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Williams Rulez
Jun 18th, 2002, 10:30 AM
Whenever Venus does an interview... we'll keep a copy here for reference... :)

Infiniti2001
Jun 18th, 2002, 03:08 PM
I'll start. Here are some from my site :)


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


VENUS WILLIAMS: Different?


Q. Yes.


VENUS WILLIAMS: No.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm really not sure.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Venus Williams Interview 56Kb|250Kb



June 6, 2002

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Q. Is it disturbing? Is it nice?


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


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


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


Q. Did you feel you had something to prove?


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


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


VENUS WILLIAMS: What was the comment?


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


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


Q. Do you?


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


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


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


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


VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know.


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


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






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


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


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


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


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


Q. Have you worked on sliding or anything specifically?


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Q. You become a different person?


VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, not Venus.


Q. What does Serena become?


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Q. Is the French Venus nicer?


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


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


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


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


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


Q. What are you studying?


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


Q. Still interior design?


VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes. Correspondence courses.


Q. Not cutlery?


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


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


VENUS WILLIAMS: Fashion design?


Q. Yes.


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


Q. Have you seen Venus de Milo?


VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes. At the Louvre.


Q. Did they pose you with her?


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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




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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


VENUS WILLIAMS: No. All the same.


Q. Not at all?


VENUS WILLIAMS: No.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Q. How do you rate Monica's serve?


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


VENUS WILLIAMS: It's definitely fashion forward.


Q. Would you design something like this?


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





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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Q. How do you keep it interesting?


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


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


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


Q. Not even local high school, nothing?


VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I don't.


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


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


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


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


Q. Whistling?


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


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


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


Q. What was your thinking in that atmosphere?


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Q. What was wrong?


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



Day 1 at Roland Garros 2002



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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

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



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



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



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



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



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



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



Q. Which ones?



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



Q. Do you like that one better?



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



Q. These two classes, when were they?



VENUS WILLIAMS: When was I taking them?



Q. Yes.



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



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



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







Hamburg , Germany 05/05/02

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

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



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

Q: You had a quick great start.



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

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



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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

Q: How good is she at the moment?

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

Q: Can you win a Grand Slam on clay?

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

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

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

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

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

Q: That doesnít seem a lot?

A: Well, itís all I need.

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



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

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

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

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

A: Yes, for sure.

Amelia Island 2002

Venus says Henin played tough



Venus says she wanted it to look presentable



Venus says she might bring Serena



Venus talks about tough 1st set



Nasdaq 2002

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


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











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


VENUS WILLIAMS


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Venus, please.


Q. Kind of tight early on, huh?


VENUS WILLIAMS: Uh-huh.


Q. First set, kind of off your groove?


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Q. How did you feel about your play today?


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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












March 31, 2001 (Ericsson Open)

V. WILLIAMS/J. Capriati


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












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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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



2000 women's champion Venus Williams



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


An interview with: VENUS WILLIAMS


MODERATOR: Questions for Venus.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Q. Do you vote?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Q. How many classes?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Six.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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








Nasdaq100 3/21/02

THE MODERATOR: First question for Venus, please.


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



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


Q. I thought the team was announced today.



VENUS WILLIAMS: Was it? Okay. Sorry.


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


Q. Monica and Jennifer.



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


Q. Wasn't your choice not to play?



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


Q. Is this a match by match decision?



VENUS WILLIAMS: Not to play Fed Cup?


Q. Yeah.



VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I love Fed Cup.


Q. But there will be other opportunities this year?



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


Q. And you haven't ruled those out?



VENUS WILLIAMS: No, not at all.


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



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


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



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


Q. Can you elaborate on that?



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


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



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


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


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



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


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



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


Q. Do you look forward to this tournament?



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


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



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


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



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


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



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


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



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


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


Q. Even in the lower echelons?



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


Q. Do you take any precautions against crazy fans?



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


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


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



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


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


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


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



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


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



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


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



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


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


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



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


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


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



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


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



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


Q. Burned? When did you watch it?



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


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



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


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



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


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



VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, for sure.


Q. But you don't do that?



VENUS WILLIAMS: But it's painful.


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



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


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


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



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


Q. Who convinced you of that?



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


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



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


Q. Could you be tempted?



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


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



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


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


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



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


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



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


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


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



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


Q. Why was she courageous?



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


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



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


THE MODERATOR: Thank you.


VENUS WILLIAMS: Thank you.

QueenO
Jun 18th, 2002, 04:17 PM
1997 STATE FARM EVERT CUP
Indian Wells, CA



March 11, 1997



V. WILLIAMS/I. Majoli

7-5, 3-6, 7-5


An interview with:


VENUS WILLIAMS



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

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



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

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



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

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



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

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



Q. What about the year before (laughter)?

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



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

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



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

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



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

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



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

VENUS WILLIAMS: 24th.



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

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

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



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

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



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

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



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

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah.



Q. What do you think about her?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Good player.



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

VENUS WILLIAMS: Got to get some attention for that.



Q. Just one strip came out?

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



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

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



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

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



Q. So you are not home school anymore?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No.



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

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



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

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



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

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



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

VENUS WILLIAMS: I will definitely get in there.



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

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



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

VENUS WILLIAMS: I definitely was. I was pumped up. I mean, it is not like I was nervous. I was extremely happy and that my serve kicked in because it went on vacation, but we met (laughter). We met after the game; got back together. So last two matches it was, you know, separated, but things are going well.

QueenO
Jun 18th, 2002, 04:21 PM
March 12, 1997



L. DAVENPORT/V. Williams

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



An interview with:


VENUS WILLIAMS



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

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



Q. Was it fun, Venus?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Fun things?



Q. Was it fun, the match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, it was fun.



Q. Why was it fun?

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



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

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



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

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



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

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



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

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



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

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah.



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

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



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

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



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

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes.



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

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



Q. So it worked okay?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes.



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

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



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

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



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

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



Q. Are you going on Friday?

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



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

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



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

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



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

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



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

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



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

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



Q. Are you planning on going to college?

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



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

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



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

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



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

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



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

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



Q. On the tiebreaks, too?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Pardon me?



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

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



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

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



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

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



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

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



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

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



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

VENUS WILLIAMS: Tucked in?



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

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



Q. But your sister had it tucked in.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Like when you wear this, it's like a full body suit. It goes all the way down to the leg. I'll show you. It goes all the way down here (indicating). It can't help but be tucked in unless it broke or something. Wouldn't want that.

QueenO
Jun 18th, 2002, 04:23 PM
March 20, 1997



V. WILLIAMS/G. Helgeson Nielsen

6-1, 4-6, 6-3


An interview with:


VENUS WILLIAMS



Q. How did you feel about the rat?

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



Q. It was big.

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



Q. They were chasing it around.



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

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, it didn't.



Q. You always hate to pause that long.

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



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

VENUS WILLIAMS: I wasn't bothered at all.



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

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



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

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



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

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



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

VENUS WILLIAMS: No.



Q. A little more nervous?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No.



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

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



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

VENUS WILLIAMS: When does the summer end?



Q. Say after Wimbledon.

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



Q. Is that absolutely definite?

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



Q. What could alter those plans?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Me changing my mind.



Q. Your decision?

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



Q. (Inaudible)?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes.



Q. Do you have homework tonight?

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



Q. What's the report on?

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



Q. What are your favorite subjects in school?

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



Q. Is all your homework done?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, no.



Q. Don't tell your dad.

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



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

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



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

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



Q. Are you playing doubles here with your sister?

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



Q. I'm sorry?

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



Q. Who would you play mixed doubles with?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't have a partner.



Q. Who would you play mixed doubles with?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know.



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

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



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

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



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

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



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

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



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

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



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

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



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

VENUS WILLIAMS: Against each other?



Q. When you play with her versus playing alone.

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



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

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



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

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



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

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



Q. Your mother is a tennis coach?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, yeah.



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

VENUS WILLIAMS: The coaches?



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

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



Q. Who do you work with now?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I work with my father and sometimes I work with Dave Rineberg, see him. Some days I really need a lot of coaching, a lot of talking. Sometimes it's irritating, but you need to hear it. I usually say nothing. I don't have fits like most people do, like some people I know. Some days I don't get much coaching at all, so those are my coaches.

QueenO
Jun 18th, 2002, 04:25 PM
March 22, 1997



V. WILLIAMS/J. Capriati

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


An interview with:


VENUS WILLIAMS


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



Q. Venus, what turned this match around?

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



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

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



Q. You like that pace?

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



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

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



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

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



Q. What are your thoughts about Martina Hingis?

VENUS WILLIAMS: My thoughts?



Q. The match coming up.

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



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

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



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

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



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

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



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

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



Q. You answered it well.

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



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

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



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

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



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

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



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

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



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

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



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

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



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

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



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

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't understand the question.



Q. Do you play more?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Do I plan to play more?



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

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



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

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



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

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



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

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



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

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



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

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



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

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



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

VENUS WILLIAMS: Do I want to finish high school?



Q. Yes.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes.



Q. Do you want to go to college?

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



Q. What's terrible for you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Terrible?



Q. What's terrible for you?

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



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

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



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

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



Q. Have you graduated high school yet?

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



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

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



Q. Do you play in doubles?

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



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

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

VERONIQUE MARCHAL: Thank you.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Thanks y'all.

QueenO
Jun 18th, 2002, 04:29 PM
March 23, 1997



M. HINGIS/V. Williams

6-4, 6-2


An interview with:


VENUS WILLIAMS


DEBBI EDWARDS: Questions for Venus.



Q. Sum up the experience.

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



Q. Did you have some fun?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Pardon me?



Q. Did you have some fun?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, I did.



Q. In what respect?

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



Q. What did you think of her?

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



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

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



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

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



Q. Which one would you rather face?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Any one that comes my way.



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

VENUS WILLIAMS: Until my sister gets here, yeah.



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

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



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

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



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

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



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

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



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

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



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

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



Q. Next stop Hilton Head or Amelia Island?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Amelia Island.



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

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I don't.



Q. Why not?

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



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

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



Q. It will be.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Probably so.



Q. Had you seen her play matches before?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes.



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

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



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

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



Q. Is that the way you felt out there?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes.



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

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



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

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



Q. Do you listen to it at all?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, sometimes.



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

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



Q. No.

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



Q. What do you like to listen to?

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



Q. Do you know a lot about it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No.



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

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

DEBBI EDWARDS: Any other questions?



Q. What will you be working on now?

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



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

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



Q. Do you expect more of yourself today?

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



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

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



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

VENUS WILLIAMS: Uh-huh.



Q. Thank you.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Thank you.



Q. Have you ever played on red clay?

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



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

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

DEBBI EDWARDS: Is that all? Thank you.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Thank you.

QueenO
Jun 18th, 2002, 04:31 PM
August 25, 1997

V. WILLIAMS/L. Neiland

5-7, 6-0, 6-1

An interview with:

VENUS WILLIAMS

VERONIQUE MARCHAL: Questions for Venus.

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

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

Q. What are your expectations for this tournament?

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

Q. You've done that so far.

VENUS WILLIAMS: It's two weeks.

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

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

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

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I like it.

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

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

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

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

Q. Would you describe it as a slow surface?

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

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

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

Q. Physically?

VENUS WILLIAMS: In every way.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q. Do you have an instructor beyond your father?

VENUS WILLIAMS: My mother co-coaches.

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

VENUS WILLIAMS: No.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q. What will determine that? School?

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

Q. Do you have any further schooling plans?

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

Q. How far are you from graduating?

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

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

VENUS WILLIAMS: And play professional tennis?

Q. And play professionally?

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

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

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

Q. What did you take?

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

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

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

Q. How did you manage to stay calm today?

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

Q. What did you get on the paper?

VENUS WILLIAMS: On the paper? An A.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

VENUS WILLIAMS: I talked to her once.

Q. Did you ever meet Arthur Ashe?

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

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

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

Q. Was it like a tennis clinic?

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

VERONIQUE MARCHAL: Any last questions for Venus?

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

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

VERONIQUE MARCHAL: Thank you, very much.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Thank you.

QueenO
Jun 18th, 2002, 04:33 PM
August 27, 1997

V. WILLIAMS/G. Garcia

6-0, 6-1

An interview with:

VENUS WILLIAMS

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

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

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

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

Q. But in California, you lose very well?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I lost the match.

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

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

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

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

Q. Are you playing as well as you have?

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

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

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

Q. Is your game suited best to the hardcourts?

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

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

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

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

VENUS WILLIAMS: I believe so.

Q. How?

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

Q. Were you happy with your serve today?

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

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

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

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

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

Q. What kind of stuff have you been buying?

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

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

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

Q. Where are you playing?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm playing in Russia, Germany, Switzerland, and possibly the Netherlands. Who knows.

QueenO
Jun 18th, 2002, 04:35 PM
August 29, 1997

V. WILLIAMS/A. Huber

6-3, 6-4

An interview with:

VENUS WILLIAMS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q. Venus, can you reflect in the first set, I think the game score was 2-2, and you were up Love-40 and you lost the game. What thought process did you go through at that point?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I'm really not one of those players who gets angry after a game like that. I really don't go back in time. You know, some players, they can't stop thinking about that game, can't stop thinking about it. I'm really not that type of player. I just kind of move on because it's in the past; nothing I can do about it. I have to move on. So I just was staying calm, and I had to just play well and just not let up, because she's been out there a long time playing matches, and she really will take an advantage and run away with it if given the chance. So I just have to stay in there.

Q. Did you sense she was getting angry at herself?

VENUS WILLIAMS: She's the type of player that gets angry. I think most players are like that. I'm just not like that.

Q. Venus, she was pretty disappointed in here. She said she didn't necessarily think your performance was anything special. She was just more disappointed in hers. How do you feel about that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I would have to agree, because I don't think I played as well as I could. She didn't make me play a lot of long points. A lot of times she missed the shot, things like that. Missed a lot of shots in the net, a couple double the faults on some key points, so I think it was a lot of her that helped me win that match. She wasn't as consistent as the last time I played her. She didn't play as well this time. I know she probably can play better.

Q. In general, do you detect any kind of hostility from older players toward younger players? And if so, how do you detect it? What do you pick up?

VENUS WILLIAMS: These things do not matter to me. Everyone has to have their own opinion. I can't change the way someone feels. I just kind of have to move on in my own life. I can't get involved in other people's lives to that degree.

Q. But do you pick up on it at all? Are you aware of it out there?

VENUS WILLIAMS: To be honest, I mean, I can't change the way someone feels if there's angry or hostile or jealous. I think if people feel this way, what they should do is go out there and say, "I'm going to pull my game together."

Q. Do you think that you're making a statement here at this Open, particularly you and Martina?

VENUS WILLIAMS: You can kind of see the changing of the guards in the men's game and women's game. Younger players are coming in. Even all the other younger players, even if you haven't heard too much of them. You played a player, you never heard of them, here they are, 16, 17 years old. So the younger players are coming in, taking over. It's just a natural thing, it's what happens.

Q. When you came out on the court to serve out the match, the crowd really was cheering pretty hard for you. Did that do something to you when you heard that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. It helps, I suppose. But I just wanted to serve well, like I've been serving the whole time, just get some first serves in. It's kind of hard to handle the first serve.

Q. She implied one of the reasons she lost or that you won tonight was there was not enough pressure on you, there was more pressure on her than there was on you. How much pressure do you feel every time you come out on the court here? Do you want to tell us about how the pressure affects you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think it depends on how much you let it get to you. Obviously people talk, write, show things on TV. You have to play for yourself, not for because -- I don't want them to write bad things and things like that, so I just have to go out there and play, because I want to play, because I want to do well, because I worked hard all might have life for this.

Q. Are there pregame jitters before you come out on the court?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Not really, no. I was ready to play.

Q. Venus, a lot of people have compared you to Althea. Recently I read something that you had said. What kind of influence does she have with you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: What kind of influence does she have with me?

Q. Is there any influence? Has she influenced you? Have you studied her game?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I have not seen any of her games. I think she has influenced me and other black players in an intangible way. Not actually she talks to me or she writes letter, but more or less she paved the way for the African Americans and a lot of minorities to come in and play tennis and to be able to do well. So she was there from the beginning. She was a forerunner. It was mostly I suppose in an intangible way that she influenced me. And I think to live up to what she did would be great.

Q. Congratulations on your win. If you could talk to her, would you like to do that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah.

Q. There's been a lot of talk recently about how tennis needs a Tiger Woods to stimulate interest. Do you see, if you have a run of Championships or great showings, that you could possibly be something like a Tiger Woods for tennis?

VENUS WILLIAMS: That's possible. He's obviously doing a great job, in golf. I can't play golf (laughter). I mean, I really just can't. I just can't play golf, that's all there is to it.

Q. But by the style of your play in tennis, and also your enthusiasm, do you see the possibility of you being a source of invigoration for the sport?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I would hope so, that I could do the same thing in tennis that he has done. Mostly because he's out there winning, he is something different from the mainstream golfer. In tennis, I also am. I'm tall. I'm black. Everything's different about me. Just face the facts. So I think that's why I would really have a chance, because I'm just something totally different than has been around, which I can't help that I am.

Q. Do you enjoy the fact that you're different from what's out there?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. I mean, I've always liked what I had.

Q. What was the greatest win this year?

VENUS WILLIAMS: You know, every time I win a match, I'm pretty happy.

Q. But surely, this is your biggest win of the year?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, yeah. Honestly, I would have to say when Serena and I had a doubles match, we were playing the No. 8 seed in that tournament, too.

Q. And you were more happy then?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. It was great. That was just the best match. It always goes back to that doubles match.

Q. When was that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: That was early this year, in March, Indian Wells. We didn't really know how to play doubles. We were playing -- we were two separate singles players playing singles, and the other team were playing doubles. We both were playing singles. It was weird.

Q. Who was your partner?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Serena, my sister. She couldn't play this year. She's 15.

Q. Venus, when you look at the bracket, there's not another ranked player on your way to the semifinals. Do you have any predictions about how far you want to go or how far you think you can go in this tournament?

VENUS WILLIAMS: These days, I'm just taking it one point at a time. I don't want to get too ahead of myself. I don't want to be saying, "Yeah. Yeah. I can do this and that." These things I know I can do. When I go out there, I want to play the player. I want to be ready for the match. I don't want to look past any player and say, "I'm looking past this girl because I know I can go through her." It's not going to be like that. I want to be ready for each player that comes along, so I'm not making any predictions, I'm just going to be ready to play.

Q. Every great athlete has a challenge that they have to overcome. What was yours that you had to overcome to get to this point in your career?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I would lose the second a lot. Win the first, lose the second, struggle in the third. That's a pattern.

Q. It is?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah.

Q. How do you see yourself breaking that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I really broke it a lot. My first match this year, Indian Wells, my first tournament, I did the whole tournament, I had to work on it, stay focused, not let them back in, not get unfocused. I had to work on that. It's very much better. I really haven't done too much losing the second set ever since then.

Q. Was today, winning that fourth game of the second set, was that the turning point of the whole night?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I just knew I would have to break serve or go to a tiebreak. I really wasn't interested in losing my serve (laughter).

Q. Do you have any goals for yourself?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Goals? My goal this year was to be in the Top 20. Most of all I want to be able to develop my game, not to go out there and play timid, not to look back at this year, any year, at all, say I should have done something.

Q. You seem so serene. What gets you angry or emotional in tennis or in life?

VENUS WILLIAMS: My dog won't listen to me. I have one bad dog.

Q. Do you get emotional on the court at all?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Not really. In practice every now and then, I might get upset. But I'm just not that type of player.

Q. Stats said in the second set that you committed a total of seven unforced errors in this match. Is that natural that you're so consistent?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, my, no. I'm really the unforced error kid most of the time.

Q. Seven in the second set.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Usually I'm making all those errors, going for those shots prematurely. I'm usually all the unforced errors I can get. I just grab them and put them in my bag.

Q. What part of your game do you still have to work on?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I want to place my shots a little bit better. Today a lot of times I was on the run. I would hit some balls to her. But the thing was, if I was going to hit it to her, I decided I had to hit it deep, so she had to back up.

Q. Do you really think that you are so out of mainstream for us? You are another young American coming up.

VENUS WILLIAMS: What are you saying?

Q. You said you are not in the mainstream player. Do you really think so? Your game seems to us another young American, like with Capriati or who else?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm kind of like a power player, all power, big serve, big groundstrokes. If I wanted to, I could come to the net, which I don't do often. I'll have to work on that. I'm pretty fast. Most tall people aren't fast. If you hit a dropshot, I'm going to get to it. Just want to tell you guys that. When you play me, don't hit any dropshots.

Q. Venus, you say you're sort of calm. On a scale of 1 to 10, after this match, how excited were you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'd probably say like a 7. I've been more excited, like after I won my first French Open match, the doubles match.

Q. When are you going to play doubles this time?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Probably tomorrow. I haven't looked at the schedule. We were rained out yesterday. The court we were on, they didn't finish till like 11, two matches. We're on tomorrow.

QueenO
Jun 18th, 2002, 04:37 PM
August 31, 1997

V. WILLIAMS/J. Kruger

6-2, 6-3

An interview with:

VENUS WILLIAMS

Q. Joannette says you're confident. She said she's never seen such self-confidence.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm glad she sees that in me.

Q. Yesterday Lindsay said when you were at Indian Wells, you passed each other, and you didn't smile back to her, and she got upset when you did not smile back.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Wait a minute. Are you talking about passing on the court?

Q. No, Venus. I'm talking before your match. Just bear with me a moment.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Okay.

Q. Take a moment to explain. She got a little peeved by that, and that motivated her. Then today, Ms. Kruger said that when you smiled at her at one of the changeovers, she said that that was a sign that you were saying, "Hey, this is all you can do? This is all the arsenal you have? "

VENUS WILLIAMS: I smiled at her at one of the changeovers?

Q. That's what she said. Do you recall smiling at her at all?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. It was an amused look.

Q. Pardon?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I really wasn't smiling. I was (indicating). Why don't you guys tell me what they want me to do? They should come up to me and say, "Venus, I want you to smile so I can feel better." It's not about that. When I want to smile, I'll smile. If I don't want to, I'm not going to. I think it's a little bit peevish. Smiling, what does that have to do with anything?

Q. Do you think people are finding reasons to nitpick at you right now?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't care. They have feelings and they can feel whatever way they want to, but I don't want to be part of it.

Q. To be fair, she said that you had tremendous confidence, and that was a tremendous attribute of yours. That was her essential -- what she was essentially saying. Do you feel that's one of your greatest strengths, your confidence?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes. Because I just kind of feel that I can make any shot anywhere on the court. That's just the way I feel.

Q. The day before yesterday, I believe, you answered my question about Challengers. You said that second set was always the challenge that you had to overcome. You almost cracked in this second set.

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I didn't.

Q. You didn't think so?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think it was much tougher, but I wasn't cracking, no. She definitely pulled her game together, definitely started taking her time a little bit more on the shots, getting them a little bit deeper, placing them a little bit better. So I was running over the court more in the second set. I guess I didn't think she would start playing that well, so I just had to get ready for that.

Q. So you were never concerned about that second set, you knew you had it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, no.

Q. You said the confidence comes from knowing you have the shots. How old were you, do you think, or how young were you, when you really started feeling that way?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I always felt that way. I always felt that I could beat like the men players. My parents could never get me to understand that I couldn't. I was like, "Look at my backhand, it's better than theirs." Finally they stopped trying to convince me I wasn't better. I guess they thought, "If she thinks that, it's better."

Q. Is that you in general or is that in tennis?

VENUS WILLIAMS: That's me in general, yeah.

Q. How much do you enjoy others recognizing that confidence in you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I don't think it's important that others recognize the confidence in me or believe in me. What's important is that I'm confident about me, and that I believe in me. What others believe is kind of an outside influence, outside. If I don't have confidence, then it doesn't matter if the other person has confidence in me.

Q. But it seems you really have an effect on your opponents. In fact, Joannette Kruger, who is 23 years old, said just by watching your confidence and the panache that you had on the court, she was psyched out.

VENUS WILLIAMS: That's her state of mind.

Q. Do you feel as though you psych out other players with your approach?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. You'd have to ask them.

Q. What's your belief?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Not sharing those today.

Q. Venus, how much has your game improved from the time you started the US Open till now with matchplay experience?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think I've improved a lot more because I've actually in between this US Open. I've learned to take my time on a lot of shots. Actually, today I started going back to my old way a little bit in the second set, rushing things, behind the baseline hitting balls as hard as I can. These things do not work. So I must change.

Q. Is that why you slowed down toward the end?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. I cannot go back to that and I will not revert to that type of playing. This US Open has really helped. I'm taking my time a lot more on the shots. I'm serving much more consistently. I really want to mix up my serve as lot, a lot of free points on serves. I'm playing better at the US Open. I'm playing well, improving. But then when I get to a matches, I'm not playing well. What's the point of playing good if you're not going to play good in a match? I had to improve on that.

Q. When did you realize that style of play, you didn't want to go back to that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It's like if you're just going to pound every ball, everybody is going to get used to it and say, "I'm going to block it back and let her wear herself out." I'll get tired at times after I play a lot of matches, but it doesn't generally affect my play. I live in Florida. It's extremely hot; the wind will not blow; it's extremely humid. Even the dogs don't get up. I'm out there playing on the hardcourt, okay? I can stay out there. I had to realize I had to mix it up, take some pace off, lift it over. Sometimes you would serve a ball, I would lift it over the net, she would just miss it. A lot of times -- a lot of other times in the past, I would nail the return in the net.

Q. Was there any tournament in particular that you said, "That's enough"?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. It was actually before my third round match. I really couldn't believe it. I was saying, "Venus, this isn't me." I just learned a lot in this tournament.

Q. Do you have a different game plan for each match? I thought I noticed in the Coetzer match -- the other match, who am I thinking of -- Huber match, that you were hitting a lot to her forehand. Maybe I'm wrong. That's what I thought I noticed.

VENUS WILLIAMS: She's making some mistakes on her forehand when I played her. I would serve to her forehand. She would just make some unforced errors.

Q. Were you saying, "I'm going to hit to her forehand," maybe today, "I'm going to hit to her backhand"?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Not really. Sometimes she would make mistakes, I would go to it two or three times, then I would go to the other side. But generally I didn't play both sides because she definitely had solid groundstrokes; she knows how to pick her game back up. I just had to play.

Q. Is this a milestone today, making the quarterfinals for you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: What do you mean by "milestone"? In my life? An important event in your playing history. I suppose so. I guess it is important, I've got into the quarterfinals.

Q. Do you think you'll win this tournament?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I try to go into every tournament and think that I'm going to win. That's what I used to do. Now I more or less try to play every point at a time. I don't want to try to think too far ahead in the future, because that really doesn't work, I don't think.

Q. How much fun has this week been for you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It's been a lot of fun, except for that day when it rained and I had to wait here all day. Other than that, things have been good.

Q. Joannette said she was intimidated by playing in the stadium. Have you ever felt anything like that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I like it. I always liked it. I liked it when I was little when I wasn't professional. I always liked to play on big courts in front of people. It's kind of my asset.

Q. The fact that the audience was with you today, does it matter for you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: The fact that the audience was for me?

Q. Yes. Does it matter for you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I've actually never played in an audience that wasn't for me. One day, the day will come when they are going to be for the other player. I'll be prepared for that.

Q. Do you draw energy from that or does it really not affect you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. I think I'll be able to tell you guys on the day they're rooting for the other player.

Q. Now that you've gotten, you said that you've gotten this experience in this tournament, does it make you wish you had more matchplay in your past at all?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I'm definitely playing well. I've learned a lot from the matches that I've played. I know how to play. That's good enough.

Q. You made it through the second week here, which is a great accomplishments for many players, just to get to the second week. How would you summarize what you've achieved so far at the Open?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Gotten to the quarterfinals in the second week.

Q. Does it mean anything more than that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Does it mean more than that? It means I better be ready for the next match.

Q. Venus, do you think your performance, to a sense, validates all the attention that you've been getting before putting up results like this?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I guess for some people it does; not for me. I know I can play this type of tennis. But for some people, critics, writers, all those type of things, it validates it for them. But I try not to read that stuff and listen to the stuff, because it can get to you. Some people are not necessarily negative, but they say Venus is a big question mark, things like that. You don't really want to read that. Oh, no, I better play better. That's not the kind of thoughts you want in your head, so I kind of try to stay away from them.

Q. Did you look at this as an opportunity to do that or is that just the way things have kind of happened for you this week?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I really wasn't going to play the Open up until four days before. My dad wasn't going to let me play. But I finally convinced him.

Q. Why not?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Why not? A lot of different reasons. I don't really want to go into that.

Q. What helped you convince him?

VENUS WILLIAMS: A little bargaining. Hard ball, you know.

Q. Now that you've gotten this far, little more leverage now?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. I'm just glad I got a chance to play. I think my dad is, too. But even if I didn't do well, I think I'd be glad I got a chance to play.

Q. Do you like the idea that you're becoming an idol or world model?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Do I like the idea that I'm becoming an?

Q. An idol.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't consider myself an idol. I don't consider anyone an idol, too far on a pedestal. But a role model is definitely a good thing.

Q. In a single word, how would you describe your game?

VENUS WILLIAMS: In a single word? Those are the good questions, but it's just like you don't think of that in everyday living.

Q. Would you consider "powerful" as one?

VENUS WILLIAMS: You could say that. Things have definitely changed over this Open. I've learned to take some pace off the ball, which I really was not good at before.

Q. How do you explain your loss yesterday to those two fairly old women in the doubles?

VENUS WILLIAMS: They knew what we were doing; we didn't. That's just all it was. Serena and I, we thought we were going to win, we were confident and all, but we just lacked the practice. We didn't practice for the doubles. It's just the last time we played doubles and we did so well, we just thought we were going to hold down, I guess. We learned from our mistakes, so we're going to pull it together. The girls, they knew how to play doubles. We really didn't know how. Definitely after yesterday's loss -- I didn't think I would do bad in the singles. I knew that I just don't know how to play doubles that well. That's all that was. We could play, but.

Q. Venus, you seem very sort of non-plused by making it to the quarterfinals. Are you excited about this? Is this a big deal?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm excited, I have to stay calm and get ready for the next match. I'm going to play one of two players who are playing well. Testud is doing well this year, definitely has picked up her game. She's feeling confident. Habsudova, I don't know too much about her. She's in the Round of 16, so she's definitely been doing something.

Q. What is your favorite part of New York City? What have you enjoyed the most about New York, coming here?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Maybe when I go places, maybe all the restaurants. Good to eat somewhere different every day. When we go overseas, kind of scared to eat different foods. Finally got over it now. We would eat like Chinese every day in England and France. In England, we had fish and chips. Other than that, I mean, it's not the way I would have cooked it (laughter).

Q. Too greasy or not greasy enough?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It's just that it wasn't seasoned the way I would do it. I would have did it differently. Of course, I don't cook unless I'm forced to. There's a hunger strike going on, my mom won't cook. Doesn't take as much as it used to. I guess I don't cook because I don't want to clean.

QueenO
Jun 18th, 2002, 04:39 PM
September 2, 1997

V. WILLIAMS/S. Testud

7-5, 7-5

An interview with:

VENUS WILLIAMS

Q. You were down 4-1 in the second and refused basically to give up the set. Talk about that.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I was actually about two breaks down so I really had to concentrate, hold serve and break back. So I just had to concentrate there and I proceeded to win four games in a row. Then she won her serve; then I held serve; then I broke serve. I guess, the second set summary. I really didn't want to go three sets. I thought it was definitely plausible that I could come back and win that one.

Q. How does it feel to be in the semifinals?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I feel pretty good. Actually I really don't know how it feels. I think after the tournament is gone I have to settle in. I just kind of feel like I have played five matches and here I am in the semifinals.

Q. The chin-up you did afterwards, running over to your mom, a little bit higher than you thought?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, because --

Q. Piece of cake?

VENUS WILLIAMS: With my arms up I am like, you know, couple more feet higher. So it kind of helped.

Q. You say you don't know how you feel. But the way you celebrated, your biggest smile, everything you did after the match finished, shows how you feel.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I mean, I am feeling very happy. But, it is definitely a great accomplishment for my first Open.

Q. Does this far surpass what your goals were coming in? What were your goals coming in?

VENUS WILLIAMS: My goal coming in was not to lose one bead during a match. (laughter) So I definitely didn't meet my goal and I am kind of upset on that. I am going to work harder in the next tournament.

Q. Is that an omen now that you lost?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't believe in omens, so that just definitely isn't a thing.

Q. You seemed to take a lot off your serve to go for some placement. Can you talk about that maybe slowing it down a little bit, serving really well?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I just wanted to mix it up, because a lot of times I could put in a lot of big serves and the girl can get into a rhythm blocking them back, which is simple to do at times. Sometimes she wasn't handling the spin that well. And I can put a lot of spin on a serve, so it is good to mix it up, see something different every time.

Q. Can you describe what it is about your game that forces more experienced players to get nervous, sometimes tense up and get out of their games?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. I think you would have to ask them, more or less. I really don't know what they are feeling out there.

Q. We have asked them. They don't seem to know. Maybe you have an idea.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I don't know. I really haven't even thought about that. I mostly kind of just concentrate with my game, what I am going to work on during the match, during practice. So, I am not really thinking about what the other player is thinking. Sometimes it is important. You might notice that the player is tired or they are nervous, but, more or less, I am concentrating on what I am doing.

Q. Did you notice that at all tonight or at all during this tournament?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think she was a little bit nervous, always taking a lot of deep breaths. I, too, was taking deep breaths, which calms you down. But, I think that she does that a lot during her matches. So, it is kind of a regimen for her to do it between every point.

Q. Have you felt yourself getting better match to match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Actually, this match, I don't think I played as well. I think my best match was my third round match. I want to get back up to that level, but I definitely think I am playing okay. I have been playing pretty good.

Q. Do you think you're thinking your way through the matches better?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Much better than I have in the past.

Q. Have you been speaking everyday to your father and do you expect him to come for the weekend?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I have been speaking everyday to him, yeah, I have. When is the semifinals match? Is it Thursday?

Q. Friday.

VENUS WILLIAMS: So I have three days. I thought it would be Thursday.

Q. What are you going to do the next couple days?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I am going to eat (laughter).

Q. Fish and chips?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. Not fish and chips, come on. I am going to eat at the same places I do every time. I can eat somewhere -- I can eat the same thing for like a month. It is weird. I don't know. But, I am not going to do too much. My mom wants to see the Statue of Liberty, so we might do that. But, I don't know. It is kind of a job. It's a great job, of course, that I have, so I kind of concentrate on the job that I am doing and just try to do a lot of resting; not too much walking, because walking can be tiring around the city.

Q. Have you seen much of New York?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Not really. We live like in a crowded area. All New York is crowded, of course, but super crowded over by the Times Square, all types of things going on. So, I am really not going out as much now.

Q. They are recognizing you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, and I don't really want to stop in the street, really. I really don't want to say no because I am really not a mean person, but I don't want to leave that impression not signing autographs....

Q. You say you don't think too much about the opponents when you go into a match. Is it your style to force the action no matter who the opponent is? And can you describe how you do that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: To force the action. What action?

Q. To force the other player into mistakes.

VENUS WILLIAMS: It used to be the time when the other person forced the mistake. And I was not quite able to understand that I didn't have to go for winners or I didn't have to always just expect to hit a winner. And, fortunately enough, I was able to understand this and in a small amount of time. A lot of people, it takes them years. And, it could have been four years later when I was 21. I would still be pretty young. But it is a long time in tennis so, I have been able to understand more or -- a lot quicker than a lot of people. And I am pretty happy about that.

Q. Was there a particular match or instance that convinced you have that -- that flashed that in your mind that you can do that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Flash what?

Q. That you should mix it up a little bit, not just go for winners?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think it was third-round match actually. I never -- before that I really never took too much pace off the ball, a lot of hard balls and in that match, I think I just started doing it in practice automatically. Mostly because Serena does it quite a lot. She will take the pace off the ball and place it. I was not good at that. I kind of looked at her and learned it. It took me a while because she just takes advantage of me taking the pace off the ball and I had to learn -- I think I learned it from her.

Q. In practicing for your third round match here?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, it just clicked. Some things happen like that.

Q. A lot of people wouldn't try new things in the middle of a tournament. They would wait until they got out of the tournament and maybe try something weeks or months later. Can you talk about being confident enough to try something new right away?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Because it works and it is really not too big of a change. Change your game little bit, take some pace off the ball a little bit, makes sometimes your job a little bit easier. And, it wasn't something extremely drastic. Sometimes changing your toss can be drastic, or getting a deeper knee bend. It just kind of -- you have to change your timing, so something like that is drastic and is something I would wait on. But, taking the pace off the ball, placing it, I have been working on that and I wasn't able to get it too good. It just wasn't part of my game in the past.

Q. Can you share with us why your father didn't come this time and why he hasn't come to the Slams? Is there a strategy behind that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: You will have to ask my mom. I really don't want to answer that question. Just like fatigued of answering it, you know?

Q. No matter what happens in this tournament, from here on in, it is obviously going to be remembered as the tournament where you arrived and carved your name on a wall. Has it been fun to be the surprise of the tournament, to surprise people? I know you are not surprised, but has it been fun to be that surprise?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, actually, it has been because a lot of people weren't quite sure about my game, I suppose. Because, obviously, I hadn't played that well in tournaments. I wasn't playing well when it came to matches. I wasn't playing as well as I could and I wasn't playing good matches, so people would say that Venus is a questionmark. They had the right to think that, I suppose. But I always knew that I could play well. So this is definitely probably a turning stone for other people.

Q. You know that now you won't be able to take people quite so much by surprise from here on in?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, it really doesn't really matter to me. I am going to have to concentrate on my game more than what the person is thinking.

Q. Before you were talking about the change in your strategy, taking pace, mixing it up. Can you describe the results that you have gotten with that and what you have seen, the effect on the opponent, and how maybe you have gained confidence in that strategy?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I don't have to -- I didn't feel as pressured to just hit a lot of great shots, to hit them on the line. I saw once I was getting them in play a lot of times, not slow balls, but just deep, well-placed, then it puts pressure on the other girl, on my opponent to do something better and that is the game that I really hadn't played before. So, it is definitely is working.

Q. Is Serena happy that you are able to now use her own weapons against her?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I can't use it too well against Serena. Serena -- there is fast and very fast and too fast for your own good health and she is on that level.

Q. Who wins between the two of you the most?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Right now we haven't played in a long time. But it definitely will be extremely close. We almost played actually in one tournament, but it didn't happen. Almost played in the first round, but it just didn't happen.

Q. What is going to happen when you guys have to compete against one another?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It is just going to be throat-to-throat, I guess. We both -- we have already discussed this and we said, you know, Serena says: "I am going to try to take you out." I say, "Serena, I am going to have to get you, too." So we definitely discussed it. We both are going to try to win when we play each other.

Q. What was it you were handing out to the crowd after the match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It was my beads. They fell out.

Q. They fell off?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. They fell off, so I just gave them away.

Q. Not on the court?

VENUS WILLIAMS: They fell off on the court.

Q. While you were playing?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah.

Q. Isn't that kind of dangerous if you could step on it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. They were so little. Thanks

QueenO
Jun 18th, 2002, 04:43 PM
September 5, 1997

V. WILLIAMS/I. Spirlea

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

An interview with:

VENUS WILLIAMS

Q. How does it feel, Venus?

VENUS WILLIAMS: When I first won, it was like I was so happy because it was a long match, we both worked so hard for it. Luckily, I came out the winner. I was really happy. I'm pretty happy now. I'm just getting over it, so. Just moving on, moving on.

Q. Did you think coming into the US Open that you had a chance to win it or even get to the final?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I'm really not sure what I thought. I mean, it's so long ago. I just wanted to come here and play well and play like I could. And today, I think I played much better. Not much better, but it's just that I was playing much more what I practice on. I was coming to the net more instead of camping out at the baseline, just holding camp. I came to the net much more. That's really something I wanted to do. If you can't do it in the big matches. I need to do that, especially with my height. I have good volleys. It's not like I didn't have any. So I was just happy about that.

Q. 4-3 in the second set, at the changeover chair, you and Spirlea bumped into each other. She was pretty upset about it when she was in here, put the blame on you for the collision. What was your view of it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I mean, I'm not having any injuries from that bump (laughter). I think we just both weren't looking. I think we both were just concentrating on trying to stay in the match and trying to win the match. I mean, I really wasn't even thinking about that. So I'm sorry she feels that way. It's not really a big thing to me.

Q. Anybody say, "Excuse me"?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, no. No one said, "Excuse me."

Q. Venus, in the third game of the third set, you double-faulted three times. You faced breakpoints. Do you recall that as a low point? Were you a little tired perhaps mentally and physically at that stage?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I wasn't tired. I think that maybe I was letting down a little bit. I said, "I just can't keep losing serve like this." So I just held strong.

Q. But it was a let down point?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, yeah, definitely. And plus, like the wind was blowing my toss around. I didn't bother to retoss it up again. I should have done that. I should have just threw up another toss.

Q. Venus, you were consulting notes on changeovers. Was that match strategy or something else?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. Those are just reminders, bend your knees, someone tells me to do that. Sometimes I tend to strike a little bit flat. So I just write, "Get under the ball." Things like that. Little reminders. Plus most of all just keeps you focused on the match. In the past, I had a problem with staying focused.

