other people's lives to that degree.

Q. But do you pick up on it at all? Are you aware of it out there?

VENUS WILLIAMS: To be honest, I mean, I can't change the way someone feels if there's angry or hostile or jealous. I think if people feel this way, what they should do is go out there and say, "I'm going to pull my game together."

Q. Do you think that you're making a statement here at this Open, particularly you and Martina?

VENUS WILLIAMS: You can kind of see the changing of the guards in the men's game and women's game. Younger players are coming in. Even all the other younger players, even if you haven't heard too much of them. You played a player, you never heard of them, here they are, 16, 17 years old. So the younger players are coming in, taking over. It's just a natural thing, it's what happens.

Q. When you came out on the court to serve out the match, the crowd really was cheering pretty hard for you. Did that do something to you when you heard that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. It helps, I suppose. But I just wanted to serve well, like I've been serving the whole time, just get some first serves in. It's kind of hard to handle the first serve.

Q. She implied one of the reasons she lost or that you won tonight was there was not enough pressure on you, there was more pressure on her than there was on you. How much pressure do you feel every time you come out on the court here? Do you want to tell us about how the pressure affects you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think it depends on how much you let it get to you. Obviously people talk, write, show things on TV. You have to play for yourself, not for because -- I don't want them to write bad things and things like that, so I just have to go out there and play, because I want to play, because I want to do well, because I worked hard all might have life for this.

Q. Are there pregame jitters before you come out on the court?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Not really, no. I was ready to play.

Q. Venus, a lot of people have compared you to Althea. Recently I read something that you had said. What kind of influence does she have with you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: What kind of influence does she have with me?

Q. Is there any influence? Has she influenced you? Have you studied her game?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I have not seen any of her games. I think she has influenced me and other black players in an intangible way. Not actually she talks to me or she writes letter, but more or less she paved the way for the African Americans and a lot of minorities to come in and play tennis and to be able to do well. So she was there from the beginning. She was a forerunner. It was mostly I suppose in an intangible way that she influenced me. And I think to live up to what she did would be great.

Q. Congratulations on your win. If you could talk to her, would you like to do that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah.

Q. There's been a lot of talk recently about how tennis needs a Tiger Woods to stimulate interest. Do you see, if you have a run of Championships or great showings, that you could possibly be something like a Tiger Woods for tennis?

VENUS WILLIAMS: That's possible. He's obviously doing a great job, in golf. I can't play golf (laughter). I mean, I really just can't. I just can't play golf, that's all there is to it.

Q. But by the style of your play in tennis, and also your enthusiasm, do you see the possibility of you being a source of invigoration for the sport?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I would hope so, that I could do the same thing in tennis that he has done. Mostly because he's out there winning, he is something different from the mainstream golfer. In tennis, I also am. I'm tall. I'm black. Everything's different about me. Just face the facts. So I think that's why I would really have a chance, because I'm just something totally different than has been around, which I can't help that I am.

Q. Do you enjoy the fact that you're different from what's out there?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. I mean, I've always liked what I had.

Q. What was the greatest win this year?

VENUS WILLIAMS: You know, every time I win a match, I'm pretty happy.

Q. But surely, this is your biggest win of the year?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, yeah. Honestly, I would have to say when Serena and I had a doubles match, we were playing the No. 8 seed in that tournament, too.

Q. And you were more happy then?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. It was great. That was just the best match. It always goes back to that doubles match.

Q. When was that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: That was early this year, in March, Indian Wells. We didn't really know how to play doubles. We were playing -- we were two separate singles players playing singles, and the other team were playing doubles. We both were playing singles. It was weird.

Q. Who was your partner?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Serena, my sister. She couldn't play this year. She's 15.

Q. Venus, when you look at the bracket, there's not another ranked player on your way to the semifinals. Do you have any predictions about how far you want to go or how far you think you can go in this tournament?

VENUS WILLIAMS: These days, I'm just taking it one point at a time. I don't want to get too ahead of myself. I don't want to be saying, "Yeah. Yeah. I can do this and that." These things I know I can do. When I go out there, I want to play the player. I want to be ready for the match. I don't want to look past any player and say, "I'm looking past this girl because I know I can go through her." It's not going to be like that. I want to be ready for each player that comes along, so I'm not making any predictions, I'm just going to be ready to play.

Q. Every great athlete has a challenge that they have to overcome. What was yours that you had to overcome to get to this point in your career?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I would lose the second a lot. Win the first, lose the second, struggle in the third. That's a pattern.

Q. It is?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah.

Q. How do you see yourself breaking that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I really broke it a lot. My first match this year, Indian Wells, my first tournament, I did the whole tournament, I had to work on it, stay focused, not let them back in, not get unfocused. I had to work on that. It's very much better. I really haven't done too much losing the second set ever since then.

Q. Was today, winning that fourth game of the second set, was that the turning point of the whole night?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I just knew I would have to break serve or go to a tiebreak. I really wasn't interested in losing my serve (laughter).

Q. Do you have any goals for yourself?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Goals? My goal this year was to be in the Top 20. Most of all I want to be able to develop my game, not to go out there and play timid, not to look back at this year, any year, at all, say I should have done something.

Q. You seem so serene. What gets you angry or emotional in tennis or in life?

VENUS WILLIAMS: My dog won't listen to me. I have one bad dog.

Q. Do you get emotional on the court at all?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Not really. In practice every now and then, I might get upset. But I'm just not that type of player.

Q. Stats said in the second set that you committed a total of seven unforced errors in this match. Is that natural that you're so consistent?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, my, no. I'm really the unforced error kid most of the time.

Q. Seven in the second set.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Usually I'm making all those errors, going for those shots prematurely. I'm usually all the unforced errors I can get. I just grab them and put them in my bag.

