Venus Williams Semi-Final Interview
2002 HOME DEPOT CHAMPIONSHIPS
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA
November 10, 2002
Lost to Kim Clijsters, 5-0, Retired
Q. Can you go through what happened, how it happened?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Basically, I twisted my ankle during the match against Monica. At that point, I just twisted it and I kept going. There was no problem. I didn't really feel the affects until last night as I was sitting in bed and I realized my leg was hurting.
Q. Did it affect your calf as well?
VENUS WILLIAMS: It's not really the ankle. It's the calf muscle that it happened.
Q. Do you remember when you did it against Monica?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't remember when I did.
Q. Did you hit yesterday?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah.
Q. And you felt all right?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I felt fine. I felt fine. I had a really light practice yesterday, because I was tired from the match, and I hit, like, at 9:00. I got home at 12:00. I didn't move a lot, but a lot of times you twist your ankle and it doesn't show up until later.
Q. You said it's not really the ankle or the calf muscle. Which is it? Is it both?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Not a tendon.
Q. Is it the calf or the ankle?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Calf.
Q. Strained muscle in the calf?
VENUS WILIAMS: Yes.
Q. Venus, what was your mindset coming into today? Did you think you were going out and going to try it?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. A lot of times when you have an injury, with the adrenaline and other things, you start not to feel it in the match. I figured maybe I would have that opportunity, but I wasn't really able to move or get on my toes or change directions effectively. There's also a certain amount of fear that, of course, the pain you have already, and then the more pain that you can get if you go too far.
Q. What did the trainer do when she came over?
VENUS WILLIAMS: We just discussed a little bit my options as far as if I could tape it further. I already had it taped to the max. I didn't know how much more I could do. Things were already going pretty bad. I don't know how much worse they could have gotten. I was hopefully trying to get a point off of hitting a good serve, trying to end the points quickly.
Q. How disappointed are you that you don't have a chance to reach the finals and play Serena?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I was a lot more disappointed than what I thought I would be. Before I came out, I realized I was having pain just walking. When I was walking off the court, I started to get a little emotional. I didn't think I was going to be that upset. I'm better, but I'll take it one day at a time and talk about it to whoever will listen.
Q. Was it getting progressively worse or was it the same from the start?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Actually, I got worse after the practice this morning.
VENUS WILLIAMS: I just wanted to try to see what I could do, basically. Of course, this is a championship I've never won or even been in the finals here. That would have been nice, but for me, it's just mostly my health, and I don't really like to play in pain. My dad never encouraged it, and I'm really not accustomed to it.
Q. Did you talk to your dad after the match, and if so, what did he say?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, he said it's just a match. I didn't tell him about my injury before.
Q. Was he upset that you hadn't told him?
VENUS WILLIAMS: He didn't realize it, because on the practice court, I didn't move a lot and stayed in one position and that kind of thing. I don't always tell him about injuries, unless it's something that I just have to. I don't want to make him nervous or anything.
Q. Do you think he might overreact over your injuries?
VENUS WILLIAMS: He would say, don't go out there hurting, it's just a match. You are smart, you can do whatever you want.
Q. Maybe he would have told you not to go out?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah.
Q. If your dad tells you that, why did you go out there?
VENUS WILLIAMS: He didn't tell me that.
Q. How hard is it to get to the end of the season injury-free?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think I was pretty much injury-free until the other night, and I was okay. Of course you have aches and pains, but this is normal when you're pushing your body to the limit all year. I think I was okay this year. Last year, not really. The year before -- I have had some tough end-of-the year injuries, but this year was all set up until now.
Q. How has Serena done it, you think, this year?
VENUS WILLIAMS: How has she done?
Q. How has she done it?
VENUS WILLIAMS: She did twist her ankle too in the beginning of the year, and you have to consider she did play 12 tournaments only, but out of those she won 8 and a finals appearance every time. That is quite a schedule.