Q. Venus, did you get a chance to call your dad after the match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, no, I wanted to. I just didn't have a chance to. I was going to.

Q. On TV you said the match was like a dream. What's been the sweetest part of the dream?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, it was, because, it was really a tough match, she had two match points. Somehow she just didn't win them. Somehow I didn't let her win them. Whatever way you want to look at it. I just came through. I'm going to have to evaluate these things after I leave the tennis center.

Q. What were you saying when you were match point down? What were you saying to yourself?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, actually, what I -- no, wait.

Q. We won't tell anyone.

VENUS WILLIAMS: You'll just write it, right? Won't tell, though.

Q. Was this the best match you ever played? Let her answer the question. Wait, wait.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I guess I was thinking about going home. I said, "This is not the right thing, Venus." I had to hold strong. She didn't put in a real big first serve. It wasn't like well placed. It just gave me a chance to get it back. I had to push those thoughts out of the way. "Venus, this isn't right. It's not over. She has to win a point to get the match." So I just stayed in there.

Q. What do you think about your chances against Hingis?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I definitely think they're pretty good. I think I'm just going to go out there and play a match, just like I played today, just like I played the other days. She's going to do the same thing. You got to go out there and beat the person before you have the title. That's the way it is.

Q. Would you say that like a high-jumper, you won by half an inch? You raised one match point with your ball going on the line?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm not understanding your question.

Q. I said, do you think you won because of half an inch, just because one ball of yours on match point went on the line?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No.

Q. At the right moment?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I don't think I won by half an inch. No, no.

Q. Venus, ever since you were a little girl, I should say, and not playing the juniors, people have been wondering about you and waiting to see just how good you are. Do you feel likee right now you've shown that You've said everybody has to worry about themselves. Do you feel at this point that you've shown everybody just how good you are?

VENUS WILLIAMS: In the past, I really didn't worry about what other people thought because it was important what I thought, what my family thought. So I really didn't focus on that. Everyone has their own opinion. They're going to have it. I'm not going to change it. So I definitely knew that one day people would see, and I would just -- it would just be a little bit of time. I hadn't played that much. So, I guess this is just a great tournament for me. Maybe a fraction of the talk will stop.

Q. Do you feel a little bit better, though, about your chances against Martina compared to the first two times you played her? You have more experience since then.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. The first two times -- I mean, the first time I played okay. I didn't play that well. I wasn't able to just stay in there. She definitely played well. She didn't try to give me any points. The second time, I just gave it away. It was just giving. It was giving. It was her match to take. I don't blame her for taking it if I was going to give it.

Q. Did you realize, Venus, during the last tiebreak in the third set the support was given to you by the former Mayor of New York, Mr. David Dinkins, that was standing and trying to encourage you when you were 2-4 down?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. Because, like, in my other matches, I would hear somebody behind me in that same area saying, "Break time, break time," things like that. Finally I looked up. Guess who it was? Dinkins. I was like, "Oh, my God." I finally figured out who it was. I would just hear the same, "Break time." I would say, "Yeah, yeah." I looked up today. "I'm going to figure out who this is."

Q. You had these two tiebreakers. If you hadn't been able to win, people might say, "She's not match tough, she hasn't put the years in on the junior circuit, she's not match tough mentally." Where do you get this from? Where do you have that if you haven't played as many matches?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think there's a lot of myths floating around. When I'm in practice, especially the last three, four weeks before the tournament, two or three weeks, whatever it was, I tried to stay focused in the match because a lot of times I wasn't doing that. I think a lot of people believe you have to be match tough and things like that. You just have to know how to play and you have to believe that you can do it. You just have to go out there and do it. So some people, they might need to be match tough. For others, I don't know. But I do agree that you have to play a little bit. I haven't had to play that much because I can tell you, like a year ago, like when I first started playing, I looked back and said, "I didn't know what to do." I just didn't know. But it hasn't taken me long to learn. Hasn't taken me many matches. A lot of people, it depends on who you are, how you look at it maybe.

Q. Your dad didn't want you to come here. Now you're in the Finals. Is that at the end of the story? You won the argument?

VENUS WILLIAMS: He didn't really want me to come, but I convinced him that I needed to be here, just like the Thursday four days before I left. So I got my practice in, worked hard, even though it was super hot and horrible. I'm glad I'm here. He's glad. It's not like I'm going to go and say, "I was right." He's not going to say, "I was wrong." Doesn't really matter.

Q. Why is your dad at home? Why did he stay home?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I answer that question like every time. I don't want to answer it anymore.

Q. I'm from Africa. Venus, do you realize what you've done for Africa today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I don't.

Q. I'm telling you, my dear, you've done Africa proud. We'd love to see you in the finals.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'd love to see that, too.

Q. There's talk of waning tennis in the United States. Can you single-handedly pull together a new generation?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't think about those things when I play. I don't think about pulling tennis together, holding women's tennis up, whatever. That's your job. You guys say that. That's your job. It's not mine to think about. You guys are supposed to write it, make people interested. I'll leave it to you.

Q. No pressure or anything?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I play for myself.

Q. I meant on us.

VENUS WILLIAMS: It's your job.

Q. Does Hingis, her game, her record, anything about her scare you or intimidate you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I've never been that type of person who is like scared, fearful. I can't let that hold me back. I won't. This is a chance of a lifetime, a tournament of a lifetime. I've done well. I wouldn't be angry if I didn't win. But I'm not going to go out there and be afraid, because fear holds you back. I won't let it happen.

Q. How much did you enjoy the pressure, the attention, the excitement of the late parts of this match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I was just out there playing every point. I'm not the kind of player that looks back and remembers, "Oh, man, I could have closed it out," stuff like that. At one point it was actually 4-3, I was going to break. I thought it was 3-2. I looked up, said, "Oh, my God, it's 4-3." I thought it was 3-2.

Q. (Inaudible).

VENUS WILLIAMS: Irina, no. The first set, her forehand, she wasn't hitting. She was just playing, it was landing inside the service box, gave me a chance to attack it. Second and third set, she got out there and started striking it. On her slice, she'd have all that power.

Q. Venus, what are your favorite memories, one or two, from when you first started to play the game of tennis when you were very young?

VENUS WILLIAMS: My, I don't know. I don't think about that every day, so. What can I say? The first time I played a junior match, I was playing the 10. I was playing in a satellite. I was ready to play. Then I got a default. I was so sad, I think I started crying. I was like nine. Then everyone else realized how sad I was. My older sister started teasing and -- I don't know what they said. They started teasing me. I was so sad.

Q. Are any of your other siblings here?

VENUS WILLIAMS: My sister Serena is here and my other two sisters from DC, they came up on the weekends for two weekends. Now they're going to come up again to see the Finals.

Q. Most of the match, or all the match, you displayed a very mature composure. Could you likely tell us who advised you about that? Where did you learn it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. I think it's just the way I am. A lot of players are cool and composed. Some players are fiery and angry. It's just me, I guess. I mean, a lot of times, like in the past, if I won a point or a game, I would start smiling. Kind of got unfocused. I had to quit the smiling for this moment now. Maybe in the future I can start doing that some more. Focused people come back on you. I don't know what hit me. In the future, I'll start smiling more. I did it like three tournaments ago. It wasn't working for me. I'd get unfocused. Now I keep my straight face.

Q. You said earlier it's not a good idea to dropshot you, because you're going to get those shots. Spirlea tried time and again. Were you surprised at that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: She must not have heard me say it, I guess (laughter). I mean, I'm going to get the dropshot, that's all there is to it. I love people that hit dropshots on me.

Q. You have yet to win a set off of Martina Hingis. How different do you think you are from then and what will you do differently?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I've learned a lot of things in this Open. I've learned to put more balls in play, not to go for winners so prematurely, not to rush things. I've learned a lot of things. Things are different. Doesn't matter, I'm going to be ready.

Q. The reality of you in the US Open, has that fully sunk in yet or does that come later on tonight?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Maybe later on tonight.

Q. Venus, do you feel that Althea Gibson may have had some influence on your playing the game or wanting to play the game in any way?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I answered a question similar to this earlier this week. I said earlier that it's mostly something intangible.

Q. I must say, keep up the good work.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Thank you.

Q. Where do you get the inspiration?

VENUS WILLIAMS: From God.

QueenO
Jun 18th, 2002, 04:45 PM
September 7, 1997

M. HINGIS/V. Williams

6-0, 6-4

An interview with:

VENUS WILLIAMS

Q. How do you feel?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Feel good. Thank you.

Q. Pardon me?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Good.

Q. Glad to hear that. Were there any nerves, Venus, at the beginning of the match, on your part?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, probably so. I think so. I think it's natural to be nervous in a situation like that.

Q. What happened? What happened out there?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I went out there. Lost first set 6-0. Second 6-4. Then awards ceremony.

Q. I don't mean it like that. What were you thinking to yourself after the first set, mentally?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I just felt that I should have pulled my game together, maybe slow it down, do something a little bit different.

Q. Have you figured out how to beat her the next time?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I just think I'll probably have to play a little better, be a little bit more consistent, cut down my number of unforced errors a little bit.

Q. What makes Martina so tough?

VENUS WILLIAMS: She's an all-around player. She's consistent. She has a lot of shots. She's doing real good this year.

Q. What could you learn from this day?

VENUS WILLIAMS: A lot of things, but I really haven't even thought about that right now.

Q. The Associated Press this morning quoted your father as saying that the incident with Irina Spirlea was racially motivated. Does your father reflect your thoughts on that? Do you have thoughts on that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I mean, I didn't even read the paper.

Q. Venus, on opening night, Arthur Ashe's widow said the most important message that Arthur Ashe had was inclusion of all people into the sport. Could you take a moment and say whether that is of importance to you and something that you'd like to achieve now and over your years?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I mean, if someone wants to play the sport, they shouldn't be put out because of their race or religion, social status. That really is part of the American belief. It really should be part of the world's belief. I definitely think that is something representative of Arthur Ashe.

Q. Venus, the first game of the match, you were up 30-Love and 40-15. You looked very, very solid. Then you had four unforced errors. I hate to say it, but was that an early turning point in the match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, probably. Yeah.

Q. Do you want to elaborate a little bit?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes. It was a turning point in the match.

Q. Are you surprised that there were so many unforced errors?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I wasn't surprised. It was kind of maybe one of my weaknesses, maybe one of my only weaknesses, I will start hitting unforced errors. That's something I cut down a lot on in this tournament. I really improved on that. I'm just going to have to keep working hard. I'm one of the players who will just start doing that at times. Maybe in the future, six months from now, that will be something that will pass. I'm just going to have to keep working on that.

Q. Was some of that nervousness?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I think that maybe I just thought I had to do too much, maybe I wanted to end points a little bit quicker. Sometimes I'll tend to play like that.

Q. When you played at Filderstadt in a few weeks?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Am I?

Q. You're scheduled to play. Are you going to play that tournament?

VENUS WILLIAMS: If things go well, yeah.

Q. Venus, was the whole two-week experience what you anticipated, what you thought it might be like, or did anything catch you by surprise, either negatively or positively?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I mean, I never spent two weeks at a tournament. I really didn't imagine anything about it. I mean, everyone has their own ideas, but I wouldn't have imagined a lot of things that happened.

Q. Venus, what were you proudest of today? Your ability to come back in the second set after the first set doesn't go at all the way you want it to?

VENUS WILLIAMS: That's just like too early to answer. I haven't even had time to think about it.

Q. Venus, after you broke back in the second set, you were tied 4-4, up 30-Love on your serve, you double-faulted, had a few unforced errors. Were you thinking ahead at that point?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Probably just a little bit, yeah.

Q. What were you thinking?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think everyone thinks ahead. It's just natural.

Q. Venus, the few moments leading to the time you go on court, very important for every player. Happened to be next court to you when you were warming up. Were you happy with your routine to go on court?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes.

Q. The first day of the tournament, Venus, you said your goal was to play the entire tournament without losing a bead. How did we do during the tournament?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I lost some beads in the quarterfinals, so I did not fulfill my goal. That's what obsessed me most of all. I was in tears. I'll have to work harder next time.

Q. You said on CBS just now that that was it for the year, you wouldn't be playing anymore. Now you just said you might play Filderstadt.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I never said that.

Q. What did you never say?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I said that I entered all the tournaments I was going to enter this year. The tournaments that I've entered, those are going to the tournament I'm going to enter this year.

Q. Venus, what's going to happen, do you think, in the next year or so with your coaching? Do you think it's going to continue with your father?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes.

Q. Is there a chance that Rick Maci might get involved again? What's going on?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I have a good coach right now. I don't see any need to change. I think that all the coaching thing needs to stop because, as you could see, I made it to the Finals. I did okay. My coach is very competent. My mother's very competent. My dad is competent. They know the game. So I think the criticism and things like that has to stop because people are taking it a little bit too far and it's not part of your life. You guys are getting overly involved.

Q. Do you think it's the fact that you are so confident, when you're confident, sometimes folks feel that you are arrogant?

VENUS WILLIAMS: That my coach feels that?

Q. No. I'm saying it seems to like some degree the press here in New York City has to some degree said you are somewhat arrogant.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Everybody has their own feelings, the way they see things.

Q. I'm saying, is it confidence, does it have to do with the fact that you're an African American?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think it has something to do with people are finding something to pick with.

Q. Do you have any friends among the girls on The Tour?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, Serena. I'm not really on The Tour hardly.

Q. Do you feel like they ambushed you yesterday on CBS?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I didn't feel that way. I never knew it happened. It was weird. Didn't ambush me, I don't think.

Q. Did you talk to Althea Gibson at all during these two weeks?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I have not.

Q. Venus, when you lose the first set 6-Love, is there ever a feeling or a wonder, "Gosh, am I ever going to get another game"? Is it that sort of feeling? Or is it a hacker's feeling on my part, do you wonder if you're going to get anything?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I was just trying to think of what I could do to get in the match, what I could change, what I was doing wrong. That's basically all.

Q. Did you have a sense that the crowd was behind you, was helping you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Definitely, they were, since the first point. They were there.

Q. If there were one thing you could change about either how you prepared for the match or the match itself, what would that be?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I generally don't even think of things like that. There's nothing I can change.

Q. Venus, the only two matches Hingis lost this year were the two big hitters, Majoli and Davenport. Is it possible to out steady here or do you have to have to blow her off the court?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think whatever game you have, you just have to go out there and play your game. You don't have to have a power game or soft game. So just have to play well, that's all.

Q. Your father is also quoted by the Associated Press by saying you have experienced racism on The Tour. Could you comment on that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I really -- I don't think that's even part of it right now. I don't want to answer that question.

Q. Venus, are you disagreeing with your father then? Because he has definitely charged that there's racism. He told the bumping was a racist incident, the whole attitude here, racism. Are you disagreeing with that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think with this moment in the first year in Arthur Ashe Stadium, it all represents everyone being together, everyone being -- having a chance to play. So I think this is definitely ruining the mood, these questions about racism.

Q. Your father didn't have to comment yesterday.

VENUS WILLIAMS: You didn't have to bring it up.

Q. Yes, I did. Excuse me, who brought it up?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I said that how many times?

Q. Don't worry about it. That's exactly what you're trying to do right now.

QueenO
Jun 18th, 2002, 07:39 PM
INDIAN WELLS, CALIFORNIA


March 10, 1998



VENUS WILLIAMS/D. Van Roost

6-4, 6-1


An interview with:


VENUS WILLIAMS



Q. She had a little run at you in the first set. Did you worry at all?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I knew that -- I went up 4-Love. I think she was making errors. I was playing aggressively. I was attacking the second serves. But then when I got up 4-Love, she began to hit a lot more balls very deep, whereas I couldn't attack her as much as I would have liked to. She began to play much better. I lost serve twice. At 4-All was my serve, so I really felt comfortable because I have a pretty good serve these days. I was pretty confident the whole time.



Q. What about the second set, Venus? You kind of rolled over her. Looks like she got a little frustrated.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I've seen her play before. I know she's the type of player that doesn't give up. I was very confident in the second set. I always am, especially after I win the first one. I felt I had nothing to lose. I was winning. I just played like -- that was it.



Q. Are you starting to feel the pressure of the celebrity -- being a celebrity?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No.



Q. A lot of little girls waiting for autographs, always one more to sign, no matter how many you sign.

VENUS WILLIAMS: That is true. If you don't sign one, someone always gets the misunderstanding that, "She doesn't have time for her fans." It's not like that. I don't think people understand to what degree you have to be patient. People always want pictures, autographs. I understand that because I probably would want one, too. Sometimes there's only so much one person can do. If people don't understand that, you can't always give everyone autographs all the time. But I think I have to look at that levelheaded. Everyone is going to understand, I suppose. If they don't, then people can't live and breathe for me. I have to do that of the -- I have to be happy.



Q. Venus, are you pretty psyched up for your doubles match? It's a nice match-up between four of the youngest great players on the Tour. Should be a lot of fun?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm excited for every doubles match. I love playing doubles with Serena. No matter what, we always have fun. Whenever we get too serious, we say to each other, "Do you remember last year when we were playing at Indian Wells, we were losing, we were no good. How we laughed even though we were losing?" I'm like, "Serena, how come we're not having fun now?" That's what we say. No matter what, we have fun.



Q. Do you have some fond memories of this place last year? You had that great match with Lindsay Davenport? Is that important? Do you remember those things?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Definitely. How could I forget? I have all types of great memories from last year, Serena and I together. We had lots of fun, especially.

QueenO
Jun 18th, 2002, 07:41 PM
1998 STATE FARM EVERT CUP

INDIAN WELLS, CALIFORNIA



March 11, 1998



VENUS WILLIAMS/J. Kruger

6-1, 6-3


An interview with:


VENUS WILLIAMS



Q. Venus, how much of your matches at this point is a competition with yourself, more than the other person?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I'm really getting so much better these days. I really know what to do with the ball, what to do with certain shots, what to expect from the opponent. I feel very comfortable on the court all the time. At this time last year my forehand wasn't so good, but now I'll hit when I get ready. So everything is coming into place.



Q. Venus, earlier today somebody suggested that the three most successful women on the Tour this year have been Hingis, Davenport and you. Does that sound about right to you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think that's about right. All of us have really been working hard to make women's tennis better. Hingis has won the Australian Open, Davenport has won a tournament in Tokyo, she got to the semifinals against me last week. I'm doing some things myself. I have three titles this year. That's pretty good.



Q. Can you talk about the presence of Steffi Graf in the draw? Does that mean anything to you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think that everyone is happy to see her back. She seems to be healthy. I really haven't seen any of her matches, but she seems to be playing well. I guess we all shouldn't put a timetable on her, expect her to do things. We just should be happy that she's back and healthy. Hope she doesn't leave again.



Q. Would meeting her along the way, the prospect of beating her along the way, mean more than just winning a tournament?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well.



Q. Is that a step toward you becoming --

VENUS WILLIAMS: Becoming?



Q. -- becoming the player that you hope to eventually become?

VENUS WILLIAMS: To become?



Q. Well, assuming you're not there yet.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I am coming.



Q. Does beating her hold any portion or no more than anybody else?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I guess she'll have to get to me or I have to get to her first. I think she has the Slam titles, 21 or so. I think that puts her on the board for people. You can measure yourself against that. But as for me, I just think it's most important to play the match, like any more match. I don't think it's important you go out there saying this person has so many Slam titles, they were this, they were that. You don't need to make them that big in your head. You should worry about you. I've never been that type of person. I think you should ask someone else.



Q. Aside from Serena, are you the type of person that likes to go out and watch the other players play? If so, who from the men or women do you like to watch?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Last year I was at every match. I would be sitting and watching. I really can't do that this year because if someone asks you for an autograph, they'll get angry if you say no. It's just sometimes you need a chance to sit down by yourself. I can't sit down and watch matches anymore. If I get to, I watch it on TV. Serena, she usually watches from upstairs. I haven't had a chance to. She didn't have to play singles this time because she was hurt. I'd have to be more rested, reclining, concentrating. Maybe if I would have done that more last year, I could have done better.



Q. Is men's tennis as much fun to watch as women's tennis?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Definitely, I think so. I don't always get the opportunity to watch it live. Women's tennis, of course I'm on this tour, so I get to watch it all. It's nice to take the opportunity to watch the men's. I wouldn't say it's more exciting.



Q. Did you watch the Haas game?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Haas? I couldn't get there because I was practicing. I was the next match. It was third match and I was fourth match. I think Serena might have been there for two games.



Q. You've never, never lacked for confidence. But what was your feeling when you won at Oklahoma City? Did you feel like, "It's about time"? Was it kind of a relief that you had finally done it and gotten that step behind you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I always felt -- I didn't think that I was behind schedule. Actually, I played nine tournaments on the Tour, three of the Slams. I hadn't played that many tournaments. I was just getting around the block. I was almost around. If I could just pass the finish line.



Q. Did you never come back to Compton in Los Angeles and meet some people, old friends there?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Every year usually I play a tournament in LA. We see a lot of people that we used to know when we were there, visit a lot of places we used to practice. Still practice there sometimes. So it was good.



Q. Which is your feeling when you come back in that place which is so different now?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, it's different now. I'm older. Things are a lot smaller than they used to be.



Q. You remember things different?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes. Then sometimes you look at people, they're doing the same things. You went on. Sometimes you can see things in the larger picture. I look at next year, I don't want to look at ten years right now.



Q. You said in an interview that one day you will be competing with your sister for the No. 1 ranking. How long that will wait?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I said that about this time last year. Everyone seemed to be a little upset over that. Venus isn't giving respect to the higher-ranked players, she should give more respect. I was not disrespecting them. I did not name any names. I simply told the truth. I myself am getting there. Serena, she's getting there. I think no one can dispute that now.



Q. Venus, was part of getting there beating Hingis in Australia?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I definitely think so. It was about time for me to put a mark on the calendar, on the board, because there had been too many times that I suffered the ignominy of defeat. It's terrible. There's only so many times I can lose to one person.



Q. What did you do to turn it around? Was it strategic or just effort?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, it was. All the other times I played her, I felt I had to do too much, hit winners and things like that. She's the type of player that waits for you to miss, places the ball, just waits for you to get that error. In that match, I decided not to miss anymore. She just kept waiting for me to miss, but I wouldn't do it. I wasn't planning to -- I've definitely gotten better since then.



Q. So you out-studied her essentially?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Essentially. It was a weird match.



Q. Venus, do you expect to win this tournament?

VENUS WILLIAMS: That's the ultimate goal. Sometimes you don't want to get too far ahead of yourself. But if you ever get down, say, "Wait a minute, you're supposed to win this tournament, supposed to come back and win the game and the match."



Q. Venus, there was a story earlier, you said you're not going to play LA anymore. Is that right?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I didn't I wasn't going to play LA. It's just not on my schedule now. It could be. I don't look so far ahead. Three months in advance usually, not much further than that.

QueenO
Jun 18th, 2002, 07:43 PM
1998 STATE FARM EVERT CUP

INDIAN WELLS, CALIFORNIA



March 13, 1998



MARTINA HINGIS/V. Williams

6-0, 7-6(7)


An interview with:


VENUS WILLIAMS


VERONIQUE MARCHAL: Questions for Venus.



Q. What happened in the first set?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I believe I got a slow start. I was having my problems, making too many errors. I was able to pull through it the best I could in the second.



Q. What about this end so quickly, the end was very fast after so strong a tiebreak, the last two points was very fast?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I remember the last point. I don't remember the point before that one.



Q. The last two points was very --

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, yes. I remember the last one, that's all.



Q. Two mistakes?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah.



Q. What happened?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I guess I couldn't get the ball in.



Q. That's it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, what else can I say? I made the mistakes. There's nothing much I can do about them now. It's too late. I should have decided not to make them in the tiebreak.



Q. Did you decide to make the mistakes?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Generally, I don't.



Q. After you beat her in Sydney, did you have a special game plan for today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think my game plan was to cut down unforced errors. I was unable to do that in the first set. That's no good. Actually, should have started fast in the beginning, really ready. But I just wasn't able to do that.



Q. When is your next tournament?

VENUS WILLIAMS: The Lipton, next week.



Q. What was the injury time-out, Venus?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I was having an elbow problem.



Q. Tendonitis?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't think it's tendonitis, no. But I have to get evaluated by the trainers to see exactly what it is. I don't know what it is.



Q. Did it affect you the rest of the match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I was able to come through it, but I was definitely having some problems there. I think everyone should be ready to play when they go out to their matches. It's no excuse if you're having an injury.



Q. Was it something that bothered you for a while?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. Never had this before.



Q. Do you have a good luck charm?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, no. I don't have a good luck charm.



Q. Are you superstitious?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. Sometimes I like to sit in the same area. If that doesn't happen, it doesn't bother me. Sometimes I like to do that. I shouldn't -- I'm not superstitious at all.



Q. Today is Friday the 13th.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Pardon me?



Q. Today is Friday the 13th.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, no.



Q. Venus, had you had the opportunity, would you play against Lindsay instead of Martina?

VENUS WILLIAMS: In the end, I would have played either one of them. I would have played Lindsay tomorrow. I played her last week, two weeks ago. So in the end, you have to play someone.



Q. Right.

VENUS WILLIAMS: You should just be ready.



Q. Wouldn't have been partial to either one?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. They're both close. Martina is No. 1. Lindsay is trying to get there. They're both playing very well this year. They both have different games.



Q. A year ago in Florida, Venus, you said ultimately that Serena would be your toughest competition. Do you still feel that way, and could you explain why?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, I still feel that way. Because I think that Serena and I are doing our best to learn what to do during matches, to get better and to get more experience. We're getting there definitely. We still have some ways to go, a little bit. It should be easier for Serena to come through, since I was the first one. She's come through a lot quicker than what I have. Ultimately, Serena and I, I think we have all the skills it will take. I just can't see anyone being better than us in the future. I think a lot of girls will definitely be there. We see all the young girls coming through, doing good. That is going to be motivation for us to really keep ourselves going.



Q. You said there's still some things to work on in your game. What are the one or two things you'd like to work on immediately in your game?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think right now I really have everything down pat. Last year during this time, there were a lot of things I needed to work on, like my movement and my groundstrokes. This year, I think everything is solid. I think right now I need to concentrate on taking it to the next level and seeing do I really want to get to the top, am I really willing to do that work? Am I going to be willing to make the sacrifices, to give it all? I think right now, that's it for me. As Serena, you'll have to ask her.



Q. Are you convinced you and Serena have more likelihood to be No. 1 and 2 than anybody else on the Tour?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think so. I think Serena and I, that's our plan. We don't see anyone else -- or we don't want anyone else to try to stop us.



Q. You say you have all the shots or you've got the game. In order to get beyond where you are, you have to sacrifice. What is it you're going to have to sacrifice?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think a lot of the players -- some players in the past, in the Top 10, aren't really working to get to the No. 1 level. They just aren't willing to really go out there and really give it their all, really do what it takes to get to the top. It's not that no one want -- everyone wants to be at the top. But are you willing to go to the next level? I have to ask myself to see if I really want it.



Q. What do you have to give up?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't think you have to give up anything.



Q. You said a moment ago you have to sacrifice.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Are we arguing now?



Q. Well, you said you have to sacrifice. Now you're saying you don't have to.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm saying, the top players, they do more than everyone else. They work a little harder, put in the extra time. That's what the top players do. That's what I've been doing to get to where I am now.



Q. What do you have to sacrifice to get to the top?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Everything.



Q. Striking similarity to some degree with the U.S. Open final. I remember you reading notes during the final last year. You don't do that anymore. You don't need that anymore?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I have my notes. I had them the other day. I had them in the first set, but I didn't use them as much today.



Q. Venus, do you have a timetable for yourself as far as when you want to be No. 1?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think it all depends on how much I play this year, to get the amount of points needed to get to No. 1. But right now I think I should just concentrate on getting better.



Q. What about the relationship with the other girls? You spend a lot of time with your sister. You meet the other girls of the circuit, the other professional players, or not?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I talk to the girls, see the girls all the time. I'm on the Tour. Serena is my sister. I don't think people should expect me to go out and find someone else different.

VERONIQUE MARCHAL: Any last questions for Venus?



Q. What in your mind makes Hingis tough? We talked about the future. But in the present, is it she seems to be kind of steady, doesn't seem to have real ups and downs?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, she really doesn't have ups and downs. Sometimes you might -- she might get angry at herself and miss a shot. It's not like a lot of other players will do, miss shots for three games. She's really working hard to make sure she maintains her position. She maintained it today against me. I'll look at myself and find out what I'm doing wrong. Obviously, she's very serious, so I have to get more serious in the future, take her example.



Q. What is your confidence level now, Venus, do you look at this match and say, "I lost this match," more so than Martina winning it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I suppose if someone wanted to put it that way. The glass is half full or half empty.



Q. Venus, you've had some wonderful wins already in the first few months of the year, won your first tournament. How would you judge or assess the first few months of the year for you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm pretty happy about my accomplishments this year. Every tournament I've got like to the quarters or better. What was I saying? I think today, that I didn't win today, obviously I would have wanted to win. I'm not the happiest that I would be if I had won. But then again, you can't let it get too large to where winning is all that you have because I just have to regroup and say, "Next match, I have to be better. Next match, this is what I'm going to do." This is just the beginning for me, my first years. I'm going to move on, get better, and I'll talk to y'all later.

QueenO
Jun 18th, 2002, 07:45 PM
March 20, 1998



V. WILLIAMS/T. Panova

6-3, 6-3



An interview with


VENUS WILLIAMS



Q. What was the injury?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It was the knee area.



Q. Left knee?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes.



Q. It seemed like you dusted her off really quick after you got treated. Was it feeling better or you wanted to get out of there in a hurry?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Both. I really just wanted to get out of there in a hurry. I didn't want to prolong my stay. The fans would have enjoyed it, But I wouldn't have. So, I think I had the momentum also after I came back to 4-3. Things were going pretty good at that point.



Q. You lost that, like a major long rally about three, four strokes and -- but yet you really held it together and won that game. Was that a turning point in your mind?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I guess I did - I don't actually remember that. Points are very important, but you just can't let one point decide the rest of the set or the match. You should still stay in there. That is what I believe.



Q. Do you think your knee will affect you tomorrow or the next day?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I think that everything is going to go well for this tournament.



Q. Did you feel real strong out there today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I felt pretty good out there today. I don't think I was hitting anywhere near as well as I can. But I believe I can raise my level and I believe that even if I am playing badly, I still know how to win.



Q. Back to the knee. Is it a sharp pain or just kind of what do you think it is?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't think I should go into any detail.



Q. What were some of your weaknesses tonight?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Inconsistency. Sometimes I was missing some forehands and my serve wasn't where I wanted it to be. I believed I had to make some corrections if I want to continue to win. If I don't -- but I think I want to win.



Q. How does your future of this tournament, how does it look?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think it looks very well. The same round that I was in here last year when I was dismissed. But I think that this year will be a little different.



Q. In what sense?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm a smarter player. I'm a better player. I know a lot more things, I feel. I think I still have a lot to learn. But things are much more different than what they were last year when I was sitting in this chair.



Q. Were you aware that Serena had won her match before you took the court?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Quite aware. I got here at 6 o'clock and I watched the television from 3-Love, 15-Love. I was like, well, it is too late.



Q. Do you feel more comfortable playing so close to home than in a foreign country or, you know --

VENUS WILLIAMS: Do I feel more comfortable?



Q. Yeah, because you are really playing in your backyard, very close.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think it is very nice that I can play here. If I decide to, I can go home. And there is a lot of people here who live in Florida. Every time I go overseas, all the television and papers carry things about myself and Serena. So everyone here really knows us and feels close to us. So that is real good. It is like a home crowd.



Q. Knowing Serena won, especially that she beat Spirlea, did that pump you up?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I knew she was going to win. I was real happy that she did win. But I thought she would win.



Q. Looking forward to meeting your sister somewhere down the road in this tournament?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I would hope that we meet because then it would mean that we both did not lose.



Q. They'd like to know who your favorite tennis player is All-Time, male or female and why?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, Serena and I have arguments over this. She has her own favorite player. I don't think she has a favorite player anymore. She is going through some changes.



Q. What was it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I myself? Well, I think you would have to ask her. I, myself -- Serena doesn't like my favorite player. And I think that since she didn't like my favorite player, I can't like him anymore either.



Q. You are your own person?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I know. But we have to agree, and that is just the way it is. I can't help it. So I am reluctant to say.



Q. Who was it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't think you all want to know.



Q. We do want to know. Now you teased us.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't think you would ever guess.



Q. Is it an old one or new one? European or American?

VENUS WILLIAMS: European.



Q. Bjorn Borg?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No.



Q. Active player or former player?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Active.



Q. Arazi?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Isn't he African. I like him a lot. He does a lot of tricks on the courts.



Q. Boris doesn't play anymore obviously. Ivanisevic?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No.



Q. Are you going to tell us if we guess?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I will.



Q. Has he ever won a tournament?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I am sure he has.



Q. He is a Top-10 player?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No.



Q. Then there is a lot. What country is he from?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Do you know, Dave? Mom, do you know?



Q. How about some initials? Do you have a crush on this guy or you just like the way he plays? Which is it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, no, I like the way he plays.



Q. You have got to give a couple more hints. We give up.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Can you think of anything? I am not giving any hints. You can give some. Do you know?

VERONIQUE MARCHAL: No.



Q. What does it rhyme with? What are the initials? Say the country.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I will not say the country.



Q. Byron Black?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. You want to know the first initial? M..

VERONIQUE MARCHAL: Magnus Larsson.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes.



Q. I call him lirch. Now you have got to say why.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I just like the way he plays. It looks like he is not even trying sometimes. And, that is how it looks to me. It looks effortless, sort of. Sometimes I don't look effortless.



Q. You made us work for that one.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, she worked for that one. You guys would never have guesses?



Q. We would not have. If Serena doesn't like your choice, who does she like?

VENUS WILLIAMS: You have to ask her. I don't know if she will agree and tell you.

QueenO
Jun 18th, 2002, 07:46 PM
March 22, 1998



V. WILLIAMS/O. Barabanschikova

6-2, 6-1



An interview with


VENUS WILLIAMS



Q. How is your knee?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think it is better.



Q. What did you do it to?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I didn't do anything to it.



Q. Why did you have it wrapped?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Because I think it is a fashion statement.



Q. How did you feel you played today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think I played much better than I did the other night. The other night I was very erratic that even I wasn't sure what I was going to do. But today I was a lot better. I think I still let some errors come in at the wrong times. But I was more satisfied. But my goals will be played better next time.



Q. Is it true your dad was here today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: He has been here.



Q. Isn't that unusual when --

VENUS WILLIAMS: Is it unusual?



Q. That he is at a tournament where you are playing?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I see him a lot. Well, he was at Oklahoma and Indian Wells and he is here. We live here, so he comes.



Q. Does it make a difference for you in terms of preparation or in terms of debriefing after a game or --

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. My mom is my coach also. I really like having my dad here, but sometimes he is not, so my mom is here for me. And I believe she is one of the best. So is my dad.



Q. How much time do you spend with your sister talking?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Jive? Talking jive?



Q. Tennis --

VENUS WILLIAMS: Talking a lot of jive. That is usually what we do. How much time we speak talking tennis?



Q. Do you talk tennis with your sister?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Definitely. We help each other out. Because the other night I said Serena, "When you play, if you can't be there, be there anyway." So now that is what we are talking about now. She said, "I wasn't there, but I was there anyway, Venus." So, she was talking to me before I went out to my match. And sometimes I will say things to her so we help each other out. Sometimes we will be off the court, Serena, this don't make sense or, Venus, this don't make sense, what are we doing, come on, we can dominate, why are we doing these things, let's get it straight. So, usually we encourage each other.



Q. So it is a "we" thing?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes.



Q. Until you get to play each other?

VENUS WILLIAMS: After I played her, I told her, Serena, you have these tendencies.



Q. Will you give her any advice on the next round?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think Serena definitely is playing well these days. I think Patty is playing well also. She won a tournament.



Q. Two.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Two this year. She is really on the move, getting serious. That is good for all those young players, so...



Q. Venus, are you going to watch the Seles/Kournikova match? And do you have an opinion why Anna Kournikova is so popular in the press?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think that Anna Kournikova is bringing some different to tennis, just like a lot of other younger players do, and a lot of the older players. I think everyone is interested in what she is doing. And why else? Let's see. She is a good player. Interesting to watch. She has interesting things to say. Those are just some reasons. I'm sure she can tell you more. You'd probably like that. Will I be at the match tonight? No. I have to go. I was waiting a long time for my match. I thought it was going to be a little earlier, but I had to wait. This is it.



Q. Did you have fun with the children at Flamingo Park?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, a lot of fun. All of the kids were very nice. They were cute. I like this chair, though.



Q. In Indian Wells at a press conference you used the word journalists needed a thesaurus to figure what it was. I only remember the word. It was disgrace --

VENUS WILLIAMS: Ignominy.



Q. How do you learn these words?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I love words. I really do. I have a dictionary I have had since '95. Whenever I learn a word I put a dot by it. I love words a lot. It is my pastime. Plus my dad told us we have to get a vocabulary; can't walk around without a vocabulary. You have to learn how to speak, so he got on us. I don't think Serena likes words as much as I do. She is always saying, wow, Venus, but I am the type of person -- she is more or less, I guess, in math. But, I don't know.

QueenO
Jun 18th, 2002, 07:50 PM
March 23, 1998



V. WILLIAMS/R. Grande

6-1, 6-4


An interview with:


VENUS WILLIAMS



Q. I wanted to ask you if you feel like the way the media portrays you or newspaper articles or TV, is that a very accurate portrayal or if you were writing a story about yourself, would you write it differently than what you're used to seeing?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I believe if I wrote a story, the story would be filled with things that didn't make sense, a lot of jokes, a lot of foolishness, probably would not focus on tennis at all. I don't think I'd probably say anything about tennis. I probably would be introduced as a professional tennis player, go on from there. I believe in the past, when -- there were some very inaccurate articles. I believe everyone has come to the light now and have been able to see the reality. I think things have turned. I think that eventually will be a forgotten page in history.



Q. Do you feel more well received than you did at the time? Was that overblown that you didn't feel well received even then?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't think I was well received at all. I don't think people were able to understand or handle my and Serena's emergence as players and contenders on the Tour. Now that people have come to reality, are aware that we're going to play good tennis, I think things are different. We're friendly, Serena and I. We're happy. I think we're doing our best.



Q. Can you give us an idea of how it was to live in Los Angeles, to grow up in those parts of the city, and to move on now and to live a different life and look back?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I lived in Los Angeles when I was born till I was like 11. It didn't seem bad to me at all. I was little. It's where I lived, where I grew up. It was my place of residence. I was, I suppose, proud, if I can remember proud at that time. Now that I look back, I've come a long way since then. I'll be back to play a tournament back in LA, you see people doing the same things. You see how far you've come, that your whole family come, how you can see things differently on a much larger scale. That's when you can really see what you've done, just move on, just do better.



Q. Part of what you do is you make a lot of money. It's not the most important thing, but it's a part of it. Does it give you security? Does it give you perspective for your future long-term or is it not in the picture at all?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think that generally you're able to live more comfortably financially, but you aren't always happy. I don't think money can make anyone happy. I think sometimes people think so, but in the end it's not so. To have a family, being happy doing what you're doing, having fun, those things. Most of all right now, I I'm trying to get my ranking together. I'm thinking about the points. I try to stop thinking about the points. At the end of the tournament I add them up. That's my goal.



Q. Would you address the term security in any way? Is there something like this for you in this world?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I think if I want something, I can have it. Usually I plan to get things. When I play well in tournaments, I get it after the tournament. If I don't think I played as well, if I didn't do the things I worked on in practice, then I don't get anything. I have to keep myself under control. That helps. For a while, I got out of control. I realized this and I came to my senses.



Q. How did you get out of control? What do you mean?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I love jewelry. I just love jewelry. I would get a lot. I used to wear a lot, too. A lot on this arm, two on this one (indicating). I wear a watch on this one. If I go to Europe, I wear one watch here, one watch there (indicating). Now I have this. But I love jewels.



Q. Your father said the decision to move to Florida was mostly yours and Serena's. Why did you decide to move? Did you find what you were looking for?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think that we visited Florida, we had a lot of fun practicing our tennis, liked it there. It was something new. Serena and I decided that we like this. My dad -- we were happy doing that, so that was best. My mom probably agreed, too. We probably wouldn't have went if she didn't agree.



Q. I guess you moved partly to come to the Macci Academy?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, part of it.



Q. Did you get out of that experience what you wanted? What's your view on academy life, not necessarily that one?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I generally wasn't a part of the academy with a lot of the kids. Serena and I were doing our own thing. We weren't playing junior tournaments. I really don't know about really being in an academy, but I was around an academy.



Q. May I ask you about the school situation.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm finished. Oh, my gosh, I was reading an article. I was reading that this time last year in chemistry, I was nine assignments behind, and geometry I was 14 assignments. No more of that now. I don't feel anything on my shoulders.



Q. Finished high school?

VENUS WILLIAMS: High school.