Q. What part of your game do you still have to work on?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I want to place my shots a little bit better. Today a lot of times I was on the run. I would hit some balls to her. But the thing was, if I was going to hit it to her, I decided I had to hit it deep, so she had to back up.

Q. Do you really think that you are so out of mainstream for us? You are another young American coming up.

VENUS WILLIAMS: What are you saying?

Q. You said you are not in the mainstream player. Do you really think so? Your game seems to us another young American, like with Capriati or who else?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm kind of like a power player, all power, big serve, big groundstrokes. If I wanted to, I could come to the net, which I don't do often. I'll have to work on that. I'm pretty fast. Most tall people aren't fast. If you hit a dropshot, I'm going to get to it. Just want to tell you guys that. When you play me, don't hit any dropshots.

Q. Venus, you say you're sort of calm. On a scale of 1 to 10, after this match, how excited were you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'd probably say like a 7. I've been more excited, like after I won my first French Open match, the doubles match.

Q. When are you going to play doubles this time?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Probably tomorrow. I haven't looked at the schedule. We were rained out yesterday. The court we were on, they didn't finish till like 11, two matches. We're on tomorrow.
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post #11 of 120 (permalink) Old Jun 18th, 2002, 04:37 PM
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1997 U.S. OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP

August 31, 1997

V. WILLIAMS/J. Kruger

6-2, 6-3

An interview with:

VENUS WILLIAMS

Q. Joannette says you're confident. She said she's never seen such self-confidence.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm glad she sees that in me.

Q. Yesterday Lindsay said when you were at Indian Wells, you passed each other, and you didn't smile back to her, and she got upset when you did not smile back.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Wait a minute. Are you talking about passing on the court?

Q. No, Venus. I'm talking before your match. Just bear with me a moment.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Okay.

Q. Take a moment to explain. She got a little peeved by that, and that motivated her. Then today, Ms. Kruger said that when you smiled at her at one of the changeovers, she said that that was a sign that you were saying, "Hey, this is all you can do? This is all the arsenal you have? "

VENUS WILLIAMS: I smiled at her at one of the changeovers?

Q. That's what she said. Do you recall smiling at her at all?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. It was an amused look.

Q. Pardon?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I really wasn't smiling. I was (indicating). Why don't you guys tell me what they want me to do? They should come up to me and say, "Venus, I want you to smile so I can feel better." It's not about that. When I want to smile, I'll smile. If I don't want to, I'm not going to. I think it's a little bit peevish. Smiling, what does that have to do with anything?

Q. Do you think people are finding reasons to nitpick at you right now?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't care. They have feelings and they can feel whatever way they want to, but I don't want to be part of it.

Q. To be fair, she said that you had tremendous confidence, and that was a tremendous attribute of yours. That was her essential -- what she was essentially saying. Do you feel that's one of your greatest strengths, your confidence?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes. Because I just kind of feel that I can make any shot anywhere on the court. That's just the way I feel.

Q. The day before yesterday, I believe, you answered my question about Challengers. You said that second set was always the challenge that you had to overcome. You almost cracked in this second set.

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I didn't.

Q. You didn't think so?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think it was much tougher, but I wasn't cracking, no. She definitely pulled her game together, definitely started taking her time a little bit more on the shots, getting them a little bit deeper, placing them a little bit better. So I was running over the court more in the second set. I guess I didn't think she would start playing that well, so I just had to get ready for that.

Q. So you were never concerned about that second set, you knew you had it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, no.

Q. You said the confidence comes from knowing you have the shots. How old were you, do you think, or how young were you, when you really started feeling that way?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I always felt that way. I always felt that I could beat like the men players. My parents could never get me to understand that I couldn't. I was like, "Look at my backhand, it's better than theirs." Finally they stopped trying to convince me I wasn't better. I guess they thought, "If she thinks that, it's better."

Q. Is that you in general or is that in tennis?

VENUS WILLIAMS: That's me in general, yeah.

Q. How much do you enjoy others recognizing that confidence in you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I don't think it's important that others recognize the confidence in me or believe in me. What's important is that I'm confident about me, and that I believe in me. What others believe is kind of an outside influence, outside. If I don't have confidence, then it doesn't matter if the other person has confidence in me.

Q. But it seems you really have an effect on your opponents. In fact, Joannette Kruger, who is 23 years old, said just by watching your confidence and the panache that you had on the court, she was psyched out.

VENUS WILLIAMS: That's her state of mind.

Q. Do you feel as though you psych out other players with your approach?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. You'd have to ask them.

Q. What's your belief?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Not sharing those today.

Q. Venus, how much has your game improved from the time you started the US Open till now with matchplay experience?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think I've improved a lot more because I've actually in between this US Open. I've learned to take my time on a lot of shots. Actually, today I started going back to my old way a little bit in the second set, rushing things, behind the baseline hitting balls as hard as I can. These things do not work. So I must change.

Q. Is that why you slowed down toward the end?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. I cannot go back to that and I will not revert to that type of playing. This US Open has really helped. I'm taking my time a lot more on the shots. I'm serving much more consistently. I really want to mix up my serve as lot, a lot of free points on serves. I'm playing better at the US Open. I'm playing well, improving. But then when I get to a matches, I'm not playing well. What's the point of playing good if you're not going to play good in a match? I had to improve on that.

Q. When did you realize that style of play, you didn't want to go back to that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It's like if you're just going to pound every ball, everybody is going to get used to it and say, "I'm going to block it back and let her wear herself out." I'll get tired at times after I play a lot of matches, but it doesn't generally affect my play. I live in Florida. It's extremely hot; the wind will not blow; it's extremely humid. Even the dogs don't get up. I'm out there playing on the hardcourt, okay? I can stay out there. I had to realize I had to mix it up, take some pace off, lift it over. Sometimes you would serve a ball, I would lift it over the net, she would just miss it. A lot of times -- a lot of other times in the past, I would nail the return in the net.

