Vee's post match interview
a POST-MATCH interview with: Venus Wiliams
Venus Williams defeated Conchita Martinez
2-6, 6-2, 6-1
Sunday, April 18, 2004
AMY BINDER: Questions for your 2004 Family Circle Cup Champion.
Q. Well, you did it. You broke the drought. Are we going to see you run on like Henin-Hardenne did last year?
VENUS WILLIAMS: That's what I'd love to do. I really just had a wonderful tournament and I'm so excited.
Q. How gratifying is it to do this your first trip here?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I didn't even think of that until they said it out there. I was like, oh, that's not bad. It's not bad. It's such a huge event and such great players, and Conchita's been in this final so many times and won it a couple times, and you know that she's an expert at what she does, so there are a lot of factors in there that make me feel good.
Q. What would you say you did differently the last two sets adjustment wise than you did in the first?
VENUS WILLIAMS: The first set I wasn't moving forward enough, and I just really was making too many mistakes, and just that second set from the first point I wanted to turn it around, and I really just started moving in and coming to the net. And actually when I was coming in, I felt really good up there, so I didn't stop. I just kept it going.
Q. Still trying to come back from injury, how gratifying is it to win for the first time in a while?
VENUS WILLIAMS: It's nice because it's been really difficult for me and challenging, and even this week with injuries, and it's just been really rewarding to have this title under my belt.
Q. Venus, you've mentioned twice this week how great the crowd was to you, and you made it sound like this has been unique for you. Can you describe what's been so different that you made a point of talking about that?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Everybody has been so wonderful. Everyone has been such a huge fan. I've never played in front of such a crowd that was so supportive of me.
Q. Venus, what are the crowds usually like, and what's the support usually like at other places you go?
VENUS WILLIAMS: A lot of times I can be playing somewhere and it's right in the United States, and I can be playing someone who I don't even know how to pronounce her name, and you know, the crowd is very much rooting for the other player, so for me it's very unusual to come to a place and really everyone is just showing a lot of support.
Q. Do you think part of that might be because they want to see a longer match or --
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know.
Q. -- maybe want to see a three-set match?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I have no idea.
Q. When you're in a crowd like that, what keeps you going and motivated and sticking with it?
VENUS WILLIAMS: All the advice I'm getting from the fans. You mean like this crowd?
Q. Well, no. When it's not like this, when you don't have the support and you're out there, and you know, it's pretty much you. I mean is your family in the audience or --
VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm so focused, and I'm so pretty well trained. So that really does it for me.
Q. Venus, are you 100 percent back, or you know, if you're not, what percent are you would you say right now?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I couldn't even name a percentage on it. I think there's a lot of points where I've played really well, and I think there are some points where I've played, you know, below what I'd like to be at. I think right now it's just going to be very important for me to stay on an even plane and play each point very consistently and very Venus.
Q. Yesterday you increased your service speed and the amount of times you attacked the net as the match went on and today you did it the same way. Were you it working into your game as you went along through the match and decided to come to the net more because of it?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't actually get to see the stats a lot, but I do realize when I do come in a lot. With the service speed I'm not always paying as much attention to because I'm more or less thinking about placement, and sometimes when they're coming big, it's just that they're coming big.
Q. Well, yesterday one thing I noticed was that you were serving second serves in the 90s, which probably made you feel very comfortable with where you were in the second set and that you were going to win that one, but also that you were trying to use part of your game that is important for you to step up and be in the top tier. Is that what you feel like you have to do with your second serve is to get it in the high 80s and 90s?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I definitely think so. I don't like to see any of my second serves in the 70s. I like to make my second serve an asset instead of a liability, so this week has actually been a very good week for my whole serve and my whole second serve also.
Q. How much of that was mental after that first set the way you really came storming back?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I just was so disappointed that I had given away the first set, and it was just really disappointing for me. I wanted to at least contest the match and not give it all away. So that second set I just wanted to make sure I lifted my game and be proud of what I was doing out there.
Q. And you did that all week, I thought. You surged. As your opponent's game got slower, a step slower, your speed of the pace on the ball you were sending back over the net quickened, and I was wondering if that's your secret weapon. As your opponent wore down, it was almost you got more powerful, and even today in I think it was the second set you were up 3-0 and your grunts got louder, you were setting up earlier and you were just teeing off on the ball.
VENUS WILLIAMS: She's a good player and she changed her game plan throughout the match. Sometimes she'd hit harder and sometimes she slowed it up and hit the moon balls, and I think what was key for me was not to rush and to definitely play my game and to try to move forward. Any time I started rushing I started missing a few, so...
Q. Venus, do you think American tennis fans are less prone to think about who's from their country when they pick who to root for than other fans from other countries do?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. I definitely think so. We aren't -- I think the difference is that we have so many stars in this country, whereas, if you go to a smaller country, they've got one or two or three stars and they're always on that side of that. So we're spoiled here with famous people and achievers.
Q. So Venus, are you going to take Serena out to dinner or anything for suggesting that you come here?
VENUS WILLIAMS: She's taking me out to dinner.
Q. Did you rub it in at all like my kids would have done because she hadn't won and then you won in your first time. My kids would be going at it right now.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, no. No. Your kids need to talk to Serena and I. Not at all.
Q. One other question. Your father and you are very close, again, at an age when most people are growing apart. Why are you so close to your father would you say?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think because we were really raised to be close as a family is the first part. And the second part is you only get one dad, and you know, if your dad makes mistakes or if I make mistakes, that couldn't get in the way of any relationship that I have. It's just like, what's that song, it's too late when you die or something like that. Remember that one? To admit you don't see eye to eye.
Q. "The Living Years" by Mike and The Mechanics.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Not that it's all like that. So if he tells me to bend my knees, I don't like get upset.
Q. Can you talk to my son?
Q. You're not going to rub it in just a little to Serena?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No. In fact, she congratulated me, and she really just helped me out there to be able to win that match.
Q. Venus, I'm curious, I'm told that you've been getting these gifts, I've been asking you. Can I get anything any opinion on what you've been getting?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I got a bracelet today with sapphires. I think it was white gold, and yesterday I think I got a DVD player, portable. And then I got a basket of body products, like oils and things like that, and I got a purse and I got a watch. What else did I get? I got two purses actually. I don't remember the other things.
Q. Is this the kind of thing normally that happens on the WTA Tour?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No. No, not at all. I think the bracelet was saved for the finals, for the last two players possibly. But no. It was very nice.
Q. So is it safe to say this is in your experience the best tournament that gives gifts?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I like the tournament because I like it. Even if they gave me gifts, if I didn't like the event, I wouldn't come back. I like it here because it's a great place.
Q. Safe to say you're coming back?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm coming back.
Q. Venus, you heard about what happened with Patty Schnyder and Martinez yesterday in their match?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No. What happened?
Q. Schnyder thought that she was taking too long between points trying to retrieve the ball that she'd used to win a service point. Did you notice her taking any extra time out there today? It didn't seem to bother you, but did you notice it at all?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think she took more time than -- she took the allotted time and she never went to -- she never got a time warning during the play, so if you're not getting warnings, then it's all legal.
Q. Does that affect your play at all? I noticed you were out there first. All week you've been out there early just waiting, and you seemed to focus and wait patiently. How does that affect you?
VENUS WILLIAMS: It's fine. My mom told me never be second. Be first. Be ready. Be the first one.
Q. She did. Why?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Because you don't want to be the -- what did she call it, end tails or musset.
Q. The hind part. You don't want to be the hind part?
VENUS WILLIAMS: My grandmother said that. You don't want to be the last one.
END OF INTERVIEW