Q. You can go to college right now?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, I could.



Q. Have you ever thought about that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, yes. I have my plans.



Q. Can you tell us a little bit about it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Can I reveal the future?



Q. Yes.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I have to take my SAT's. I haven't taken those yet. I've procrastinated. I had the form since October; I never did it. Real problems with that.



Q. Not intellectual problems?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. It takes me a long time to get things done sometimes. You can go to the summer school terms, six-week terms. That's realistic for me. For me to go in the fall and spring wouldn't be so realistic. I think it would hurt my tennis game.



Q. Is there a struggle right now? Your father really emphasized education is very important.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I've told him my plans. He's very happy with it. I was very happy, too, because I really want to go to college. My sisters go. I can see the benefits they're getting. I have benefits, too, in tennis, but there's other things also.



Q. Would you look for a school where you get a scholarship or something like that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't think so.



Q. You don't need that.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't think so. I don't think I need a scholarship. I'm not going to play for the tennis team. I don't think they would let me play for a tennis team.



Q. You can't because you're a professional.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes. Unless I could just go into retirement.



Q. You could buy the whole program, make it into a Venus Williams program. I wanted to ask if you feel comfortable talking about this. I know you're a Jehovah's Witness. Do you actively visit and witness? Can you tell me a little bit about that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Do I actively visit and witness?



Q. I'm not that familiar with that religion.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I understand.



Q. What does that entail for you? What do you do, I guess, to actively be involved in your religion?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, we believe -- it's just like tennis. You can't just go once a month and expect your game to be on top. You have to reiterate everything. We believe in good association, association with fellow Witnesses, not becoming too involved with people that don't have the same beliefs and same values that we do. We go to meetings three times a week. They encourage us. You learn there, you learn more, just continue learning until you get a better understanding of things. I guess you are aware that we do house-to-house witnessing. I can't do that at all because I'm on the road. Getting more popular, I don't know if I can go house-to-house. I'm thinking about that. People are going to say, "What about the women?" I'll say, "What about this?" I was thinking about that.



Q. Have you done that a few times?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, ever since I was little. Generally, I can speak to people about it.



Q. Who was riding on the fire truck?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I didn't get to ride. Serena got to drive it a little bit. She pulled it out. I was like scared to put the suit on. I'm like, This isn't my suit.



Q. Does she have a driver's license?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes.



Q. I would like to get to the religious aspect. You grow up into a family, and this is the religious belief that's already there. So you grow up into something existing. Young people tend to reevaluate, question, challenge beliefs, then maybe accept them or maybe turn into something else. Did you ever go to a period where you actively questioned the set of beliefs that was put in front of you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Never. Not just because my parents believe, but because I do. I think that some of the reasons why a lot of people say Serena and I were good kids, we're obedient, never going crazy, is because of our beliefs. In the Bible it tells us that disobedient children do not live all their days. I believe that. A lot of times, like, I'm thinking about it, if I was not a Witness, if my parents told me to do something, I was thinking would I do it or not? Would I do what I want to do? The main reason I do is because I want to obey them, because it will be best for me, and because I'm afraid that things won't go right for me. It's God's law. So I do it because of that, too. I mean, I have to. That's how I live my life and how we got our lives.

QueenO
Jun 18th, 2002, 07:51 PM
March 24, 1998



V. WILLIAMS/S. Farina

6-1, 6-2


An interview with:


VENUS WILLIAMS



Q. Venus, would you prefer a tougher match before facing Martina?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, if I would have preferred a tougher match, I wasn't going to play anybody else besides Serena today, so you get what you have.



Q. Can you talk about your performance tonight? Did you feel comfortable, fluid? Are you where you want to be at this point in the tournament?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I definitely think I could have played better. I think I was making some errors. I lost serve twice, which is no good at all. Sometimes I was making errors for no reason at all. Hitting too many short balls also. I can make up for that since I'm kind of speedy. But in the end, that's no good. Get yourself in trouble a lot. So I think I'm going to have to make some adjustments.



Q. Seeing your sister come so close to beating Hingis, what's your attitude about playing her?

VENUS WILLIAMS: The same as always. I have to go out there and play the player, not anything else. That's what I will do. Most of all, I think it's important that I go out there relaxed and just ready to play, not overplanning or overpracticing, because I already can play, I've already practiced all these years for this.



Q. Did you learn anything from the way your sister played Martina today? Did you pick anything up from that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think Serena went out there and played her game, which is important. Sometimes people play the top players, they feel, "I have to do this, I have to do that, this is the side I'm going to hit to." In all honesty, you don't have to do that. Just go out there and play your game. I think Serena did that. I think she gave a good example for me.

QueenO
Jun 18th, 2002, 07:53 PM
March 26, 1998



V. WILLIAMS/M. Hingis

6-2, 5-7, 6-2


An interview with:


VENUS WILLIAMS



Q. Well, what were you thinking on all those match points going out the window?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I was just much too tight and I was much too pumped, I suppose. I suppose I got much too high. After I lost that game, it was like, "Wow, how could I have done that?" But I'm not the type of player that gives up. She happened -- I happened to play bad in the next couple games. She played better. But then in the next set, I was ready to go. So it was very sad that I had to do that, but in the end, I still prevailed.



Q. That what makes your matches between you and Martina so interesting, neither one of you are willing to give up? Is that interesting to play, too?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes. I think a lot of the players aren't willing to give up. I think we, especially, show a lot of heart and a lot of desire. So it really makes it interesting; it helps the game when all the people are watching on the outside, TV, looking at it in the papers.



Q. Did you leave some beads behind on the court for her?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I didn't leave any pearls for her this time.



Q. What was it she was picking up then?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. Probably was some of my beads. I think it was the blue ones. It's been so long since I've had my hair done, the rubber bands on the end, they kind of get so weak that they break. Always making repairs. I'm going to take my hair down, do it over after this tournament. I haven't bothered to put them back, the beads.



Q. Venus, because of the way that you beat her, do you see this as the major turning point in your own career?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I don't know. I think my career's been turning for a long time now. I don't think it's a major turning point in my career. I believe that I was tired of losing in ridiculous ways. I knew I was a better player. It's okay to lose. It's okay. But just to go out and to lose 6-Love, things of that nature, and to play badly, that's different. If you go out there playing your best, you lose, say, "You won this time, that's great." To go out there and play bad in the past, that's unacceptable for me.



Q. Do you think when you lost the second set after three match points, do you think about your sister's game, which also had a chance, having two match points against Martina?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes. We're totally different people. Totally different hearts. Totally different day. Very different match. So, therefore, I believe I still would come through. I don't go out there thinking that I'm going to lose. I go out there ready to play. Even though you miss opportunities, they always come again. You just have to create them. So I couldn't go back to those match points. I couldn't get them back. She wasn't going to give them to me. That was over with. So I just had to go on. But I did develop a headache, because I got sick, it was sickening. I said, "Oh, my gosh." When I went up 1-Love in the third, I got a headache and I was sick.



Q. Has that happened to you before?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I'm just exaggerating (laughter). I wasn't sick. I say that a lot.



Q. Venus, what, if anything, did she hurt you with?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Pardon me?



Q. What, if anything, can she hurt you with?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think one of Martina's strong points is she's consistent and she'll try to move the ball around. A lot of times the girls aren't their best moving and hitting at the same time. I believe for Serena and I it's a strong point. We can hit. Actually, this time last year I was not able to do that so well because I was tall and I was unable to move laterally efficiently. I worked on that. But now, Serena and I are doing much better. But going back to her strong points. She hates to lose. That's something that really helps her to win all the time, to be a good winner.



Q. When she pulled back to 5-5 in that second set, the next game, you lost that very quickly.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah.



Q. Can you tell us what was going on?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I was lazy. Just totally lazy. I wasn't moving my feet. Especially for someone my height, you do have to get in position because you're tall. You have to work a little harder to get into position. I got lazy. I was like, "Venus, you're being lazy." At that point she probably got a little confidence, closed it out.



Q. Were you disappointed during that game that you had let her get back in?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. I actually wasn't feeling so great that I had done that. But there was nothing I could do about it now. I just have to move on.



Q. Venus, do you find that you talk to yourself a lot while you're on the court?

VENUS WILLIAMS: In the past, I did not. But starting actually this year in Sydney, because in the past sometimes I would lose matches because I didn't have enough fight. I didn't give up, but I didn't really fight. So I felt that if I had to talk to myself and things of that nature, just to win, then maybe that's what I had to do. So starting Sydney, that's what I do now.



Q. And you found it's helped?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Sometimes. Sometimes you can get too excited and too high and too tight. And that's not so good either. You're not able to hit. Depends what kind of person you are.



Q. What were you saying to yourself out there?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Just, "Come on, let's go." Sometimes in the middle of a point, I'd realize, say, "Venus, wait a minute, you're coming up too high. How tall are you, Venus? You have to stay down." Different things like that.



Q. You live in South Florida. Does this make it special? What does the mean going to the finals?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I feel good going to the finals. I've played a lot this week. I'm out of school now, so I don't have to go to school or be behind anymore, as I was in the past. So it feels good. Everyone here gets to see me that reads about me in the paper when I'm overseas or away out of state. I like playing here.



Q. You said your career hasn't turned. Do you think you sort of arrived, you go up to the Top 10 --

VENUS WILLIAMS: I haven't arrived yet; I'm just coming, on my way.



Q. Venus, did you and Serena talk a little bit before this match about playing Martina?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes. I played her much more than Serena, I believe six times now, more than I played anyone else. Serena gave me one pointer that really helped me, which I will not disclose to y'all for fear that it will appear in the papers and over television (laughter). That really helped me in the end. What was the question?



Q. If you talked about playing her.

VENUS WILLIAMS: In the past, actually starting in Australia, I said to Serena, "If you can't do it for me, do it for you, do it for me." She was actually losing this one match, a particular player in the Top 10, she was down 1-6, 2-5. She said she saw me getting dressed and stretching. She got so sad because she was losing in under an hour. She said she did it for me. This time when I lost the second set, I found that I had to do it for her. That's my soliloquy.



Q. Venus, your record is about 20-3 this year. Something very similar to Martina. You've beaten her two out of three this year. Is it fair for you to think you've caught her yet?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I guess you couldn't really say it's fair. I don't have the same ranking she has. But I believe I'm progressing. I don't think that players actually go out and say, "I'm catching up, I've caught you, I have so many accomplishments." I think they always want to do better and always just stay on top. I don't keep a record or count of what she's doing, what I'm doing. It's best to concentrate on me, sometimes Serena, too, if she's not concentrating.



Q. Is she playing as well as she did last year?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Martina?



Q. Yes.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, maybe. I think that sometimes it's probably not so easy to be on top and you're only about 17, everyone knows that you've won in the past, wants you to win now, expects you to win. So sometimes it can probably play a toll on someone. Even if she's not as good as she was last year, I think she's doing real good. I've never been in that position. I don't have anything to defend. I think that whatever she does, I think everyone should accept that.



Q. Was your father flashing some signs to you there? It looked like it, but we were too far away.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know.



Q. He had a cardboard.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Pardon me?



Q. He had a big sign in his hand or piece of paper before the match. But no one could see what it said.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I never saw this.



Q. At the beginning of the match.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, I don't look at my parents so much.



Q. Thought maybe you knew what it was.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm going to get the tape so I can see.



Q. Didn't show it on the tape.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I didn't see that.



Q. Venus, did you say you were done with school?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes.



Q. You graduated?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes.



Q. When did that happen?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I was doing some math because I felt that I should do some algebra, too. At one point I was in the class, but I was unable to keep up to gain the knowledge, so I had to pull out and get in algebra one, then geometry. I took basics, too.



Q. So you're done with school?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm done.



Q. For the year?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Forever. High school.



Q. Did you graduate and when?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Not a ceremony. I didn't want one. I go to a small, private school. The teacher asked if I wanted a ceremony, but I didn't want it. I never graduated from kindergarten or the sixth grade or middle school or anything. I never had a graduation, never.



Q. Are you going on for any college?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm going to go to maybe summer school, college, things of that nature. I don't think it's possible for me to actually go full-time during the fall and winter terms. I don't think it's realistic, unless I choose to forget my tennis career. I don't think I'm going to do that right now. I'm working too hard.



Q. Did you graduate in December or January? How recent was it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I was kind of on my own pace, just completing some things. Now I'm just finished all the way.



Q. Did your emotion at the end of the match say you're No. 1?

VENUS WILLIAMS: What was I doing?



Q. (Indicating.)

VENUS WILLIAMS: I do that all the time (indicating). You know, it's a little dance. I don't do a full dance on court. Maybe after I win a Slam or something of that nature.



Q. Are you holding that up for No. 1?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It's because my finger is so long, when I put my hand up, it just protrudes (laughter).



Q. Venus, how were you feeling when Martina left the court after the first game in the third set?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I thought it was really great. I thought it was really great I got a break and had a chance to think things over. I was saying to myself -- I was very calm at that point. Really, it surprised me that she was taking breaks, because she did it against Serena. She did it against me before. Didn't bother me at all, because people have taken breaks on me before. I think it gives me a chance to regroup, especially since I'm more experienced at this point. So, I guess she got the job done, whatever she was doing.



Q. What's happening over there with your knee? Anything in particular? Precaution?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Really, nothing's really happening.



Q. Why the bandage, for effect?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think it looks real nice, actually.



Q. The crowd was very much behind you today. I was wondering how much that helped you in the third set? You played to it very well also.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I was feeling pretty good in the third. I was just so relaxed in the third. In the points, I was kind of walking to the ball, too. Serena does the walk, she's always walking. Mom would say, "If that girl would stop walking, she would be so good." I was doing the Serena walk (laughter). I was actually serving to go up 3-Love. I was just so nonchalant at that point. I won the game, went up to 4-Love, lost serve. At that point it really didn't matter to me.

QueenO
Jun 18th, 2002, 07:56 PM
March 28, 1998



V. WILLIAMS/A. Kournikova

2-6, 6-4, 6-1


An interview with:


VENUS WILLIAMS



Q. Where did your dance originate from?

VENUS WILLIAMS: That's my dance. I'm doing it all the time, when I'm practicing, or when Serena and I are together. I didn't do the full thing. You guys will never see that (laughter).



Q. Was your knee bothering you? Were you limping?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I was having some problems, I guess, starting late in the second set. But I was able to pull the third out. I don't think it affected me so much.



Q. How do you think you played that first set?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I really wasn't ready to play at all. Might as well just have been someone else. I think that Anna played well also. I think she really came out there with a plan, a plan to win the Lipton. And I wasn't really prepared for that. But slowly I adjusted to it and I was able to come through.



Q. Her plan was the slicing, lots of slicing?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes. Since I'm so tall, I guess I had the wrap on my knee, maybe she thought she should slice, keep it in play, let me rush. I wasn't so comfortable in the first sets. That was a good plan.



Q. Your first serve didn't come too well at the beginning?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. Sometimes I like to hit big ones, sometimes I don't. It just depends.



Q. The speed?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Sometimes the pace isn't always effective. If you mix it up more, sometimes people don't like the spin so much, especially the shorter girls.



Q. Anna said that you didn't beat her; she lost. What would be your response to that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think that usually when people do lose, they beat themselves generally. The story of every match when someone loses, the person makes more errors. When I lose, or when Anna lost today, made more errors than what I did. I think you have to hit some winners, but you also have to make errors to lose a match.



Q. She was tired, obviously, in the third set. Did you feel tired, too? You seemed a little bit down.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, if I was tired, it wasn't really important because I had time to be tired after the match was over with. I think that she was tired at the beginning of the second. She looked very tired. So I felt that I should just keep the ball in play.



Q. You're down a set and a break. Are you concerned? Are you worried? What are you going through there?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, I was very concerned. I was concerned that if I didn't change, things were going to go too quickly for me. I was saying, "Wow, Venus, come on. How can I be doing this?" I couldn't believe I was playing this way. This looked like the old Venus. I used to bomb out. Not because she's a bad player, but because she didn't know how to play in certain occasions. I pulled my receive together, said, "Venus, come on."



Q. What did you change?

VENUS WILLIAMS: What did I change? Hey, how is it going?



Q. All right.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I was hitting a lot of errors. She was just slicing and slicing. I was hitting errors, rushing, not having too much confidence in my shots. I was also nervous, too. In the end, I was like, "This has to change, there's no need for this." So I just put more balls in play.



Q. Venus, what was the feeling winning the Lipton?

VENUS WILLIAMS: At that point, I was kind of tired and ready for the match to be over with. I felt there was no way I could lose serve. I think she played a good game at 5-Love. She stepped up and hit some winners. But there was no way I was going to lose serve in that game.



Q. You made two racquet changes during this match. Why?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Because my strings always breaking. They break. For maybe an hour they last. I didn't want my strings to break at any important point, so I was changing the racquets more often.



Q. They had not broken at that time?

VENUS WILLIAMS: They weren't broken at that time.



Q. You could see they were starting to fray?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes. I didn't want to lose a point because of that.



Q. Venus, can we say that today is one of the most happiest days of your life?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I'm very happy. I've had happier days for more occasions.



Q. After beating Martina Hingis twice this year, now winning your first match with Anna Kournikova, what is your impression of the youngsters in the game, like yourself? What is your impression of the way they play?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I played all of the younger girls, including one girl named Serena Williams. They all have their different games and the different things they play. I think it's a good sign for the future because if it hadn't been me in the finals, it would have been Martina, or it would have been Serena. So it was going to be a teenage final, especially with Anna pulling her end in the bottom draw. I think that was good. Everyone was exposed to the new girls.



Q. You have been referred to as the Tiger Woods of tennis. How do you respond to that? How do you feel about that, especially your impact on the younger generation?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Generally, I don't think -- it doesn't really motivate me. I think it gives a good analogy for people who might not follow tennis to feel or to understand what I am for tennis. I suppose that's what I feel it means.



Q. Venus, does it feel more special to win in your hometown, here in Miami, family and everything?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, yes. My teachers got to come, some people who goes to our congregation, my trainer. Everybody got to come and see me win. I'm like, "I can't be losing in front of all of my friends."



Q. Are you aware of your dad holding up signs throughout the match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I saw this time. Last time I didn't see at all. This time I was able to see.



Q. What do you think of that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think that I guess that's what he wanted to do (laughter).



Q. Are you embarrassed by it at all?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I don't get embarrassed at all.



Q. Are you surprised he didn't pay more attention to your match than making these signs?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, usually he isn't here. So that was good enough for me.



Q. Venus, Anna kind of characterized your draw in this tournament as being a little bit easier than hers. Your response to that? At the same time, did you kind of think, "She has had an awful lot of tough matches, maybe there was a chance of wearing her down in the final because of that"?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I think in my part of the draw, two of the seeds pulled out. Also she played a lot of the players in the Top 10, I believe about four. I think no matter what, you're going to play matches, people are going to want to win against you. I think it was good she got to play all those players, to have victories over them. In the end, I think that's insignificant, because you just have to play in each round. Sometimes people get on fire and you have to extinguish that, no matter who they are. So I think it's good that Anna was able to play well all the way here and to play all the players. I had, I suppose, a little more easier matches sometimes.



Q. Before you said you were progressing. Do you think now you have arrived with this victory?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm coming. Don't rush me. I'm not here yet (laughter).



Q. Where is your next tournament, Venus?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm playing Amelia Island, not this week, but next week.



Q. How much therapy do you need on this MCL problem?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think I just need some rest. I played three tournaments in a row now. That's generally what I don't do. So I'm going to take some rest. I don't think it's so bad. I think it was just wear and tear, where I haven't had as much recuperation time as I would like. I think it will be good.



Q. Venus, the other day Hingis said she felt for many years she was the hunter, and she's become the hunted. Do you feel that way today, that you had changed into the role of being the hunted one with Anna, trying to be the hunter?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Not really, no. I don't feel that way at all. I suppose as my ranking improves, maybe I'll feel like that. But, no.



Q. Since the U.S. Open final last year, you appear to have learned an awful lot about tactics, general strategy, sort of thinking your game through. Is that a fair comment?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes. Ever since beginning of the Open, my first round match, I was losing in the first set. I was like, "Oh, no, not again. First round loss in the Slams." I managed to come through in that. Ever since that, I was able to change my game when I'm losing. Today I think I did also. Usually I have a powerhouse game, hitting a lot of winners and step up. I felt that wasn't working today. Anna was determined to run down a lot of balls and slice them back. If I wasn't going to come up to the net, at least I could raise the ball. I have different games. If I have to play them, that's what I do.



Q. What specifically can you take away from this final compared to the other finals that you played? What will you remember this final for?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm not sure yet. It's kind of hard to say. It was 20 minutes ago. I guess I'll look back and think about it, as a good time, like the fifth biggest tournament. Pretty happy about that.



Q. Was there another step, though, that you took in this final?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think so. Because I won a tournament before, but it wasn't the largest. Here in the semifinals, I could have lost there if I hadn't been serious. Sometimes you get to the semifinals, quarterfinals, and you just have to make that extra step so you can make the extra step in the larger tournaments, like the Slams. If you don't, then you just keep going out in the semifinals. Then you have never made it to the finals, to win the tournament. So here, I think I was able to win and feel what it's like to win. I think that really will help me in the future, especially this year.



Q. Venus, does this title feel better than the first title?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think they feel the same. I was happy. Serena won the doubles there. This time I played so bad in doubles, it was unbelievable. We had so many leads. We just wasn't able to pull it together. We aren't that sad. It was only our sixth doubles tournament. But I'm very happy about both of my titles. I would never give any of them up.



Q. Do you have plans for this $235,000?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I was trying to figure out how much I won. I didn't know. I was looking at the points, win or lose today, I was No. 10. Now I'll be closer to No. 9, is how I look at it. I'm not going to do anything with it. I'm going to put it in the bank. Buy my dogs a collar.



Q. What is it like for your family, you, your sister, your dad? Is this like a whole big family celebration?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes. Because when I win, everyone wins. Serena wins, my mom wins. It's just good for all of us. It helps Serena, too, because when I win, I can tell her what I did to win, what kind of experiences I had on the court. It helps her a lot, so she'll know what to do. "Serena, don't do this, because I almost lost, or I did lose, please don't do this." It really helps her.



Q. What did your dad say after the match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. I don't remember.



Q. Did he write it on the sign?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't think so. At this point, he's going to do that next.



Q. Did you plan to go up and see your mother if you won, or was that a spur of the moment thing?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I just went to go see her because I was pretty happy at that point. It was spur of the moment. I didn't plan it at all.



Q. Where are you learning most of your stuff from, as your game is taking on different shades, you're able to do more things? Is it something you learn out on the Tour or from working with people specifically? Who are the architects?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think it's just from listening to my parents. When you listen to them, it really helps because I had to change my game a little bit in this match after the first set. It was something my dad had told me before, the day before, and today also. If I was having trouble, then to do this, to do that. That's exactly what I did. If he hadn't told me that or if I hadn't listened, things might not have gone the way they had today. So my parents are my coaches, they really help me get there. I have to listen, too. I'm going to do my best to keep doing that.



Q. Are you planning to play Eastbourne before Wimbledon this year?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, I will be there.



Q. Just the one week, week of practice? The week before Wimbledon, you'll be just practicing?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know quite the schedule. Is there a week?



Q. There's two weeks between the French.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm going home after the French.



Q. Sorry?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm going home after the French.

WTA: I'd like to introduce Cliff Buchholz who is going to make a brief presentation to Venus.

CLIFF BUCHHOLZ: Venus, you're going to receive a lot of trophies, crystals, also probably a lot of money. But it's a little unusual to receive a portrait of yourself. It's been a first for the Lipton. We have our own artist in residence, contemporary sports artist from Denver, Colorado, Malcolm Farley. A portrait of Venus in action.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Thank you. I'm speeding (laughter).

CLIFF BUCHHOLZ: Venus, well done. Thank you.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Thank you.

QueenO
Jun 18th, 2002, 07:59 PM
August 29, 1998

AN INTERVIEW WITH:

VENUS WILLIAMS

MODERATOR: Is everybody here? Questions for Venus, please.

Q. Venus, when did you make the decision to drop out of the mixed doubles?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I never made that decision.

Q. It was in the Times this morning.

VENUS WILLIAMS: It was just doubles. Women's doubles.

Q. Not the mixed?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No.

Q. Oh, okay. I'm confused.

MODERATOR: The report was regular doubles.

Q. I may have read it wrong. Venus, you're back at the Open walking around today. What goes through your mind when you think back on last year?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I had a lot -- a pretty good time. Not too much goes through my mind. I'm basically thinking about this year. Last year is finished.

Q. Venus, how do you think your chances are for this year at the Open?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think my chances are great.

MODERATOR: Other questions?

Q. Your home game has improved in every way since last year, actually. Your whole confidence, your strokes, the ability to come to the net. Everything seems to have progressed at a really rapid rate. Do you feel that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think I've progressed. Sometimes I don't think I have. It's because I like to get better than what I am currently. I think I have gotten better. You have to because everyone else gets better and it's up to you to stay with them.

Q. How do you feel physically?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Good, thank you very much.

Q. Can you compare this year's field of women's tennis in this tournament with last year's? Is it deeper this year?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think it's the same competitors basically. I think they're all playing better tennis definitely.

Q. Anybody in particular you think might be tougher this year? Graph or Seles or Davenport?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I generally don't concentrate on that because it's so important just to figure out what you're doing first, straighten out all the problems that you might have, just get things straight for yourself. In the end, you worry about someone else.

Q. What would you say is the biggest change between Venus in the '98 Open and the one we saw in '97?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I haven't played yet.

Q. Going in. What's the biggest change in your game in the last year?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think my serve is much better. It's moving faster, but, I guess that doesn't really make a difference always. I would say I'm much smarter; I think I play better shots. I make better selections. I know I win matches from my playing well or if I'm not supposed to win. So those are a couple things that have become better.

Q. Have you gotten to see Queens much? What do you think of it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I honestly can't tell you the difference between -- I don't know the difference.

Q. What kind of rehabilitation have you been doing on your knee in the last couple of weeks? How much time has it been taking you daily to do that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I just think that some rest and just regular stretching, things like that, making sure you take care of yourself. That's all.

Q. Is this something you're going to have to do for a while? Is it a long-term sort of thing?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't think it's long-term at all.

Q. Venus, in the big picture of your career, are you about where you expected to be at this point? Are you pleased with how you've progressed? Do you think you'd even be higher up?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm somewhat pleased. I thought maybe I'd be higher up. But it's difficult when you're an athlete because you always want to be better. Sometimes you have to be happy where you're at, sometimes not very long. When you get there, then two days, four days later, it's time to move out of the position. I always want to do better.

Q. Can you tell us about your line of clothing and when you expect to be a full-time designer?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm not going to be a full-time designer at this moment in time. I have seven different dresses that I'm wearing, seven different matches. That means I'll have to play seven matches. Also, I got to design the warm up that I have on now. I was able to pick the color. My favorite color is blue and yellow.

Q. I have a question concerning Steffi graph. She's older, she's another generation of tennis. What do you think about her coming in?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think it's great. Everyone wants to see her come back. Everyone's routing for Steffi. When she goes out there she's probably really here to have a good time. She really wants to be there. She's probably enjoying it a little more. I can't speak for her, but we're all happy to see her.

Q. Do you use any sort of special technique in order to keep yourself motivated right before a starting match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No special techniques, not yet.

Q. Did you see the big poster on the side of the building?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I saw it. I saw it.

Q. What an impact. Quite an impact.

VENUS WILLIAMS: It's a nice picture. I think I picked it out. I was happy with it. I was glad it turned out nice.

Q. What do you think you need to do to get over that mound and win the whole thing this year?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think I played well last year, and this year I need to also play well like I did last year, do some of the same things, and just be a little bit more serious, work a little bit harder, and do some of the right things. I guess I couldn't do too much more right than what I did last year, maybe have a couple easier matches.

Q. How old were you when you started playing tennis?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Four and a half. (Laughter) .

Q. Venus, you and Serena have had tremendous success in mixed doubles but your partners, while they're very good, are not the very elite. Could you explain what there is about both of your games that makes you do so well in the mixed?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, we like playing doubles very much so. We enjoy ourselves. Serena and I have never played a team sports like basketball or even baseball. We never really did that too much with a team. So doubles are kind of fun for us because instead of just one person on the court it's two persons and four persons so it's different. We like playing things, and we have good partners.

Q. Do you have any memories of last year's Ashe Day festivities and what it was like to be out on the court there?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think Serena and I had the same thing on. We were twins, but I was a little taller. It was a lot of fun. It was different.

Q. The idea of the day itself, what it means and what you're giving to the kids who are out there watching you for that day.

VENUS WILLIAMS: It means a lot. I think people definitely recognize what Arthur Ashe did and they try to make a better example to everyone around them. Serena and I can remember this also, make sure reevaluate ourselves, make sure we give our best because he did.

Q. Venus, there's been a lot of publicity in the last few days. There's a big article in the Times today and there's printed stuff about Althea Gibson. What is your feeling, have you read about her? What do you know about her?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I know something about her. I couldn't say I know everything. But I do know some things about her.

Q. Would you say that you've sort of -- you feel that you're a pioneer in the sense that she was or that she blazed a trail for you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think, definitely, she did more than what I could have done or what I have done. So to emulate her success would be great. And I think maybe like ten years from now I could look back and see what I might have done. I'm still in the process.

Q. Have you studied the draw, do you do those sorts of things and look at how you're situated?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I have not studied the draw at all. I am quite aware that Serena is at the top now and I'm at the bottom. But that's about it.

Q. Are you ready to predict an all Williams final?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I did that before, didn't I? It's a great possibility. I'm going to encourage her; she's going to encourage me.

MODERATOR: Other questions?

Q. Why do you wear the beads? (Laughter)

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, it started a long time ago when we practiced all day. We did a lot of practicing. It was not very easy to comb your hair. So my mom braided our hair, and put beads on them. Then you don't have to do it for six weeks, you don't have to do your hair every day. It's very hard. I'm not that good at doing hair, I never really learned. I guess it's my fault, but that's why -- we like it. That's why I wear it.

Q. What was the choice with white today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I've had color for a year and a half now. I haven't had white for a long time. So I was getting a little tired of the colors. I think I'm going to put a little more color in. It doesn't look right white. It's been a while -- because I haven't had it white for a long time.

Q. How long does it take?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I very long time.

Q. And your mother does it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, she aids me.

MODERATOR: Any last questions? Thank you.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Thank you all very much.

MODERATOR: We have a special guest, and he is the Secretary of Transportation, Rodney Slater. Rodney is going to come up and he wants to meet Venus, and Steve Campbell. Steve, would you please come up. He's one of our champions. This is Mr. Slater, Rodney Slater.

SECRETARY SLATER: I just want to make a presentation to Venus. This is one of our Buckle-Up America shirts, and I'm here with

Dr. Martinez, who is the head of our organization that deals with highway safety. And, Steve, my pleasure. Good meeting you as well, but the reason I wanted to take this opportunity is because with these two individuals and with all who will represent themselves and will represent the sport so well in the U.S. Open, which is the most prestigious tennis tournament in the United States, they celebrate life. And, unfortunately, we lose about 40,000 people annually in automobile crashes. And all too many of them are young people. And so we have this effort that's ongoing involving a network of champions, and we're going to try to encourage these two to join us in that regard. They will join Venus and Larry in getting the safety message out and in telling parents to buckle up and to buckle up their little ones, to put them in child safety seats, and if you have the opportunity to do so, always put a child who's below the age of 12 in the back seat of the car. And, again, buckle up and make their travels safe. Transportation is about more than concrete, asphalt, and steel; it's about life and our pursuit of happiness. Venus, I'd like to make this presentation to you and I'd like to wish you well in the tournament.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Thank you.

SECRETARY SLATER: I also consider it really an honor and a pleasure to do this and to be here on Arthur Ashe kid's day. Mayor Dinkins, come on up, Mr. Mayor. Good seeing you, sir. But Arthur Ashe, as you know, was not only a great athlete, but like the individuals here, he was a great humanitarian; he was a great representative; he was a great advocate, and he represented all that is good about this country. And I think that's what these individuals represent and all these athletes who participate in the U.S. Open. So on behalf of our president and vice president who see safety as the number one transportation priority, I'm just here to say to America, buckle up, and use this most important safety device.

QueenO
Jun 18th, 2002, 08:02 PM
September 1, 1998

V. WILLIAMS/E. Wagner

6-1, 6-0


An interview with:


VENUS WILLIAMS

Q. Ever been underhand served before in a match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Not that I recall. I really don't think that happened before. Not sure what I would have done, I guess I would have taken it and come in.

Q. Did you laugh?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh yeah, I was laughing. (Laughs) It was really funny. She was laughing too. Everyone was laughing. I guess there was no other alternative available for her at that moment in time.

Q. You dropped, I guess, if my count was right, half a dozen matchpoints after that. Was that a tactic you might try in the future, seemed to work against --

VENUS WILLIAMS: The underhand serve?

Q. Yes.

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, thank you, I think my serve is pretty good.

Q. I'd like to ask on a more serious vein, in many ways you have sort of broken the mold in terms of a new generation of tennis players, by and large past most of the junior tournaments, tall, athletic, serves 125 miles per hour. Sort of stated your own goals very clearly. What do you see the player of the future in tennis being like five years down the line?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, five years I will be like 23 and. (Laughs) It is really all the players are improving, everyone is getting more power as the years pass by, and those who don't improve are just left behind. So I think in the future the girls are going to -- should be more willing to come to the net. I have made more of a dedication to be there. And I think that the girls are going to have more power, be faster, just going to keep improving.

Q. Do you think some day soon you will be facing serves that are as big or bigger than yours?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I don't think it is possible.

Q. You don't think there is some kid out there who --

VENUS WILLIAMS: You never know, there might be someone who comes bigger than me and taller and who has better form, but I don't think it is going to happen. It could. (Laughs) I think that right now I am only 18. I am just going to get stronger. My serve is going to get bigger. I have quite a few more years of growing.

Q. Is that something that you are blessed with or something you developed?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think definitely I was blessed. I don't think -- it definitely has a lot to do with technique, how to generate the power because you can't have your serve stopping and going and just different things that you have to have to generate the power on your serve, but also I am naturally strong even though I -- I am not as built as Serena, my strength is a little more secretive.

Q. Do you have more fun in a match where the outcome is never in doubt or where you have a tooth-and-nail struggle and you come up winning?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Everything is great. Especially when you win, sometimes when you lose, you might need to lose in order to move on and to be a better player. But like in a match like that you can really work on things that you might want to do in more pressured situations, like your serve and volley, your slicing and coming in, or just different things like that, angles and drops. And then you will be able to do it in other matches that's where it really counts.

Q. Just a follow-up on that, not to be negative, but what matches that you have lost, I don't know, first round Wimbledon year before, year before last --

VENUS WILLIAMS: I want to just say that this year is my first year playing Wimbledon. Okay, go ahead.

Q. But my question is what of your matches that you did lose did you learn the most from and what did you learn?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I really can't tell you. I have lost some sad matches; sick matches; matches that I have had to move on from and so it is tough to say -- some matches I have played bad. I have made bad decisions because I didn't know how to make a good one.

Q. On the court though don't you feel you are making bad decisions like, okay, two dropshots you missed, but then you kept doing it until --

VENUS WILLIAMS: Today?

Q. Yes, today.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I thought I missed one drop shot off of return of serve.

Q. Well, anyway you missed one then you just --

VENUS WILLIAMS: I was up 40-Love.

Q. I thought it was two.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Plus I have been working on adding more variety in my game, dropshots, slice, coming in, so it is something you have to work on and there was a perfect opportunity I was up 5-Love 40-Love why not, I had -- if things came to the worse, I had five games to blow.

Q. How did it feel to get back on that court and did you think about last year at all when you walked out there?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I just thought about which seat I was going to take and which seat I sat in most last year and I think it was the seat I sat in this year against Wagner.

Q. How much have you progressed as a player from this time last year, what is the difference in your game and your mental approach between today and a year ago?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think I am able to recognize my opponent's abilities and what they might do, some specific patterns, their weaknesses and I am able to play more strategy, simple things like that. I am a better thinker, make better decisions, I am able to recognize the situations.

Q. Of all the players over the years, has there been one who gets under your skin, kind of irritates you, who or you find the toughest?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. What do you mean over the years? I have hardly had any years. Not yet. Three years from now.

Q. Are you receiving any treatment for your knee? Can you give us maybe a percentage of how well it is?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I am not receiving any treatment. Well I think sometimes you should have maintenance, but things are going pretty good now. I think that I have to take good care of myself, take all the precautions, and so that is what I do.

Q. You didn't feel any pain out there tonight?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I am feeling very good.

Q. You have got a new outfit for every match this week?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, I do.

Q. Planning on wearing all of them?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, I am.

Q. Is there -- if you had to pick someone in the entertainment field or a writer who you feel you have a connection with or identify with, is there anyone that you particularly like out there that really speaks to you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes.

Q. Could you tell me, please?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Serena.

Q. How so?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I think that we have like some of the same experiences and we are someone in the same. I think we can really share our thoughts.

Q. Do you have a certain ESP thing going where you know what she is thinking without her saying words to you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think that mostly Serena. I think my other sisters, also we think mostly similar, and I think that because I spend the most time with Serena, we are only a year apart, my other sisters are somewhat older than I am - but like we are really close also. And I think Serena and I somewhat think the same. We are different persons, but almost the same person. So..... Just different people. Thank you.

QueenO
Jun 18th, 2002, 08:04 PM
September 3, 1998

V. WILLIAMS/A. Kremer

6-1, 6-3


An interview with:


VENUS WILLIAMS

Q. Venus, is everything going as expected?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Everything is going very well. I'd like to continue playing good tennis and then continue playing better.

Q. There is the famous seven outfits. Do they get better each time and what is the ultimate outfit?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think we will have to wait for the ultimate outfit, But they are going to get better each time. Actually, I can't even remember what I wear next, but I am going to get it together. It is a different color. I think the green is a little -- it is bright and it is just different. It is all green.

Q. Did you have anything to do with the design of the colors?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I didn't get to decide the green. I did decide a lot of other colors, but I wasn't too happy about the green at first. It turned out great and it was a good decision. I think it looks nice.

Q. Whose idea was it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think the designers who did it said green. I said, no. They said: Green. I said: No. And green was I guess a good idea. It is nice.

Q. Whose idea was to do the seven different outfits?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think it was adjust a collaboration between Reebok and my family.

Q. Anything further on the patch?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Nothing further on the patch.

Q. It appeared today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes.

Q. Were you worried that that was going to become a distraction if it kind of played out the controversy?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, not at all.

Q. Were you fined for not wearing it last time and was that a factor in wearing it today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Not that I am aware of.

Q. Why did you decide to wear it today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Because generally I usually appear in the patch when I play.

Q. The company that sponsors you, Reebok, had made quite an issue of the patch, and, in fact, put out a press release yesterday saying that she is not required to wear it and it detracts from the outfit that you were wearing. Clearly, you decided that, unlike Reebok, it would be a good idea to wear it and could you share with us your reasons for ending this controversy and just putting it on?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, just seems I am always in the middle after controversy so it is nothing new for me. I am really separate from those type of things. Generally, I do my practicing and I play tennis. I think you have to talk to Reebok.

Q. Was it your own decision?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Generally I always wear the patch.

Q. Was it your decision not to wear the patch for the last match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Generally I always wear the patch.

Q. What caused you to deviate from that pattern?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Deviation is common among humans.

Q. Are you glad that you have patched things up?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah.

Q. Is there any part of your game that is not up to your expectation?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Not really. I think everything is pretty solid. I am trying to work more on coming in, serve and volley and do some coming into the net more, basically that is it.

Q. Is there a progression where each match you are building towards something bigger? Are you right where you want to be right now for even a tougher match down the road?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I would definitely like to play better, for sure.

Q. What is lacking?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think that my matches haven't been too tough so far. I think that the tougher your match, maybe the better you play. Right away I just want to make sure that I am doing what I should on every point and not losing any focus. Like, for instance, at a breakpoint in the second set and I just -- I didn't win that one. Just easy unforced error. I don't want to do those type of things in a larger match. I want to start right now.

Q. With the new leadership, there has been renewed talk about getting equal prize money at all the tournaments. You, of course, were one of the names that the leadership is talking about - the women are getting attention; we deserve this. How do you like being part of that? Do you like this or do you just want to play tennis and not get involved?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think to a certain degree you should be involved, and I think that you concentrate on your tennis, you play well, you get the results and everyone is watching. And I think, generally, all the ladies agree that we should get equal prize money. I think we play a great game. I think we have more interesting points, and it is definitely great to be involved, of course, make sure I don't lose too much focus on tennis, but I don't think it is going to happen.

Q. On the men's side, Goran Ivanisevic is very proud about participating and sponsoring a tournament in his home town in Croatia. What would it mean to you to have a tennis tournament in Compton, California, and what effect do you think it would have and the African American community?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think definitely that would be nice to have a tournament. I guess we have to figure out where it would be first. I never thought about it, But I think, definitely, participation in tennis in California and in other places surrounding would go up.

Q. You think it would bring attention to the game?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think so.

Q. I know you saw Serena's match yesterday. Was that as about as dominant as you have seen her?

VENUS WILLIAMS: She played last year, and I don't think the girl -- she went up 4-Love. She won like 16 points in a row. And finally when the girl got a point, everyone started clapping. So she has been super dominant.