Q. Was there any tournament in particular that you said, "That's enough"?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. It was actually before my third round match. I really couldn't believe it. I was saying, "Venus, this isn't me." I just learned a lot in this tournament.

Q. Do you have a different game plan for each match? I thought I noticed in the Coetzer match -- the other match, who am I thinking of -- Huber match, that you were hitting a lot to her forehand. Maybe I'm wrong. That's what I thought I noticed.

VENUS WILLIAMS: She's making some mistakes on her forehand when I played her. I would serve to her forehand. She would just make some unforced errors.

Q. Were you saying, "I'm going to hit to her forehand," maybe today, "I'm going to hit to her backhand"?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Not really. Sometimes she would make mistakes, I would go to it two or three times, then I would go to the other side. But generally I didn't play both sides because she definitely had solid groundstrokes; she knows how to pick her game back up. I just had to play.

Q. Is this a milestone today, making the quarterfinals for you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: What do you mean by "milestone"? In my life? An important event in your playing history. I suppose so. I guess it is important, I've got into the quarterfinals.

Q. Do you think you'll win this tournament?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I try to go into every tournament and think that I'm going to win. That's what I used to do. Now I more or less try to play every point at a time. I don't want to try to think too far ahead in the future, because that really doesn't work, I don't think.

Q. How much fun has this week been for you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It's been a lot of fun, except for that day when it rained and I had to wait here all day. Other than that, things have been good.

Q. Joannette said she was intimidated by playing in the stadium. Have you ever felt anything like that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I like it. I always liked it. I liked it when I was little when I wasn't professional. I always liked to play on big courts in front of people. It's kind of my asset.

Q. The fact that the audience was with you today, does it matter for you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: The fact that the audience was for me?

Q. Yes. Does it matter for you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I've actually never played in an audience that wasn't for me. One day, the day will come when they are going to be for the other player. I'll be prepared for that.

Q. Do you draw energy from that or does it really not affect you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. I think I'll be able to tell you guys on the day they're rooting for the other player.

Q. Now that you've gotten, you said that you've gotten this experience in this tournament, does it make you wish you had more matchplay in your past at all?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I'm definitely playing well. I've learned a lot from the matches that I've played. I know how to play. That's good enough.

Q. You made it through the second week here, which is a great accomplishments for many players, just to get to the second week. How would you summarize what you've achieved so far at the Open?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Gotten to the quarterfinals in the second week.

Q. Does it mean anything more than that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Does it mean more than that? It means I better be ready for the next match.

Q. Venus, do you think your performance, to a sense, validates all the attention that you've been getting before putting up results like this?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I guess for some people it does; not for me. I know I can play this type of tennis. But for some people, critics, writers, all those type of things, it validates it for them. But I try not to read that stuff and listen to the stuff, because it can get to you. Some people are not necessarily negative, but they say Venus is a big question mark, things like that. You don't really want to read that. Oh, no, I better play better. That's not the kind of thoughts you want in your head, so I kind of try to stay away from them.

Q. Did you look at this as an opportunity to do that or is that just the way things have kind of happened for you this week?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I really wasn't going to play the Open up until four days before. My dad wasn't going to let me play. But I finally convinced him.

Q. Why not?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Why not? A lot of different reasons. I don't really want to go into that.

Q. What helped you convince him?

VENUS WILLIAMS: A little bargaining. Hard ball, you know.

Q. Now that you've gotten this far, little more leverage now?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. I'm just glad I got a chance to play. I think my dad is, too. But even if I didn't do well, I think I'd be glad I got a chance to play.

Q. Do you like the idea that you're becoming an idol or world model?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Do I like the idea that I'm becoming an?

Q. An idol.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't consider myself an idol. I don't consider anyone an idol, too far on a pedestal. But a role model is definitely a good thing.

Q. In a single word, how would you describe your game?

VENUS WILLIAMS: In a single word? Those are the good questions, but it's just like you don't think of that in everyday living.

Q. Would you consider "powerful" as one?

VENUS WILLIAMS: You could say that. Things have definitely changed over this Open. I've learned to take some pace off the ball, which I really was not good at before.

Q. How do you explain your loss yesterday to those two fairly old women in the doubles?

VENUS WILLIAMS: They knew what we were doing; we didn't. That's just all it was. Serena and I, we thought we were going to win, we were confident and all, but we just lacked the practice. We didn't practice for the doubles. It's just the last time we played doubles and we did so well, we just thought we were going to hold down, I guess. We learned from our mistakes, so we're going to pull it together. The girls, they knew how to play doubles. We really didn't know how. Definitely after yesterday's loss -- I didn't think I would do bad in the singles. I knew that I just don't know how to play doubles that well. That's all that was. We could play, but.

Q. Venus, you seem very sort of non-plused by making it to the quarterfinals. Are you excited about this? Is this a big deal?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm excited, I have to stay calm and get ready for the next match. I'm going to play one of two players who are playing well. Testud is doing well this year, definitely has picked up her game. She's feeling confident. Habsudova, I don't know too much about her. She's in the Round of 16, so she's definitely been doing something.

Q. What is your favorite part of New York City? What have you enjoyed the most about New York, coming here?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Maybe when I go places, maybe all the restaurants. Good to eat somewhere different every day. When we go overseas, kind of scared to eat different foods. Finally got over it now. We would eat like Chinese every day in England and France. In England, we had fish and chips. Other than that, I mean, it's not the way I would have cooked it (laughter).

