VENUS Interview - Girl thinks too much for her own good
She is becoming more and more introspective
V. Williams - Day 4
Thursday, June 23, 2005
Q. How would you describe your game today?
VENUS WILLIAMS: It was a good game. I got to hit a lot of balls. It was good.
Q. Was it difficult? Were you struggling the first set?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I was up in the first set, but then I felt like I couldn't control my backhand that much. I tried to rely on, you know, the things that my dad has told me to try to pull it back together.
Q. Looked like you were angry at one stage.
VENUS WILLIAMS: I was just competing.
Q. Do you like playing out on that court?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, yeah. I played on that court quite a lot.
Q. Would you say that Love‑40 at 4‑All in the first set, was the turning point of the match for you?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Was I down Love‑40?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh (smiling). I just wanted to win one point at a time and take my time. I just felt like I was probably rushing a little bit because she was retrieving a lot of balls, not really making too many errors. So I felt like I needed to take my time and try to move forward.
Q. At that point you looked as vulnerable as you did at any stage in the match.
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think probably I was just a little disappointed. I probably had made some errors to get to that point. But I really wanted to hold serve.
Q. Are you coming in more than you have in the past?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I feel like I was coming in a lot today, sometimes getting passed a few times. That's all right. I even felt like serve and volleying, but not on the sunny side. It was kind of hard to recover after looking in the sun, so I needed to stay at the baseline to have extra time to adjust my eyes.
Q. Did you serve and volley?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, yeah, a few times.
Q. Given all the Grand Slams that you've appeared in, at this point in your career, how much importance do you put on your appearance here right now?
VENUS WILLIAMS: It's only a handful of time I'm going to get to play Wimbledon in my life. I just always enjoy it, try to play my best and, of course, try to get the best result.
Q. Is there anything added for this particular appearance at this stage in your career?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No. It's not good to think too much. Nothing super special.
Q. When you look behind yourself, do you think you did all ready a lot, enough? What's your opinion?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I always never thought I did enough, or, you now, even if I was like doing great things. I always thought like, "Wow, I just didn't play well at all." I was never feeling like I was playing my best. I, of course, continue to feel like that.
I think there comes a point when you have to understand that sometimes you make mistakes, but most of the time you won't.
Q. Do you think the problem is maybe you're too smart or too cleaver, you think too much?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I hope I can get a little smarter actually. That's the thing.
Q. How important is it for your career, though, to have another big win to show you're up there competing?
VENUS WILLIAMS: To show?
Q. To show that you're up there and competing.
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't have anything to show at all. That's not even the way I think. I'm not out here trying to prove anything to anyone. If that were the case then ‑‑ no, that's not even the way I live.
Q. What is the way you live? Are you trying to prove to other people or to yourself that you can do it again?
VENUS WILLIAMS: My whole thing is I have to do me, and that's all.
Q. Is it fair to say this is a comeback or you're never been away anyway?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know (laughter).
Q. Do you think your best days at Wimbledon are in the past or in the future?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think definitely the future, especially as I continue to move forward and come to the net.
Q. Speaking of moving forward, I see you're playing mixed doubles with Mark Knowles. How did that all come about?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Because I love playing doubles and I love playing mixed. I just haven't been that healthy in the past, or Serena hasn't been healthy. I couldn't have played at Australia because I was a little shaky still. But finally I'm starting to feel decent.
So now I'm like I'm thinking I can play. He's always asking me a little bit. I'm like, I don't know; I don't trust myself. I've got a little bit of this going on, a little bit of that. Finally this time I was like I think I can do it.
I think we're going to of course more than have fun, but I'm expecting him to carry the team, as I haven't played doubles in ages. I'll be the singles player on the doubles court, but I still have very good reflexes.
Q. Have you two actually ever worked out together?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No. We're planning on it. He hasn't called me (laughter).
Q. I'm sure he will now.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Hopefully.
Q. Have you practiced going into Wimbledon with him?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, not yet. Maybe tomorrow.
Q. Can you elaborate a little bit on the strategy of going to the net more, what the reasoning is and what's key for you to perform well at the net?
VENUS WILLIAMS: It's just, you know, if you're playing tennis like it's supposed to be played, on the short ones you move in, if it's in the air, you try to take it out of the air, just in the simplest terms.
For me I think it's good to move forward because I have the penetrating shots, a ton of reach at the net. But I think it's definitely the place to be.
Q. What is the importance of that strategic shift for you right now?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think no one wants to be attacked. No one likes that. No one wants to be on the court and know that you're going to move forward and attack and that they're going to be constantly under pressure to try to make a great shot.
I think, you know, if whoever's forcing the play usually is going to ‑‑ forcing and executing, obviously, is most likely going to be the victor.
Q. How did you come around to this new philosophy?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I've always believed in it (laughter). But what is it, "Faith without works is dead."
Q. You're only 24, but you've been playing tennis for a long time. When you're out there, like today, where are the moments when you feel joy in playing? What are the things that frustrate you?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I hate mistakes. That definitely holds me back a lot. I hate mistakes on the court and just life in general. Other than that, I always have fun. That's been my whole thing. Like my parents always told us to do, "Just enjoy it."
Q. Is it hitting a great backhand down the line? Is it making a volley? An overhead smash? Where are the places of joy for you now?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think just for me consistent play, just playing consistently, having lots of great points together that are very good points. I think that's a very ‑‑ motivating and inspiring. But in general I love my job. I love what I do. There's only a handful of people who can play Grand Slam tennis year after year. There's a lot of people who aspire to do it. I'm living the dream that lots of people want to do. I'm just really blessed. I loved it. Of course I'm going to take advantage of it the best I can.
Q. What do you mean when you say you hate mistakes in life?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I believe ‑‑ I live in a black and white. I think things are like either black or white. I don't really believe that much in the gray. I think that there's gray for a lot of people, but I don't live in the gray. I realize whatever action I have or take, it's going to have a consequence ‑ either good or bad. So I live my life in a way where I don't have bad consequences. I just notice there's a lot people around me just live in the gray.
I don't know, for me, I'm just really straightforward.
Q. Must make it hard work for you.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Not really. It's just like being reasonable. A lot of people can't accept the truth or don't want to see the truth or unable to, it just makes life hard. I think life is already kind of hard, so I don't want to get in the business of making it even tougher for myself because I'm just an idiot. That's how I feel. My mom is like that, too.
Q. As you progress to probably meet your sister, how do your interactions with Serena change as you get closer to playing one another, if they change at all?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Nothing changes. It all stays the same. For me, I'm just playing one match at a time here because that's all I can do. I think if you're thinking about, "Oh, fourth round. Oh, quarterfinals. Oh, I really want to win." You can't win until you win the last match. So for me it's like, "Okay, great, third round."
Q. In a day or two before you play your sister, is everything the same as it always is off the court?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, for sure. For sure. We just ‑‑ we keep it simple. And the thing is, like I've said so many times before, we're really living our dream. Like when we were growing up, training, practicing, battling, we always dreamed, "Yes, we'll be out there together. We'll be playing each other, of course, in finals." Even in this case, we'll be playing each other, we'll both be really great.
We always motivate each other to be our best. One of us ‑‑ we're always upset if the next one's not doing their best or not doing what they can do. I think in the end we just want equal for each other or maybe more for each other.
Q. Considering two years ago it was sort of a foregone conclusion you and Serena were going to play in the final here, how surprising is it to imagine now you're meeting in the fourth round?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I mean, it is what it is. Nothing more.