Q. Is she kind of reaching new plateaus as you did maybe in six months to a year earlier? Do you see that progression in her game as with yours?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think some. I think Serena is playing good. I don't think she is anywhere near her potential. I think she is playing good tennis right now, but I know, definitely, she wants to play better. I know, definitely, I definitely want her to play better.

Q. She said yesterday that you help her; there is a lot she can learn from you. There are also, she said, probably some things that you have picked up from her -- we would have to ask you about them. Can you think of any specific things that watching her you have been able to pick up and add to your game either mental or actual physical things?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I developed a running forehand because of Serena, just recently actually, like four weeks ago and now I have that shot because of her. So that is one thing that I have.

Q. Any comments on Serena's next match with Spirlea?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, yeah, I forgot about that. (laughter) I was actually watching some of the TV last night, the Open coverage, and they said next Serena meets Spirlea. I was like: Wow. I know Serena really enjoys playing the top players. She looks at it as a way to help her ranking. I know Serena is going to go out there tough and I know Spirlea has a couple points to defend so she will probably want to win also.

Q. Nick Bollettieri just had some very complimentary things to say about you and your sister and also about your father. What role has he played and the academy played in your tennis? Have you gone there often and what role has he played?

VENUS WILLIAMS: When we get time we go to the academy to practice. Like when we go home, we kind of want to be at home because we don't spend so much time there. We like to get good practice over there. We have lots of fun, play the guys, they think they can beat us, but it will be another three years before they get strong enough.

Q. Are you saying that the Braasch match was a fluke?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know what what you are speaking of.

Q. Was it you or Serena who played the German player Braasch earlier this year in Australia?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know who that is. I don't know what you are talking about.

Q. It is selected amnesia isn't it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: (No Response).

Q. When you walk around the grounds here there are busts or statues of five USTA presidents who served for two-year terms. Not a single bust or statue of Arthur Ashe or Jimmy Connors or Billie Jean King. Does that bother you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I think we get enough attention already.

Q. What about the players from the past, maybe contribute today to what is going on today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I think eventually there will probably be some put up, but a lot of work went into the grounds already, so I am not sure. I don't get to walk around here that much. I don't have that much liberty.

Q. With Steffi Graf regaining her health and Monica here and all the other players, is this the strongest field of any tournament you have played in and how does that pose a challenge?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think that the fields have become stronger and stronger with all the girls improving and all the girls who aren't ranked as high starting to believe they can win, wanting a piece of winning and winning tournaments also. That it is definitely -- everyone was having tough first round matches, my sister, and Steffi and a lot of other players. So I guess I was a little lucky to get without a tough match in the first round.

Q. Do you see the patch thing that we have discussed as a fairness issue in terms that there are some players who have an exemption from that? Did you send a message that that is wrong and there should be equal treatment for everybody no matter what their contract is?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I wasn't sending any messages.

Q. Do you feel different here this year having, you know, last year sort of all new and all that stuff, do you feel like a bit more of a veteran, more experience; do you feel more comfortable off the court walking around?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I feel different, yeah, because I am seeded this year. I have a better ranking and I think it was different last year because I had never been here before to the Open. It was new. Most tournaments I played, a lot of them this year too, I had never been to before.

Q. What does Althea Gibson mean to you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: She was a pioneer on the ladies Tour. She did a great job. Set a good example, our forerunner.

QueenO
Jun 18th, 2002, 08:06 PM
September 5, 1998

V. WILLIAMS/L. Neiland

5-0 (ret)

An interview with:

VENUS WILLIAMS

Q. Were you disappointed today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I really would have enjoyed to have a match where she could have played to her full ability. I think it would have been good for me.

Q. Did you sense that she was hurting? Could you tell right away?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I could tell she wasn't playing to the best of her ability. I've played her before.

Q. As you look ahead now, how much do you think not getting the kind of preparation you want is going to hurt you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I can get the preparation on the practice court.

Q. Any comments on Serena's match last night?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No.

Q. Was it painful watching that? You seemed pretty into the match.

VENUS WILLIAMS: It was quite entertaining.

Q. There's a chance you'll play Mary Pierce in the next round. Can you describe what you see in Mary Pierce's game right now, what sort of match-up that might be?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It will be a good match-up, two powerful players playing each other in a Grand Slam. She's playing pretty good tennis. Seems to be focused. I am trying to do the same.

Q. You just mentioned power. Can you talk about that aspect of your game, and do you enjoy that aspect of tennis?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, for those who aren't able to generate power, it must be very difficult. I myself have no problem doing that. And I find it an advantage.

Q. Do you enjoy it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, yeah.

Q. Just having that ability?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Sure. I love it.

Q. Do you enjoy playing the big power players like Lindsay and Pierce or would you rather play someone who mixes it up more?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think in the end it just really doesn't matter. I think that whoever you play, you're going to play them anyway. You should just be ready for their game. Sometimes the power player, you know what they're going to do. But a different player who might mix it up, they are a little bit more different to play. But in the end, you play the player.

Q. Is there more mental preparation for a different type of player than yourself or for the same type of player as yourself?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think all the players are different. I think some people have similar games, but in the end we're all different. And I think that it's nice to know how a player plays. But in the end, you should really concentrate on your game most of all.

Q. How far along are you right now? Obviously today was not a test. But in terms of what you've achieved in the first week of the tournament, is your game where you'd like it to be?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Of course, I'd like to play better. I think that's anyone's goal. I would love to play better.

Q. On another subject. You do home study.

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I'm finished with school. I went to private school.

Q. Did you go to regular classes or take private tutoring?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I went to regular classes.

Q. Do you remember what point you realized that you were able to generate the power you can? How old were you when you realized you could blow someone off the court?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I was always powerful.

Q. How is your knee?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Good.

Q. Very good? Is it a hundred percent?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes.

Q. So you're able to go through a full practice and full match with no pain at all, and your mobility is good and all that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Uh-huh.

Q. So then this type of match today is probably a positive because you weren't out there that long?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Probably.

Q. What do you enjoy most about playing tennis on the circuit?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I like to travel, although I think where I live is definitely the best place. But there are differing views. I worked hard all my life to be where I am right now. I think I deserve everything I've gotten because I've worked for it, and it's nice to see.

Q. You feel a lot of satisfaction within yourself?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I feel great.

Q. You played Mary three weeks ago, something like that.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Something like that.

Q. Do you write that match off because of the knee injury?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I feel that I retired from the match.

Q. So you feel like if you were full strength, you probably could have gotten her in the end?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I do feel that I would have won the match. I think toward the end of the second set, I wasn't able to really play. Finally I realized I wasn't going to win in the condition that I was in. So I was forced to retire.

Q. Have you followed the home run chase? Are you aware that McGwire hit his 60th today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm aware of the home run race. I don't follow it. I just think it's news that you have to be aware of that's all around.

Q. Are you enjoying it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. I don't think I'll be hitting any home runs, not on the tennis court either, I won't do that.

Q. If given a choice between watching a good men's tennis match and good women's tennis match, what would you do?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Who would I watch?

Q. You pick them, anybody you want.

VENUS WILLIAMS: It just depends. If I got to play, you mean? If I had the opportunity to play the men?

Q. Yeah, if you got to watch yourself against yourself.

VENUS WILLIAMS: That would be a tough match. I would know myself pretty well.

Q. Do you like of watching men's tennis?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. Sometimes I'd rather watch ladies' tennis.

Q. Why?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Because sometimes I think men's tennis gets a little bit boring. It just depends. Sometimes it's not, sometimes it is. I think most times it's very good.

Q. The other day the basketball broadcaster said with your athletic skills, eye-hand, you could have been a tremendous basketball player. If you had to choose one sport to play besides tennis, what sport do you think that would be?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't think I would play. I don't know. I probably would run track. Get to wear nice outfits in that, too.

QueenO
Jun 18th, 2002, 08:08 PM
September 7, 1998

V. WILLIAMS/M. Pierce

6-1, 7-6(4)

An interview with:

VENUS WILLIAMS

Q. You have an excellent relationship with your father. You know stories about people that don't. I'm just wondering what makes yours, do you think, different, the fact that he can blend into the background in major events and things like that? What makes it that different for you? What makes it special?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I think generally everyone is a different person. I think most people on the tennis tour have had great fathers. Even the ladies who have had some difficulties or differences, they still, in the end, have great fathers, too, who want the best for them. I think that I've stayed the daughter and he's stayed the dad, and I've done exactly what I'm told. Then, you know, I still sometimes got what I wanted. And I think that's mostly because of my religious beliefs also, because it says disobedient children won't live all their days, and children have to be obedient to their parents. So it's a lot of things.

Q. Do you think it's more him than you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think we have to work together. We both can't be rebellious. We have to try to work things out, I guess. I don't know.

Q. Thank you.

VENUS WILLIAMS: You're welcome.

Q. What do you like best about your father?

VENUS WILLIAMS: He's pretty funny. He lets me have what I want usually. My mom doesn't always do that.

Q. You were trailing 4-1 in the tiebreaker. What changed in your mind? Can you tell us how the match came back in your favor?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I was down 4-1, and I thought about it. And I said to myself that I was only down one mini-break, and that's all. So I proceeded to get those two points. I just kept thinking positive, I suppose. I calmed myself down. And then I went up 5-4, and the ball, it just kept curving in, and it landed on the line, so I was pretty happy.

Q. Then you had the ace.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I just said, "Okay, I can do this." There went the ace. I was pretty happy about that, too. I guess she wasn't that happy about it. She was probably saying, "I'm still in here." But I don't know.

Q. Last year you made it to the finals in something of a whirlwind. Is this more of a calculated match-by-match progression for you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think that I've had a tougher match going in earlier. This time last year in the fourth round, I was playing a player in the 40s -- still a great player. Everyone on the tour, you have to be a great player to be here. But it wasn't -- it wasn't a top player. So it's different, but I'm ready to go. I'm happy.

Q. Have you felt an improvement in your game, in both the mental and physical approach, from the beginning of the tournament to now?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. I think that I'm more focused. I'm trying not to make all the errors. I think in the first set, I was really good about that. In the second, she came back stronger, and I started making more errors also because I had all the opportunities, a lot of games to break serve, but instead I chose to lose the points. And those are decisions that you have to stop making.

Q. Can you talk about how you spent the break during the rain, if you lost momentum, if that had anything to do with it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I just had something to eat. I guess I stretched. Serena and I, we talked about some things, generally that didn't have -- would not make your mind grow, just about things that I can't even remember right now (laughter). But that's all.

Q. Did you feel like you had lost some momentum? Were you kind of upset when that break came?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, because I went up 2-Love. I missed an easy shot for the break. I should have hung in there. In the end, I still stayed strong. But I want to get away from that, making those mistakes, making things tougher on myself than what they should be.

Q. Did you have an opportunity to watch McGwire hit his 61st homer, and do you have any thoughts on the significance of that home run race in sports today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think I was playing my match when he hit the 61. I was unable to view it.

Q. Any thoughts on the race?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I think -- I don't watch baseball, except in Moscow I was forced to watch baseball because of the World Series. I don't know what the last game is called, but whatever it was, it was on between the Marlins and was it Chicago or something. It was like the only English channel, so we were forced to watch it instead of Jay Leno. They kept replaying it, and we wanted to see Jay Leno. But I don't -- you're forced to be cognizant of the race, even if you aren't a viewer in baseball. So I know about it, for sure.

Q. Were you cognizant of the fact that they put it up on the score board?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I saw that, I saw that.

Q. In the second set, that long, drawn-out game, about 15 deuces.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I thought it was like seven.

Q. It was more than that. I lost count after a while.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Okay.

Q. How did you feel about losing some of those breakpoints?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I felt that the pressure was on her to hold. When it's that tough to hold serve, things kind of go down because I kept having all those breakpoints. She didn't have the game points. So it was her fighting it off. I had to win those points. I had to stay in there somehow. I kept missing, but I came through anyway.

Q. Can you just talk about a little bit of your emotion at the end of the match when you did win, and you kind of danced a little bit?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I was pretty happy because in my last match, I couldn't go on against her.

Q. What was the reason for that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It was just my knee, the left one. So it was terrible because I just couldn't give my best. And I really never had that situation before where I couldn't move, because movement is really an important thing in this sport. And especially for me also because I'm a good mover, and I can make you hit that extra shot or closer to the line, which is tough to do.

Q. Did you feel a sense of revenge in this game?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, not really. I wanted to win this match, because I did well here last year, and I should be able to do well again. And I was just glad because the last time, it's just that I couldn't go on. And this time, I wanted to make sure I could go on. So I was glad.

Q. But against her in particular?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, because it would have been terrible if I had an injury again against her. I would have been thinking, "Maybe this is mental."

Q. Do you have a different kind of checklist in your mind when it gets to a tiebreaker? Does your thought process change?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think that generally in a tiebreaker, if I go to a tiebreaker, I think that my chances are greater to win it because basically I'm going to go for my shots more, I'm going to hit big shots and hit big serves. But when you're playing someone like Mary or some of the larger hitters, or players who consistently hit the ball hard, and that's what they want to do, you know you're going to have to give it that extra effort.

Q. What did you feel from the fans today, the crowd?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I felt that they wanted Mary to win. I mean, that's fine. People have to make up their own mind; they have to have their favorite players. People have to enjoy what they enjoy. I can't change their hearts. She's been playing here longer than I have. She's been pro longer. People probably understand her more. I don't know.

Q. Do they misunderstand you, do you think?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know.

Q. If you had to respond in one sentence to the question: There's Something About Mary, what would that be?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. What are we talking about?

Q. About Mary Pierce.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I couldn't -- I don't know. Quite an odd question. So I guess there is something about her. People love her. She's a great player.

Q. You're finished with high school now. Are you going to take any college courses or are you going to concentrate on tennis?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, I went to look at the campus at UCLA. I found it very nice. I have taken some college courses. But I feel that I don't have the time right now. I either play the Australian Open or I go to college. This year I had to choose the Australian Open. Last year I chose to go to college. So that was fun. I have different experiences in my life.

Q. What did you like about the UCLA campus?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I don't know. Serena suggested, she said, "Maybe we should go there." I said, "I want to go in Florida because this is warmer." But it's very nice. There's a lot of opportunities there. I grew up in California, too.

Q. You didn't talk to Stella Sampras, did you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I'm not sure she was there. I didn't see her.

Q. Do you ever consider yourself an emotional person?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Sometimes emotions are useless. But emotional, sure, sometimes. Not too often.

Q. Had you been planning to do that dance after a satisfying victory?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I really shouldn't have done the dance. I should have waited till later. I don't know why I did it. But, no, I had not planned to do the dance at all. I really actually had just planned to win the second set real easy. That was basically my next plan.

Q. Mary Pierce, in the interview with her, she said that you played very aggressive, you played very well in the first set, but not so in the second set. Do you agree with her assessment of the match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. I don't think I played as well in the second set. I think that I made more errors. I think that she changed her game plan a little bit also. I don't think I played exactly the same. But still, I had to play my game, no matter what she was going to do. And it's not the easiest thing to play error-free. And sometimes you just have to go for your shots. You just can't let someone step up before you do. You just have to go.

Q. What did you see her doing different in the second set?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think she cut back on the errors. She probably felt that it was just useless to be making those errors. I think -- I don't think she served too much better, you know, with the first serves. I think she had maybe two double-faults in the whole match. But her first serve percentage wasn't too high. I guess mine wasn't either. I think she started missing so many backhands, because she was missing a couple of those. She just became more consistent. I think she tried to be more aggressive or tried to move me around.

Q. Could you talk about what you were thinking when the storm first came on? Was that first disruptive for you when it got dark?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I didn't really see it till I sat down. All types of things started blowing on the court. I would have liked to go on from there, but things don't happen in that manner always.

Q. It was pretty interesting because when she was serving at Love-40, I think she tossed it up a couple times, stopped, but you didn't seem to even pay attention to the surroundings going on. Were you that focused on that, you were not thinking about the environment, not thinking about the clouds?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I was ready to go. I was ready to get the break. I was ready to continue. I was ready to go on. I really didn't see any of it -- I didn't see any lightning, I didn't see anything, except maybe a ball.

Q. If I might ask about your dad again. You spoke about his sense of humor. Because of the some of the comments made over the years, some feel he's misunderstood by the public. If you could talk to the public and say what makes him a special man, a good man, what would you say to try and explain?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I would say that he's a special guy and a good man because he's my dad; no one else's.

Q. But are there any qualities that he has that you'd like the public to know about?

VENUS WILLIAMS: He's real funny. He doesn't put any pressure on us. He said, "Venus, don't you think you're playing too many tournaments. How long you going to be overseas?" So I say, "It's not that many, Dad." He doesn't like it that I stay away from home too much. I'm not sure how much I like it either. But I think that there's only so many years that I'll have, so I should take advantage. And I think he looks out for us a lot also. He wants the best for us. And he takes care of the dogs also. They really like him. They might like him more than us because he buys hams and hot dogs for them, and I won't do it. He lets them ride in the car also, and I don't do that too often because I don't want to clean, so.

Q. Is it the 7-Eleven you take them to when you get back after trips or someplace else?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, sometimes I let them ride around. I don't do it so often anymore because I don't want to clean all the hair. I can't deal with it.

Q. Do you expect that the American crowd will rally behind you, you being American now?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I would hope so. I think my next round, I don't have a chance of playing an American at all, I guess a European. So everyone has their favorites. I can't expect people -- everyone to be my fan. That wouldn't be realistic.

Q. You're not a baseball fan. Is there any other sport you follow closely as a spectator?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I've made an effort at times. I've tried to watch basketball. I found it didn't hold my attention span very long. I think football is actually best, American football, then soccer also is kind of nice, too.

Q. Do you think you could have excelled at any sport that you wanted to?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think so. But I think tennis is the best because you have the opportunity to have a large income, you travel the world. I think it's the best women's sport as far as notoriety. It

QueenO
Jun 18th, 2002, 08:10 PM
September 9, 1998

V. WILLIAMS/A. Sanchez-Vicario

2-6, 6-1, 6-1

An interview with:

VENUS WILLIAMS

Q. I want to ask, did the sweater bother you the first set?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. It was very cold. Because I went out to practice at six o'clock, and it was warm actually. But the wind was blowing. But when I walked out there, it was very cold. So I couldn't take it off.

Q. When you took it off, you started flying?

VENUS WILLIAMS: That's when I started losing, you say?

Q. No.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I took it off at like 3-2. I lost the rest of those sets. Needed to put it back on. But eventually I had to take the jacket off basically.

Q. What turned this match around, and how important was your patience to stick with, no matter what Sanchez Vicario gave you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, you know, when you go out there, you know you're going to have to hit a couple balls, a plethora of balls. You really have to make sure that you're patient and ready to go, and just ready to stay out there no matter what happens. And that's what I proved to do today. And she played well. It wasn't like she played badly. It wasn't -- I ran through her. And I think that I just happened to play a little better today.

Q. Were you surprised with some of her moves and did that prompt you to be more aggressive?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Was I surprised with some of her moves?

Q. With some of her moves.

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, no. I've been watching her for a long time, before I was on the tour, so I knew exactly what to expect. I was ready. She did hit quite a few nice passing shots. They just kept curving in, and there was nothing I could do about those.

Q. What is your confidence level right now going into Saturday's match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I feel great. I think that all I have to do is play well and make my shots, and be interested in winning.

Q. You see that as a potential problem that you'd be interested in winning?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, sometimes it is a problem, because if you don't have the right amount of interest, it can go badly.

Q. You see that being a problem on Saturday or you think you'll be into it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think it's just my pattern of speech, the way I talk, interest in winning.

Q. Second and third set you not only started serving better, you started attacking better. Do you plan on doing that against Lindsay? The last times you've played her, it didn't seem like you attacked her a lot. Tonight, seemed like every point at the net you were winning the point.

VENUS WILLIAMS: In the past, I didn't have any dedication to coming into the net. Maybe I was just -- I had made camp on the baseline. Recently I broke camp, because I saw that a lot of the shorter players were serving and volleying. I wondered why I couldn't get myself to the net. Serena made up her mind to serve and volley, and just to get in more. So that's something I have to do.

Q. Was part of the game plan in the second and third sets to kind of attack her forehand more?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think that I was -- well, because she really has a lot of confidence in her backhand, but her forehand isn't a put-away shot. And so I felt that if I didn't want to run too much, that I should put it to the forehand. But in the end, she has great sides. She has two sides that are really solid. You just have to really wait it out.

Q. How much was this match a test of your maturity as a player, because of the type of player she is?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think generally it is a good test, I suppose. I think that she really has been playing well this year, really picked up her game. And I actually had a loss earlier to her this year. Actually, it was -- what is it? 2-1 me this year, yeah. 2-All in total, so. I guess I played her a lot before I was ready. I guess the times I lost to her before was just because I didn't know what I was doing.

Q. What do you think is the biggest difference between yourself going into the semis this year and where you were at last year when you went into the semis?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Last year, I don't remember really going -- what happened going into the semifinals. I remember it was a clear day. It was a very pretty day.

Q. Aside from the beauty of the day (laughter)?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Because I remember I was thinking on how nice it would be in Florida, and how nice it would be if it was that clear. But that's all I really remember besides some of the points I played in that match.

Q. Do you feel like you're a more confident player who knows the ropes now compared to last year?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think so. I think that I'm more wiser. I think I make more intelligent decisions. I'm able to really fight out there. I think that last year I played well also. There's nothing more I could have done. There's nothing more I can do about last year. A different player.

Q. Given the different style you face in Lindsay Davenport, what sort of match would you expect, and what's the key for you to do well against Lindsay?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I have to expect a match that's going to be a lot more pace involved. It's ironic because there's so many different type of players on the tour. You play against Sanchez, someone who is quick, someone who wants to make a lot of shots, just mix it up, some power shots, some high loopers, but then you play against Lindsay, and she has a larger serve, more power, more flatter shot. It's a lot of variety on the tour.

Q. Why has Lindsay given you so much trouble in the past?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think that in the past, it was just that -- like I played her three times last year. Last year was really just my first year on the tour. And I guess I didn't really know how to win. And this year I played her once at Australia. I fell apart. And I had one win in Oklahoma against her, my first title. And Stanford, there was a lot of things happening. So generally she just played better than what I had. So I need to step up my game.

Q. It seems last year you were really able to kind of thrive off of the crowds here, they were loud and really behind you. Have you felt the same thing at all? Do you think that is still coming as you advance in the tournament?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think the crowd has their favorites. I'm still a new player on the tour. Everyone has to make up their mind who they want to root for. I have to make up my mind how I'm going to play in the matches.

Q. Were you kind of defiant today towards yourself about, the first set you had 18 unforced errors, then the rest of the match you only had 17? Was that something that it seemed like you drove yourself to stop making errors?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, because the errors had to stop or else I was just going to be heading home. And there was just no other alternative, no other option available. So the choice that I had to make was to stop making the errors. And it's actually easy to do, because if you've been playing so long, you really ought to know what to do. Sometimes you're just not going to win. But today I felt I had the capacity to do so.

Q. How was the wind out there today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: A little bit tricky. I don't think it was too bad. I think that both of us were concentrating on getting the first serves in. Usually I apply a little bit more power on my first. But today I was just spinning it in, second just spinning it in, because you don't want the wind to blow it around too much. Then there was some little soft balls that I kind of messed up on a little bit because of the wind moving around. But everything was okay.

Q. How much did the fans bother you today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Not at all.

Q. Any point your dad is going to come back here?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah.

Q. Do you know when?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Soon.

Q. Do you think he'll be here for your semifinal match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think so.

Q. Is that going to mean a lot to you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think it will be great.

Q. When he's in the stands, does that make you feel better?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I think in the end I've had to prepare before the match. Sometimes actually I've played matches where there was no one there to support me. Because like my mom would be at Serena's match, and I was on my own. But that's okay, too. But it's nice when you have someone there, family. Because some players don't have that at all.

Q. How is the knee holding up?

VENUS WILLIAMS: The knee's doing very good. I think it's also attributed that I didn't have too many tough first round matches also. I was able to rest. I had about three weeks, including that first week here at The Open, to fully recover, really being more serious about taking care of myself now. Because it was pretty terrible that I had to retire and to pull out of the tournament. I'm making better decisions.

Q. Do you think the two days will help with the rest between now and Saturday?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think I'm doing well now. I'm not having any problems with my leg. I haven't had to take any injury time-outs. I'm really happy about that, so I'm going to try to continue in the same pattern.

Q. As close as you are to your father and your family, is it somewhat stunning to you that people like Mirjana Lucic would have to walk away from her father to play tennis?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I really can't tell you what the situation is. And I guess the best person to speak to would be to her family. I think, you know, she's young. She's about 16. And she still has a long way to go. And her dad probably started her in tennis. In the end, he wants the best for her. So I'm sure that everything will work out.

Q. Do you understand a father hitting his kid? You're so close with your father, can you understand a father hitting his kid for losing a match or misbehaving in practice?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think he was out of line. But I think -- I really can't tell you because I've never been in the situation, and I wasn't there when some people might have went through this. So I can't tell you.

Q. If you were to win this tournament, what would be the most meaningful aspect of becoming the '98 US Open champion?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Being the 1998 US Open champion (laughter). I guess I wasn't in '97, so let's go for '98.

QueenO
Jun 18th, 2002, 08:12 PM
September 11, 1998

L. DAVENPORT/V. Williams

6-4, 6-4

An interview with:

VENUS WILLIAMS

Q. Did you ever feel like you were in the match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, sure. In the first set, I had all types of opportunities, just a matter of capitalizing on them. I think she did a better job of that today. She was more consistent, and ready to win.

Q. Did you find her a little bit overpowering in the second set?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think that she was stepping into her balls well. She's probably been practicing using her power to her best advantage. And she's one of the more powerful players on the tour. So it's important to use what you have.

Q. Mary Carillo was saying on the television that she thought your problem was still a lack of experience compared to these other women. Could you comment on that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, it could be. Maybe like a year from now I'll admit it. But I think in the end, I should be able to play, too. I've been practicing. I should be able to come out and play ball. If I'm not ready, I should stay home.

Q. Other than just missed opportunities, what went wrong with your game today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think that I was a little bit off balance. I just was unable to basically take the opportunities, because they were there, there for the taking. I said, "No, thank you." Pushed them away.

Q. Can you say why?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Pardon me?

Q. Can you say why? Was it mentally?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, no. I think I made some errors, but I did try. I wasn't on the top of my game today. Definitely know I can play better, it's a definite.

Q. Was your knee bothering you at all today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. The tape just came off. I started to get it retaped, but I didn't think it would stick. But I didn't need any injury time-out, I was fine.

Q. How well did Lindsay play?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think she played very well. I think that she had some bad areas in the match, but she was still able to come through, whereas I wasn't. I have to tell myself the truth so I can move onto better days. So that way it won't take me 5, 10, 15 or not at all to move ahead.

Q. Was the bathroom break a way of taking away some momentum?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, not at all. Self-explanatory.

Q. What's your perception of the way that Lindsay has upgraded her game in the last year or two?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I guess she's been pro for a little while now, like seven years or so. She definitely feels that she has the potential to be the best, just like anyone on the tour who wants to compete. So she's stepping up her game before it's too late. You don't want to be 25 or 26 before you can start reaching your best. You just want it now, do your best throughout your whole career. That's probably what she's feeling.

Q. Do you think anyone returns your serve better than Lindsay?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't think today she was returning very well. But also I don't think my placement was so good either, because if you're going to hit a ball that fast, you should at least place it, you shouldn't just say, "Here it is." But definitely she was returning better than what I was today.

Q. You said, "If I'm not ready, I should stay home." Did you feel you weren't ready?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Maybe I should have stayed in the hotel (laughter). I think I was ready today, but I don't think I should blame it on lack of experience. If you give someone a racquet, they should be able to use it. I didn't use mine that well today.

Q. Did you have a particular game plan coming in?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think that my game plan was to be consistent and to try to take control of the points.

Q. How do you think tomorrow's match will shape up between the two of them?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. Can't tell you. I won't be there, so (laughter). Unless I run on the court (laughter).

Q. With your seventh dress?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah.

Q. Will you watch it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. Probably be on a plane or something.

Q. What's the plans now for the future, remainder of this year?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm entered in three more tournaments overseas. Also, I think I will be attending the Chase Championships. I see no way where I could be ousted. And probably I'll play the Grand Slam Cup, probably.

Q. How do you look at your Grand Slam record this year? Are you pleased with it? Like to improve?

VENUS WILLIAMS: For sure I would like to have improved. I think there was definitely some winnable matches that I played that I didn't win. But like this year in the Slams, I got to the quarterfinals or better. Got to the semifinals here. I really have to work harder on being better.

Q. Last year you might have been a bit surprised to make it to the finals. This year you were expected to make the finals. Do you feel this is a big disappointment for you now?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I can't be disappointed. I can't spend my time being disappointed. I can spend my time planning for the next session.

Q. Conversely, along those lines, is there any chance at having to go through a couple of trials by fire, experiencing a little frustration and disappointment, might actually in the long run be beneficial for you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, yeah, sure. What is this, my seventh Grand Slam? I haven't been through too many trials. I still have some to go through. But I'm trying to get myself together, more or less.

Q. When you play Lindsay, do you feel like you can win cross-court forehand exchanges or do you think she's just a step ahead of you in that department?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think she might step into the ball more than what I do. I think I choose to use more topspin, and she uses the topspin also, but she flattens it out a little bit more. If I'm going to go cross-court, then I should definitely feel that I can stay in there with the person. If I don't, then maybe I should go down the line, hit a backhand.

Q. Do you feel like you can stay in there with her?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I do.

Q. Even though it's a lesser finish than last year, do you feel you are a better player, looking back?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, I think I'm a better -- this year or last year?

Q. This year, do you think you're a better player, even though you didn't go as far in the tournament?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I definitely think I'm a better player. I didn't go backwards any at all.

Q. What do you think of the crowds here at The Open, the New York crowds, how they receive you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think the crowds are great, definitely.

Q. Do you have any sense of being a favorite here, that the crowds are in favor of you in most of your matches?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah.

Q. So what did you think of this different dress for each match experience? Do you think you'll do it again?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think I'm deeply saddened that I didn't have the opportunity to wear my seventh dress.

Q. Will you send that one to the Hall of Fame?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm actually going to put that one in a coffin and bury it. It was red, white and blue. Of course, matching hair and nails. Maybe I could have got a new piece of jewelry for it, too. Who knows?

Q. Would you say she's a better player than you this year, Lindsay?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I would say she's had better results than what I have, have had. I haven't won a tournament since March.

Q. Am I supposed to translate that as a yes, she is a better player, or just she's had better results?

VENUS WILLIAMS: She has had better results this year.

Q. What part of your game do you still have to work on? Do you have to work on everything?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think that I'm pretty solid right now. I think I have to just become a better player, make better decisions. Like today, I played okay, but I could have played better. I should really be able to bring my game up, especially at certain points in the match. And I'm getting much better at that as the time goes on. Just have to keep improving. That's all that you can do.

Q. Is there any time frame, when you're looking at No. 1? You were saying earlier in the year you hoped very soon you might be No. 1.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think no matter what I do this year, I don't think I could be No. 1, if I won every tournament that I entered. It's not plausible this year, I don't think. Just depends, you know, who loses points. I don't know. But it could happen this year. I think I just need to concentrate on each match.

Q. At what point in your life would you like to go off and live on your own, be a completely independent person in that sense?

VENUS WILLIAMS: What are you saying?

Q. Sorry?

VENUS WILLIAMS: What are you saying?

Q. You live with your parents now.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes.

Q. Have you thought about a date or a time in your life, generally speaking, where you'd want to go off and live by yourself, begin your own life by yourself?

VENUS WILLIAMS: You mean, like by myself or with a dog or with Serena?

Q. Never mind. Get your own place, basically.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. I'm getting older. I guess it's an option. I'm legally able to make decisions on my own at this age. I don't know. I'll live with Serena. We'll live together.

QueenO
Jun 18th, 2002, 08:16 PM
March 20, 1999

V. WILLIAMS/T. Snyder

6-3, 6-4

An interview with:

VENUS WILLIAMS

REVEN OLIVER: First question for Venus.

Q. How do you feel you played and were you concerned about your serve? You doubled twice in the first set.

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, double-fault -- I was actually very happy with my serve. In general, my second serve is very soft, but today it was like 87, 91. That's just unprecedented for me. It's great.

Q. Are you pleased with the way you played overall?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Not really. I think I made too many unforced errors. I didn't attack the short balls as I have been working on in general. I definitely think there's room for improvement.

Q. When you found out about the draw and the fact that you would not play Serena until the final, what was your reaction?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I never saw the draw. Someone told me. I still haven't seen it.

Q. So what is your reaction?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I suppose it's a good thing.

Q. What are your thoughts about the prospect of playing here? Is that something you'd just as soon avoid as much as possible?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Serena and I are both super players. I guess like the best player when we play will win. I've been taking a break recently, so maybe my break wasn't long enough. I was still hitting with Serena. I had to get my practice in, and I was playing doubles. It wasn't really a break. I've been going quite a long time, weeks in a row.

Q. Is there a mixed feeling about the decision not to enter the same tournaments?

VENUS WILLIAMS: We've only played one tournament. I had to defend my title in Oklahoma. Serena says she was going to France. She goes to France, gets to speak French. I was in Oklahoma. That's how that turned out. We really played mostly the same tournaments. We played Sydney, then the Australian Open. We kind of separated. That's the only time we've ever done that. It's the only time we're going to do it this year, too.

Q. How much did winning the Lipton mean to you last year? What do you think of your chances of winning it again this year?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think it was great. I got to win at home. It's my largest title to date. What was the second part of the question?

Q. Your chances of repeating.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, those are great. I just have to believe in myself and keep going. I definitely believe I've improved my game. I'm serving well enough. My second serve is much better. I'm very happy.

Q. Has Serena's game caught yours yet, do you think?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Probably.

Q. You said you improved your game. In what ways have you improved?

VENUS WILLIAMS: In the past, I had a weak forehand. But I don't have a weak forehand anymore. Sorry, that made me angry because I really worked hard on my forehand. I'm much better. I actually come in a lot more. Today I didn't come in very much. In the past, I wouldn't have even came in that much. That's a great improvement for me. I'm actually able to see the ball better. I play a lot smarter. There's a lot of things I've improved. I think I understand things more.

Q. Are you still the No. 1 Williams sister?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I guess I have the No. 1 ranking in the Williams' family.

Q. Who is more talented?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I suppose y'all have to wait and see. I guess right now I'm on the top for the moment. It could change. I'll have to keep working hard, get motivated by Serena, something, because she's doing great. It's very exciting for me. I love to watch her play, motivate her. It's great.

Q. Could you imagine to be No. 1 and 2 once?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It's been said in the past.

Q. Did your dad bring any signs this year?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Have to ask him. I don't know. I didn't even see him until -- I didn't see it at all. It was odd. I didn't see it. I guess most people look to where their people are sitting at, like their parents, their coaches. I just didn't see it.

Q. How does your father treat you and Serena? Does he always be with one of you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: He travels with both of us. He usually goes to all our tournaments, especially in the US. I think he treats us evenly. I think so.

QueenO
Jun 18th, 2002, 08:18 PM
March 22, 1999

V. WILLIAMS/F. Zuluaga

6-3, 6-4

An interview with:

VENUS WILLIAMS

VERONIQUE MARCHAL: First question for Venus.

Q. I want to know, what do you think about playing Zuluaga?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I've played her 1996, first round of qualifications at Amelia Island, quite a long time ago. I think we both have come a long way as players, definitely. It's super, because she won her first tournament this year. I didn't know until they announced it. That's great, it happened in her hometown. It happened to me before I won here last year. That's great. She's definitely come a long way from the qualifying to the main round, beat Iva Majoli. It's great.

Q. Tough crowd?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, not really. It's really great that they're really into it. It's not something that you see at every tennis game where it's so loud that you can feel it. It's kind of good.

Q. How did you feel out there?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I feel okay.

Q. How do you feel out there?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Like with the crowd?

Q. With the game, how your game was.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I always feel I can play better. I believe I was playing too far behind the baseline today, not taking advantage of the short balls. That doesn't bring any opportunities.

Q. Do you remember a time it was that loud before? That was a pretty loud scene out there.

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I've never been where it's that loud.

Q. Did it pump you up?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I was ready to serve. I was ready to play anyway. I had to do something. I suppose it could have. It's great to see the crowd is there and really involved. At least it's better than a crowd that's silent. "What are we doing wrong?"

Q. Did you play your best tennis tonight?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I couldn't honestly say I played my best tennis.

Q. What is it like this time around coming in as defending champ? That's a role that's still kind of new to you.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I've never been the defending champ before until this year, so it's a good thing. At least I know I won last year. I didn't have any losses last year. I aim to do the same thing.

Q. What's it going to take?

VENUS WILLIAMS: A little better play. I'm a smarter player. I know what to do in situations. I know how to correct my techniques and to do what's right. If things go wrong, I think about what my parents have told me. I try to put that into effect.

Q. You have such a physical advantage over a lot of players out there. Do you find yourself relying on that more? Do you want to try to do different things out there?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It's an advantage for me. I can use my game in any way that I see fit. Of course, I think the power is great, plus I'm a fast player. They have to hit the lines constantly if they want to win the points. I'm going to get there, unless I make a mistake, which is unreasonable to make mistakes. But I do these things. Until I can convince myself to stop, they're going to still keep getting points.

Q. At what point the crowd was so loud, you were waiting to serve. Finally you said, "I'm just serving this ball." Was that in order to kind of quiet them down? It has to be frustrating.

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I was ready to serve. Doesn't bother me. I know what to do on the serve, I know how to get it in. I have to be prepared for all situations, no matter what the conditions are.

Q. Do you like having the family split up in different tournaments or together like this week?

VENUS WILLIAMS: That's how it turned out this year. I had to go to Oklahoma. Serena wants to go to France. That's how it turned out. I had to take my break last week. If I hadn't taken a break, it would have been my fifth or sixth week in a row. I just don't do that. I do maybe three weeks in a row. It's tough on me. In the past, I have injuries. I have to take care of myself because of my height and my age. I grew so rapidly that I have to be good to myself as far as how many weeks I play, how I do things.

Q. If you make it to Sunday, do you want to see Serena there?

VENUS WILLIAMS: You know it.

Q. No?

VENUS WILLIAMS: You know it. Of course.

Q. Did you watch her match today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I couldn't be there. I was here when she came on court, and I left. I hit with her before the match. I call like a half hour later, I call my dad, "Oh, the match is over." "What are you talking about?" I barely got back to the hotel just down the street. It's over.

Q. What has improved the most in her game the past couple months?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Serena has made up her mind to be a better player. She's ready to accept winning. Maybe in the past she wasn't able to, but now she is.

Q. You make it sound so easy.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, you have to make up your mind. In the end, it is easy. It can't be that hard, hitting some yellow balls, having fun. Other people have it harder. You get to stay in shape, travel the world. It's not a bad proposition.

Q. Are you ready to accept her winning, if it comes at your expense?

VENUS WILLIAMS: At my expense?

Q. If you have to get through each other, like here.

VENUS WILLIAMS: When you go into the match, once the other person is on the other side of the court, it's a competition, no matter who it is. After you get off the court, things go back to the way they were. It's just a competition.

Q. Your father was quoted in the New York Times yesterday as saying he might split you up for the Slams next year.

VENUS WILLIAMS: You have to ask him.

Q. Does that sound accurate?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, you have to ask him.

Q. What's your impression about Fabiola Zuluaga after the game?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think she's a nice person. I tried to get her to hold her hands to the crowd, because I guess the Colombians were there and they loved her. She said no. I guess she's a little bit shy.

Q. She was down maybe.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Maybe so. It's tough playing top players, so.

Q. Do you think the game was going to be easier than what it was?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, you have to expect people to come out and want to win. You can't expect them to give it to you. These days, everyone wants to win. Everyone wants to collect money. Everyone wants to get a better ranking. No, I didn't expect her to come out and just give it to me. Especially, I played her a while ago, you always remember when you lose.

Q. How is the newsletter coming along?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Newsletter, April is issue is due -- what's today?

Q. 22nd.

VENUS WILLIAMS: We haven't even started on it. The worst part is we have to get April and May done before we go overseas. We have to get it done or there just won't be a May issue.

Q. Journalists love to procrastinate.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. We don't have to do it so we do it on our own time. I think the last issue was almost three weeks late. It's tough these days.

Q. You mentioned that you grew quickly. Is that your knees are vulnerable to injury?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, when you grow so quickly.

Q. Do you do anything to strengthen?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I'm much better now. I'm much better.

Q. At one point last year you told me you were thinking about going back to college, maybe at UM. Are those plans coming any further?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes. I will be attending college this fall. I made plans and I've enrolled. That's where I'm going to be.

Q. Pick a major?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Fashion design.

QueenO
Jun 18th, 2002, 08:20 PM
March 23, 1999

V. WILLIAMS/A. Huber

6-3, 5-7, 7-6

An interview with:

VENUS WILLIAMS

REVEN OLIVER: First question, please.