Q. Too greasy or not greasy enough?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It's just that it wasn't seasoned the way I would do it. I would have did it differently. Of course, I don't cook unless I'm forced to. There's a hunger strike going on, my mom won't cook. Doesn't take as much as it used to. I guess I don't cook because I don't want to clean.
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post #12 of 120 (permalink) Old Jun 18th, 2002, 04:39 PM
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1997 U.S. OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP

September 2, 1997

V. WILLIAMS/S. Testud

7-5, 7-5

An interview with:

VENUS WILLIAMS

Q. You were down 4-1 in the second and refused basically to give up the set. Talk about that.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I was actually about two breaks down so I really had to concentrate, hold serve and break back. So I just had to concentrate there and I proceeded to win four games in a row. Then she won her serve; then I held serve; then I broke serve. I guess, the second set summary. I really didn't want to go three sets. I thought it was definitely plausible that I could come back and win that one.

Q. How does it feel to be in the semifinals?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I feel pretty good. Actually I really don't know how it feels. I think after the tournament is gone I have to settle in. I just kind of feel like I have played five matches and here I am in the semifinals.

Q. The chin-up you did afterwards, running over to your mom, a little bit higher than you thought?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, because --

Q. Piece of cake?

VENUS WILLIAMS: With my arms up I am like, you know, couple more feet higher. So it kind of helped.

Q. You say you don't know how you feel. But the way you celebrated, your biggest smile, everything you did after the match finished, shows how you feel.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I mean, I am feeling very happy. But, it is definitely a great accomplishment for my first Open.

Q. Does this far surpass what your goals were coming in? What were your goals coming in?

VENUS WILLIAMS: My goal coming in was not to lose one bead during a match. (laughter) So I definitely didn't meet my goal and I am kind of upset on that. I am going to work harder in the next tournament.

Q. Is that an omen now that you lost?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't believe in omens, so that just definitely isn't a thing.

Q. You seemed to take a lot off your serve to go for some placement. Can you talk about that maybe slowing it down a little bit, serving really well?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I just wanted to mix it up, because a lot of times I could put in a lot of big serves and the girl can get into a rhythm blocking them back, which is simple to do at times. Sometimes she wasn't handling the spin that well. And I can put a lot of spin on a serve, so it is good to mix it up, see something different every time.

Q. Can you describe what it is about your game that forces more experienced players to get nervous, sometimes tense up and get out of their games?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. I think you would have to ask them, more or less. I really don't know what they are feeling out there.

Q. We have asked them. They don't seem to know. Maybe you have an idea.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I don't know. I really haven't even thought about that. I mostly kind of just concentrate with my game, what I am going to work on during the match, during practice. So, I am not really thinking about what the other player is thinking. Sometimes it is important. You might notice that the player is tired or they are nervous, but, more or less, I am concentrating on what I am doing.

Q. Did you notice that at all tonight or at all during this tournament?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think she was a little bit nervous, always taking a lot of deep breaths. I, too, was taking deep breaths, which calms you down. But, I think that she does that a lot during her matches. So, it is kind of a regimen for her to do it between every point.

Q. Have you felt yourself getting better match to match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Actually, this match, I don't think I played as well. I think my best match was my third round match. I want to get back up to that level, but I definitely think I am playing okay. I have been playing pretty good.

Q. Do you think you're thinking your way through the matches better?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Much better than I have in the past.

Q. Have you been speaking everyday to your father and do you expect him to come for the weekend?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I have been speaking everyday to him, yeah, I have. When is the semifinals match? Is it Thursday?

Q. Friday.

VENUS WILLIAMS: So I have three days. I thought it would be Thursday.

Q. What are you going to do the next couple days?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I am going to eat (laughter).

Q. Fish and chips?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. Not fish and chips, come on. I am going to eat at the same places I do every time. I can eat somewhere -- I can eat the same thing for like a month. It is weird. I don't know. But, I am not going to do too much. My mom wants to see the Statue of Liberty, so we might do that. But, I don't know. It is kind of a job. It's a great job, of course, that I have, so I kind of concentrate on the job that I am doing and just try to do a lot of resting; not too much walking, because walking can be tiring around the city.

Q. Have you seen much of New York?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Not really. We live like in a crowded area. All New York is crowded, of course, but super crowded over by the Times Square, all types of things going on. So, I am really not going out as much now.

Q. They are recognizing you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, and I don't really want to stop in the street, really. I really don't want to say no because I am really not a mean person, but I don't want to leave that impression not signing autographs....

Q. You say you don't think too much about the opponents when you go into a match. Is it your style to force the action no matter who the opponent is? And can you describe how you do that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: To force the action. What action?

Q. To force the other player into mistakes.

VENUS WILLIAMS: It used to be the time when the other person forced the mistake. And I was not quite able to understand that I didn't have to go for winners or I didn't have to always just expect to hit a winner. And, fortunately enough, I was able to understand this and in a small amount of time. A lot of people, it takes them years. And, it could have been four years later when I was 21. I would still be pretty young. But it is a long time in tennis so, I have been able to understand more or -- a lot quicker than a lot of people. And I am pretty happy about that.

Q. Was there a particular match or instance that convinced you have that -- that flashed that in your mind that you can do that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Flash what?

Q. That you should mix it up a little bit, not just go for winners?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think it was third-round match actually. I never -- before that I really never took too much pace off the ball, a lot of hard balls and in that match, I think I just started doing it in practice automatically. Mostly because Serena does it quite a lot. She will take the pace off the ball and place it. I was not good at that. I kind of looked at her and learned it. It took me a while because she just takes advantage of me taking the pace off the ball and I had to learn -- I think I learned it from her.

Q. In practicing for your third round match here?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, it just clicked. Some things happen like that.

