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?
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.
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?
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...
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?
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
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...
V. WILLIAMS/E. Dyrberg
4-6, 6-2, 6-1
An Interview With:
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:
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)
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
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.
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?
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.
Q. Can you see yourself having an event like this one?
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.