Q. Venus, were you happy with your game, of course, you are very happy that you won?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Of course, you always have to be happy that you pulled in the win, but I wasn't necessarily happy with my play today.

Q. Too many unforced errors?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know what the count was. I think, yeah, maybe too many unforced errors. I don't think I was aggressive enough. I was waiting too much for something to happen instead of making something happen. I think in the first set, in the beginning of the sets I played smart, but I was unable to keep that up, unfortunately.

Q. Did she change anything in her game?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think she just felt more confident. She probably started thinking she could win.

Q. Were you surprised with her performance? Did you expect her to play with such power and precision?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, I expected her to play, I played her twice before. I expected her to want to win, so that's no surprise.

Q. Physically, were you tired during the last part of the first set?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I'm trying to recover from the sickness. It's very tough, you know, throughout all the matches. So it is a new challenge for me definitely.

Q. Are you finding that players on tour are handling your power a little bit more now than, say, a year ago when you first started on tour?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, how are you? I didn't notice you there.

Q. I'm good. How are you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Good. No, I think everybody is getting more power in their game and I think I have great power. If you just step up a little bit it makes such a great difference. But anyway, it is hard to handle my power, so the girls have to find a way to just control it.

Q. Venus, did you think that you were the defending champion and you were at risk in some moments of the match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, I think that crossed my mind a couple of times. I think that's the reason why I lost serve twice. There's no need for that because in the end you have to just win and play the game and say, hey, I'm a better player here, I have to pull through. So I try to think of it more simply as the game gets tougher as I have to play this point. I just am going to play it and I'm going to do things right and do what I'm taught. The tougher a match gets, the more simple, I think.

Q. Did you think at all about the prospect of playing your sister in the final; did that creep in?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No.

Q. Not yet?

VENUS WILLIAMS: There's a little while away, it will be super if it could happen. We are looking forward to it.

QueenO
Jun 18th, 2002, 08:24 PM
March 25, 1999

V. WILLIAMS/J. Novotna

5-7, 6-2, 6-3

An interview with:

VENUS WILLIAMS

BROOKE LAWER: Questions for Venus.

Q. What was your reaction when Jana was obviously struggling in the second set? Looked like she hurt herself?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I wasn't quite sure what to think because she had played Serena before. Serena lost the first set, came back tough in the second. Jana appeared to be hurt and was forced to retire, also had to pull out of the next tournament the next week. I wasn't sure what was happening with her. But she was able to continue in the third.

Q. Do you feel like you played your best tennis, Venus?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, not at all. I was able to come through, I was able to fight. She played well. She didn't miss a lot of balls, just giving me points; I actually had to work for my points. That was a good thing, I suppose.

Q. Would you like to go to the final with your sister?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Of course.

Q. How are you feeling right now about the possibility of a Williams sister final?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I feel great, definitely. It would just be a great thing to happen.

Q. Have you and your sister talked about it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. It's not something very important to us. We work our sides of the draw, do our best, try to pull in the win. If it's not possible, then we learn from our mistakes.

Q. Why did you and your sister withdraw from the doubles?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Because I'm just a little too sick right now. Plus it was just too tough to play this match and then to play so many doubles matches. We had to play so many days in a row. I was physically unable to continue in such a manner.

Q. Are you sick?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm getting better. That's how I look at it.

Q. Did you have pain in your body when you started? It looked like you were not the same athletically speaking.

VENUS WILLIAMS: It's like you have to -- every point, you have to be there, just take yourself to the next level. It's just something you have to concentrate on, every point, do your best, just try to get what you can out of yourself.

Q. You have had water pouring , you looked for the towel very often today.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Because my hands sweat a lot. I can't hold the grip. I have to have it. Especially in Florida. The weather is starting to get warmer. You have to have the towel.

Q. How frustrating is it for you, when you're trying to concentrate on every point, in the case of both of you through much of the match today, the points were won by the other's mistakes, not by winners? There were winners, but for the most part it was the other way.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes. In general, both Jana and I are fast players, quick players, we watch the ball well. It was tough for either of us to hit a winner, especially if we didn't step up. I don't think either of us was stepping up and trying to come in as much. I tried in the beginning of the match, but I just felt I was going to have to be at the baseline this day. Maybe tomorrow I'll be at the net more. I'm willing to come in. That's a great improvement. The winners, it's not always a factor that you can rely on it each match. Every match is different that you're going to have to use different tactics.

Q. The second two sets , was it as easy as it appeared watching? You were up 5-Love. It seemed it was a lot easier for you.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I was definitely working for it. I was doing my utmost to win each point. That's how I want to play, whether I'm playing well, whether I'm playing badly, however I feel. If I feel I can't give a hundred percent, then maybe it's necessary for me to pull out. But I felt I could do my best today. That's all that counts.

Q. Are you getting over a cold?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Basically.

Q. When you're up 4-Love in the second set, did you get the feeling --?

VENUS WILLIAMS: 4-Love in the second?

Q. Yes.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I thought maybe she was suffering from injuries, but I couldn't be quite sure. Players are just trying to do their best to win. I didn't know what was happening. But I did know that I would like to win. That's what I did know.

Q. How are you taking care of your cold? Are you going to see a doctor?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't think there's so much a doctor can do. Hopefully, after this tournament, I will be taking a rest. I'll go home and just have a rest, which is important. You just have to wait for it to get out of your system. That's the best thing.

Q. People don't talk only about your tennis playing, but also your outfit. Is it important for you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, I love fashion. It means a lot to me. It's something I'm interested in. I think I'm a creative person. That's what I would like to do in the future. It's great.

Q. So you want to be different on the court, as well?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I am.

Q. Can you talk a little about your next match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes. I've played Steffi twice this year and once in exhibition. Unfortunately, she had to retire. I think she got a little stomach virus, but she was ready to go the next week. I think it will be a great match. I'm ready to play. I'm trying to get my mind ready right now. I feel great about going into it. In the end, it's just a match. You do your best and learn from everything that you might have done wrong.

Q. When you say you've played her twice, that's already since January?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, correct.

Q. Serena has a tough match, too. What do you think the chances are of a Williams sisters sweep tomorrow?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I just always feel that Serena is going to win. That's just the way I feel. I would say the chances are high. We're both feeling great. We are learning a lot. Serena has just come so far in the past four weeks, it's so great. It's motivating. I'm really glad to see her there. I'm proud of her. It's great.

Q. There was speculation before this tournament that because you didn't play, Serena played and beat Steffi at the last tournament, that not playing there was maybe a mistake because you would be out of practice.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, in general, there's always speculation, especially when it concerns Serena and I. People are going to write and say what they feel. I don't really think that we're able to stop it. There's always speculation. People are going to think what they want to think. That's how life is for us.

Q. I meant, in general terms, anybody who would skip the tournament prior to this one, might have not been as sharp.

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I feel like I know how to play tennis. I know how to make my decisions. I feel confident. I don't feel I need to have a warm-up tournament every time at all.

Q. You say the way Serena is playing is motivating. Is it motivating for you to see her playing so well?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Definitely. We always expected both of us to play so well. We just knew it would be a matter of time before Serena pulled through. She's just doing so many things great right now. All her techniques are solid. It's very hard to break through her. She's a strong girl, she's smart. She has a great serve. It's really great. So if I'm making mistakes, I just look to Serena.

Q. Talk about the state of women's tennis. It seems like people are more involved now in women's tennis than even the men's.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think, in general, women's tennis, there's just so much happening right now. There's so many different players playing great tennis. The intensity level I believe in the past few years has really risen. Everyone wants a piece of the pie. They're saying, "I want to win, too. I'm no longer going to give it away." I think that's what is mainly happening. Everyone is finding that they want to win basically.

Q. Do you think it's the same in all of women's sports because they're getting more attention now?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm not quite sure. Unfortunately, I don't follow sports outside of tennis.

Q. Is it a question of personality, maybe more personalities in female tennis than male?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It's possible.

Q. So you try to be one strong personality?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I just believe in general there's more personalities on display in women's tennis. Not to say that the men players don't have personalities, but maybe the ladies are able to show it more to the press or to the people. Maybe that's it.

Q. Has the style of women's tennis changed over the years?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think everyone is trying to be a powerhouse. Oh, yeah, for sure. Since the '80s, especially since I came on, too. I believe I came and I had a huge serve, huge groundstrokes. Everyone decided, "Hey, we have to do something about this. She has this stuff and we don't have it." I think that's what happened.

QueenO
Jun 18th, 2002, 08:25 PM
KEY BISCAYNE, FLORIDA

March 26, 1999

V. WILLIAMS/S. Graf

6-2, 6-4

An interview with:

VENUS WILLIAMS

MIKE BROEKER: First question for Venus.

Q. When you pointed at the end of the match, that was to signal "You and me for the final"?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Basically, yes.

Q. Was that a prearranged signal?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I'm a spur-of-the-moment person.

Q. What does it mean to you to now face up to her in a final?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It's real great, you know. We both played well. I heard Serena came through a lot of comebacks in her match. She wasn't playing her best tennis, but she was able to come through. I raised the level of my game from playing so many bad matches earlier. We both came through in different ways. It's great.

Q. First of many?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Basically. Exactly.

Q. What was your first competitive match the two of you ever played?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, boy. It's in the record books, I guess.

Q. You can't recall it off the top of your head?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, not really, huh-uh.

Q. The matches between you, you always seem to win .

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, that was the past.

Q. But can you tell us what it is that enabled you to win those matches? Is it something that's in your head tactically or in terms of technique?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I guess I was a better player that day. I guess it was a year ago, it was a little while ago. I guess it's tough sometimes when you're the younger sister. When you're the older sister, maybe it can be tough, too. But Serena has improved her game. Not improved, but she's just better, really better, which is great.

Q. Your sister has come steaming up the rails in the last three or four weeks.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, she's been playing pretty well. I've been predicting it. It's y'all who haven't been listening.

Q. Have you had any input into her improvement?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I do my best to help. She does her best to help me. It's a mutual thing.

Q. So what happens now over the next 24 hours?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Just regular. Keep living.

Q. Will you talk about the match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Probably not. We never have.

Q. Opposite ends of the house till Sunday?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. We aren't like that at all.

Q. Will you practice together?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Sure, yeah.

Q. Just like any other regular practice session?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Basically.

Q. Did you expect to defeat Steffi Graf in two sets as you did, in the way you did?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, I love playing good tennis. Today I played good tennis. She played well also. I was just able to play better, make less unforced errors. In the past, I've played Steffi and I've won the first set and dropped the second. To me, it wasn't necessary. Maybe to her it was necessary to win the second. But for me, I would just like to go ahead and win in straight sets. So today was something unprecedented for me.

Q. Was that the best you've played this tournament, do you think, this week?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, definitely. I wasn't playing well at all in any of my other matches, just enough to get by.

Q. You seem to have found your rhythm slowly during the tournament. Today you looked so relaxed, even though you were very fast, hitting very hard. You seemed to be very fluid, very natural.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes. I'm a pretty good player, I guess (laughter). I've learned a lot. I've learned, you know, how to place the ball, how to move it around, what shots to make, what kind of shots you want to make on a player like Steffi or Jana or another player. So, definitely, I've come a long way.

Q. Very fluid tennis.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Thank you.

Q. Would you say a new era has arrived in women's tennis as of this week?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I guess so. It could be said.

Q. Would you say it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I could say it, yes. A new era has arrived this week in women's tennis (laughter).

Q. How does your father feel now that both are in the final?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, he was real glad. We worked real hard, had some tough, tough, extremely tough - did I say it was tough? - Extremely tough losses. We've come a long way. It's what we always thought we would do, so it's a wonderful thing.

Q. Sometimes when you face an opponent, you have to kind of feel the other person out. When you're playing against your sister, what kind of tennis can we be looking for?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, we both need to keep our games at the same level. I really, really hope it's super tennis. I'm going to do my best to play well. She's going to do her best to play well, start serving better. I don't know if she was serving well today or not. I really haven't had time to find out what was happening in her match yet.

Q. Does it make it more special that it's actually going to be in the States?

VENUS WILLIAMS: That it's in the States?

Q. Yes.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I guess so. I'm not quite sure. I'm not sure.

Q. You didn't see any of your sister's match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I had a match tonight. I stayed as long as I could. I left around 3:15, relaxed.

Q. I know you don't like looking back too far in the past. Can you remember that day in Australia when the two of you played each other? Can you remember what it was like afterwards, before?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It's pretty hazy, yeah. I don't really remember.

Q. Was it strange to play her competitively?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, no. It's great that it's in the final, definitely.

Q. How do you remain composed when you play against someone you love, a family member?

VENUS WILLIAMS: In the end it's a competition. The best competitor wins. As soon as you walk off the court, the competitions are over.

Q. But you hate to lose.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't mind putting my name and losing in the same sentence. Winning and Venus sounds great. Serena doesn't like to lose either at all, never has.

Q. What about your father's loyalties? They'll be a bit torn.

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. He'll be glad for both of us. It will just be the same. It's like I won a point, Serena won a point.

Q. With the finals moved to Sunday, do you feel that women's tennis is now surpassing men's tennis?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I really didn't think about it that way. I don't know why the finals are on Sunday. Why the guy's final is on Saturday. I couldn't tell you. I can tell that you Serena and I both have a date on Sunday, early in the afternoon, I suppose.

Q. She said the other night, we were asking her about playing Hingis, was that her ultimate test. She said no. We said, "What is your ultimate test?" She said, "What do you think?" We said, "Playing your sister." She said yes. Do you go along with that as well?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Definitely I would say so. Serena is a tough player. She gives it all her best. She's really been improving, learning, making her shots. Yeah, I think so. She's playing great.

Q. Do you think it's fair to say that you and she are playing currently the best of any two women players in the world?

VENUS WILLIAMS: We both have raised our games since the beginning of this year. In Australia we were very, very, extremely disappointed with our play. We went on, we worked hard. We came back in February as new people. We could have even got new names, so. We worked hard. We've seen the success.

Q. What would your name be if you had a new name?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Come on (laughter).

Q. You said you and Serena have a date on Sunday. Then what?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Then we go home. That's all.

QueenO
Jun 18th, 2002, 08:27 PM
March 28, 1999

V. WILLIAMS/S. Williams

6-1, 4-6, 6-4

An interview with:

VENUS WILLIAMS

VERONIQUE MARCHAL: Questions for Venus.

Q. Congratulations. You got to 4-3 in the second set, then you seemed to come apart. What happened there?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I really don't remember at this point. I guess I came apart there. I guess Serena was playing better tennis. She stopped missing as many balls. I started missing more balls. Tough to say. I lost it.

Q. Is there any chance you may have subconsciously let up on her because you didn't want to embarrass there?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I would definitely say there's no chance because Serena always comes back and defeats people. I didn't want to become another victim. So it was all I could do to hold her off.

Q. You're the defending champion and older sister, kind of double pressure there. Did you feel any of that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I felt good. I felt kind of good coming in. I was making my shots. I didn't feel any pressure at all. I think the only match that I was feeling pressure on was against Anke Huber. I was just pretty ill, so. It wasn't easy at all.

Q. How much satisfaction is there in beating your sister?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Serena is a great player. Of course, there's great satisfaction because she takes players down left and right. So to survive such an onslaught is just great.

Q. Was it any different for you today in any way, emotionally or mentally, to look across the net and see your sister?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I look across the net and see her all the time, no.

Q. But not for a championship of a tournament, with everybody watching. Did anything cross your mind at all about how big this was?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It's not too big. In the end, we go home, we live life. You have to be happy after that, so. You have to remind yourself it's a game, and there's only one winner. Of course, next week there will be another opportunity. That's how I feel.

Q. What did you say to her when the match was over?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. Maybe I'll just keep that for me.

Q. She didn't really look happy when she came to the net. You put your arm around her. Can you talk a bit about that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I mean, it's tough when you lose a match in the final, it's a tough match. It's tough for anyone, no matter what happens. Serena wants to win. She always wants to win. That's her personality.

Q. How is the day before the game in your house with your sister or family? Are you talking about the game?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, what actually happened was we woke up like at eight. We didn't hit till like 11. We didn't practice at all. We were playing around, joking. We didn't practice too hard. We didn't even hit serves. I gave Serena some overheads. It was my turn to hit some overheads. I hit one bad one. I said, Give me one more and I'll be done. We left. We didn't even hit in the afternoon like we planned. We knew we were playing each other. We were going to give ourselves the best effort.

Q. Did you notice Serena picking up her game a little bit early on in the second set?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I already knew Serena was going to pick up her game. It's a trend. Serena just doesn't play a whole match bad. She usually plays every match very well. If she happens to start out slow, she always makes herself pick it up, no matter what the circumstances are. That's how she's going to play.

Q. What do you think happened at the end? Serena came back, broke you, tied it at 4-4. Her game just fell apart?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't think it fell apart. I just think I happened to win that game. It was great to win that game. I had to serve it out. I guess I played a tough game there. I had to if I wanted to win at that point, unless I wanted to go to 5-All, which wouldn't have been very good tidings for me against Serena.

Q. Do you think all of us, the media, are making too much out of this sister thing?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. Serena and I, we've been doing a lot. Maybe you aren't.

Q. What did you think when she nailed you with that short ball at the net?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, I was ready. I have great hands. We play doubles all the time. I really didn't know where the ball was going, so I just wish I could have got it back. It's too late now.

Q. You hit the edge of your racquet?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know what happened. I just didn't win the point. I do know that.

Q. Was there any part of you that was glad to get this over with?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I was ready to play.

Q. After the match ended, didn't seem like you celebrated that much. Was there any part of you that it wasn't as fun because your sister had to be the loser?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It's just a competition, two players, two great players. That's how I felt.

Q. You have such a complete game. Do you think you could improve your overhead a little bit?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I usually never miss overheads. But today I remember I had one overhead. One of the main problems for me is I'm so tall that if it's not high enough, it's going to hit my racquet. It's quite odd. Then there's another one, Serena hit it up so high.

Q. You do have confidence in your overhead?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, yeah. I just have to hit it. If you don't hit it, it's your own double-fault.

Q. Don't you think the older sibling always has an advantage?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know.

Q. Come on.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. Come on.

Q. You said you'll be enrolling in fashion design school in the fall.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes.

Q. Have you designed any of your outfits?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I've only designed a warm-up suit. But I will have some of my designs at the US Open. I find it very exciting. It's my career choice. It's a great thing. I enjoy fashion.

Q. Was there more pressure on you than her today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I really don't think so. I don't think either of us had pressure on us at all. I just think we went out there and started playing.

Q. Serena has said before, before some of her other big matches, you gave her advice. Obviously you didn't do that today.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Probably not.

Q. Is it hard to be a mentor to your little sister when she's going to be an opponent?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I teach her everything I can. I know that I'm a good player. I believe in my game. When you play someone, you just have to worry about what you're doing. If you worry about what they're doing, it's going to be a little more tougher. But I do everything I can to make Serena the best player that she can be and that I can be.

Q. Your father said that perhaps you and your sister were maybe not as focused as intensely as it might have been if it had been another opponent who wasn't your sister across the net. Do you agree with that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Perhaps. Perhaps. I like to use that word, too. I think Serena and I, we both wanted to win. Serena wanted to win this title. I guess it would have been her largest title. This is my largest title. I haven't been able to excel at any Grand Slams yet. We both wanted to win.

Q. What did you think after the first set when your daddy held up the sign, "Go, Serena, go."

VENUS WILLIAMS: I couldn't see the sign. My eyes aren't that good.

Q. What do you think now in retrospect?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't see anything wrong with it.

Q. Your dad seemed quite emotional today. Looks like it was a huge accomplishment. Now can he let go a little bit, let you make your own decisions. Do you think this was for him and for yourself a point where he can be a little more relaxed around the tournaments, enjoy it more, less responsibilities since you both have reached a higher point?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah.

Q. Two days ago you said you wanted this to be a really good match. I'm wondering, do you think this is the best match it could have been?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Things could always be better in my eyes. I could have played better. Serena could have played better. It's what happened. It was good enough. It was two hours.

Q. Will you and Serena enter a lot of tournaments the rest of this year together or not?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Basically, yes. We'll be in a lot of the same tournaments. We still take days off and time off, weeks off. We're nice to ourselves, in other words.

Q. Were you always aware of who your opponent was or did you lose yourself in the match and play the ball, as she said she did?

VENUS WILLIAMS: If I was always aware of who my opponent was, obviously I am aware. Gee, I was trying to compete for points. That's all in the end. That's all I was trying to do.

QueenO
Jun 19th, 2002, 01:17 AM
August 26, 1999

V. WILLIAMS/M. Serna

6-0, 6-4

An interview with:

VENUS WILLIAMS

Q. Why was the second set so much more difficult than the first?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think she played better. I think my first serve percentage went down a lot. And also I wasn't able to capitalize on my break opportunities because that set could have been more or less 6-2 instead of 6-4. I think when she did get her second serves in very deep, they had some pace on it, so, I didn't want to back up any to give myself more time so, I just stayed right there.

Q. Did the rain delay and the waiting have any impact on your concentration?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Not at all. Come out right away, no problem. I am used to rain delays; that is part of professional life, I think.

Q. A lot of players have been commenting about the slowness of the surface.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I just don't see a difference. Every court is almost the same to me. It is great.

Q. Last night you said you almost had your A Game. How do you feel about today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think I was playing well today also because -- most of all I am doing what I am working on; what I want to do more of in the future, coming in and just closing out my opportunities on breakpoints. There were two or three games where I had breakpoints and I did not -- actually two games on her serve, so, that is once I get that breakpoint, just to close it out quickly; and moving forward. As long as I am doing that, I am going to be happy with my game.

Q. Looks like you are working a lot of different shots; not like you are just slugging away to win points. Like you said, you are coming into net a lot. Have you been working on that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I can play quite few different points defensively a whole match. I can slug away, just overpower someone. I can come in if I wanted to. On a rare basis I can serve and volley. Right now, I am not ready to serve and volley, but it could happen. But definitely I have quite a few things I can do in my game, and it is great when you have a game where you can improvise.

Q. How did you spend your rain delay today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I was here practicing indoors. I went back and they called me came here. It was still raining. I went back; they called me. Finally I got to play. So it was back and forth.

Q. Do you have a preference over who you play next? Monica or Amanda?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Not really. Usually I just go for the higher ranked player. But both are playing well, two separate games, and Monica just came off of a final in Canada, but she just came off an injury. She will be feeling okay, I guess, I am not sure. But whoever wins.

Q. Have you recently changed your racket?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No.

Q. How do you feel about the draw in the US Open?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I feel great. I am happy. I am prepared to compete.

Q. What about Serena being on the opposite end of the bracket?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Just have to -- we can't be together in everything. We usually are, but in tennis sometimes we are kind of separate.

Q. Is she here watching you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, she is at home.

Q. Did you notice that sign for you that those girls were holding up?

VENUS WILLIAMS: "Venus rocks," yes. (laughter).

Q. Venus, what does it mean to you to have your father there in the front row? Are you aware of his presence the whole time while you are playing?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think during a tougher stage of a match; that is when you look over and you hear: Come on, let's do it, things like that. But most of all, I know that he has done what he can and when it is time for me to play the match that is when it is time for me to show that I have learned something. So it is great to have your parents there. Sometimes there have been matches when Serena are playing at the same time. My mom and dad are there, I was own my own, and she was owe her own; they are going back an forth (laughs) but it has always been good times.

Q. When you look back on 1999 up to this point of the season, where would you rate the year for yourself? The French Open was a disappointment. You set yourself some pretty high goals and targets. How do you feel about it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think I have done okay this year. Definitely, in the Grand Slams, haven't done what I would have expected. French Open was definitely the most dismal of them all, almost. They were all pretty dismal no matter where -- I still lost, so I think I am doing okay. I am moving forward slowly, but surely. It really -- the results really count in the Grand Slams because in the other tournaments, I have done well, have four titles this year, but in the Slams is where you accumulate the most points; that is where I have to really focus in on.

Q. In one sense is that a bit of a change of thinking because didn't seem that long ago where you were really bursting to move up ahead very quickly and you are saying you are taking it more slowly now?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Not that I am taking it more slowly, I am just moving slowly. I don't want to go fast, really. It is just that at this point, points come off and then sometimes you can add some; sometimes you can't. Where I really do my adding is at the Grand Slams more than anything, gaining points. I want to win a Slam. So it is fun.

Q. If you were to end the year at No. 3 - granted, Steffi is going to be coming off the computer, so you are moving up - would 3 satisfy you or not?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think it is a logical place, especially if I am not going to play a lot at the end of the year so only so much I will be able to do. But it will set me up for good position for next year, just moving forward. I just have to realize that other people ahead of me have more points to defend than what I do and I can only do better.

QueenO
Jun 19th, 2002, 01:19 AM
August 27, 1999

V. WILLIAMS/M. Seles

6-1, 6-3


An Interview With:


VENUS WILLIAMS

Q. Came out pretty good?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I was playing pretty good. I guess I could say that.

Q. Why was it so easy?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I have been playing pretty good for the whole week and preparing myself for the latter rounds of this tournament and for next week. So served well, which is a plus no matter who you are playing; always makes a match much easier.

Q. Feel like your game is right with your want it to be going into the Open?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I definitely would like to play better. I would like to play a little bit better off the ground; keep my ball a little bit deeper. I feel like I am rushing a little bit; just want to slow down mostly concentrate on my stroke.

Q. If you were to use a percentage basis, how many more percentage points would you want to improve?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. As far as percentage that is a tough question.

Q. What do you do to try to make yourself go slower when you are on the court and there is so much going on?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Most of all I just try to take longer strokes and I try to instead of just -- if someone hits the ball fast, you try to hit it back faster instead you take your time; place it where you want it to be in. That is what I will make sure I am going to do tomorrow.

Q. You seemed to take something off the ball now and then?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I did sometimes. It is a good thing at times. Monica is a good stroker of the ball. That is her main strength. That is how she likes to play. As for me, I can play quite a few different ways.

Q. When are you going to learn to serve and volley more like you do in doubles?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. Really. Doesn't seem to be in me, not right now. I guess at least coming in a little bit more is a step. Serve and volleying, that is the future.

Q. Against Lindsay what are you going to have to do?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think some of the same things tonight just serve well, return well, and I am really into attacking second serves these days. It is pretty much in fashion. Just take my time because she is going to play some good tennis. She improved the level of her game, but so have I; that is what I have to do.

Q. Third time in a month that you are going to be playing her. It is one a piece. From the last time when you beat her, what more do you have to do? Is it going to be generally the same sort of level as you played the last time in California?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I played okay there. I didn't play my best there. I really wasn't serving well. Wasn't getting too many first serves. I was living off a second which is not that easy. So I am going to definitely get more first serves in and I am serving better. The serving feels better. I went out and worked on it and so that is definitely something that I'd like to do better as far as from the last time I played her in San Diego.

Q. You enjoy tonight, nice crowd out there, pretty good energy. Feed off of that a little bit?

VENUS WILLIAMS: That is always nice especially when Monica plays she is going to have a lot of fans, people love her. She is a great champion. So -- and me, I am pretty young out there, just trying to get a couple of things for myself, so it is definitely great when the crowd is into it because when the crowd is quiet, it kind of feels like you are -- don't even feel like you are in practice. When you are in practice you feel intensity, but when the crowd is quiet when you are playing a match it kind of feels dead, so it is a better when they are really into it.

Q. You just came into the match confident and kind of stayed confident through the whole match; seemed like even like she had you at breakpoint and in the second set you came back and won the game. You just kind of seemed to be on a roll.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I did lose serve in the second set once. I am working on that because you need to hold serve at those important times, especially against the top players because if you give them the opportunity a lot of times they are going to come back. Just like I would. So she had some opportunities against my serve, but I actually hit some nice big first serves because I said okay, now you know what to do on these serves, so go ahead and do it, get a free point, get it back to deuce so I was able to do that most times.

Q. There were times when you could see the frustration on Monica's face after she thought she had hit a winner. Do you feel like you are just in a groove right now that everything is just going your way?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Not that I really feel like I am in a groove. I just feel like -- I am just trying to just be more -- not more serious, but just going out there and actually just playing tennis and not making mistakes, or holding back, mostly I want to go out there and strike the ball and do what I have been taught to do. That is how I feel, that I am trying to actually do those things.

Q. You feel at this point it is easier to accomplish those things?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I guess so. I am just trying to look at it as a game and just go out there and just enjoy the competition. When you look at it like that, it is easier instead of: Oh, I have to win, I have to win. That is not any good.

Q. Monica was 19, 20; she is doing pretty well now, but she was an incredible player. Did you watch her growing up at all and marvel at the way she played?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, most certainly. I was there when she played all those French Open Finals and when she really had everything on her side and I was about 10, 1990, 1989 I was 9 and 10, and 11, so my sister and my dad and I, we would watch the films and tape and we were just trying to learn to be better so, I remember all of that.

Q. Now that you are playing her, how does that feel?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't think about it really, but now that you say it, I have come along way.

Q. It was clear that you were in a zone tonight that we haven't seen and you have progressed as the week has progressed. Wednesday night you even mentioned seems that sometimes you play at the level of your opponent, you try and shake that sometimes, especially when the opponents is not there. Tonight you didn't have to worry about that. Monica is going to be Monica. Tomorrow night or tomorrow afternoon when you go against Lindsay is there another notch that you have to raise it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Actually I want to raise the level in my game no matter who I am playing, but definitely against Lindsay she is going to want to win this title. She didn't win last year and going into the Open with a title is a pretty good feeling. I am going to definitely raise the level of my game the best that I know how.

Q. Women's sports is really receiving a lot of attention. How does it feel to be involved?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I feel pretty good. I think women's tennis is the most recognized women's sport all over the world, especially players no matter where you go, people know who you are. So it is a good thing. It is definitely a good thing.

QueenO
Jun 19th, 2002, 01:22 AM
August 28, 1999

V. WILLIAMS/L. Davenport

6-2, 7-5


An Interview With:


VENUS WILLIAMS

Q. You got to be pretty pleased with the way you played today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I played pretty good. I think -- I don't know how many doublefaults I had, but when I did get my first serve if I was serving well and I think toward the second set she started finding I guess some rhythm on the serve which maybe not going for as much a bigger turn just getting it back in play which is a good strategy, a lot of breaks, eventually I was able to pull it out.

Q. What does beating Monica and also Lindsay on successive days do to your confidence going into the Open?

VENUS WILLIAMS: To me -- well, I don't know -- I know I can play well and I had wins over both those players previously. So I feel I can go out there and win the matches. But as far as having a win, a tournament win is better than having a tournament loss going into a Grand Slam. That is how I feel.

Q. Give you a lot of confidence going to the Open?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I am feeling good about playing the big points when it gets to 30-All. When you are not -- when you are serving or when you are not serving I am feeling good about playing those larger points so that is important.

Q. What are you doing better against her now than you were earlier? She says maybe little more consistency against her, before she has been able to kind of wait you out from the base lane --

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, in the past she just would overpower me. When you are getting overpowered you kind of rush and you make the error, but now it is just -- it is not the same anymore. I am not as young and I have better techniques, so things aren't the same anymore. I don't feel overpowered when I play her.

Q. Is that just confidence?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Me going out there and working hard and improving. I really -- I worked hard for all of December, before the year started. It wasn't enough. Actually I was -- I had to go work hard for another two, three weeks before I was really able to get back on my game. So it was really a lot of work.

Q. Do you feel you are ready to win a major?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Definitely. I have been ready and I was ready for the first one, first one I played.

Q. That is very true.

VENUS WILLIAMS: It didn't seem -- I guess it wasn't the right time. Just waiting for that right time and hopefully this will be the right time, but if it's not the right time next time will be the right time.

Q. You don't ever seem to feel any pressure of expectation, there has been so much expectation year in year out, people talking about you as a heavy favorite, you don't seem to feel that kind of pressure --

VENUS WILLIAMS: I if I didn't feel I had a chance to win I can go home and get a lot of other things done. I don't feel the pressure. It is just a game, I enjoy playing it. This is what I want to do right now. And if I don't do my best, I have another chance. If I don't do as well, just go out and work a little harder. But you have to take it all in stride.

Q. Feel like that is something that not enough other athletes do, maybe they put a little too much pressure on themself --

VENUS WILLIAMS: I am not sure about the other athletes. Sports is so competitive these days, so everyone is trying to get a piece of the pie. I have little bit, but not any of the Grand Slam titles yet. I guess that is the cake.

Q. Four women have cleaned up on the summer circuit so far. Do you think --

VENUS WILLIAMS: Me, Serena, Lindsay and Hingis.

Q. Yes. Do you think that is where the US Open champion will come from?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It seems like the most likely place. Both of us -- all four of us are going to be on top of our games. I am going to rally Serena up. She is going to rally me up. We are going to get ourselves going. Some reason I fall by the wayside, I am going to really pushing behind her, Serena don't do like me; likewise. So just as long as it is good tennis, I think that is the most important thing.

Q. When you say rally each other up, what sort of form does that take?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Come on, Serena, please don't hit that ball flat. Get under it, un-der. Things like that. So if I am doing well, she is doing well, it is like the same thing, both of us have a win.

Q. You have gone from a year ago you were 3 and 5 in Finals; now you are 5 and 3 this year. Are you approaching the Finals any differently or do you just consider it another match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think in the past I was a little less experienced and people could pull tricks on me or I would actually start rushing, things like that. Not that I didn't think I could win. I just wasn't able to make the right decisions in order to win. I think this year I have done a little better with that, especially in the latter part of the year.

Q. Third game of the match was five deuces. I don't remember how many points. (Inaudible.) Was that sort of a big point in that match to kind of get through that -- you are on serve trying to hold serve is that sort of a key to the match for you early on to get on top of her?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, because those good holds are pretty well. It is great when you win them, but you feel it more when you lose them. That is how it is. I guess when she lost that she didn't feel as great as I did when I won that game. So it is important to try to hold serves and to get the first set under your belt. Because the other player feels a little bit more pressure to stay in the match. I know I have been in those situations a lot of times, lost the first set, so I was at the advantage.

Q. Was it getting difficult in the second set not to really get frustrated with the fact that neither of you were holding serve?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I never get frustrated as a player. I just feel like, okay, I have to get the next opportunity. I am never -- I wouldn't say maybe once or twice in my career I have been kind of upset. Yeah. And I guess everyone knew. I don't really get frustrated. I just feel like, okay, I lost serve I have to break, so finally at 5-4 couldn't believe I kept losing serve like that. I wasn't serving too badly. She was returning much better; then I would kind of make an error which is not too logical to say the least, but I wasn't frustrated.

Q. Your talent has definitely been there the next couple of years. Last few days you said that your concentration was what you have been really trying to work on not losing when you are up 40-Love. You lost the first game of the set, almost like her strategy would have worked when she broke you right away. Came right back and broke her ......

VENUS WILLIAMS: That happened the last match too the second set I lost my serve, but you just have to break back. I returned serves very well and I get quite a few balls on the run so I had a lot of things to work with besides my serve. I felt I would to have break back; I kept breaking back and she kept breaking back.

Q. Down double set point. How much were you dreading going to a third?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I was just losing racket speed a lot on my forehand. She kept getting to it and trying to get that error; sometimes I was giving it to her. So at that point I said I am going to keep my racket speed and just hit the ball. I managed to get those next two points and then the match.

Q. Fans say that there is a higher intensity level that they have seen with the women in this tournament than they did with the men. Do you think that is accurate?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I am not too sure. I haven't been to too many men's tournaments. I guess the men's game is a little bit more less rallies, I would say. The ladies everyone is kind of fighting each other, slugging it out and it is still quite a lot of pace and I know I hit the ball hard, Lindsay does. Last night playing Monica it was a quick game, boom, boom, boom. So I think there is enough consistency, enough power and just enough of everything to kind of make it real interesting and very intense for the fans.

Q. You have beaten Lindsay twice now in a row. Do you feel you have established any sort of mental edge?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I am not sure how she is feeling about playing against me. What is most important is I am prepared to play against whoever I play and know that they most likely will want to win so I have to be ready to pull the win for myself.

Q. Besides Serena who would you say is your biggest rival?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I have played Lindsay quite a few times and in the last year -- this year we are two and two. Other years it was not too good for me. I was young; didn't understand too much and I would say with Hingis the first year in 1997 when I first got on the Tour she got three wins. After that it has been pretty even. Unless I kind of start playing bad and making bad decisions.

Q. I have to ask you about the fan who was sitting with your dad, the one with the beaded wig. He says he has met you at other tournaments. What is your reaction to the kind of support?

VENUS WILLIAMS: If he likes it, I love it.

Q. There are certain players that every player on the way up has to learn how to beat and sort of conquer? You know what I mean? A lot of players always seem to have that one player that gives them trouble. Once they learn how to beat that player seems like they really take off. Certain players that you have to Davenport being one that you have to learn thousand beat .....

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I just had a bad record with Davenport in the past. I guess right now looking at the record I am still at a disadvantage. This year I am doing good. I was just -- in the past I was just overpowered and now things are different. I have gotten older, stronger, I have gotten better, so I would say she is a player that has the most wins over me.

Q. You seem very bubbly in here and talking to people about on the court you don't show much emotion. Why is that? Are you just extremely focused? Is there no place or reaction out there?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, a match like this is very important. I am trying to be focused on every point. I want every point for myself. Pretty selfish out there. But as for her, I am not playing tennis, I am not competing with anyone in this room. So it is different.

Q. How is it different for your life? You have been in the limelight for the last few years, if you win the US Open whatever happens, does it take away from your tennis game? How does your family react? You are going to probably be innundated -- (inaudible)

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't understand the question.

Q. How much does that go through the back of your mind, something like that, you are in the limelight now, big change of life for yourself, your family - distracts from your tennis game itself?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, not at all. I don't think so. I think it just gets a little bit fatiguing doing interviews. I have been doing interviews since I was little, 11, 12 now it is kind of gaining on me. It is like the same questions. These interviews are more better the press conference, but one-on-ones they just get like the same question. I don't understand why they need to ask me the question. They can get it from another article. That is how I feel. Please, ask different questions.

Q. What would you ask Venus Williams that you haven't been asked before?

VENUS WILLIAMS: So Venus, when is the last time you have been to Dunkin Donuts.

Q. Venus, when was the last time you have been to Dunkin Donuts?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Only reason I haven't been lately is because I have been overseas and then I haven't been home so much or else driving by I might make that lefthand turn and it gets pretty tough.

Q. Are you looking forward to the release of your new dress collection next week?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I really have an outrageous dress. It is really going to be tough on me to get in it. And I am really -- actually what I need to do is just put it on and start wearing it now and getting comfortable with it. Unfortunately it is my own design, it is my own fault, but I never -- I never thought they would pick that one. I thought they'd pick another one because I submited at least 15 designs. Before I knew it, I have to be in it.

Q. They wouldn't let you wear it today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I need to just get on the practice court at the US Open and just start practicing in it so I can get comfortable with the feeling. It is -- yeah.

Q. What is so different about it that you have got to get comfortable?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It just only has one sleeve and -- but it is lycra and it is going to stay up. But then it has a cut out right here also. So for me it was just kind of just experimenting with the design, but before I knew it was in production. Now I love it. But it is really just daring.

Q. They wouldn't let you wear it today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, it is for the Open: I like my dresses now. I kind of like the one I had on today that didn't even come together, but I can just mix and match I have so many different colors, it is great.

Q. Have you and Serena sat down and watched the Lipton Open final?

VENUS WILLIAMS: We don't watch that match. We played so bad. I was playing some of my worse tennis. She played even worse. We just don't watch it. We will get pretty sick to our stomachs.

Q. Is there something inside your ring?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Glitter. It was like a 50 cent store piece and every one loves it. I don't know.

ANNE WORCESTER: I have a special little presentation for Venus. It will take one minute. Many of you know that when we created our new logo and renamed the tournament this year we used the Steffi Graf icon as the defending champion on our stationery and business cards. Earlier in the week, Venus and I were together, she happened to see one of our business cards. She grabbed it and said, what is that. I said Steffi Graf's icon defending. She said I want to be on those business cards. This is four days later, she comes down to the court, she has just won the final of the Pilot Pen and what is first thing she says out in the court dignitaries. "Now I can be on the business cards." So, Venus, I need to get these into production just like you and your dresses. I did want you to leave New Haven with a little cut and paste stuff so I made one for you to take away.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Wow. Thanks.

ANNE WORCESTER: Congratulationss. We can't wait for you to come back next year.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Thank you very much. Thanks.

QueenO
Jun 19th, 2002, 01:33 AM
August 30, 1999

V. WILLIAMS/T. Poutchek

6-1, 6-2

An interview with:

VENUS WILLIAMS

WTA: Questions for Venus.

Q. How did you like your game today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It was very windy, and I had to improvise some, change some things up. I'd have liked to have played better. I'd like to have a tougher round match. Under the conditions, I guess it was okay.

Q. What has changed about you from two years ago when you reached the final here?

VENUS WILLIAMS: About eight titles. My ranking is about 61 places better.

Q. How about your game?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I have a bigger serve, make better decisions, cover the net more, those type of things.

Q. I'm sure it's a little warmer now. Was it chilly out there with that outfit you were wearing?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, it wasn't. It wasn't cold (laughter). Don't worry about me.