Q. A lot of people wouldn't try new things in the middle of a tournament. They would wait until they got out of the tournament and maybe try something weeks or months later. Can you talk about being confident enough to try something new right away?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Because it works and it is really not too big of a change. Change your game little bit, take some pace off the ball a little bit, makes sometimes your job a little bit easier. And, it wasn't something extremely drastic. Sometimes changing your toss can be drastic, or getting a deeper knee bend. It just kind of -- you have to change your timing, so something like that is drastic and is something I would wait on. But, taking the pace off the ball, placing it, I have been working on that and I wasn't able to get it too good. It just wasn't part of my game in the past.

Q. Can you share with us why your father didn't come this time and why he hasn't come to the Slams? Is there a strategy behind that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: You will have to ask my mom. I really don't want to answer that question. Just like fatigued of answering it, you know?

Q. No matter what happens in this tournament, from here on in, it is obviously going to be remembered as the tournament where you arrived and carved your name on a wall. Has it been fun to be the surprise of the tournament, to surprise people? I know you are not surprised, but has it been fun to be that surprise?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, actually, it has been because a lot of people weren't quite sure about my game, I suppose. Because, obviously, I hadn't played that well in tournaments. I wasn't playing well when it came to matches. I wasn't playing as well as I could and I wasn't playing good matches, so people would say that Venus is a questionmark. They had the right to think that, I suppose. But I always knew that I could play well. So this is definitely probably a turning stone for other people.

Q. You know that now you won't be able to take people quite so much by surprise from here on in?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, it really doesn't really matter to me. I am going to have to concentrate on my game more than what the person is thinking.

Q. Before you were talking about the change in your strategy, taking pace, mixing it up. Can you describe the results that you have gotten with that and what you have seen, the effect on the opponent, and how maybe you have gained confidence in that strategy?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I don't have to -- I didn't feel as pressured to just hit a lot of great shots, to hit them on the line. I saw once I was getting them in play a lot of times, not slow balls, but just deep, well-placed, then it puts pressure on the other girl, on my opponent to do something better and that is the game that I really hadn't played before. So, it is definitely is working.

Q. Is Serena happy that you are able to now use her own weapons against her?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I can't use it too well against Serena. Serena -- there is fast and very fast and too fast for your own good health and she is on that level.

Q. Who wins between the two of you the most?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Right now we haven't played in a long time. But it definitely will be extremely close. We almost played actually in one tournament, but it didn't happen. Almost played in the first round, but it just didn't happen.

Q. What is going to happen when you guys have to compete against one another?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It is just going to be throat-to-throat, I guess. We both -- we have already discussed this and we said, you know, Serena says: "I am going to try to take you out." I say, "Serena, I am going to have to get you, too." So we definitely discussed it. We both are going to try to win when we play each other.

Q. What was it you were handing out to the crowd after the match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It was my beads. They fell out.

Q. They fell off?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. They fell off, so I just gave them away.

Q. Not on the court?

VENUS WILLIAMS: They fell off on the court.

Q. While you were playing?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah.

Q. Isn't that kind of dangerous if you could step on it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. They were so little. Thanks
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post #13 of 120 (permalink) Old Jun 18th, 2002, 04:43 PM
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1997 U.S. OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP

September 5, 1997

V. WILLIAMS/I. Spirlea

7-6(5), 4-6, 7-6(7)

An interview with:

VENUS WILLIAMS

Q. How does it feel, Venus?

VENUS WILLIAMS: When I first won, it was like I was so happy because it was a long match, we both worked so hard for it. Luckily, I came out the winner. I was really happy. I'm pretty happy now. I'm just getting over it, so. Just moving on, moving on.

Q. Did you think coming into the US Open that you had a chance to win it or even get to the final?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I'm really not sure what I thought. I mean, it's so long ago. I just wanted to come here and play well and play like I could. And today, I think I played much better. Not much better, but it's just that I was playing much more what I practice on. I was coming to the net more instead of camping out at the baseline, just holding camp. I came to the net much more. That's really something I wanted to do. If you can't do it in the big matches. I need to do that, especially with my height. I have good volleys. It's not like I didn't have any. So I was just happy about that.

Q. 4-3 in the second set, at the changeover chair, you and Spirlea bumped into each other. She was pretty upset about it when she was in here, put the blame on you for the collision. What was your view of it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I mean, I'm not having any injuries from that bump (laughter). I think we just both weren't looking. I think we both were just concentrating on trying to stay in the match and trying to win the match. I mean, I really wasn't even thinking about that. So I'm sorry she feels that way. It's not really a big thing to me.

Q. Anybody say, "Excuse me"?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, no. No one said, "Excuse me."

Q. Venus, in the third game of the third set, you double-faulted three times. You faced breakpoints. Do you recall that as a low point? Were you a little tired perhaps mentally and physically at that stage?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I wasn't tired. I think that maybe I was letting down a little bit. I said, "I just can't keep losing serve like this." So I just held strong.

Q. But it was a let down point?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, yeah, definitely. And plus, like the wind was blowing my toss around. I didn't bother to retoss it up again. I should have done that. I should have just threw up another toss.

Q. Venus, you were consulting notes on changeovers. Was that match strategy or something else?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. Those are just reminders, bend your knees, someone tells me to do that. Sometimes I tend to strike a little bit flat. So I just write, "Get under the ball." Things like that. Little reminders. Plus most of all just keeps you focused on the match. In the past, I had a problem with staying focused.

Q. Venus, did you get a chance to call your dad after the match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, no, I wanted to. I just didn't have a chance to. I was going to.

Q. On TV you said the match was like a dream. What's been the sweetest part of the dream?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, it was, because, it was really a tough match, she had two match points. Somehow she just didn't win them. Somehow I didn't let her win them. Whatever way you want to look at it. I just came through. I'm going to have to evaluate these things after I leave the tennis center.

Q. What were you saying when you were match point down? What were you saying to yourself?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, actually, what I -- no, wait.

Q. We won't tell anyone.

VENUS WILLIAMS: You'll just write it, right? Won't tell, though.