Q. Venus, a tough question, did you think at all during this process before the match or during the match of what happened at Indian Wells when you didn't go out there?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I'll never forget that, that's for sure.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Because just it was a pretty intense moment to go through, and not many people have to go through those kinds of things in their lives.
Q. I was asking whether that today in practice and on the match, did that go through your mind at all?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Not really, because it's enough to have to go out and play a semifinal match and be serious and ready and not to be nervous, but to go out knowing you have a strike against you and you have an injury, it makes you more nervous than usual, because you're concentrating on tennis and also on your injury also, so it's two different things to deal with instead of just one.
Q. The change over, 2-love, did you think about quitting?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, but I gave it one more try.
Q. One of the people on television, Venus, said you never retired during a match.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah.
Q. Can you think of any other times you have?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I did once, actually the same injury, but that was in '95, and I was hardly on tour. I was just back then playing intermittently. I was pretty much in high school. I was 15.
Q. Where was that?
VENUS WILLIAMS: That was Amelia Island. It was worse than this. My whole calf just exploded. I didn't understand anything about injuries.
Q. Has a doctor actually looked at your calf?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah.
Q. And any advice or any warnings?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Just to rest, you know, do therapy and the whole nine-yards as usual.
Q. Jennifer is pretty close to winning the first set.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Is she?
Q. Yeah. Before the tournament, could you have imagined a final without either you or your sister?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Under ideal circumstances, it would be nice for Serena and I to both be in the finals, but you know, if I was out there, I would play different, but obviously, I won't be out there at all, but you know, I just don't feel like watching a match. I'm on an emotional train and I'm tired and I have been through a lot today. I hope she wins, but I can't watch it.
Q. How hard is it, in general, to get up for the tournaments after the Open?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I actually love the European tour after. It's just that I have been always busy. I have had school and am working on various projects.
Q. What was the last tournament you played in before this tournament?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I believe I played in Moscow, but it didn't last long.
Q. You said you were very tired there, though.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I was, I was tired. I really felt motivated to come here, though.
Q. Venus, you've done well in the majors and a lot of people call this the fifth major. Yet, I think several times you have had to withdrawal before things got going because of these injuries. Is it just where this tournament falls in the season or do you have bad karma?
VENUS WILLIAMS: In the beginning, I didn't take very good care of myself. That was basically what happened when I did start to qualify for the championships, by the time the end of year came, I was finished. Now things are better. If I do have an injury, it's really from just kind of chronic overuse, whereas I'm just tired of playing with the pain.
Q. You still didn't respond. If someone had come up to you before the championships and said that neither you and Serena would make the finals, what would your response be to them?
VENUS WILLIAMS: It could happen. Anything can happen.
Q. After you get back home, do you have more classes going?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm not in school this year. Not in the classroom actually. I was tired. I didn't want to be a college student anymore. Eventually, I would like to finish, but not this year.
Q. What do you have planned for the rest of the year?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I'm supposed to play an exhibition and I should recover for that just to be able to at least put on a good show.
Q. When is the exhibition scheduled?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I have one in Dublin and maybe in Copenhagen.
VENUS WILLIAMS: December 2nd and 3rd. I don't remember exactly. I should find out.
Q. Do you think you'll keep those dates?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I would like to. You know, if I sit down and rest and relax and get a few days' practice, I think I'll be okay.
Q. Have you ever been to either place?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, that's what makes it exciting.
Q. Venus, how frustrating is it to play with an injury? When you're out there and you feel like you really can't move, is that frustrating?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Sure, because that's one of my strengths, is my movement and I threaten people by getting to every ball, so it is disappointing when I can't move and when I couldn't change directions, sure. Also, it's sometimes hard to make a decision to move on because you always look back and say, well, this could have been, but whether or not you're telling yourself the truth is another story.
Q. Do you feel like you will have enough time to rest and get motivated for the start of next year, and is that hard to imagine right now, getting fresh again?
VENUS WILLIAMS: To me it's important. I think I'll be fresh and motivated to play. And definitely take my breaks. It's the kind of person I am. I suppose every person needs a rest.
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