Q. Pretty chilly and windy out there, though.

VENUS WILLIAMS: It was very windy. But this morning, it was cold. By the time I played, it was actually okay. The weather was fine. So windy.

Q. Do you have a different outfit for each match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I always have a different outfit, definitely. They're great.

Q. How difficult is it playing someone coming from a qualifier, as compared to someone who is more experienced?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It really wasn't difficult at all, especially since I knew that I was much more experienced than her. Whenever I faced a breakpoint or she had a game point, I knew exactly what to do with the ball.

Q. How would you describe your draw at this tournament and your feelings about not being on the same side as your sister?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think I have a great draw. I have to play well, because at any given time, any player can come out and play great matches. I have to be prepared, too. As far as Serena and I on the other side, we can just get our work done on each side, as best we can.

Q. About your match, your father predicted you and your sister would be in the final. What do you think of that prediction?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I hope we can do that well. It would be great.

Q. Have you and Serena decided that other than the Grand Slams, you will not play singles in the same draw?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, not really. We've played some tournaments together this year: lipton, Australia, Rome. It just depends on where we go.

Q. You've had several tournaments where you could have played in the same draw, but chose not to do so after the French Open.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, we did.

Q. You named a bunch of good reasons why your confidence should be higher. Obviously, since two years ago, the expectations have gotten greater as well. Do you feel added pressure from that or does that motivate you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't understand the question.

Q. You have done very, very well over the last two years. With that, I think expectations would be higher than they were two years ago. Do you feel more pressure from expectations?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, not at all. People say, "Venus is a favorite." People actually think Venus is going to win. For me, I'm just out here playing.

Q. How important was it winning the tournament before here?

VENUS WILLIAMS: For me, I love winning tournaments. That was great (laughter). It's another title on my list.

Q. How important was it in terms of beating Lindsay coming in here?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I guess it was a good move for me, probably not the best for her. She wasn't playing her best tennis in that match. I don't think I was playing my best tennis either, but she probably played not as well. She'll probably want to raise the level of her game a little more. But for me, it was great.

Q. Are you disappointed at all in your Grand Slam showings over the last five or six?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Very disappointed, yes, very.

Q. How does your level of confidence now compare with earlier Slams? Has it been a progression?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I was feeling very good at the French until I was ousted. This year I'm feeling good, too, at this US Open. At Wimbledon, I was never, ever able to play my best tennis. I don't know why. I was just off. But those two Slams, the French and right here, I'm feeling very well.

Q. What have you done differently since the French to prepare yourself?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I underestimated my opponent. I didn't take it seriously. You can't do that. I've learned my lesson. I had to learn it the hard way, in a Grand Slam.

Q. Any thoughts on perhaps meeting Irina Spirlea in the quarterfinals now that she's beaten Coetzer?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It will be good for her to get to the quarters in a Slam. I guess we'll both be ready.

Q. Do you think the press is obsessed with your father? He's probably the most famous tennis father of all time.

VENUS WILLIAMS: You guys write what he says. I guess you are obsessed.

Q. I get the feeling he seems to enjoy it. Is that the case?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, he never said that.

Q. You and Serena were going to play doubles together at New Haven before she hurt her shoulder, is that right?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm not sure if we were going to play. We said we might play. It was a 50/50 chance. Then she had a little injury.

Q. But you would not have played in the same singles draw in New Haven?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, probably not.

Q. Why not?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Because she had already played two weeks in a row. She was going to take a break.

Q. What's confusing is why exactly you don't seem to want to play in the same singles draws outside the Grand Slams, even though you're both healthy.

VENUS WILLIAMS: If it's a crime, I should be arrested.

Q. It's certainly not a crime, but it's a little confusing. Can you explain why that doesn't happen?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Tell me what's confusing about it.

Q. You're both available to play singles. You're both a major attraction on the Tour. We don't get the two of you in the same Tour, outside of Grand Slams.

VENUS WILLIAMS: So?

Q. So?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think we're both kind of on a different wavelength.

Q. Is it a conscious decision that you and your sister have made not to play in the same tournaments?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Make your own evaluation. You're going to write what you want.

Q. Let me rephrase that. Did you have a good time at the Lipton last March? Did you have fun?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, we had fun.

Q. Could you talk about your impact on attracting African American kids to the game? Several inner cities have shown tennis programs expanding. Kids are looking up to you.

VENUS WILLIAMS: We definitely have a large impact. Before, you never see that many black people at a tennis match. Like today, there were quite a few there. In the past, two or three years ago, it wasn't happening. People are watching what Serena and I do. I guess they want to be a part of it.

Q. Does that lead you to do anything special to help out kids?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. I do as much as I can. I have a busy schedule, but when I have time, especially in the States.

Q. You get asked a lot of the same questions over and over again.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah.

Q. What is a question you wish you would get asked?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Hmm, what did I say last week?

Q. Someone asked you that question?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, someone asked me that question (laughter). I said last week I wish people would ask me more questions like, "When is the last time you've been to Dunkin Donuts?"

Q. When was the last time?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yesterday.

Q. When you're not playing tennis, what are you doing to get away from it? What is your social calendar like? What do you do to socialize?

VENUS WILLIAMS: When I go home, I get everything done that I couldn't get done because I've been away two months, so I have one week to get everything done.

Q. Do you rent movies? Do you go to clubs?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. We don't see too many movies anymore. We used to go every week and see all the movies. No, I definitely don't go to clubs. Doesn't seem like the right place for me right now.

Q. What's fun, aside from tennis, for you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I do a lot of shopping. Serena and I, we always find something new to do. What do I do when I'm at home? When I'm at home, I just rest. I stay with my dogs and things like that.

Q. Videos, computer?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I kind of got over that when I was a little younger. Not too much video games.

Q. Before you said you learned at the French not to take an opponent too lightly. How important do you think that lesson is going to be here?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I've learned my lesson. Each player, like today, I'd never seen her before, so I was just -- really kind of going out there to be serious about it. Maybe she was a little bit nervous today, wasn't able to play her best. I'm not sure who I play next or who I have the possibility of playing. I'm definitely going to go into the match as serious as possible.

Q. Did you ask anybody about her today? Did you try to scout it out a little bit?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No.

Q. So you went in there basically not knowing anything about her?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, not at all.

Q. Can you go to a mall back home without being mobbed by people? Is that a problem for you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: We go in the afternoon, three or four o'clock when there aren't a lot of people there, when people are at work or at school. We pick strategic times. Like Saturday at twelve o'clock, that's not a good thing, it's packed, people are turning their heads. We just rush in, buy our sandwich and get out.

Q. Does a loss to Martina Hingis this summer at San Diego, does that bother you? What would you have done differently?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I wasn't ready. I should have been ready, but I wasn't ready. This time I'll have to be ready. I'll be working hard.

Q. Is that the one match from this summer that frustrates you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, it didn't frustrate me. I just was unable to play my best. I just definitely got fatigued. I had a lot of tournaments in the summer. Just have to learn from everything that I do. This time I'll make sure I'm not tired, because that's not an excuse for losing. Whether you're tired or not, you have to play and compete.

Q. If you're at your best, is there anybody in the world that can beat you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Not in my opinion.

Q. Would you have answered that same question if I asked it last year at this time?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Definitely.

Q. Is this a friend of yours, the fellow in the beaded dress?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I've encountered him before, last year. He was in New Haven. As far as a friend, no.

Q. Do you know who he is? Do you know his name?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I don't. I know he's from Brazil, but I don't remember his name.

QueenO
Jun 19th, 2002, 01:35 AM
September 1, 1999

V. WILLIAMS/A. Sidot

6-4, 6-3

An interview with:

VENUS WILLIAMS

WTA: Questions for Venus.

Q. Particularly in the first set, the crowd is rooting for the underdog. Do you take any offense to the crowd rooting against you or looking for more tennis?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I guess it's not my job to understand the crowds; it's my job just to win the match. People are going to root for who they want to. I can't change any of it.

Q. In talking to your dad, I heard that you were coming down with a cold. How are you feeling tonight?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm feeling okay.

Q. A little drowsy?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. You know how it feels when you get a cold, just kind of odd. I'm doing my best. I played the whole Lipton with a cold. I would practice, hit one serve, go (breathing hard). It was so ridiculous. I've had experience playing being a little bit sick.

Q. He said you were a little tired this morning. He wanted to kind of pace you for the two weeks.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, definitely. If it doesn't clear up some, then you just take it as it comes.

Q. Were you upset at all by her theatrics after every shot?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, if it helps her to play better, then she should do it. I can't control what she's doing over there. Obviously she feels the whole match. She just feels it so big.

Q. Over the years, you've played quite a few night matches here. How does the atmosphere here in New York compare to other places when you play at night?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It's pretty good. The last two years that I've played here, it's been very good, especially the first year. This year, it's been a little bit quiet. It's such big stadium. It's more of an impersonal feeling. It sometimes just feels so vast. That can be part of it, too.

Q. When it's full, is it a place that you can really feel the energy from it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: If you play good points, there will be a lot of energy. If you're breezing through, there will be less. Just depends on the match.

Q. Jana Novotna had some very positive things to say when she spoke to us. She said that you're much more focused, you're finally going into the tournament mentally prepared. "The only thing on her mind is finally to do well." I know you just told TV that you're ready to do well and focused on your next match. Could you take a moment and take that a step further? In your gut, do you feel this could be your year that you're ready to go all the way?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I always felt that, but I never had the win. I'm really trying to take the steps to really make it a reality. That all entails focusing more, trying to close out the points and the games when you have the breakpoints. Not that I didn't do that well tonight, but she did play nicely, and she did keep the balls deep. Those are some things I've worked on because as a player I have a choice: either I get better or stay at the same level. I want to get better.

Q. What's the one key thing that you've improved since your final appearance here?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Ever since Stanford, right after Fed Cup, I decided I was really going to start hitting the ball. I'm a powerful player, but I start taking some pace off the ball and make mistakes. I wasn't making full use of my power that I had. I started hitting the ball, going for my shots more, and that really made a difference than just focusing.

Q. Are you worried your cold can develop into something more, that you won't be a hundred percent?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I don't think so. I think it will kind of stay at bay until I've stopped playing. When I go home, I'll be real, real tired when I'm not playing.

Q. On the court today, did you feel a little weaker?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I didn't feel a little weaker. No, I don't feel weak. I feel okay, fortunately. I just hope that it stays this way.

Q. Would you just as soon play in the day where the sun is shining, you can sweat it out?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I love playing the day session. I love playing when the sun shines. That's kind of my thing. I like doing that.

Q. You were talking the other night about the fans, the good reaction that you've gotten. Is there anything a fan has done that has really touched you or been really weird?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I love when fans give me things, like a picture. When fans give me a picture, I love it. It's like I'm always signing, signing, giving, giving, which is okay. When they give you a picture, wow, that's great. It's nice when I get a picture.

Q. Have you gotten anything else besides pictures, anything a little unusual?

VENUS WILLIAMS: In New Haven I got a baby doll with a bead wig, not one but two bead wigs.

Q. That's impressive.

VENUS WILLIAMS: It really is. I have it. It's at my hotel.

Q. I was wondering, obviously your relationship with everyone in your family is a little bit different because they're different people. You have one sister that does play tennis, one that doesn't.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I have three that don't, three others that don't.

Q. How is it different with Serena versus your other sisters?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Not different. Naturally, they're all different persons. We all get along. We have a jolly time. The more of us that are together, the more crazier we are. It's just rowdy. When we're on our own, that's the most sane that we get.

Q. Obviously you can beat them at tennis. What do they do that you kind of wish you could do?

VENUS WILLIAMS: They all get to go to college. I won't, at least when I'm young. I don't have the opportunity to go to my first choice. That's something I won't get to do.

Q. Do you hear their stories, late night hanging out, eating pizza or whatever?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm not sure if they do that or not. I think it's just a good experience, not only that you get your education on a higher standard, but just everything that you might learn about life.

Q. In your years on the Tour, you've accomplished so much, international star, lots of fame, money, a role model for so many people. What's the one thing that's given you the most satisfaction over these years?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. I don't know. I guess I really don't think about what gives me satisfaction. I'm mostly thinking about what more I do with my career. It's super when you see little kids who are out there playing. They say, "I started because we saw you play. We saw your sister play." That's super when you can inspire someone.

Q. Does your father accompany you to all the tournaments?

VENUS WILLIAMS: My mom and dad take different shifts. My mom takes the first shift. My dad takes the second shift all the way up till April. My mom takes the third. This is my dad's now. My mom goes again at the end of the year. It's about three different shifts.

Q. What happens when you and Serena are at opposite ends of the world?

VENUS WILLIAMS: We choose to play different tournaments. That's happened once. My dad went with me this time, when we won the tournament the same week, and my mom was with Serena.

Q. Do you wish your father would stop predicting a Williams/Williams final? Is that putting too much pressure on you and Serena?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No.

Q. Do you get a kick out of it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't feel it's any pressure. I just feel like I have to come out here, play my best, take my opportunities if I can, and remember it's a game; just keep it simple, just play.

Q. What would be your first choice for college?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Probably FIT, but I can't go. They start their session like right now. I have to play the US Open. I have to go to schools that start in October.

Q. Martina Hingis was asked about your father's prediction of an all-Williams' final. She responded, "She always have a big mouth, they always talk a lot. It's always happened before, it's going to happen again." What's your response?

VENUS WILLIAMS: She said it happened before, it's going to happen again. As far as?

Q. Well, the quote was that, "She always has had a big mouth, they always talk a lot. It happened before, it's going to happen again."

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think the quote is funny.

Q. Your response is you get a good chuckle out of that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, it's funny. I'm just here to play tennis. Naturally she is, too, out there working hard, winning matches. Guess that's her opinion. I don't quite understand it, that it happened before, it's going to happen again.

QueenO
Jun 19th, 2002, 01:36 AM
September 7, 1999

V. WILLIAMS/B. Schett

6-4, 6-3

An interview with:

VENUS WILLIAMS

WTA: Questions for Venus?

Q. Was the wind out there at all a factor for you tonight?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Actually, I had one shot that was definitely going out and the wind blew it in. That was a good thing. I think the serve, it was a little bit, because it kind of blows your toss around. But it was okay. Actually, every match I've played, I had to play in the wind except for one. So I was ready for it.

Q. Three US Opens, you've made the semifinals in each one. How is your game different this year at this US Open from the other two?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I'm definitely a better player. I've had better results, more tournament wins. A lot of things that happened to me in between. I think that's some of the main difference. And I'm looking forward to trying to do better this year. Last year I was unable to go past the semifinals. But this year, I'm looking forward to doing better.

Q. What is it specifically about your game that you think can get you beyond the semifinals this year?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think I'm serving better than I did last year. I'm moving well. I'm returning well, also. And I think, also, I'm playing the breakpoints a lot better.

Q. You were sitting in this chair a couple days ago. You said you've looked at a lot of other players, try and look and watch what they're doing?

VENUS WILLIAMS: There's a lot of great coverage on TV. I can see everything.

Q. What is it about Martina Hingis' game this Open that you've seen that's made it so effective?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, she's really been able to have some easy matches. She's been not giving away too many points. She's really been capitalizing on her opportunities. Not making herself work too hard. That's some of the best tennis you can play.

Q. Barbara said that Martina gave her a couple pointers to how to play you before she went out there. I guess it didn't work. Are you happy about that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I think you can get all the pointers you want against me. But unless I give the match to you, a lot of unforced errors, it's going to be tough to win.

Q. Do you think Martina was trying to take you out early there or what?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I mean Barbara Schett is Austrian. Martina is Czech. I'm sure they're good friends. They hit a lot. Maybe, yeah. (Laughter).

Q. You mention you had a chance to go up 3-0 in the second set there and you didn't. You said that's something you'd like to be doing now and get that over with now. Does it concern you at all, does it bother you that you weren't able to do that when you wanted to? Does that mean anything?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I would definitely -- I wanted to capitalize on the opportunities quick. When I get up 40-Love, just go ahead, take the game, sit down at the changeover and get my break. There's no need to struggle back and forth. In that game, I believe I had about six breakpoints. In the end, it doesn't help, especially for your future matches, if you don't close out on those. I'm looking forward to doing better in my next match.

Q. Does it concern you at all? Are you angry at yourself for not having done that? Does it --?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I discipline myself by eating a few doughnuts on my next match. I won't be able to run, and I'll know better next time.

Q. How are you feeling, Venus? You had the flu?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm feeling good. It's gone, and I feel great.

Q. Did you give it to anybody? You got it from Serena?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I hope not. No, I don't think so.

Q. Venus, you and Martina are two of the most confident players, it seems, every time you play anybody. When you play each other, what are the keys to the match? And is there an edge in terms of confidence for either player?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm not sure if there's an edge. We both go out there knowing we're going to have to play good tennis. We both go out there ready to play. And we both have different games. So there's different things that we capitalize on each other. So... I'm ready to go. I'm sure she's ready to go. Who knows, she's probably on the practice court right now. (Laughter).

Q. What are the keys for you to be successful against her?

VENUS WILLIAMS: The key for me is definitely to abandon all unforced errors. If I can't get rid of those, then that will be working against myself more or less. So, in order not to play her and myself, I will have to stop making errors.

Q. If she's playing her best and you're playing your best, who wins?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Me.

Q. Why?

VENUS WILLIAMS: If I'm playing my best, it's tough, guys. Come on. (Laughing).

Q. Venus, Pete says about Andre, there's something about playing Andre that lifts his game another level. When you play Martina, does she push your game to a higher level? Or really, does it not really matter who you're playing?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I definitely think so. When you go out there and you're playing someone who plays well, either you go to another level or accept a loss. So, I think it's a -- definitely a true statement that when you play someone on a higher level or someone who plays well, it brings out in the best in you. You have to play better. You have to as a competitor.

Q. Does she do that more than anyone else because she's No. 1 when you play her? Or because of certain volleys in her game? Or is it only somebody like Serena who pushes you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Even some players who are having a great day can push you on a certain day; they might be a good competitor. We know Martina is a good competitor; doesn't like to lose. So we both are going to go out there and take the W.

Q. How would you characterize the rivalry that's kind of developed between you and Martina?

VENUS WILLIAMS: How would I characterize it? (Laughing). I don't know. You tell me. I'm just out there trying to win some matches every now and then.

Q. Do you think there's a rivalry that's developed between you and Martina?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. I guess. Whatever you say. Just depends on what the papers write. If they write about Martina and I, there's a rivalry.

Q. She said today that she thinks there's more pressure on you in your match because you're an American and this is the US Open. Do you agree, disagree?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. Just playing. Trying to do well. I've never won here before, so for me, I'm trying to get a title. And for her, I guess trying to get another title. She hasn't won here for a couple of years, since '97, when, unfortunately, I became her victim. (Laughter).

Q. You said your serve is working particularly well now. What's really good about it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think right now I'm really just hitting the ball well, as far as I know exactly what it takes for me to get the ball in. If I don't do that, then I know the next one, "Hey, Venus, you have to keep your head up or throw the toss up a little higher." That's mostly what it is, I think.

Q. You look like you had some that were 97, then back down to 60. Were you purposely changing the speeds of it (serve)?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Sometimes. Sometimes, like in the second serve, I add too much spin and the space goes down and then I mishit it. I have to take some of the spin off.

Q. When you've been successful against Martina and you've won three of the last seven, so it's been pretty close to even in those last seven matches, what's been the key in terms of adjusting in the middle of a match? Have you had to make adjustments, and are your smarts as a player really coming out when you play her?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Sure. I made adjustments, and, yeah.

Q. What are some of those adjustments that you've had to make?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Stop making unforced errors in the middle of the third set is the main adjustment that I made. Because when you give the match away, it just makes it so easy for your opponent.

Q. Does losing to Hingis bother you more than losing to another opponent?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't like losing. It bothers me. It bothers me so much that I start working hard, and I don't lose the next time. But this time, I should start working hard before I have to lose.

Q. Anything that she can do that can surprise you, do you think? Or do you pretty much know all aspects of her game?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, she's been on the Tour a long time. Of course, everyone adds things to their game. But I think that sometimes she comes up with some great shots. But as with anyone who's in the top position, you come up with some great shots in different positions. So you just have to be ready for that and move on to the next point.

Q. Anke Huber said today she thought Martina Hingis was probably the smartest player on Tour. Would you agree with that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think that everyone has to capitalize on their abilities, and she probably -- she might be able to, but she probably can't hit the ball as hard as, say, myself or Serena or maybe even Anke. So she has to use the other things, because if she's not smarter, it's most likely she'll get overpowered. So she has to use it.

QueenO
Jun 19th, 2002, 01:37 AM
September 10, 1999

M. HINGIS/V. Williams

6-1, 4-6, 6-3

An interview with:

VENUS WILLIAMS

WTA: Questions for Venus.

Q. Can you talk about your injury in the third set? You seemed to cramp or something.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Unfortunately, I was unable to close it out. I didn't take my opportunities. I had quite a few opportunities and breakpoints. She played some nice shots. I played some nice shots. It was a good match.

Q. Was it fatigue?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I guess cramping is just fatigue, or you're sick. I don't think I drank enough water either.

Q. Have you ever cramped before?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Years ago in Australia, it was super hot and I didn't drink enough water.

Q. Do you remember when?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I won.

Q. No, do you remember when?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. It was in Sydney in 1998.

Q. You lost a lot of speed on your serve about midway through the second set. Is that when you started to feel not very comfortable?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I just lost a lot of speed on my serve in the middle of the second set. I definitely was feeling pretty good at that point.

Q. What was the problem then?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Cramping.

Q. Do you feel like if you hadn't gotten that cramp, you know, kind of the cards were in your favor this year?

VENUS WILLIAMS: What can you say about "wouldn't have" or "shouldn't have"? I should have just taken my opportunities earlier so I wouldn't have had to have been out there at that point. That's just too bad.

Q. Did you feel the cramping coming on or only at that moment when we saw you sort of pull up?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, when I was trying to hit some serves, when I had the foot fault, it was just pretty tough. Every time I would push down, you know, have to use my leg, especially since I'm a tall player, I can't stand up high, I can't make shots like that, I have to get down. That was tough.

Q. Did the foot fault get into your concentration on those serves?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I've foot faulted before. I was okay at that point. I wasn't tight or nervous or anything. In the middle of the third set, just been playing so many points that you're ready to hit.

Q. Do you think you cramped only because it was physically tough, or do you think you cramped because you were stressed?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I definitely think it was physical because we were both doing all types of running. We were just doing all types of running. I was moving her; she was moving me. There was really no break.

Q. Did you ever get to a point in the third set where you thought she was tired?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, definitely. I thought she was tired.

Q. What were the signs?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm sure she was tired. She was breathing hard, struggling to get shots.

Q. When you went up 3-2 in the third set, you could see that she was hitting long on her shots, really wasn't that much punch, looked like she was basically dying on her foot. Did you feel at that point it was time to take control of the match right there?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I was definitely feeling confident off the ground to the very last shot. I was definitely feeling good about it. I just didn't capitalize. Hit a lot of short balls I could have came in on, things like that.

Q. How about the match up until that point? You were really going at each other. Is that the way you normally play?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Most times. It just depends on how I play, if I get crazy. Like in the first set, I didn't play well at all. Just depends on how I play.

Q. What do you think of tomorrow's match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, hopefully Serena definitely will do better than what I did two years ago. But it's under totally different circumstances because Serena has a lot more to work with, I would say, than what I did at that time.

Q. What did Serena say to you when you came off the court?

VENUS WILLIAMS: She said, "Nice job."

Q. You obviously know your sister's game better than anyone. Coming off of Martina, what kind of a match do you expect tomorrow?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I expect both of them to go out there and go for it because it's the title at stake. I think they're both going to go out there swinging. I know Serena will, and I guess Martina will just do her regular thing.

Q. Did you two meet in the locker room before you went on and after she came off?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah.

Q. What did you say to each other?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I wanted my brush.

Q. You wanted your brush?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. She took my brush.

Q. What was your emotional state of mind coming to play your semi after watching one that involved your sister as opposed to someone else playing the semi?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I was expecting to do a little bit better than what I did. Just have to wait for another opportunity once again.

Q. Is this the most disappointing loss of your career?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I've had some terrible, terrible losses. This is pretty disappointing, too, but.

Q. What did you think of her get on the next-to-last point? Can you appreciate it now or then?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Definitely. It just kind of hit the frame and just kind of skidded and kept going. It was just, "I'll hit the shot, it's probably going to go out," but it just went in. You just get those sometimes. Not too much I could do about it. I thought it was going to go out. She just lunged at it. Normally, that type of shot would go wide, long, but it went in.

Q. Is there anything that you'll say to Serena, kind of a scouting report for her? Anything you think you could tell her that would help her?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I will just tell her to play hard. Serena has played Martina so many times, not as much as I have, but a lot. She's been at a lot of matches I've played against her. She knows what she's doing.

Q. How much more special would it have been to be able to play your sister?

VENUS WILLIAMS: That would have been super.

Q. Do you expect Serena to be a little more motivated because Martina beat you today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, now she's playing for two people. Hopefully, I gave Martina a good workout today.

Q. She's a good competitor. Do you think in any way it's easier for her to play tomorrow without playing you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Who, Martina?

Q. No, Serena. Do you think it's at all easier for her to play Martina rather than you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think she would have much rather that I win.

Q. For family reasons, of course. But in terms of motivation for her, just wanting to beat an opponent, do you think it might be easier for her tomorrow?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. No matter who Serena plays, me or anyone else, she wants to pull in the win. She's angry, even if she's playing against me, if she's missing shots. So it doesn't make a difference.

Q. I asked Serena would she put any premium on luck at all.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Any what?

Q. Premium, any value at all on luck in these matches.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Luck?

Q. Luck.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Okay.

Q. I reminded her of what Patrick Rafter said, that you need luck to win Grand Slam events. She kind of dismissed that fact. Do you have that same attitude?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I don't believe in luck.

Q. What do you mean, you don't believe in luck? If everybody is equally as good, a net cord here, a bad call here, an experienced player like even John McEnroe saying that you need luck --?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, if it all came down to luck, I would lay in bed every morning. I wouldn't get up and start practicing. It wasn't luck that Martina won the match. Everyone has the right to believe in what they want. I personally don't believe in luck. Everything that comes comes for a reason. That reason is hard work or something else. I don't believe things just happen because the wind blows and luck just lands on you.

Q. Have you talked to your dad yet?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I haven't seen him yet.

Q. How do you think he's taking this?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I guess pretty good. He's 50 percent got to the finals, so.

Q. Was it distracting losing your beads at the end?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, not at all. Usually not too many come out, just four or so. Not too many usually come out.

Q. What did you change after the first set? What did you tell yourself going into the second?

VENUS WILLIAMS: The first set, she played some good shots. She would hit the ball away from me and I'd hit it right back to her which made it easy for her to win points. The second set, I just started really moving the ball around a lot more.

QueenO
Jun 19th, 2002, 01:39 AM
V. WILLIAMS/K. Hrdlickova
6-3, 6-1

An interview with:

VENUS WILLIAMS

MODERATOR: First question for Venus, please.

Q. How do you feel after your game today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I feel very good. It got a little bit chilly toward the end. Other than that, the sun was a little bit out. I'm just happy that it didn't rain, and hopefully it will continue this way.

Q. Is your sister one of the main dangers to you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, yes, she was extremely dangerous in practise. The best thing is that we had the best practises because we always are hitting with each other. If anything, we should be the most prepared for the next opponent or if we play each other.

Q. You've both been injured this year, and are both fully fit now.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, we both are feeling very good. Especially myself at the French. Serena doesn't seem to be having too many side effects. That's the most important thing because you're not losing a match because you're hurting or because you're not feeling up to par.

Q. How much better did you play today than you played against Arantxa in Paris?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Come on (laughter).

Q. You have to make the call.

VENUS WILLIAMS: It's a world of difference. It's really tough for me. I had no control over any of my shots at the French Open. I tried to think positive and be positive. It was very, very, very trying. But now, like in the French Open, I couldn't and wouldn't serve. But here I can. Things are much better for me.

Q. Is that because of the surface or just because you've been serving better in practise leading up to this?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Because I've had the opportunity to serve a lot more. It really makes a big difference. When you can't serve, especially for someone like me, I have a huge serve, and I rely on that. Just not to have that is handicapping.

Q. Both you and Serena were out for a chunk this spring. You mentioned at the French Open something about maybe getting a physical trainer or somebody to help you. Have you thought about that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, we have one.

Q. When did you pick one up?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I guess by the French Open. But I started looking this year.

Q. And who is it and what are they helping you with?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Her name is Kerrie Brooks and she does everything for us.

Q. Put you on a workout program?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes. I don't like the gym. I don't think I ever will. So it's important that I would have a trainer, or else I will not work hard in the gym. I'll work hard on the tennis court.

Q. She makes you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: She doesn't make me. I go and I do it. I'm not a lazy person, but I won't go by myself.

Q. Do you feel like the work you're doing is going to help prevent future injuries?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Definitely, because we're not just pumping weights, we're doing different exercises on key areas that we've had problems on in the past and strengthening so that way we don't have any more hurdles with injuries.

Q. How far from kind of full pace are you at the moment? Do you need a few more matches?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, most certainly. I'm getting the hang of just serving. I think also when I'm at the baseline, I'm rushing a bit too much when I can just take my time, lift the ball. Today I was doing a little bit more rushing. Everyone knows, when I was lifting the ball, she was having a difficult time, just missed it right away. I'm just going to try to slow down and start placing my return of serve well. I think mostly I did very good today. I think I was moving very well today also. She was having a tough time hitting winners.

Q. What was your original impression when you first came and played at Wimbledon, both the place and the atmosphere, then the grass courts? How has that changed?

VENUS WILLIAMS: The first time I played Wimbledon, I didn't play my first round match until Saturday. You can only imagine my impression. I can't use words to say it. It was a very, very difficult time. I was very bitter. Actually I don't hardly remember the experience, blocked it out.

Q. You lost your serve twice during the first set. Did that worry you at all?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. Because I was trying something new and different. You know, it's okay to fail. But if you don't try, that's the worst part. I believe I'll be doing better. I need to really hold serve. I'm very good at breaking, but if I can hold, it just makes it so much more easier. But I'm really just happy to be serving much better.

Q. You seem to be serving and volleying almost every point in the second set.

VENUS WILLIAMS: My dad told me to serve-and-volley every point.

Q. Is it hard to keep that up when it doesn't work sometimes?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Not really, because I have a very good volley. I'm confident in my volleys. The only thing I think that you worry about is getting passed, but the person can't pass you every time. It's going to be difficult, especially with my wingspan. These things I realise. I'm just going to try to keep moving forward on the short balls, floaters, the serve, hopefully the second serve.

Q. You and Serena finished 3 and 4 last year in the world. You were sort of on course to be No. 1. Is that something that you still think can happen this year or is that somewhere in the future?

VENUS WILLIAMS: You know, I don't know this year because my opportunity to gain points will be few and far between. This year, I didn't play the first five months, so I can just run through the tournaments and gain points, whereas other girls will be losing some. Next year I can get closer, because I'm getting more back on track.

Q. Serena didn't come in hardly at all in her match. Are you a better listener?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Not really. I would say mostly Serena is a better listener or maybe a better executer at listening. But you have to remember also this is her first match since I guess the Lipton, or the week after the Lipton. All you want to do is just go out there and play well and get through it. That would probably be the main difference.

Q. How different is it having your dad here at Wimbledon with you? Does it make it any different?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Not really. Not really.

Q. How about having your doubles partner with you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: This is great. I expect to play singles, but I can't wait till we play doubles. We haven't played since US Open. We actually had to get a wildcard in the tournament, Serena and I couldn't believe it. We were driving in the car, the WTA said, You want a wildcard, you can't get in? I said, No, it doesn't make sense. We were somewhat upset, and it was funny to. Before the French Open, we were still ranked No. 20. But now I don't know what we're ranked. I'll have to see.

Q. Serena said she'd only really be satisfied with her tournament if essentially she won it, meaning winning her next six matches. Is that the same case with you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know lower ranked players. Most of the top players, you're only happy when you win. If someone goes out there and comes out there, just beats you that day, they're better that day, there's an exception. If there's something you can do about it, that's when you feel down.

QueenO
Jun 19th, 2002, 01:41 AM
June 28, 2000

V. WILLIAMS/A. Sugiyama
6-1, 6-4

An interview with:

VENUS WILLIAMS

MODERATOR: Good afternoon. Venus Williams. Who would like to start?

Q. That could potentially have been a very tough match, but you got out on top of her and kind of ran away with it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Sure. I played her before. Each time it's different. Sometimes the match is a little bit tough, sometimes it's very easy. Today could go either way. But I think the most important thing is I served a lot better than what I did in the last match. My serve was there for me the whole time.

Q. How much of the change to serving and volleying more that you're doing and your sister is doing is related just to the surface or is this something you want to do all the time?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think it's something we want to do the whole time because we have such large serves that when the ball is floating, it's much easier just to end the point than to get in the rally again. Hopefully this will be a change. Of course, you have to serve-and-volley at Wimbledon. You just have to get that mindframe moving forward. We want to keep this something in our game. I want to.

Q. On hard courts, as well?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes. On hard court, it's similar to grass. It's very fast. The clay, you still have to hit a lot of balls no matter what.

Q. It would seem the natural thing for both of you to be doing.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes.

Q. Is that something you feel real comfortable with, getting more comfortable with?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm getting more and more comfortable just in the past week. I've never in the past liked serve-and-volleying so much. I relied so much on my groundstrokes. I'm getting more comfortable with it. I'm even starting to like it. If you start liking something, you start doing it more.

Q. Is there a major adjustment to serving on grass for you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. If anything, my serve is a lot better on grass because it's just flying through there. It's to my advantage, but unfortunately my opponent's disadvantage. If anything, the only adjustment is the grass court.

Q. With a game under your belt, how do you assess your chances?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I feel very good. I just need to go into every match serious as possible, definitely cut down the unforced errors.

Q. Were you aware of how quickly Serena's match was over?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. It was unbelievable. I don't know what happened. "Serena, what happened?" I had a practise court at 12:30. I came off. My dad said, "I'm going over to see Serena." I went in the locker room, had to go back out, "Daddy." The match was finished. I couldn't believe it. I heard the second set was about 12 minutes.

Q. Family record?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think I've had one in 30 minutes.

Q. With whom?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Gala Leon Garcia, second round at the US Open, 1997 (quick response - smiling).

Q. What court?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Louis Armstrong.

Q. We were talking with Serena earlier about John McEnroe's comments. She said she watched him on television saying that while he thought you were great players, you needed to learn some humility. She said she didn't think that was very fair, that she thinks you're polite, give your opponents credit. Do you have any feelings on it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I believe that Serena and I are very polite, because that's the way our parents taught us. I don't believe in any situation that we've never been polite, gracious when it was necessary or unnecessary. But I believe also that most of the time when Serena and I lose a match it's because we beat ourselves, not because the other player beat us. I've been beaten about four times and there was nothing I could do, wave the white flag. But most of the other times, I've beaten myself, unforced errors. That's not only the case with me, but with other players also. The player who makes the more unforced errors usually loses the match. Sometimes with Serena and I, it's unnecessary. I think Serena and I have great personalities.

Q. Who were the four players, and which matches?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I was beaten once by I believe Sonya Jeyaseelan.

Q. Where was that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Last year in Amelia Island. Van Roost one year in Filderstadt. I just couldn't do anything. Once by Davenport, where she just beat me that day, not where I beat myself that day. I believe once by Spirlea.

Q. Where was that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Last year, Philadelphia. Davenport played too well.

Q. Where was Spirlea?

VENUS WILLIAMS: 1997 in Philadelphia. Those are the four times where I recall the player -- just what could I do, winner, ace, angle. On those type of days, you just have to clap your hands.

Q. With the recent coaching changes that Jennifer Capriati and Mary Pierce have made, there's been a fair amount of talk about having family members, and fathers in particular, as your coach. What's the best thing about having your dad as a coach? You can talk to us; no one is listening. Have you ever said, "Gee, I wish dad wasn't my coach"? Did you ever have any anger towards him?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think at any point sometimes people feel like you want to change coaches. But if I change my dad as a coach, I can't think of anyone else that I would want to get or that I could get along with for more than two weeks. It wouldn't be a good idea for me to change because I get bored easy, and my dad understands that. We have the same personality. He knows how to work with me. He knows how you to work with Serena. I don't think anyone else would quite understand that at this point.

Q. He said when you were in elementary school that the teachers complained about you, that you weren't paying attention. You said you were bored. Does that go back then?

VENUS WILLIAMS: They would say I was reading too many books in class, not paying attention to the lesson, that I could do a lot better, but I daydreamed too much. I got through it.

Q. But he said that you said you learned all that they were teaching already.

VENUS WILLIAMS: It was pretty simplistic, especially in elementary school. I was never able to excel in math. After a while I stopped trying. In everything else, I was excellent.

Q. Do you ever think about maybe adding someone to coach you who has more of a tennis background?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, no. My dad is a great coach. All of our losses, I can never blame on my dad. I would definitely blame on myself as a bad student.

Q. Normally with people with two close personalities clash. Do you ever have a row with him?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, because we weren't taught to be that way. We were just taught to pay attention, to listen, to be quiet. Naturally you voice your opinion at times. Usually I just stay quiet, try to listen. It really turns out best that way. Basically that's how it goes.

Q. How does he mix things up with the coaching to keep you interested?

VENUS WILLIAMS: We do different drills, we do different workouts, different things like that. We change sometimes practise sites.

Q. Surprise you with where you're showing up that day?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Sometimes, "Okay, head over to this park. We're going to practise at this park." That changes it up. Sometimes he'll have a different hitting partner there.

Q. How much does your mom coach you as opposed to your dad? Is it 50/50?

VENUS WILLIAMS: My dad does most of the stuff at home. They usually take turns on the Tours. Some tournaments like the Lipton or Indian Wells or US Open are together. But usually they take shifts. For a coach, if it's your job, if that's where you make your earning, living, it's what you do, what you like, but when you're the parent, sure you want to be the coach, but you also have your own life. That's why it's great that they can take turns.

Q. How is it different with your mom than it is with your dad?

VENUS WILLIAMS: My mom says a lot, lot less. I think at a Grand Slam, I want more input, you know.

Q. Is that why your father came this year?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. I asked him to come. I said, "Serena, you want daddy to come to Wimbledon?" "Yeah." I said, "Okay, I'm going to ask daddy if he'll come." I asked actually one day, then two days later I asked him again. "All right, get my ticket." He decided to come. My mom said, "Good." She wanted to stay home.

Q. What are your thoughts on a long career versus a career that's shortened, possibly moving into business or something like that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. When you're real good at something, it's tough to say good-bye, especially if it's something you've done all your life. I suppose I'll be around a little while more. No more retirement scares at this point.

Q. When you look out to the future, do you see yourself like a Martina Navratilova?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I just don't see that. I'm sort of lazy. I wouldn't want to work that hard.

Q. But do you like what she's doing here?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, yeah. You have to like it. People love Martina. They want to see her. This is pretty exciting. She's playing on Court 1 today. They could have chose a lot more matches put on Court 1, but they chose her.

Q. Your dad said you should go into the Internet business as a web-caster. You could make more money. You're not interested?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'd get bored in the office, just sitting around, eating doughnuts.

QueenO
Jun 19th, 2002, 01:43 AM
July 1, 2000

V. WILLIAMS/N. Dechy
6-0, 7-6

An interview with:

VENUS WILLIAMS

MODERATOR: I have Venus Williams. Who would like to start?

Q. You look like you're making your own sunshine because the weather is so bad.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Pardon?

Q. Making your own sunshine.

VENUS WILLIAMS: With what?

Q. Yellow (referring to clothes).

VENUS WILLIAMS: I like this colour. I hope so.

Q. How are the wrists now?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Very good. I feel very good. I had absolutely no problems in the match today at all.

Q. First set easy; second set she fought pretty hard.

VENUS WILLIAMS: She fought pretty hard. I think the main thing was that I didn't return the serve as well. I think also a little bit I stopped playing aggressively and my serve was less accurate. I think those are the three main factors. My technique broke down a bit.

Q. What do you mean by "aggressively"?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Just attacking the short balls, serving and volleying some, moving forward. Things like that can't get away from me in the second set just because things are going easy.

Q. Can you feel that happening while the set is continuing?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, you can feel it. When things get closer, I think it's more tough and it takes more guts to change it. I think in the end, I definitely played the better match.

Q. Did you watch the ceremony today out there?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I was actually out practising because I didn't know if the match would end early, someone will pull out. You never know when you're next match on. I didn't see any of it till the very end.

Q. Does that give you any inspiration?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I thought to myself, "If I had just been serious and I had won this tournament, I could have been out there, too." But it's too late. I can't be part of the millennium parade.

Q. You mentioned being serious. That's something both you and your dad have talked about. Why do you think you've gotten more serious about tennis?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I've been pretty serious the whole time, but maybe not in the right way. Like you can go out there and play a match, but if you don't do the right things, you play just as hard as the next person, but I lose the match. Sure, a great effort, but the win didn't come.

Q. Not maybe concentrating at the right times?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It's the same things with being serious. Sure, you can be serious, but you have to get out there on the practise court, practise the right things, execute the match. If you don't execute, someone else will.