Q. Was this the best match you ever played? Let her answer the question. Wait, wait.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I guess I was thinking about going home. I said, "This is not the right thing, Venus." I had to hold strong. She didn't put in a real big first serve. It wasn't like well placed. It just gave me a chance to get it back. I had to push those thoughts out of the way. "Venus, this isn't right. It's not over. She has to win a point to get the match." So I just stayed in there.

Q. What do you think about your chances against Hingis?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I definitely think they're pretty good. I think I'm just going to go out there and play a match, just like I played today, just like I played the other days. She's going to do the same thing. You got to go out there and beat the person before you have the title. That's the way it is.

Q. Would you say that like a high-jumper, you won by half an inch? You raised one match point with your ball going on the line?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm not understanding your question.

Q. I said, do you think you won because of half an inch, just because one ball of yours on match point went on the line?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No.

Q. At the right moment?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I don't think I won by half an inch. No, no.

Q. Venus, ever since you were a little girl, I should say, and not playing the juniors, people have been wondering about you and waiting to see just how good you are. Do you feel likee right now you've shown that You've said everybody has to worry about themselves. Do you feel at this point that you've shown everybody just how good you are?

VENUS WILLIAMS: In the past, I really didn't worry about what other people thought because it was important what I thought, what my family thought. So I really didn't focus on that. Everyone has their own opinion. They're going to have it. I'm not going to change it. So I definitely knew that one day people would see, and I would just -- it would just be a little bit of time. I hadn't played that much. So, I guess this is just a great tournament for me. Maybe a fraction of the talk will stop.

Q. Do you feel a little bit better, though, about your chances against Martina compared to the first two times you played her? You have more experience since then.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. The first two times -- I mean, the first time I played okay. I didn't play that well. I wasn't able to just stay in there. She definitely played well. She didn't try to give me any points. The second time, I just gave it away. It was just giving. It was giving. It was her match to take. I don't blame her for taking it if I was going to give it.

Q. Did you realize, Venus, during the last tiebreak in the third set the support was given to you by the former Mayor of New York, Mr. David Dinkins, that was standing and trying to encourage you when you were 2-4 down?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. Because, like, in my other matches, I would hear somebody behind me in that same area saying, "Break time, break time," things like that. Finally I looked up. Guess who it was? Dinkins. I was like, "Oh, my God." I finally figured out who it was. I would just hear the same, "Break time." I would say, "Yeah, yeah." I looked up today. "I'm going to figure out who this is."

Q. You had these two tiebreakers. If you hadn't been able to win, people might say, "She's not match tough, she hasn't put the years in on the junior circuit, she's not match tough mentally." Where do you get this from? Where do you have that if you haven't played as many matches?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think there's a lot of myths floating around. When I'm in practice, especially the last three, four weeks before the tournament, two or three weeks, whatever it was, I tried to stay focused in the match because a lot of times I wasn't doing that. I think a lot of people believe you have to be match tough and things like that. You just have to know how to play and you have to believe that you can do it. You just have to go out there and do it. So some people, they might need to be match tough. For others, I don't know. But I do agree that you have to play a little bit. I haven't had to play that much because I can tell you, like a year ago, like when I first started playing, I looked back and said, "I didn't know what to do." I just didn't know. But it hasn't taken me long to learn. Hasn't taken me many matches. A lot of people, it depends on who you are, how you look at it maybe.

Q. Your dad didn't want you to come here. Now you're in the Finals. Is that at the end of the story? You won the argument?

VENUS WILLIAMS: He didn't really want me to come, but I convinced him that I needed to be here, just like the Thursday four days before I left. So I got my practice in, worked hard, even though it was super hot and horrible. I'm glad I'm here. He's glad. It's not like I'm going to go and say, "I was right." He's not going to say, "I was wrong." Doesn't really matter.

Q. Why is your dad at home? Why did he stay home?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I answer that question like every time. I don't want to answer it anymore.

Q. I'm from Africa. Venus, do you realize what you've done for Africa today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I don't.

Q. I'm telling you, my dear, you've done Africa proud. We'd love to see you in the finals.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'd love to see that, too.

Q. There's talk of waning tennis in the United States. Can you single-handedly pull together a new generation?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't think about those things when I play. I don't think about pulling tennis together, holding women's tennis up, whatever. That's your job. You guys say that. That's your job. It's not mine to think about. You guys are supposed to write it, make people interested. I'll leave it to you.

Q. No pressure or anything?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I play for myself.

Q. I meant on us.

VENUS WILLIAMS: It's your job.

Q. Does Hingis, her game, her record, anything about her scare you or intimidate you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I've never been that type of person who is like scared, fearful. I can't let that hold me back. I won't. This is a chance of a lifetime, a tournament of a lifetime. I've done well. I wouldn't be angry if I didn't win. But I'm not going to go out there and be afraid, because fear holds you back. I won't let it happen.

Q. How much did you enjoy the pressure, the attention, the excitement of the late parts of this match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I was just out there playing every point. I'm not the kind of player that looks back and remembers, "Oh, man, I could have closed it out," stuff like that. At one point it was actually 4-3, I was going to break. I thought it was 3-2. I looked up, said, "Oh, my God, it's 4-3." I thought it was 3-2.

Q. (Inaudible).

VENUS WILLIAMS: Irina, no. The first set, her forehand, she wasn't hitting. She was just playing, it was landing inside the service box, gave me a chance to attack it. Second and third set, she got out there and started striking it. On her slice, she'd have all that power.

Q. Venus, what are your favorite memories, one or two, from when you first started to play the game of tennis when you were very young?

VENUS WILLIAMS: My, I don't know. I don't think about that every day, so. What can I say? The first time I played a junior match, I was playing the 10. I was playing in a satellite. I was ready to play. Then I got a default. I was so sad, I think I started crying. I was like nine. Then everyone else realized how sad I was. My older sister started teasing and -- I don't know what they said. They started teasing me. I was so sad.

Q. Are any of your other siblings here?

VENUS WILLIAMS: My sister Serena is here and my other two sisters from DC, they came up on the weekends for two weekends. Now they're going to come up again to see the Finals.

Q. Most of the match, or all the match, you displayed a very mature composure. Could you likely tell us who advised you about that? Where did you learn it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. I think it's just the way I am. A lot of players are cool and composed. Some players are fiery and angry. It's just me, I guess. I mean, a lot of times, like in the past, if I won a point or a game, I would start smiling. Kind of got unfocused. I had to quit the smiling for this moment now. Maybe in the future I can start doing that some more. Focused people come back on you. I don't know what hit me. In the future, I'll start smiling more. I did it like three tournaments ago. It wasn't working for me. I'd get unfocused. Now I keep my straight face.

Q. You said earlier it's not a good idea to dropshot you, because you're going to get those shots. Spirlea tried time and again. Were you surprised at that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: She must not have heard me say it, I guess (laughter). I mean, I'm going to get the dropshot, that's all there is to it. I love people that hit dropshots on me.

Q. You have yet to win a set off of Martina Hingis. How different do you think you are from then and what will you do differently?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I've learned a lot of things in this Open. I've learned to put more balls in play, not to go for winners so prematurely, not to rush things. I've learned a lot of things. Things are different. Doesn't matter, I'm going to be ready.

Q. The reality of you in the US Open, has that fully sunk in yet or does that come later on tonight?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Maybe later on tonight.

Q. Venus, do you feel that Althea Gibson may have had some influence on your playing the game or wanting to play the game in any way?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I answered a question similar to this earlier this week. I said earlier that it's mostly something intangible.

Q. I must say, keep up the good work.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Thank you.

Q. Where do you get the inspiration?

VENUS WILLIAMS: From God.
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post #14 of 120 (permalink) Old Jun 18th, 2002, 04:45 PM
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1997 U.S. OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP

September 7, 1997

M. HINGIS/V. Williams

6-0, 6-4

An interview with:

VENUS WILLIAMS

Q. How do you feel?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Feel good. Thank you.

Q. Pardon me?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Good.

Q. Glad to hear that. Were there any nerves, Venus, at the beginning of the match, on your part?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, probably so. I think so. I think it's natural to be nervous in a situation like that.

Q. What happened? What happened out there?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I went out there. Lost first set 6-0. Second 6-4. Then awards ceremony.

Q. I don't mean it like that. What were you thinking to yourself after the first set, mentally?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I just felt that I should have pulled my game together, maybe slow it down, do something a little bit different.

Q. Have you figured out how to beat her the next time?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I just think I'll probably have to play a little better, be a little bit more consistent, cut down my number of unforced errors a little bit.

Q. What makes Martina so tough?

VENUS WILLIAMS: She's an all-around player. She's consistent. She has a lot of shots. She's doing real good this year.

Q. What could you learn from this day?

VENUS WILLIAMS: A lot of things, but I really haven't even thought about that right now.

Q. The Associated Press this morning quoted your father as saying that the incident with Irina Spirlea was racially motivated. Does your father reflect your thoughts on that? Do you have thoughts on that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I mean, I didn't even read the paper.

Q. Venus, on opening night, Arthur Ashe's widow said the most important message that Arthur Ashe had was inclusion of all people into the sport. Could you take a moment and say whether that is of importance to you and something that you'd like to achieve now and over your years?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I mean, if someone wants to play the sport, they shouldn't be put out because of their race or religion, social status. That really is part of the American belief. It really should be part of the world's belief. I definitely think that is something representative of Arthur Ashe.

Q. Venus, the first game of the match, you were up 30-Love and 40-15. You looked very, very solid. Then you had four unforced errors. I hate to say it, but was that an early turning point in the match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, probably. Yeah.

Q. Do you want to elaborate a little bit?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes. It was a turning point in the match.

Q. Are you surprised that there were so many unforced errors?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I wasn't surprised. It was kind of maybe one of my weaknesses, maybe one of my only weaknesses, I will start hitting unforced errors. That's something I cut down a lot on in this tournament. I really improved on that. I'm just going to have to keep working hard. I'm one of the players who will just start doing that at times. Maybe in the future, six months from now, that will be something that will pass. I'm just going to have to keep working on that.

Q. Was some of that nervousness?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I think that maybe I just thought I had to do too much, maybe I wanted to end points a little bit quicker. Sometimes I'll tend to play like that.

Q. When you played at Filderstadt in a few weeks?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Am I?

Q. You're scheduled to play. Are you going to play that tournament?

VENUS WILLIAMS: If things go well, yeah.

Q. Venus, was the whole two-week experience what you anticipated, what you thought it might be like, or did anything catch you by surprise, either negatively or positively?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I mean, I never spent two weeks at a tournament. I really didn't imagine anything about it. I mean, everyone has their own ideas, but I wouldn't have imagined a lot of things that happened.

Q. Venus, what were you proudest of today? Your ability to come back in the second set after the first set doesn't go at all the way you want it to?

VENUS WILLIAMS: That's just like too early to answer. I haven't even had time to think about it.

Q. Venus, after you broke back in the second set, you were tied 4-4, up 30-Love on your serve, you double-faulted, had a few unforced errors. Were you thinking ahead at that point?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Probably just a little bit, yeah.

Q. What were you thinking?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think everyone thinks ahead. It's just natural.

Q. Venus, the few moments leading to the time you go on court, very important for every player. Happened to be next court to you when you were warming up. Were you happy with your routine to go on court?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes.