Q. Why do you think you're better at that this year?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I haven't been really. I haven't even been around. At this Wimbledon, I am a little better. I've been working hard to get back in form, moving forward much more than what I ever have. Three consecutive matches in a row - sure, sometimes one match I will, but the next I go back. But I'm doing better.

Q. Is part of the break you took simply because you weren't enjoying it as much as you wanted to? Are you enjoying it more now? That is not a factor?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Not a factor. I just couldn't -- maybe I could have tried, but I think maybe I would have just ended up a lot worse, maybe still be out. Am I enjoying it more? Maybe a little bit. I'm trying to just enjoy the battle more. If it gets to be 4-All, say, "Hey, I'm going to show her who is toughest." That's the way I want to feel every match.

Q. Was the talk about retirement your idea?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It was just a rumour that I read on the Internet. I read it on the Internet first, said, "Oh, wow, something else." My life has been a saga.

Q. Are you calling the shots in your career or are your parents?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, if I could have called the shots a bit better, I would have had a couple more Grand Slams in my pocket. Maybe I'm not calling the shots like I think I am.

Q. In terms of the decision making, your dad obviously has talked about your education, possibly going into web casting, this kind of thing. You're 20 now. Is it time for you to make all the calls or do you depend on your dad?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It depends on what decision it is. I don't know. My parents have taught us to make decisions on our own, to be independent. But we always still ask for advice on certain things. Certain things we still go, "Can we go; can we do this?" It's quite odd. They have a weird hold on us (laughter).

Q. If he said, "I think you should retire," would you retire?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, probably not, unless I wanted to.

Q. When you were off the tour for six months, was there a time when you thought that you really loved not being on the tour?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, not a time at all. I had a lot more time to get things done, I would say, a lot more time for relaxing.

Q. Do you know your next opponent, Sabine Appelmans? Do you know her?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm playing Sabine Appelmans?

Q. I guess. Do you know her?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Are you sure? Someone told me it was Lisa Raymond.

Q. Sabine Appelmans.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I haven't played her in five years.

Q. How will you prepare knowing that she's a lefty? Maybe you don't.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think she's been playing pretty good to be in the fourth round, for sure. I believe the seed fell out early in the first round, which is terrible. Hopefully I'll be playing well and get an opportunity to move into the quarters.

Q. You follow Pete's career closely. Have you been watching what's been going on today? What do you make of today, that he played today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Pete?

Q. Yes.

VENUS WILLIAMS: What do you mean?

Q. I know you keep track of his career, use him as your measuring stick.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Sure.

Q. Were you worried he wasn't going to be able to play?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I wasn't sure because I read or heard in the Wimbledon Highlights that he was having some issues. I just wanted to make sure he was ready to go on the court in case he retired, make sure I had all my warm-up done. That's all I felt basically. Never know what's going to happen with the match before you, so I had to be ready.

Q. But you're not paying more attention to Pete than other players?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I have to be interested in me. Sure, I want Pete to win. Most Americans, lots of people, want him to get his 13th right here. He loves Wimbledon. I really got to be interested in what I'm doing, really.

Q. If you'd been interested, maybe you can ask your sister for advice against Sabine because she played her twice this year.

VENUS WILLIAMS: She has.

Q. Will you do that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It was pretty close in the second set, most times.

Q. In the Australian Open, yes.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I just think that Serena has some fast starts. Appelmans kind of crept in a little bit. It will be a good thing to ask her for advice.

Q. What did you miss most when you were gone about the tour, if you did?

VENUS WILLIAMS: My points.

Q. I think a lot of people grow up with the idea that tennis is going to be so much fun, then they get on the tour and realise it's a job. I was wondering, when was the time where it felt most like the job to you? Since then has it been more fun? Has there been a time when you felt like, "Tennis is fun"?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't think it's really a job. It's an exercise most of all. It's a great job, if you call it a job. Most people have to get in the office and work, maybe in the field, in the farm, in the factory. That's a job. Out here, I'm free, playing in the sun, rain delay, get the day off. Where's the problem?

Q. The newspapers cover this tournament so much differently than the other Grand Slams. Do you and Serena read the papers and the stuff they say about the tennis players, the tabloids?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Not really. Not really. I don't buy too many papers. I don't have any money.

Q. The tabs write stuff that's not so much tennis oriented.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think maybe they twist the story to make it exciting.

Q. Have you been asked any funny questions about yourselves?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, not at this point, no.

Q. Did you put yourself on an allowance, on notice again?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I have my cell phone back, but I've been talking too much.

Q. Shopping?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I'm not shopping, no, not at all. But I just haven't changed any money, so I kind of leach off Serena and my dad. That's okay. I can use my credit card, sure. Where I can't, I just hope they have money.

Q. What were your emotions watching the US Open final last year?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Serena was playing real good. I was just thinking about that, too, how she moved forward, just took the match for herself. She set an example what I need to do. I had a pretty tough loss the day before, so naturally I wasn't feeling up and dandy. Who would? But naturally I wouldn't want the girl who defeated me to win against my sister.

Q. You came back from a long break, had a little trouble getting your rhythm back. Serena goes away, doesn't play for a long time, comes back and wins pretty handily, in top form. What do you think she's able to do that you're not able to do coming back from a layoff?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I think she was off for two months. I think for the most part she was able to practise, but not nearly as much as she wanted to. But for me, for six months I couldn't practise, except for about two weeks before I played my first tournament. I had no practise for five and a half months. That really made a difference, too. I believe before I had some time off from tendonitis in the knee, I don't know, two months off, I didn't play the Chase that year. I came back pretty regular. I think the main difference is she was able to practise a certain amount; I didn't do any really.

Q. How do you avoid sibling jealousies?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't even think we have that in our heart. We have separately. Whatever we share, we share the best we can. I don't think it's inside of us.

Q. Was there ever a point where you kind of felt like, "How did she get to the first Grand Slam in the family?"

VENUS WILLIAMS: Does it really matter? She played better. It's my loss. It's her win. We won the same. It's all in the Williams family.

Q. If you would win Wimbledon, what would you do with the trophy?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I wouldn't get to keep it. I'd hold it up high, I tell you.

Q. You have a small replica. What would you do with that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. I'd put it in my mom and dad's house, in the dining room, I guess. That's where all the other ones go.

QueenO
Jun 19th, 2002, 01:45 AM
WIMBLEDON

July 3, 2000

V. WILLIAMS/S. Appelmans
6-4, 6-4

An interview with:

VENUS WILLIAMS

MODERATOR: Good afternoon. Venus Williams. Who would like to start?

Q. What happened at 5-1? Did your concentration snap?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think a little bit at 5-1. But also she was fighting for every point. She was playing quite well. All my forceful shots, she was getting back. She played well.

Q. That first game of the second set went 12 deuces. What goes through your mind on a game going that long?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I felt I should have won the game long before the 12th deuce. Sometimes it ends that way. I believe I got a lot of momentum from that game.

Q. Closing out of the match, wasn't a question of you tightening up, was it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I was up 6-4, 5-1. I was at the advantage. If anything, it was her who was under pressure to stay in the match. I think I just made some errors, a lot of easy shots I missed. I think today I missed quite a few easy shots. I usually don't do that.

Q. Will you go back from here to watch Serena?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I'm trying to get over there right now.

Q. Looks like Hingis in the quarters. How do you feel about that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I feel good. It will be the first time I've been able to play her this year. Just continue serving well, playing consistently, and moving forward.

Q. You said after your US Open match, you really wanted to get back and beat her, that that was a disappointing match for you.

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I didn't say that.

Q. You have said since then - I'm sorry, I misunderstood - it was a disappointing match for you, you wanted to get back and sort of make up for that.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Serena made up for that for me. Hopefully I'll have another opportunity to play better, at least play the best that I can.

Q. Are you annoyed with your own consistency because of what happened against Dechy and what happened today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, it really is annoying. But I can raise the level of my game. I just have to get my mind there. There's no way these girls should be competing like that against me in these sets, unless I of course let them.

Q. What's the key to playing Hingis? How do you tactically approach it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think the key is that usually when you play her, she gets quite a few balls back, plays consistently. Usually you hit yourself out of the match and make quite a few mistakes. Initially I think the main thing is also to think about what you're doing, not concentrate on what your opponent is doing. Once you start doing that, it's gone.

Q. Both of you are coached by parents. There's been a lot of attention this week to the advantages and disadvantages of having a parent as a coach. What do you see as the pros and cons to having a parent as your coach?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Pros and cons, I don't know. It's the way I want it to be. If I felt there was any day that I wouldn't be able to continue in such a manner, then I believe I would just tell my dad, tell my mom, "Hey, it's time to move on." They would understand that.

Q. Is it more difficult in some ways; are there more pressures because your parent is so close with you off the court, that when you get on the court, there are additional tensions?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I don't think so. I think there's more leeway for them to be honest. If you hired a coach, maybe they're just trying to keep their job. Who knows. The parents, they can tell you just how it is. One thing, they're never going to try to hurt you; always try to help you.

Q. You look at it as an advantage for you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think so. I can't think of anyone I would like to work with or anyone I can get along with for such a long period of time.

Q. Just on the difficulty you've had closing out matches. You can't let that happen against Hingis, can you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I've let it happen before. It hasn't been as much fun as it would have been closing it out pretty soon. So it would just make my day a lot easier.

Q. How much improvement do you think you have to make in your game with Hingis? How far off do you think you're playing from a hundred percent at the moment?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I'm playing pretty good.

Q. Going to have to step it up another level for the Hingis game?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Why not?

Q. Did you do anything special yesterday on the rest day?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I did nothing. Just cleaning.

Q. Cleaning?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah.

Q. As in house work cleaning?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes.

Q. Have you got all your enthusiasm and appetite for the game back since the six months off?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. I've been working hard, doing my best to get at the level I'm at now, especially with my serve. I'm much more consistent than I was, say, at the French Open. But it's just a matter of staying calm during the rallies.

Q. How likely do you think it will be that you play your sister in the semifinal here?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'd like it to happen. We'd both like it to happen. Give each other the opportunity that one Williams will be in the final.

Q. Sorry?

VENUS WILLIAMS: We'd like to have that opportunity. At least one Williams would be in the final.

Q. Do you like playing her?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Sure. She's a great player. What do you mean?

Q. I just wondered.

VENUS WILLIAMS: You know, you can't exactly say, "I want my name to be by Serena Williams." She's a tough player. When the time comes, got to step up.

Q. How much will you rely on her for advice on how to beat Martina?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I mean, I've played Martina thousands of times. Serena's played her a few less times. If I don't know what I'm doing right now.... I should be more concentrated on my game.

Q. Are you scared of her?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No.

Q. Why not?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Why should I be?

Q. She's world No. 1.

VENUS WILLIAMS: So what?

Q. Is there any reason why you don't have the WTA logo on your dress today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. Just here to talk about mostly tennis.

Q. Your enthusiasm is right back now, you're thoroughly enjoying it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I feel good. But I want to go to Serena's match now. That's all.

QueenO
Jun 19th, 2002, 01:46 AM
WIMBLEDON

July 4, 2000

V. WILLIAMS/M. Hingis
6-3, 4-6, 6-4

An interview with:

VENUS WILLIAMS

MODERATOR: Ladies and Gentlemen, first question to Venus, please.

Q. Did you want to run around with the American flag?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. That's taking it too far. Most of all, it was a good win for me because I've never advanced past the quarterfinals. The two times I was in the quarters, I had some tough, heartbreaking matches. Today I was ready to pull this one out because I had a bad history. Most of all I've had a tough year. I'm still in my fourth tournament. It's been real hard for me just to be consistent. Today I was that.

Q. It looked like after you hit that ace to win the match, just your reaction was the weight of the world had been lifted off. Was it that much pressure?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Come on now, no. What do you mean? I felt going into the match confident. I felt like I was playing well. Naturally if I had won the match 6-2, 6-2, it would have been different. But I was doing a lot of running, I had some tough service games, some tough return games. When I hit the ace, it's a great way to end it.

Q. How big is this for you, both in terms of your rivalry with Hingis and your opportunity now to play your sister in a major like this?

VENUS WILLIAMS: This is great because I've never had the opportunity to win a major against Hingis. This is the fourth time we've played. Also because, just like any other competitor, I want to advance, no matter who I'm playing. As a competitor, I was ready to go out and compete.

Q. What did you tell yourself on the changeover, last changeover before you served it out? "No nerves, no jitters, just go for it"?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. I wasn't thinking too much, actually. Maybe I said to myself, "I'm not losing serve." But I felt like I was in control because I have a good serve. I was serving pretty well today - not nearly close to my best, but it was very consistent. And also because once we got in the rally, I felt like I was in control, unless of course I made a mistake. That usually was how it went. Either I was making winners or making mistake. But I was willing to take that risk.

Q. You seem very measured now, pleased with your victory. Right afterward, you had great joy. Can you take us back to that moment for a minute?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, because I had a tough match today. I didn't really expect it to go three sets, but unfortunately it did. Then again, it's a great match for Wimbledon and all the fans because nobody wants to see 6-2, 6-2's. It's not a match, you know. A match is when everyone goes head-to-head and they're really out there competing, giving their best. I think that's what happened today.

Q. Facing Serena, what's most exciting for you and what's the biggest challenge?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Most exciting is that we both are here. The biggest challenge is that Serena is extremely powerful, extremely dangerous. You know, she knows everything I know.

Q. She says she used to cheat when she'd play you.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, Serena was a cheater (laughter). I just rolled with it. It's tough to argue against Serena because she was so good at arguing, so good at cheating, it was no use.

Q. You're not going to go so light on her tomorrow if she starts arguing calls?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Not at all. Is it tomorrow?

Q. Thursday.

VENUS WILLIAMS: If so, you've just got to be ready. I don't think this time we're going to be calling. I don't think we have that choice. Hopefully I won't get any hooks, (paying any?) line judges.

Q. Serena has rolled through this tournament without breaking a sweat. You had a demanding match today, gave yourself a little more trouble in the previous two matches than you would have liked.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't understand.

Q. You yourself admitted that you let the other two women before get back into the match. Is it any problem at all you've played these more difficult matches and she breezed her way through?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I see it as opportunity - not opportunity against Serena. First of all, it's been a little tough for me. This is the first time I've been playing good tennis that I've been playing tennis. Before it was, I don't know. But then again I'm happy because I was able to play mostly players in the Top 30. Usually I have to play these players in the Top 100. When I get a win, I gather four points. This time it's been better. I get to play the high-ranked players. Sure, the matches shouldn't have went so far, but they did. In the end, the win goes down in the record.

Q. How do you feel about playing Serena? Is it awkward or bittersweet that one of you has to go out Thursday?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, sure, one of us will be bitter, but not to the degree, I guess, of usually you'd be bitter if you lost in the semifinals. Naturally, one of us will be in the final. That will be great. We're always happy for each other.

Q. Would it be fair to say that today's win was your biggest one in a Slam since you beat Spirlea?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. Maybe.

Q. What did your father say to you? Have you spoken to him? He seemed rather happy after the match.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I spoke to him. We didn't talk about anything at all really, just the regular things, "Good job, good match."

Q. Is this what you always saw yourselves doing, meeting in a major like this in an advanced round, final or semifinal?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, for sure. We always believed that most of all because our parents told us that, that this would happen, that's what we were working for. That's how we saw it. That's how we visualized it, sure.

Q. At what age did they start telling you that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: From the very beginning.

Q. Four to five years old?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, sure. My parents were really positive. We were always taught to believe we were the best, even if we weren't the best. We feel we are the best. But under all circumstances, we've always believed it. You come into a match, you come into the tournament, you believe that no one's better. As a competitor, there's no way you should believe that someone is better than you.

Q. When you were Juniors, you met in a final, you didn't play each other.

VENUS WILLIAMS: It happened once.

Q. I thought when you played each other in a final of a tournament, there were times where you didn't actually play the match.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Serena and I were in two different divisions. But it happened once. Serena and I were both entered, I think it was the 10's.

Q. You didn't play the final?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, we played the final.

Q. Who do you turn to for advice before playing your sister?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't even think we're going to get advice. At this point my dad will probably say, "Here's the balls, go practise." That's what he did at the Lipton last time. I tell Serena, "Give me an overhead. Okay, let's go." The rest of the day we just enjoyed ourselves.

Q. The scouting report on your sister is?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I just hope that I'll be able to play better than her. She's really been blazing her past opponents, no mercy. I want to go in with that same attitude.

Q. I understand that Gladys Knight is a big fan of yours. Will she be here Thursday watching?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. Maybe so, if she's still in town. That would be nice.

Q. You said that a competitor should never believe that the person she's going to compete with is better. Where do you think Serena rates with you? What beliefs do you have going into the match against her?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Serena and I are a lot of the same player, but then we're totally different. With the stroke, it's almost the same also, but we execute it differently because we have totally different bodies. I have long arms and long legs. She's more compact. But in the end, we have the same coach, so it's going to be who's better technically and who makes the less mistakes.

Q. Serena said in New York after she won that she always thought that the US Open was probably her best chance of a Slam. She felt that this was yours, Wimbledon. Do you think that's right?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think we both just had dreams to win that. She had a dream to win the US Open. I had a dream to win Wimbledon. But as far as I'm concerned, we have the best chance at any Grand Slam we enter.

Q. Do you feel especially comfortable on the grass? Having had so long out of tennis, six months, you look particularly well-suited at the moment.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Because I'm more willing to come in. Every year that I've played here, I feel better on the grass. The first year was great, but I never disliked the grass. Every year I like it much more, much more.

Q. When you come back from the kind of injury you've had, what's the hardest thing to find? Is it your touch?

VENUS WILLIAMS: For me the hardest thing was consistency, because in my mind I was there, but with my strokes I just wasn't there. It was all I could do usually to keep the ball in. I had no control.

Q. Will your father watch the match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Will he be watching the match?

Q. Yes.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Sure.

Q. He was saying he might not.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. You'll have to ask him. He'll probably say, "Go, Venus. Go, Serena."

Q. Were you aware at what point Serena came in to watch you today? Did you know she had won?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I figured she won, it went so fast. I suppose it was 3-2. It was like, "Wow." I thought, "I have to do the same thing." But it didn't go that way.

Q. Any added pressure to see her sitting there?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, because I know Serena is going to be really supportive. If I start making mistakes, she was really going to clap and say, "You can do it, Venus." She's a great supporter.

Q. Serena said she didn't think you played your best today.

VENUS WILLIAMS: No.

Q. Do you agree?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I didn't play my best, but I played okay. I got the job done.

Q. Does Serena have any kind of mental edge because she's won a Grand Slam at this point?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. You'd have to ask her. Seeing I've never won one, I don't know how it feels. I won a few tournaments. I know how that feels. We'll see.

Q. How important is it to you to win one?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Sure, everyone wants to win Wimbledon. Doesn't matter if I'm playing Serena or I'm playing Pete Sampras, I'm going to want to win Wimbledon.

Q. How do you think you'd do against Pete?

VENUS WILLIAMS: 2 and 2.

Q. Don't you think that sometimes you are too anxious to finish the point, that you should wait a little bit?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, yeah, for sure. But that's my game. I'm going to go for it. If I stop going for it and start spinning, I become the average player. If I don't take advantage of my power and my ability to move forward, then that's a minus to me. I actually play a lot worse. If I actually just go for it, I play a lot better. I don't know how to play holding back really.

Q. Both you and your sister have said that neither one of you guys have played your best tennis. Is it possible we'll see it when you guys are playing each other?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Neither one of us have, I would agree with that, because we both have kind of came back from injury. We haven't been at the top tier of our game. We're hoping to get there tomorrow. Hopefully it will be a good show.

QueenO
Jun 19th, 2002, 01:48 AM
WIMBLEDON

July 6, 2000

V. WILLIAMS/S. Williams
6-2, 7-6

An interview with:

VENUS WILLIAMS

MODERATOR: Good afternoon, everyone. Venus for you.

Q. How difficult was it playing each other?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, it was very difficult because the pressure was always on. You know, we're both shot makers. It was a tough match. It was a very powerful match.

Q. What about the dynamics of being sisters, being on the court together?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Maybe I knew her game more.

Q. You seemed very calm, didn't show much emotion out there at all. Where did that come from? How did you maintain that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think in general, Serena is a little more emotional than what I am. I don't know. It's different if we were playing in the final, but it was just the semifinals, yet it's such a big deal. But if it was in the final, it would have been a lot more joyous moment.

Q. We may all be conspiracy theorists, but was there any arrangement out there between you two today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, not that I'm aware of.

Q. You used the dry volley a lot today - swing volley.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Swing volley.

Q. Is that one of your favourite shots?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I love that shot. It's one of my favourites.

Q. Do you practise that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I practise it a little bit at the end of practise. Actually, most of the practise in that shot came when we were like 9, 10, 11, 12, before we went pro. It's always been in our repertoire. It's always been a shot we hit. I love that shot. It's one of my best shots.

Q. You came off the court and talked to the BBC about being the big sister. I was wondering if you could talk a little bit more about that now.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I'm always the big sister. I always take care of Serena, no matter what. I always make the decisions. I'm always a role model for Serena. Sometimes, I wouldn't say it switches, but sometimes, you know, I do what she does, she does what I do. But still I am the big sister, so I'm always worried about her.

Q. What did you say at the end of the match today? I saw you put your arm around her.

VENUS WILLIAMS: "Let's go, Serena."

Q. Kind of looking out for her even at the end?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, yeah. I didn't want you guys to harass her or anything.

Q. Did you change the way you reacted outwardly when the final point was struck because of that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I don't think there was any reaction. I didn't even get to play the point. You know, it ended so abruptly.

Q. You weren't happy that you won?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, and the umpire , he said "match" right away. It was kind of hard to believe the match was over already.

Q. How bittersweet is this? How much is sadness about Serena losing and how much is joy about you winning at the conclusion of this?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, it's really bitter, but someone had to move on. It was either going to be me or Serena. In this instance, it was me. I really think she showed me how to play today actually. I was just doing what she was doing.

Q. And what are your duties now as big sister, seeing how sad Serena looked? She was obviously sad walking off that court.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, yeah, yeah. You know, she's a younger sister. You know, that's the way it is when you're younger. You always get your way. You know, anyone who's had a younger sibling knows that. When they don't get their way, mom and dad step in, "Give her the ice cream." As far as the older sister, you know, or the older brother, you know, you roll with the punches. If you win or you lose, you don't get the ice cream, it's okay.

Q. How much did seeing Serena's sadness take away from your enjoyment of the moment?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I know Serena lost. She's a real competitor, probably even more than what I am as far as when it comes to losing. She hates to lose. So that really hurts her deep.

Q. You put your arm around her. What did you say to her?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I said, "Let's get out of here."

Q. Was there a real turning point in the match for you, the point where you thought it was yours?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, no. Last two matches I played, I've been pretty focused, not giving up too many points. Playing Serena and playing Hingis are two totally different things. Serena and I are usually going to play on that line and go for it. Hingis is going to camp out far behind the baseline against someone like me or Serena and just run down a lot of balls.

Q. How would you characterize the way Serena played today? You came in and talked about how she played the other day.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think she just put out her best game today, just like she played the other girls. Today I was able to pick up the level of my serving, and then I had some pretty tough holds of serve in the second set, too, where I went for it because my mom said, "You have opportunities, you just have to go for them." I knew Serena would take the opportunity if I didn't, so. . .

Q. You said you just wanted to get out of there. At the end you didn't curtsy to the Royal Box. Was there nobody there?

VENUS WILLIAMS: There was no one there.

Q. What are the differences in the emotions of beating just anybody else and today beating Serena for you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I would have been much more happy. But it was like when we beat Martina Navratilova the other day. It's tough to see her go, but we had no other choice except to win the match. The same thing today. It's tough to see one of us go, but there was no other choice, unless we both said, "Hey, we're not going to play. See you later."

Q. Do you think it will be difficult to get psychologically prepared for the final?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I don't think so, no.

Q. Can you speak about the history of playing a sister at this tournament? Do you have any sense of what was going on today compared to what happened in the past?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. I believe the first final was played by the sisters.

Q. How does that make you feel?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I feel regular.

Q. Were you both feeling a little bit tight in that first set? Seemed neither one of you were really playing as loose as you had in other matches.

VENUS WILLIAMS: No.

Q. Compared to the second set.

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I didn't feel tight. I don't think she felt tight either. I think we both went for it. The first set, first game, I had like a 97 mile-an-hour second serve. I don't think that's too tight.

Q. You said to the BBC right afterwards it was not so much fun. Was it uncomfortable the whole time, the whole experience?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It wasn't fun because it was a semifinal. If it had been a final, it would have been all great fun, you know.

Q. What did your dad say to you about why he wasn't watching the match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: You know, I haven't seen him until after the match, when I went in the locker room.

Q. Was he there then?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I didn't see him.

Q. What did he tell you this morning about why he wouldn't be watching the match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I didn't ask him. He didn't say anything.

Q. You talked a lot about how you felt about being a big sister. Do you think it's an inhibition to the little sister, as aggressive as she is? How do you think she may feel competing against the big sister?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think that as a big sister, I was always able to get things first. Got my car first, you know, went to school first, things like that, driver's license first. So, you know, for like the little sister - especially because there were four ahead of her - it's like always playing catch-up maybe.

Q. She got her Grand Slam first.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah.

Q. How has that affected your relationship leading up to this match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: None at all. None at all. None at all.

Q. Looks like you're going to play Lindsay in the final. Could you talk about that, meeting Lindsay, the defending champion?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. She's had some injuries, just like I have, so we're kind of in the same boat. Definitely we are both going to want to raise the level of our games. I feel like I've raised the level of my game already, especially in this match, and in the last match also. When the final comes, it's a grand occasion, I think we're both going to go at it.

Q. How would you compare your game to the US Open final in '97, where you were then to now? Completely different?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. I mean, that was my third Grand Slam. I wasn't even full-time on the tour. I didn't understand any strategy as far as let's say you're down breakpoint, maybe you should get your first serve in. Things like that never came to my mind. It was totally different circumstances, yeah. It's extremely different from now.

Q. Was there ever any point, any game where you looked across and didn't say, "That's her over there," where you really could forget who it was over there?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Could I forget?

Q. Yes, just play tennis.

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I didn't really forget that was her over there. You know, I know more what she's going to do maybe than other opponents. She knows more what I'm going to do. Especially since we play doubles together, we tell each other what we're going to do. But if she does something, she served the T, hits that serve, I know she's going there, not so much I can do about it.

Q. Were you aware that everybody was picking Serena to win this match, the papers, a lot of the other players?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I felt like Serena was even a favourite going into the match. She's playing more clean tennis than what I was. Probably also people thought she would win because she's won a Grand Slam before. But, yeah, I felt she was the favourite going into the match, too.

Q. Did it help you at all being the underdog?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No.

Q. When you look back, starting out playing on a hard court in California, in a neighbourhood, now you've played her in Rome, Melbourne, Germany, Florida, you come to the most celebrated court in the world, what feelings do you have about that, starting so humbly and coming this far?

VENUS WILLIAMS: You know, it's my life. The whole time I've had a great time, I've had a great life. I haven't had a lot of problems. Sure, you know, maybe living in Compton isn't like the most desired place to live, not in the Top 100. But I had a great time. I still miss the ice cream trucks.

Q. At that court, the ice cream trucks?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, they had the best ice cream trucks. Spent all my allowance on the ice cream trucks.

Q. A lot of people have been talking about playing your sister, developing over a period of years. Do you think the nature of that competition might change over the years? If you keep playing each other and you keep playing each other, it will become less of an event, less spectacular?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think it will become less spectacular. Most of all, Serena and I have to promise ourselves to start playing solid tennis every time so that we can be 1 and 2, then meet in the finals. It will be a natural thing.

QueenO
Jun 19th, 2002, 01:49 AM
WIMBLEDON

July 8, 2000

V. WILLIAMS/L. Davenport
6-3, 7-6

An interview with:

VENUS WILLIAMS

MODERATOR: Good afternoon, Ladies and Gentlemen. Venus Williams.

Q. Can you describe your feelings now?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I feel really calm. I love winning Wimbledon. I love playing tennis. I love winning titles. And I realised, you know, I wouldn't be any happier in my life in general if I won or lost. Sure, in tennis, the tennis part of my life, I'd be much happier. But winning, losing, money, riches or fame doesn't make you happy. So for my tennis career, this is great. But as far as being Venus, it doesn't really make a huge difference.

Q. Had you planned to go up in the stands like that afterwards or was that spontaneous?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I was just pretty happy at that point because I had let a lot of opportunities go in that second set. Finally I pulled the tiebreak out without a huge, huge struggle against myself. I was pretty happy.

Q. Did you want to share it with your family at that point in time? Was there anything in particular you said to Serena or your dad?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I didn't say anything. If I did, I don't remember. It was great because we have two singles Slams in our family, four mixed doubles, and two doubles. We're racking them up now.

Q. Is there a sense of equality that you each have a Grand Slam now or are you just happy to win it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. I always expected to win Grand Slams. This is just good for me. This is good for my career. That's all I feel.

Q. What does the phrase "Venus Williams, Wimbledon Champion" mean to you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: This was meant to be. I didn't serve and volley it out, but the first four matches I was serving and volleying. So that counts for something. Maybe next year I'll get through seven serving and volleying.

Q. "Meant to be," what do you mean by that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Because I worked real hard all my life. I had a lot of sacrifices, I had a lot of injuries, and I had a lot of tough loses, too. But I didn't let that get to me. I kept working hard and I kept believing, even at some points when I didn't have a reason to because I played so badly sometimes.

Q. A fan asked your dad, "Could you tell me when you gave Venus her first lesson?" He said without hesitation, "Four years, six months, one day." Do you remember back that far?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Definitely not.

Q. Was he telling you right along you were going to be Wimbledon Champion someday?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, yeah. In our family, it's positive. We don't just work to be professional. We're happy to be on the circuit. We worked hard to be the best because for us, why play if we don't believe we can be the best? Okay, maybe, sure, one day maybe we didn't turn out to be the best, but if we worked toward and believed it, that's all that counts.

Q. I believe when you were very young, sort of eight, nine-ish, your father took you to see Chris Evert's Wimbledon trophies. Do you remember that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah.

Q. Do you remember, in fact, when was the first time that Wimbledon meant something to you and you knew what it was all about?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Maybe the first time that Wimbledon meant a lot to me was when Zina was doing so well in 1990 when she beat maybe Monica in the quarterfinals. Am I correct? And she beat Steffi in the semis. I was only ten. But, you know, that meant a lot to us. We would be out there practising on the courts in the afternoon. This is the summer, so we're out of school. This guy who walked his dog came by. My dad, he's friends with everybody, talked to everyone. Talked to this guy, "What's the score out there?" The guy would tell us the score. "What happened?" "Zina won the first set." I remember we were out there practising when Zina won against Monica, against Steffi. I don't remember, I think we got to see the final. I don't know if it was on tape or if we saw it live.

Q. What were you reading on court? You had a note there.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Those are my notes just in case I forget something like to stay low or something technical, just in case I forget. "Oh, that's not what I'm doing." It's only a few things.

Q. To keep your mind --?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Keep my mind focused or to stay relaxed.

Q. It was only in March your dad told us he kind of advised you to take the year off and maybe not even come back to the game. Does that seem like kind of bad advice to you and him at this point?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It took so long for me to get better. It was just really strange because I missed the Australian Open, I thought that would be the only tournament I missed. Before I knew it, I was missing Oklahoma, one of my favourite tournaments. Then I missed the next week in Scottsdale, then the Lipton. So it was starting to get pretty unbelievable. "Where is this going to?" It was really strange, it took so long. I couldn't do anything because I had to use my hands, but I couldn't use them.

Q. Could you tell us about your feelings the moment the match was over and you started a sort of dance, beautiful one, jumping beautiful.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, that's from my ballet classes when I was a kid.

Q. Althea Gibson gave Zina a message to give to you before the match, which was to bend your knees. Zina said she didn't give it to you because it would make you nervous. Do you have a message for Althea now?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I knew she was watching when Serena won the US Open. She said that she was happy that she got to see another black person win it in her lifetime. So now I think it's really a privilege for me to win this Wimbledon while she's still alive.

Q. Have you met her before?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, no. Only talked to her once on the phone. I didn't know what to say. She said, "Why are you so quiet?"

Q. Your dad had a sign up saying, It's Venus' party, no one is invited. Is that an old family saying?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I guess he just made it up.

Q. Can you appreciate how hard it would have been for Althea Gibson in her time? Obviously Zina Garrison's victory impressed you. Can you image how difficult it was for her to break the colour line in tennis and how much it meant for the whole generation that followed?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, it had to be hard because people were unable to see past colour. Still these days, it's hardly any different because you have to realise it's only been 40 years. How can you change years and centuries of being biased in 40 years? So realistically, not too much has changed. But I really appreciate how hard it was. You realise not everyone wants you to win, not everyone's going to support you - and that's okay.

Q. Are you aware of the excitement you caused on this side of the Atlantic? You're an icon within the black sphere. Are you aware of the emotive aspect? I had about ten calls by the time you won. "She did it, you're there. What's going on?" Are you aware of that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, we're really aware of that. We know the black people are really top supporters. When you go to Germany, the Germans support the Germans. We really relate to each other, of course. We're black. We fought for everything we have.

Q. But in the actual sport of tennis.

VENUS WILLIAMS: People are turning their TV and suddenly they see this black girl playing tennis. "What is this?" We're out there grunting and speeding.

Q. I was actually in the States when your sister won the US Open. In my home it was crazy. It's exciting times.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, because we're doing something different that hasn't been done very often.

Q. Do you think you will have an impact along those lines and encourage more African Americans to play?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Sure, I think a lot of people will look and see. But also you have to get out there and help out, let people see you start programs. That would definitely be something that I and especially my dad could help to start. Because, sure, things can happen, but you've got to put your hands on the ball and get it moving.

Q. Do you have talks at schools or anything?

VENUS WILLIAMS: The tennis academy in LA.

Q. You said at the beginning of this about this being great for your tennis. Does winning give you that luxury of a new perspective, saying, "Hey, my tennis is my tennis"? Sometimes when you haven't won, that's all you can think about.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, I guess maybe if you haven't won yet, you can let it ruin your life. After Serena won the US Open, you can see that she's the same person. You realise that winning isn't everything. After you win, you go home. If things aren't right at home , you have bad health, whatever problems you might have, it doesn't make a difference whether you won or lost.

Q. What about when you had that game, serving for the match, what was going through your mind?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I didn't really think I was going to lose serve. I had two double-faults, a few unforced errors. In the end, I think just my technique broke down. But I just wasn't going to let it hold me back today. I tried my best.

Q. Do you think that was nerves?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I just don't think I was calm. I wanted to hit the ball before it could even get over the net, which sometimes isn't good, because you rush.

Q. Were you aware of your father's placards?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I wasn't looking up until the end, then I saw something. My eyes aren't that good in the distance, so I couldn't really read it.

Q. Were you concerned about it might go to a third set?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, because I was thinking about that moment exactly, pulling out that set. If something strange happened, it had to go to the third set, then that's what would have had to happen. But, no, not really. I was concentrating on winning that tiebreaker and holding serve.

Q. Was there one particular aspect that you tried to exploit against Lindsay?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, Lindsay really has improved her movement and her fitness. They're starting to become a plus for her. But definitely I was going to try and move her around. But most of all I was going to play my game, hit my big serves, especially since my second serve has improved drastically in the last two matches. I knew I was playing two power players. I was playing Serena. I was going to play Lindsay. I started hitting these 90 mile-an-hour second serves.

Q. Why do you think it was so difficult for both of you to hold serve?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I really think we were both just feeling pressure. For me, I know I was rushing too much. I wanted to go get it before it came. That doesn't work.

Q. When you went to celebrate with your family. It appeared there were several times they tried to pick you up to put you on the commentary box with your dad, but it didn't work. What was going on there?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I didn't want to be picked up.

Q. They were trying to pick you up?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. My height, if I fall, it's going to be a problem.

Q. You said you picked out your Wimbledon ball gown. Can you talk about when you went to pick it out, what you were thinking?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I didn't want to spend a lot of money. I was bitter because of my French Open result. I felt I didn't deserve to spend any money. I had one dress I could wear, but it was last year's, it wasn't the right colour. Colours have changed since then. So I had to go find a dress. We had only limited time because we were doing a lot of therapy, we were working out twice a day. I was scrambling around the mall finding a dress. It was an extra incentive because if I didn't win, I wouldn't get to wear this wonderful dress. I went out and I found the dress. There were beads falling off of it, so they had to go call another store, find another dress the same, then repair the dress. So I went through a lot to get this.

Q. That was in Florida?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I bought my dress in Florida.

Q. How much was it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm not going to say.

Q. How long before Wimbledon was it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: There was only eight days I stayed home from the French to Wimbledon. So I got it the day before . No, I picked it up the day we left.

Q. Serena got one, too?

VENUS WILLIAMS: She got one. She was a little more generous.

Q. What do you think you learned about yourself here? What do you think you proved?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, in a lot of matches, a lot of my tough matches, especially last year starting at the French Open, for some reason I started losing these matches when I would get in the third set. Usually before I would be able to pull those out, no problem. But at the French Open, I lost a tough match, and then last year at Wimbledon I lost this tough match, and at the US Open I lost a tough match. So it was starting to become a trend. So for me it was a lot more pulling out the big matches, no matter what I had to do, just go for it. I think most of all prove to myself that I can do this again.

Q. Do you think this will be like the opening of the floodgates for you in terms of your future in Grand Slams?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Sure. Why not? In this Wimbledon, I played my game. I never took anything off my serve. No matter if I double-faulted or not, I went ahead and hit my big serve. On my groundstrokes, I didn't start waiting for someone to miss; I just went for it, whether I missed it or not. I played my game, no matter what the consequences. Today I didn't move forward too much because I just didn't want to come to the net. But still I feel I played my game because in the past there probably would have been a lot of times where I would have started taking pace off my serve to get the first one in. You know, what counts is I went for it.

Q. What did Serena say to you after the match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: She said, "Great job. " She was really, really getting emotional there, trying to hold it in.

Q. Have you been wearing any lucky charms on court?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, my mom gave me a choker, but I didn't wear it in the last two matches because I forgot to wear it.

Q. Talking of charms, the last time I watched one of your games, you dropped a shell. I picked it up and gave it back to your father. What is the relevance of the shell?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Someone gave it to me.

Q. Were you aware during the match that your dad kept holding up the signs? In a commentary on TV, Martina Navratilova said it was unfair to other players, a distraction, shouldn't be allowed. Was that a fair comment?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Everybody has their own opinion.

Q. Were you aware that your dad was doing this?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I told you I didn't see it. I was mostly looking at my notes.

Q. Do you feel your victory may be even a little bit more meaningful because of the caliber of players that you've beaten on the road?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I definitely think so. I got here in the Grand Slam, I beat No. 1, I beat No. 2, and I took out No. 8, which was not easy. I think maybe I was most concentrating on that because I knew she was like the best player in the draw. She was playing the cleanest.

Q. You said you dreamt of winning a Grand Slam. Was Wimbledon on the top of the list?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I don't remember. You mean literally or just daydreaming?

Q. Yeah.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I dreamed of winning Wimbledon, sure.

Q. Was this Slam on the top of your list?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Every Slam. It doesn't matter.

Q. If you had to choose one word to summarize your experience here, what would that word be?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Proud.

Q. Why?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Because I got the job done. I didn't let anything hold me back - not No. 1, not No. 2, not No. 8.

Q. Any significance to the shirt you're wearing?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. It was a clean shirt.

Q. Do you know there's a name for the trophy you held up above your head, the Venus Rosewater. Does that mean something to you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It's pretty cool, you know. It's a great name. I like to say so.

Q. You're guaranteed an Olympic singles berth. The fourth one is announced Monday.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't understand.

Q. If Serena is not chosen for that doubles berth on the Olympic team, would you still go to Sydney?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. I have to talk to Serena, see how she felt. Being in the Olympics is great. We'd have the opportunity to win two golds, or I would at least. But if Serena wasn't happy, I don't think I would go. But I really want to.

Q. Do you think the (if there was?) ranking in Grand Slams, this is the No. 1?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Everyone seems to think so.

Q. At what point in the last two weeks did you really know you were going to win the title?

VENUS WILLIAMS: When I bought my dress.

Q. Which was when? Before you came?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Before I came, because I had to make myself a promise, so I bought the dress.

Q. What colour is it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: You'll have to wait and see.

Q. What do you think of the British crowd, Venus?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think the British crowd is very fair, unless of course you're playing against someone from Britain.

Q. I mean today specifically.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I didn't hear too much, but in general I think they're very fair as far as rooting for the person that's down or rooting equally for each person.

QueenO
Jun 19th, 2002, 01:52 AM
August 24, 2000

V. WILLIAMS/P. Schnyder
6-4, 6-2

An Interview with

VENUS WILLIAMS

Q. Venus, you struggled early on, like you were shaking your head a lot; what was going on out there?

VENUS WILLIAMS: When I have a bad day, my balls fly long, and I couldn't get them to stop going long; but I was able to contain it, control it to a degree. So there was the match.