Q. The first day of the tournament, Venus, you said your goal was to play the entire tournament without losing a bead. How did we do during the tournament?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I lost some beads in the quarterfinals, so I did not fulfill my goal. That's what obsessed me most of all. I was in tears. I'll have to work harder next time.

Q. You said on CBS just now that that was it for the year, you wouldn't be playing anymore. Now you just said you might play Filderstadt.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I never said that.

Q. What did you never say?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I said that I entered all the tournaments I was going to enter this year. The tournaments that I've entered, those are going to the tournament I'm going to enter this year.

Q. Venus, what's going to happen, do you think, in the next year or so with your coaching? Do you think it's going to continue with your father?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes.

Q. Is there a chance that Rick Maci might get involved again? What's going on?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I have a good coach right now. I don't see any need to change. I think that all the coaching thing needs to stop because, as you could see, I made it to the Finals. I did okay. My coach is very competent. My mother's very competent. My dad is competent. They know the game. So I think the criticism and things like that has to stop because people are taking it a little bit too far and it's not part of your life. You guys are getting overly involved.

Q. Do you think it's the fact that you are so confident, when you're confident, sometimes folks feel that you are arrogant?

VENUS WILLIAMS: That my coach feels that?

Q. No. I'm saying it seems to like some degree the press here in New York City has to some degree said you are somewhat arrogant.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Everybody has their own feelings, the way they see things.

Q. I'm saying, is it confidence, does it have to do with the fact that you're an African American?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think it has something to do with people are finding something to pick with.

Q. Do you have any friends among the girls on The Tour?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, Serena. I'm not really on The Tour hardly.

Q. Do you feel like they ambushed you yesterday on CBS?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I didn't feel that way. I never knew it happened. It was weird. Didn't ambush me, I don't think.

Q. Did you talk to Althea Gibson at all during these two weeks?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I have not.

Q. Venus, when you lose the first set 6-Love, is there ever a feeling or a wonder, "Gosh, am I ever going to get another game"? Is it that sort of feeling? Or is it a hacker's feeling on my part, do you wonder if you're going to get anything?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I was just trying to think of what I could do to get in the match, what I could change, what I was doing wrong. That's basically all.

Q. Did you have a sense that the crowd was behind you, was helping you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Definitely, they were, since the first point. They were there.

Q. If there were one thing you could change about either how you prepared for the match or the match itself, what would that be?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I generally don't even think of things like that. There's nothing I can change.

Q. Venus, the only two matches Hingis lost this year were the two big hitters, Majoli and Davenport. Is it possible to out steady here or do you have to have to blow her off the court?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think whatever game you have, you just have to go out there and play your game. You don't have to have a power game or soft game. So just have to play well, that's all.

Q. Your father is also quoted by the Associated Press by saying you have experienced racism on The Tour. Could you comment on that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I really -- I don't think that's even part of it right now. I don't want to answer that question.

Q. Venus, are you disagreeing with your father then? Because he has definitely charged that there's racism. He told the bumping was a racist incident, the whole attitude here, racism. Are you disagreeing with that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think with this moment in the first year in Arthur Ashe Stadium, it all represents everyone being together, everyone being -- having a chance to play. So I think this is definitely ruining the mood, these questions about racism.

Q. Your father didn't have to comment yesterday.

VENUS WILLIAMS: You didn't have to bring it up.

Q. Yes, I did. Excuse me, who brought it up?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I said that how many times?

Q. Don't worry about it. That's exactly what you're trying to do right now.
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post #15 of 120 (permalink) Old Jun 18th, 2002, 07:39 PM
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1998 STATE FARM EVERT CUP

INDIAN WELLS, CALIFORNIA


March 10, 1998



VENUS WILLIAMS/D. Van Roost

6-4, 6-1


An interview with:


VENUS WILLIAMS



Q. She had a little run at you in the first set. Did you worry at all?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I knew that -- I went up 4-Love. I think she was making errors. I was playing aggressively. I was attacking the second serves. But then when I got up 4-Love, she began to hit a lot more balls very deep, whereas I couldn't attack her as much as I would have liked to. She began to play much better. I lost serve twice. At 4-All was my serve, so I really felt comfortable because I have a pretty good serve these days. I was pretty confident the whole time.



Q. What about the second set, Venus? You kind of rolled over her. Looks like she got a little frustrated.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I've seen her play before. I know she's the type of player that doesn't give up. I was very confident in the second set. I always am, especially after I win the first one. I felt I had nothing to lose. I was winning. I just played like -- that was it.



Q. Are you starting to feel the pressure of the celebrity -- being a celebrity?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No.



Q. A lot of little girls waiting for autographs, always one more to sign, no matter how many you sign.

VENUS WILLIAMS: That is true. If you don't sign one, someone always gets the misunderstanding that, "She doesn't have time for her fans." It's not like that. I don't think people understand to what degree you have to be patient. People always want pictures, autographs. I understand that because I probably would want one, too. Sometimes there's only so much one person can do. If people don't understand that, you can't always give everyone autographs all the time. But I think I have to look at that levelheaded. Everyone is going to understand, I suppose. If they don't, then people can't live and breathe for me. I have to do that of the -- I have to be happy.



Q. Venus, are you pretty psyched up for your doubles match? It's a nice match-up between four of the youngest great players on the Tour. Should be a lot of fun?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm excited for every doubles match. I love playing doubles with Serena. No matter what, we always have fun. Whenever we get too serious, we say to each other, "Do you remember last year when we were playing at Indian Wells, we were losing, we were no good. How we laughed even though we were losing?" I'm like, "Serena, how come we're not having fun now?" That's what we say. No matter what, we have fun.



Q. Do you have some fond memories of this place last year? You had that great match with Lindsay Davenport? Is that important? Do you remember those things?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Definitely. How could I forget? I have all types of great memories from last year, Serena and I together. We had lots of fun, especially.
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