Q. Compared to the other day, how do you think you did today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think I did a lot better, as far as serving. I think I did a lot better.

Q. She goes up 4-3 in the first set, what was going through your mind going into the next game?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I was very disappointed I had gotten down 4-3. I didn't feel like I was going to lose the set. Always disappointing for me to give game points and sets away.

Q. How was the footing out there? Looked to me like maybe there was slipping and sliding going on.

VENUS WILLIAMS: From her?

Q. I think I saw her slip at one point, I wasn't sure. How was the surface?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't think I was moving my feet very well today. I think maybe that's why it looks like that. She's a claycourter, they like to slide.

Q. Were you particularly discouraged, Venus, when you lost three straight serve games in the first set; one at love, one at 15? Did that motivate you or what was the reaction?

VENUS WILLIAMS: A little bit disappointing, but what's in the past is in the past. I couldn't change it. Just have to move on.

Q. This is not related to tennis: I understand you and your sister are going to be coming out with dolls around December? Barbie dolls?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Uh-hum. Not a Barbie doll. Venus and Serena doll.

Q. How did that come about?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. I think my dad set it up.

Q. Okay. Are you excited about it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I'm exited about it. It's really cute, actually. And at first I was a little bit... I thought maybe it's a little bit vain to have a doll. Once I saw them, I thought they were really cute. It's going to be a lot of fun.

Q. Did you play with dolls when you were a kid?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, yeah.

Q. Do you have an idea why your dropped off (inaudible) In California to now?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. I wasn't playing that well in California either. The thing is, when it comes time, I know I can raise the level of my game. So I'm not worried about my game at all, actually. I think it's just a few things here and there that's actually putting me off. As far as playing today and the other day, I think I played better today. And gradually moving forward and, you know, if I'm playing a top-ten player, for sure I'm going to play better. I think that I have the ability to raise the level of my game and even to drop it. Which is not a good thing always.

Q. Is that something you're working on to try to overcome that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. I think that I get a little too relaxed, a little too confident, I feel like I'm going to win the match. But I think that gives too much leeway to my opponent.

Q. Depending who wins this next match right now, Huber or Coetzer, you'll play; can you speak a little about their games and what that means to you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I played Coetzer twice this year; once in hardcourt once in San Diego. I played Huber once? They're both different players, and I can't say who'll win the match. Maybe Huber. She played earlier today. She could be tired.

Q. Do you think about the streak having won 17 in a row now? Is that something in the back of your mind when you're playing?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Not really. You guys start writing about the streak, not me. I wasn't even thinking about it. But it's nice to go 17 matches without losing. I haven't lost since the French Open. It's pretty good.

Q. Do you have remedies like Shaquille O'Neal? If he's winning games and eating spaghetti for the past few nights, he continues that until he loses; do you do anything like that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No.

Q. Is this your tournament to lose, or do you go into every tournament thinking you're going to win it and someone else has to beat you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I feel that I have a good opportunity to win the tournament I'm entering. That's how I feel, otherwise I wouldn't enter, I'd stay home and practice. Under these circumstances, I feel like my chances are really good here. Chance he I'll meet Monica in the finals. If that doesn't happen, hopefully I'll get to the finals and meet someone there.

Q. When you're playing, do you think your inspiration that is an effect on any of the young players? Do you think about kids who are watching?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Not he when I'm playing, no, not really.

Q. How about your performance, do you think about that as far as kids are related, any of the young kids who are watching?

VENUS WILLIAMS: During the match mostly I'm thinking about my game, not about the people in the crowd. I don't really, especially these days, I don't really see the crowd too much. I did notice in the middle of the match the stadium was pretty full. I'm not really looking around a lot. I don't take too much notice during the match.

Q. But I noticed after the match a lot of kids are drawn to you.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, yeah.

Q. Does that impact on how you feel or think?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm a sports player, kids love sports players. Action figures.

Q. Is your doll an action figure?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I guess it will have to be.

Q. Are you designing the clothes for it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I think it's just going to have clothes from Reebok or Puma basically the same designs I chosen in the past.

Q. Any feeling how you might be seeded in the U.S. Open?

VENUS WILLIAMS: How I might be seeded, 3.

Q. (Inaudible)

VENUS WILLIAMS: Five.

Q. Pretty confident the way you're playing heading into the Open?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Do I feel confident?

Q. The way you're playing, do you feel confident?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, I feel good. This is definitely a good week for me to play and to get some experience and to play well, to get a title under my belt going to the Open, same as last year, and also just straighten out anything that might be going wrong. So when I head into that first round, I'll be ready to go.

Q. You talk about going to the Olympics; how you're looking forward to that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It will be fun. It will be a long way to get there. Once I get there, I'll be ready to go.

Q. How would you have felt if Serena wasn't able to go?

VENUS WILLIAMS: The arbitrator, I feel, made a good decision. In the case he made a decision for Lisa, I feel he made a good decision also.

Q. You hold the Olympics (inaudible) every four years?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Seeing this is only fourth time tennis has been an Olympic sport, I don't think it's at that level yet. I think for a tennis player the dream is more or less to win a Grand Slam than the Olympics. The Olympics is an extra bonus. Not many people get to have that gold.

Q. I don't know how well you know Lisa, have you talked to her about the whole situation?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, not really, she hasn't talked to me. I wasn't involved.

Q. I know. I just wondered if she had talked to you about it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I understand her disappointment, because the Olympic dream is pretty good, especially for an athlete, but I wasn't involved.

Q. Right. Venus, Tiger Woods says he wants to make golf more like America, wants to see golf look more like America, resemble racial diversity in America; do you feel the same way about tennis? Do you think about it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, well, seeing that I am black, sure I'd like to see lots of black players play. At this point I think I'm just trying to get my game together so I can set a better example then move on from there.

QueenO
Jun 19th, 2002, 01:53 AM
August 25, 2000

V. WILLIAMS/A. Coetzer
6-3, 6-4

AN INTERVIEW WITH

VENUS WILLIAMS

Q. Is it fair to say that was the best you played this week?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I would say it was the most controlled I've played this week as far as just controlling it, keeping it in, getting -- I was trying to get a lot more first serves in with a little more placement, less double faults.

Q. Did you stick more to the gameplan tonight rather than experimenting?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, because I didn't have time to struggle today, seeing I'm playing a night match and I have to play tomorrow also, assume that I win, I would have to play tomorrow, and I didn't want to extend myself further than what was necessary. So I felt that I should play a little consistency, consistently and when I had the opportunity to go for it.

Q. Play Monica tomorrow?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It will be a good experience, good thing. I have a possible semi-final matchup with her. If all things go well, she keeps winning, possibility I'll play again at the Open. We both get through.

Q. The first time you said you didn't think you did that well. Second time you said you did better than the first. This time how do you think you did?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think I did okay, I was under control, I was trying.

Q. What did you get in your eye at that one point?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think it was an eyelash, I couldn't really get it out, so I just had to tough it out.

Q. Asked you this yesterday...winning streak at 18 now, something you're thinking about?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm going to try to keep it on my side. I have a few more tournaments this year. It would be nice to go without another loss. I had three losses this year. I think maybe only one player in the top ten and two other -- I don't know, but I had a couple of losses this year and, fortunately enough, I played well in my larger matches against like Serena and Lindsay or Hingis, so that's been nice.

Q. I was reading your bio, and it says you're going to school in Florida; what school is that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I prefer not to say.

Q. What is that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I prefer not to say.

Q. This week you talked a little bit about turning your game on and off, depending on who you were playing and sometimes you said you were bored, a little bit of a statement there, both sets you end with power serves almost like you're turning it on at that moment?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. I think I went for a serve more unexpected, which is a tougher serve, for a righthander like myself that's not really the expected serve. I hit that one well at times. So I guess I went for it and everything went right.

Q. Venus, do you think your level has risen since Wimbledon, it just keeps getting better?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. I think that I've been winning, but as far as playing better, I'm not sure. I think in my other tournament I was a little more aggressive. This week I feel my balls are playing out. I feel like I have to kind of play within myself. So tomorrow I'm definitely going to try the add more spin and keep it in, stay with the power.

Q. Amanda said she thought the difference in the match was about 25 miles per hour on your serves, yours compared to hers; would you agree with that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't think I was serving very big today. I thought I was serving pretty reserved. I think also she took the level of her serve down. I played her about two weeks ago in San Diego, she was actually hitting some nice serves. I was attacking her first serve, second serve. I think today her plan was to get the first serve in so she could not have to scramble as much, but you have to go for it, especially to beat someone like me.

Q. She's tough once you get in a rally with her, she's tough to put it away so that she was saying those first couple hits in each rally weren't very important, that's what you said, try to be more aggressive like on her first serve?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I just think that, again, a player like her, you have to do your best to come in a little more, take some balls out of the air, hit some volleys, because she anticipates well, and she runs very well. And you just have to be consistent and expect her to get some balls back. That's not a problem, because she's a good player.

Q. Venus, is Serena coming watch?

VENUS WILLIAMS: That's a rumor. Where did you hear it from?

Q. Is it nice to play in front of her?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, yeah, she came actually in San Diego, and I wasn't playing too well in the final, she said, it's okay, Venus, it's okay. You have to want it more. She was pumping me up the whole time. I was disappointed I got down to 5-2 in the second set. I managed to get 7-6, I played in the tie break. She said, it's okay, it's okay. That was nice.

Q. Will you warm up with her tomorrow morning?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. I don't know if she'll be here.

Q. She won't be here in time. How was she feeling?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Pretty good, apparently. Everytime I call, she says, "Hold on, I'm on the other line." Today she said, "I'm actually in a business call," and she never called me back. So I don't know what she's doing. She's a top executive now.

Q. When you're at a tournament like this, which is supposed to be a tune-up for the U.S. Open, you actually want to see the best player, the other draw, meaning Monica, come out, so you can play the best person in the field.

VENUS WILLIAMS: In general I like to play the higher ranked players, a better opportunity for me to move forward in my life. It's nice, I have the opportunity to play her. I guess, too, Tauziat would have been nice too, she plays quit well. But, yes I'm happy to be playing in the final.

Q. You think Monica will help you to prepare for the U.S. Open better than say anyone else?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I think all preparation comes before you step on the matchcourt, comes in your mind, but sure, it's a nice match to play.

Q. I also read in your bio that once your finished with tennis, you don't want to have anything else to do with it; why is that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Because I don't want to be a coach, I don't want to be a commentator, I don't want to write for tennis, I would like to move on with my life.

Q. Into fashion design?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know, maybe I'll just sit around. But I will have a degree, so I have the choice.

Q. You look like you could be a model; have you ever thought of that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I don't think it's a good world for me. I think I'm better off on the sidelines.



Q. Once again you raised the level of your game to the opponent you were playing. Once she broke you, 3-2, you reeled off four straight games to finish off the set, same thing as you've been doing, trying to get out of that habit.

VENUS WILLIAMS: You see, I'm not used to that, really. These days I kind of get ahead, and I'm not used to playing from behind, especially far behind. When I first got on the tour, I was always gutting it out and fighting to the end. I was always getting behind and finding a way to win the match. Now I'm not used to this anymore. When I get behind, it's a very strange feeling. Fortunately enough, it's only one or two games these days.

Q. Expectations on playing Monica tomorrow?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I expect her to definitely raise the level of the game, because she's playing a top player. And she's actually serving a lot better, that's a plus. She's using her lefthanded serve very well, and she's trying to put something behind her return serve and her groundstroke, and she's moving a lot better. So she definitely added a of lot pluses to her game. These days you have to if you want to keep competing. Everyone is getting better every day. So I expect her to play well. If she's going to go for the title with the U.S. Open, no one wants to enter the Open with a loss. I'm going to go for it. She will too.

QueenO
Jun 19th, 2002, 01:54 AM
August 26, 2000

V. WILLIAMS/M. Seles
6-2, 6-4


An Interview With:


VENUS WILLIAMS

Q. The way your confidence is right now, do you think Venus Williams is about the only one that can beat Venus Williams?

VENUS WILLIAMS: That is how it has always been in the past. I was defeating myself most of the times. Not to say that -- I would say four times in my career where the player just came out and there was nothing I could do, I was totally confused. But under normal circumstances, sure. But I think it is with any player, miss out an opportunity; person who makes the most mistakes usually is the one that loses. But I am getting through that. I am not doing that as much.

Q. Do you think it is the other way around now that players come out and face you and you confuse them with just your overall game?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think most of time they come out, they are playing catchup. It is like even sometimes at times they can see me, but they can't like grab a hold of me and I kind of speed up again. That is kind of how I feel. Like today I felt like I was a little step ahead.

Q. How do you think you did today and why?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think I did well. I think I played within myself. I didn't go for very much power today because my shots had been flying long all week.

Q. What made the difference today than the other days?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Definitely I was playing Monica which she is a caliber above a normal player and I know she wanted to win this match, not only going to the Open; to; win the title and because she has never defeated me before. There was a lot of good reasons to win this match. So I think I was more prepared mentally also.

Q. You said you weren't hitting as hard or far out?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No.

Q. You looked very fast both on feet and your returns; especially your backhand was better today than the past matches?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, she served very well. But, yeah, I was keeping the ball in; not going for as much and as far as a lot of power not today. I kind of just moved it around a little bit; just kept the ball in because they have been spraying.

Q. What is your regimen? We, the media, played against each other today and I thought I was out there for an hour and it was only 20 minutes and I had left. I am trying to figure out how are you able to withstand -- what kind of exercises do you do to keep yourself together like that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I am not a big exerciser. And I think, sure, you can get in great shape, but for me like it is all in the mind during the match. I don't have time to be tired. After the match, sure, lots of time and I figure that if I play a long point the person over there, they are just as tired as I am, so I just tough it out and it is not a problem for me. And I figure soon, hey, going to have a changeover; going to have another break.

Q. Four straight tournament titles; 19 straight matches. Have you had a streak like this before?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I think my longest streak before was like 11 matches and two tournament wins and -- yeah, but this is the most fantastic or consistent I have ever played besides like in practice.

Q. Are you surprising yourself at this run right now or is this something you felt you could do?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I always felt I could play like this, but it is a lot of work getting to this level, especially for someone like me, I have to keep myself under control.

Q. Do you feel you are playing well enough to win the Open?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I definitely think so. And a lot of times it isn't always about playing well enough. It is about which points you play well. And it is about how you feel in your mind, if you feel that you are better than the next person, and especially on that particular day, all the mental thing, so, as long as I am mentally there, and I am ready to be tough, sure, my chances are really great.

Q. Do you think the presence of Serena helped you today to lift your game?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, she told me to focus, to make sure I focus because last week -- last not last week, but about three weeks ago I played her in San Diego and I won the first set 6-0 and I kind of let go a little bit, so I didn't want -- then even in the third set, I was up 4-1 and I kind of let her close in at 4-3. So today I didn't want to have to go through anything that wasn't necessary. Sure, if she was playing great and hitting unbelievable shots, but if I am just giving it away, then that is when it becomes a problem.

Q. But Serena's presence, did that lift your game at all?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know.

Q. Did that inspire you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, because I want to set a good example. Actually, yeah, because like she is a tough player and I want her to know that I am playing good tennis.

Q. How is Serena? How is her foot?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I don't think she has been hitting in the past week. I think today she is going to hit some balls, so I don't know. Hopefully it will be good enough that we can play doubles also.

Q. Yesterday we talked about after tennis is over you wouldn't have anything to do -- do you really think that is possible when you are as competitive as you are?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. I am pretty competitive, sure, but not like Jimmy Connors or John McEnroe, I am not like that.

Q. The only time you might get in trouble, fourth game, second set you doublefaulted about three times. Mental thing or --

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, it is just a technique on my serve basically I am kind of hitting down and across instead of up and out, so my mind, before I hit my second serve, it is like I want to see it clearly how I am going to hit it before I go for it. That is all it is.

Q. You mentioned that there is four players that would confuse you in the past. Who are they?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I said there has been four players -- not four players, but about four times where I have just been beat outright, where I didn't have a chance that day.

Q. You were sidelined for quite a while with the tendinitis problem. During that time did you ever imagine that you would come back so strong? Did you think it would take you a while to find your groove then?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I felt like I was going to win the French Open, but got into a tough match against Sanchez and I just wasn't consistent enough at that point. I wasn't really able to play my game. Actually the main problem I think I wasn't able to serve like I would have under normal circumstances, but yeah, I did feel like I would come out and play well because my mind was really clear.

Q. Did that kind of serve as an opportunity to kind of get away and refresh yourself?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I felt refreshed, but I think in the end it was maybe a good thing because I had time to think about my game instead of just entering the Australian Open and getting into the rat race all over again, so I felt like I had time to think things over and had to figure out why things weren't going right for me.

Q. You talk about the mental part of your game. Do you feel that you are in a zone right now mentally? Do you feel like you are just there at the top of your game?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I just feel like mentally I am really prepared to play everyone and most of all, I like to play those 30-All points, 3-All or 30-40, 40-30, things like that. I feel like I am to ready for the big points and I have the extra advantage.

Q. Do you think you wore her down there especially on that point where she shot the ball down-the-line and you kind of outstretched and hit the winner?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think that sometimes I was hitting some great shots or having some great gets, and that can be discouraging at times. Be like, wow, hey, I am doing my best; I am not doing anything wrong today; is just not my day; maybe that is what she was thinking.

Q. What does the Open mean to you and what would it means to win it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: My first Grand Slam that I got to the Finals, my first -- my best appearance before Wimbledon. So it is a nice tournament, only Slam in the States; nice to win at home.

Q. You said that against Arantxa it was your serve and then all week you have been working on the serve and it has been getting progressively better; yet some of the biggest serves today were the slowest; it was all location. How big was that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: These days I am not going always for a lot of power. When you go for a lot of power you really have to focus because you will slam it in the net instead of, you know, getting it over, so, really making the girl take a few steps is more important than maybe hitting the ball -- of course a lot of times I do try to hit the ball right at the person because it kind of throws you off, but if you can get them to move a couple of steps, they are off balance; that is probably more important than all types of power because it is just in there and in their zone --

Q. How important a role does your height play in your game?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It is an advantage especially the fact that I move very well and that I can bend very low, but, say, if I was slow and not very flexible then it probably would be a disadvantage. And also my reach like at the net, I feel these days, confident that if I come in - I don't come in that often - but if I do, most likely I am going to win the point because of my reach.

Q. When you made that running forehand winner in the third set, did you kind of recognize that was pretty special? Can you sense that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, that doesn't happen very often. It doesn't happen very often. I was just going for broke. I had no other opportunities except for that shot and it happened. At first I thought it was going to go in the net, but it just kept going over.

Q. Do you think you'd get to the ball? She is up there ready to, you know, put it a away?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It was all very surprising (Laughs) because a lot of times there is players who are always scrambling like that and maybe always hitting shots, but I am usually on the offense and I am not usually running, dead run with no opportunity, so for me that was really great because I don't always do that and so it was definitely a shot that doesn't happen very much.

Q. Is that part of that mental toughness you were talking about because probably most other players wouldn't have even gotten to the ball?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I just-- I was in the corner, she had a great opportunity, hit a winner, so just took off and it is really not like me to run out of a corner; I usually watch both sides, but this time the court was so open that I had to get over there and surprised I didn't over run it because I got their pretty fast.

Q. You were moving though that corner before she hit the ball?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, because I was so out of position I was almost in the alley; that if she would have hit it back to me that would have been not the smartest shot.

Q. You said out on the court hopefully will be back if all things go right. I mean, are you thinking of your tennis future in the short-term now or still looking to play as long as you can and then decide later?

VENUS WILLIAMS: You never know what is going to happen. Like I didn't foresee that I was going to be out for the first part of the year. I would have never guessed that this time last year, and you never know what is going to happen. So under all the right circumstances, I will be back. Things don't go right, hopefully I will still be alive and happy and healthy.

Q. You talked about last year taking the Australian off rather than jumping back in the -- any decision to hold the Australian trip, the Olympics that (inaudible)--

VENUS WILLIAMS: IT is tough for the players, but for me it would be a good strategic move as far as playing the Australian Open because I don't have any points coming off. I will be just ready to rack up points, so it would actually move me closer to the No. 1 spot. Because now I am trying hard as I can, but in the last three weeks I haven't been able to gain any points and won here last year and San Diego and Stanford I had final appearances last year, so I have only been able to gain about maybe 300 points after all these wins, so I am trying hard. Next week actually will be a big opportunity for me to capitalize so I got to focus in.

Q. How bad do you want to be No. 1?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I want to get there, but most of all like right now I want to prepare myself to be No. 1 because -- I have never been there. From what I heard, it is tough to stay on top once you get there, so I started thinking that my preparation is coming now by learning to play consistently day in and day out so, when I get there, it will be a good time because I think it will happen. But not this year, that will be tough unless like the girls ahead of me lose a lot and I am not going to play very much in the fall.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Thank you.

QueenO
Jun 19th, 2002, 01:58 AM
August 28, 2000

V. WILLIAMS/A. Sidot
6-3, 6-4

An interview with:

VENUS WILLIAMS

MODERATOR: Questions for Venus.

Q. What is the feeling in having your first match here under your belt with such high expectations that you have and people have of you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't feel any pressure at all. I feel like I'm playing good tennis, and all I can do is add on to it. It's nice to be moving on to the second round.

Q. You've won 20 straight matches now. Serena rang the Stock Exchange this morning. You're on a serious hot streak. Do you feel like a hot commodity?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Stock's up, high tide. Trying to keep it that way.

Q. The WTA, everyone says it's like the Williams Tennis Association now. Is that a family ambition?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I guess we've kind of won two of the last four Grand Slam singles in the last year, so that's pretty good. We want to take this one, too. Either one of us. That would be nice.

Q. With your streak since Wimbledon, what kind of confidence do you feel now?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I feel really confident. Even when I'm playing badly, I feel like I'm going to win the match or for some reason, one way or another, things are going to go my way. It's a good feeling to have. It's when you know you're confident, when you can play well on most of the big points.

Q. When your serve isn't quite up to the standard you want it to be, as it was tonight, is it usually one thing that's off?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, usually just one or two things: a bad knee bend, usually I'm pulling my head down, or my toss is too low. I think also like I'm not seeing it clearly in my mind how I want to hit it, and I feel jumbled.

Q. Can you self-correct it in the match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I can. I think to self-correct also takes a little bit of slowing down, taking some pace off the ball, stepping back, then kind of starting from A again.

Q. On an off day, when you have a practice day, how do you iron that out?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Get serious. Mostly I have to tell myself I have a great serve, ^ where is the problem, Venus? Usually like in a larger match, especially this year, I'm serving quite well. I cut down on my errors. I think mostly it's just mental.

Q. You've had six months off, haven't you, yet you still won Wimbledon. How do you do that? How do you win matches with all that time off?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. Start happening. I was a good player all along. I just was unable to win some of the larger matches for one reason or another. Then I started coming out on top. I think that was the main difference. I was just tired of walking into the locker room as the loser.

Q. What do you think of all the hype? So much has been said about you and Serena rather than Lindsay and Martina who are the 1 and 2 seeds.

VENUS WILLIAMS: You write it; I didn't. What do you think? We got some good records speaking for themselves. We didn't make it up; our racquets did it all.

Q. How inconsistent would you say your serve is? How big is the gap from when you're serving your best to when you're serving your worst?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, I don't know. I think today a lot of my balls were going long on the first serve. A lot of them I didn't think were long. I didn't like that. But as far as my serve, the gap, I don't know. Sometimes it's quite large. A lot of times it's pretty even.

Q. What has been the most fun thing you've done since winning Wimbledon? Did you celebrate any way? Did you wear your dress to the party?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I went to an amusement park. I didn't get on the rides because they give me a headache, but I ate as much as I could. I mean like just all types of junk food, candy, fries, everything I could eat that was junk food. Pickles, that was really fun. I'm not a big eater. To have a lot of junk food, that's fine. I went surfing once. Finally there was some surf in Florida. I was at home. My knees weren't sore like in the past so I went surfing.

Q. Which beach?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Melbourne, Florida. Central Florida.

Q. You talked a lot about how Wimbledon was a dream come true for you. Serena talked about how The Open was her dream. Now that you've fulfilled those things, what do you want now?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Right now, to win The Open, more than anything at this particular moment.

Q. How important is becoming No. 1?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think it's definitely a goal of mine, especially since I'm a competitor on the tour. There's no way that I'm going to say, "I'm happy at No. 3, I like it here." Definitely I'm trying to move forward. I've been trying hard to, just been moving at a slow pace. You can see I've been trying. It's just not coming till right now. To do well here, I would be able to begin a lot of points, and starting next year at the Australian and even the French.

Q. You're one of a handful of players who are undefeated here under the lights. Can you talk about the experience of playing under the lights?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I like playing at night. There was a point in my career when I was young where I had never played in the daytime. When I played in the daytime, it was very strange. But, yeah, I'm kind of used to it. I thought I would play first night match on Monday, so I was ready for it.

Q. Given what happened prior to Wimbledon, have you been surprised by your injuries?

VENUS WILLIAMS: As far as what happened?

Q. Your injury, not playing that much. I think you played the French, then you played Wimbledon. Winning Wimbledon, then having the run of success that you've had, does that surprise you at all, your winning streak?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Not really. I've worked hard. I feel I deserve this. It would be different if I hadn't worked hard and all of a sudden it's here because all those who aren't working hard and working hard on the right things, it's just not happening for them. So, sure, everybody has their opportunity. Hopefully I'll keep playing like this and my opportunity will be for years to come.

Q. Did you feel like it was maybe beneficial to be away a little bit?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Sure, I guess so. I can't change what happened. Maybe it did help me. Who knows, maybe I would have won Wimbledon anyway or even the Australian or the French. It's tough to say. Whatever happened, it happened for the good. Now I'm healthy.

Q. You and Serena are planning a fashion course. Can you tell us about that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm going back to school in October. After this October, I'll be halfway finished. Going to be some long nights, but I'll get through it. It's only 11 weeks.

Q. Why do you want to do that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Because, first, I have a short attention span. I have to be doing something different at all points. This is what I want to do. I don't want to play too many tournaments in the fall, as far as going overseas, things like that. I don't really feel I want to do that.

Q. You're talking about going back to school at Fort Lauderdale?

VENUS WILLIAMS: (Nodding head.)

Q. You won't be playing --?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm going to compete in two tournaments. That's about it. I'm not going to go overseas for another four or six weeks.

Q. You will play the Chase Championships?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. I feel that my best bet is just to start next year at the Australian and all throughout the spring and some of the summer. I have no points to defend. I can start strong there.

QueenO
Jun 19th, 2002, 01:59 AM
August 30, 2000

V. WILLIAMS/ K. Hrdlickova
6-1, 6-1

An interview with:

VENUS WILLIAMS

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Venus, please.

Q. In general, how do you feel about the way you're playing?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I feel very well. I felt my forehand down the line right now isn't where I want it to be. I feel like I'm rushing a little bit, not enough top spin. But other than that, I feel confident. Especially in the big points. I feel like it's gonna go my way. I think also today I had a few service games when I was down 30-love and I was able to serve myself out of it or hit myself out of it, whichever way. So that was a good point.

Q. As you ascend in your career, do you think it's good to have a rival like Martina, plays completely different, tests you in different ways. Do you feel it's helped you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I haven't even thought about that. I think what's helped me the most is getting out there and practicing.

Q. But when you go into a match against somebody who's not a power-player, do you feel that you can still play the same way and that she's not going to try to do something to throw you off?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think definitely when you play someone who has less power you feel like they aren't going to overpower you. You don't feel like they're going to hit winners or serve me off the court. So in a way you feel you have as much time as you need to set your point up or to take your time.

Q. So you're never concerned that she's going to try to throw you off by being patient or trying to outguess you on certain points, anything like that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I don't feel very -- TV is distracting. (Laughter.) I don't feel too much pressure. I think I have as much pressure as I put against myself, or as many mistakes usually depends on how the outcome of the match is.

Q. What have you been happy about in the way you've played in your first two matches and what have you been disappointed in?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, the first match I didn't play very well. In this match I played much better, especially as far as serving better. I think I returned a little better, too. I think the most thing I'm proud of is just the 30-All points or the 30-40 points, things like that. I think that would be the high point.

Q. Is it a progression as you get along in the tournament to be prepared for the tougher players?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think the best preparation is starting before the tournament and even like in these rounds just concentrating on every point, even if you have 5-Love, 40-Love, just to really be closing it out and playing point-for-point and focusing to get yourself ready for the Finals and things like that, the later rounds.

Q. Do you prefer playing somebody like Martina as opposed to somebody like Lindsay?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Doesn't make any difference. But usually I do like to play the higher-ranked player.

Q. Is something going on in your head that's saying, "Wimbledon?" Do you feel more self-assured than you would have say a year ago?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. I just think that now I'm willing to go for it, I'm willing to do the right things at the right moment. Maybe that's what it is. Because it takes a lot of guts, like not to be afraid. And in the end, you're afraid, match is over. All you can say is, "Hey, I have a lot of fear." It holds you back. Just doing the right things at the right time.

Q. When you played your sister in the Final at the Lipton and then in Wimbledon, there were crucial points in the match where Serena seemed to get tight or nervous against you, they turned out to be decisive points in the match. Do you think she's overcome that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. This is a very, very complicated question. (Laughter.) I think that Serena plays very well under pressure. I think we both play well coming from behind as well as playing in front. And I think those two matches where I played against her we played with each other every day, I know her game, she knows my game. I just think maybe at the Lipton Final I had a little more top spin than what she did. That's why I won that match, I was running every ball down. As far as Wimbledon, I guess I was able to hold serve a little bit more. At Wimbledon it was a game of serves, basically. Whoever was holding serve more was winning the match. So a couple breaks here and there made the decision.

Q. Of course it's different when there's several thousand people crowded around.

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, we like that. We feel badly if there's no one there and we're playing on a small court. If we're playing in a tournament and the tournament puts us on a small court, to us that means they don't want us to come back.

Q. If you knew you were assured of making the Finals, would you prefer that it's Serena you're playing against or someone else?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, yeah, I would love to play Serena in the Finals. I would pick her to play. Of course whatever I pick doesn't make a difference because that's decided between all the players. But sure, I'd play her.

Q. You say it takes guts to overcome fear. Can you go back three years, you walked in this place, you were new to it, was there fear there?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I was just playing tennis. To be honest, I don't know what I was thinking about. I never thought of things like if it's deuce at 4-All, maybe you should get your first serve in. I was young. I didn't know anything that you learn over time as far as playing matches. So I was just playing tennis and basically playing pretty good, I guess.

Q. John McEnroe is quoted in this week's edition of The New Yorker as saying, "Any good male college player could beat the Williams sisters and so could any man on the Senior Tour." I interviewed him and he reiterated that by saying, "If and when I ever do beat the Williams, Venus or Serena, whoever it is, all the money I make from the match will go to charity." Any comment on, first of all, his remark about women's tennis? And, secondly, would you ever consider playing John McEnroe?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know if I could fit him in my schedule right now. (Laughter.) I'm actually booked until April but... Other than that, hey, if he thinks that's the way to think. But I don't care who I'm going to play, I'm going to give myself the advantage because in my mind I can't go out there thinking I'm going to lose, if you do that, you're already a set down.

Q. I asked your sister the same thing yesterday. She acknowledged men are stronger --

VENUS WILLIAMS: If you're playing a college player, they just aren't as smart. They don't understand what it is to be at 30-All, 40-All in a big situation. They don't understand these things. So, therefore -- I played a lot of guys that were a lot stronger than me and I was smarter. Also, I think maybe off the serve. For instance, if I'm playing a guy off the serve, they may be stronger. But from off the ground, a lot of times I can play very well. But this is not important. I have a career and it's very successful.

Q. Specifically with John, though, do you think you could take him because of his age?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I don't think it's fair to put a 20-year-old against a 40-something person. So I'll let that pass.

Q. Can you see the way Tiger Woods is dominating in his sport, do you ever wonder if it's possible for you or for your sister, for anybody to dominate this way in this sport?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, yeah, sure, it's been done. Navratilova went a year and lost only one match. When Monica was out in the early '90s, she had all types of winning streaks. And Steffi won four Grand Slams in one year plus the Olympics. So, sure, it's been done.

Q. Have you taken any -- seen what he's done now, have you said to yourself --

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't really watch golf. It goes a little too slow. But that guy, he seems to be a real winner, to say the least.

Q. When you go down to Sydney, would you be disappointed if you didn't bring home the Gold for the US?

VENUS WILLIAMS: That seems so far away right now. Days are passing pretty slow. By the time this Open is over, I'll have time to think about it. Right now, flying to Australia seems like a long way. When I get there, I think my chances are pretty good, to be honest.

Q. Does that -- is that a bit of a distraction in this tournament? Are you able to put Sydney off right now and say, "Right now I've got to focus on the US Open and that's down the road"?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think for a tennis player it isn't as exciting as for a track-and-field person. The Grand Slams for us is where it's at. Tennis hasn't yet been high-profile at the Olympics. Plus, for one of us players it's going to be very mental for us to go from here straight to the Olympics. The US team has to leave the 12th and that's going to be tough for us. Basically we're going to say, "Hey, ready to play again." I think it's going to be a lot of fun but it will be a long run.

Q. Is there any athlete down there you're looking forward to seeing?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't believe we're staying in the Village. Not really. Just gonna play tennis and rest some, hopefully go to the beach.

Q. I know every tournament you go into you consider yourself a favorite, but is it any different for you now that in this tournament you're considered by many, "The favorite," particularly because of your success?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think it's a nice thing. I've been playing pretty well. How many wins is this now?

Q. Twenty-one.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Twenty-one, yeah, it's nice. It's been a long time since I've experienced a loss. So it's a good feeling. What was the question? (Laughing.)

Q. The question was I know you consider yourself a favorite at most tournaments. Now that you're considered one of the favorites, is it different? Do you feel yourself being treated differently by the crowd, the media?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I definitely think when the players walk out on the court with me they feel a little bit intimidated possibly. I don't think they feel they can run through me, or more or less even win the match. I think they're gonna come out and give a good effort, but I don't really think they feel in their hearts that they can win.

Q. You talked before about some of the men's players on the Senior Tour and also in college. Where do you think your serve would rate among the men?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Now that I've improved my second serve, right up there with a lot of the guys, I believe. But I'm a lady. I don't want to play with men's Tours. The lady's Tour is where it's good to be at right now. I want to be right here.

Q. Where does it rate among the ladies?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I would say I'm the best. Serena has a very good serve, too. As far as placement, her serve would be better than mine. As far as serving off the tees, I don't always have the best place in my serve. I think my serve's the best. I'm sure if you asked her, she'd say her serve was the best.

Q. Pete Sampras took a shot at your serve the other day. He said, "To be honest, I don't think she knows where it's going."

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think I know where it's going.

Q. Serena, yesterday -- she looks much more muscular. Is it genetics? Has she been working out?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, it's genetics. Serena's not going to the gym. She's always been like that, even when she was little. When she was little, she was small and short, but she was muscular and cut. According to the teachers, she would be showing her muscles, threatening people. But she's always been like that.

QueenO
Jun 19th, 2002, 02:00 AM
September 1, 2000

V. WILLIAMS/M. Shaughnessy
7-6, 6-1

An interview with:

VENUS WILLIAMS

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Venus.

Q. Now about those double-faults.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I was pulling down too quickly. I think the main problem was that I wasn't seeing like how I wanted to hit it clearly in my mind so it was not translating, how I'm hitting the ball. So I couldn't stop hitting the net. No matter how hard I tried, at one point there, I couldn't stop hitting serves in the net. So...

Q. How did you go about self-correcting that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, by the time the second set rolled around, I think it was pretty much at an end or after those two double-faults in the tiebreak. I got over with it.

Q. How much of a wake-up call was this, she was up 3-0?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I mean I don't think it was a wake-up call at all. She did play well to get up 3-Love, it's not like I gave it to her. She hit some nice shots, she had nice strategy. You expect people to come out and play well, especially in a Grand Slam. I have a lot of points -- she has a lot of points to gain if she defeats me. Unfortunately for her it didn't happen tonight.

Q. At that point is it a matter of confidence? You've been in those situations so many times.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Sure, I think that's it. There's a lot of points there where I could have lost where I managed to come through, a lot of balls that I moved up to. Whereas in the past, even a lot of other players would not have went forward just to attack. So I think that helped me out a lot on my side.

Q. Did you feel you had to break it up by starting --?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I thought the points would be quicker and more effective. Whenever she was on a run, she hit some hard balls. The only time she generated power was when I gave her power. Other than that, she was hitting topspin balls. I felt like I wasn't going to feed her too much.

Q. Was your serve on your mind all day? You were out there doing a little bit of work on it this afternoon?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I think the last match I served quite well, but today I just -- I think one of the main reasons I wasn't getting a lot of first serves in is that puts a lot of pressure on your second serve. Especially today, she was returning very well, that makes you think more. Also, I was thinking about it much too much. Some of the serves when I wasn't thinking about it, I was thinking about something totally different, suddenly you hit a great second serve. So I have to stop thinking too much.

Q. Can you speak a little bit about how much your self-confidence has grown since you became the Wimbledon champion?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well... I was pretty good before that.

Q. Perhaps it hasn't.

VENUS WILLIAMS: But I guess now I've been winning quite a few. I guess I have the longest streak this year, these days, after this match. That's nice. I think it's gonna be pretty hard to break that this year for anybody. But as far as confidence, I feel like that in the big points, in the big situations, I'm at an advantage. Like I'm not gonna back down or make mistakes for no reason at all, as I might have done in the past.

Q. Is it possible even to trace that kind of level of desire and confidence back from winning a Grand Slam?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I mean in order to win a Grand Slam, a lot of things have to start before that. So it's not like all of a sudden I won Wimbledon. I started working hard before. And now it's mine, I suppose. But it's just a matter of stepping up at the right time. Willing to step up.

Q. You mentioned the other day that you thought maybe some people, when you play them, might be a little intimidated when they come on the court against you. How did it feel to have a challenge, someone come up there and say, "Hey, I'm gonna try to do some different things."

VENUS WILLIAMS: I've seen her play before against Monica and I saw her do the same exact thing so today I was ready. But she played very well, was mixing up her shots. There was nothing I could do about it at that time. But I was -- started reading where she was hitting, and just a few shots that she likes more than others. So I'm a smart player; I'm watching what's happening.

Q. Did you enjoy the competition?

VENUS WILLIAMS: That's the first thing I said when I walked out on the court when I was in warm-up. Just to make sure I love competing, I'm enjoying the competition. If so, then you're playing a little better, she's gonna hit this shot on me, I'm gonna hit this shot on her. So on and so forth.

Q. You think your winning streak can keep going for an unlimited time?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Sure seems that way. But one match at a time. Who do I play next? No one knows. I think it was Coetzer and Serna. I'll play Serna. I prefer to play a higher-ranked player but you can't pick the draw.

Q. Last night your sister shared with us some of her favorite Internet sites.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Pardon me?

Q. Last night your sister shared with us some of her favorite Internet sites. I was wondering if you could talk about the places you go on the web.

VENUS WILLIAMS: You know, I go to Hotmail, CNNSI, Yahoo, I used to go to Artnet.com. I don't go very much anymore because the site stopped loading correctly. But I'm not very big with the Internet. As far as, sure, using it, but I don't look around a lot.

Q. When you go back to school, did you think about designing some dresses for your dolls?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Dolls?

Q. Yeah, for the dolls. Designing some for them.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah.

Q. You're going back to school, right?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, yeah. That's a possibility.

Q. At any time during the first set did you feel tight at all?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, sure. I felt a little bit tight because I was thinking about what I'm gonna do to turn this around, and also I think the only main reason I felt tight is because my first two matches, even last week, my balls have been flying long. So now I'm trying to stay low so they won't fly. But today I saw that they weren't flying so I was feeling a lot better. I was able to hit out a lot more.

Q. Is your wrist binding just a precaution?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It's like something I have to do before I play or else --.

Q. Since your injury?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Hmm? I have to do it.

QueenO
Jun 19th, 2002, 02:03 AM
September 5, 2000

V. WILLIAMS/N. Tauziat
6-4, 1-6, 6-1

An interview with:

VENUS WILLIAMS

MODERATOR: Questions for Venus.

Q. Did you have a problem with the wind?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, not really, no.

Q. You mentioned earlier this tournament that you haven't really had a chance to get away from this stadium, this area, that it's one thing after another.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I've been here all day for four days now.

Q. Would you ever think of giving up doubles with your sister?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, it wasn't that. It's just the rain. Usually we can leave at 5:00 or so on and so forth. It's like yesterday we didn't leave till 10:00. The day before, it's the same thing. Some days I have night matches. Pretty fatiguing.

Q. Getting a little claustrophobic here?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I think it's tough because there's really nowhere to go.

Q. In that second set today, she was putting a lot of pressure on you, you were like sleepwalking.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I was a little bit upset, but I managed to get through.

Q. What was going on in your mind during that set?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I guess I didn't play up to par.

Q. Any reason?

VENUS WILLIAMS: There's no excuse. Just didn't play.

Q. Did you have a hard time getting warm out there?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, not at all. Pretty warm.

Q. The way you played in the first set, are you upset?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't feel I had my best performance, to say the least. In the end, the win is on the record. I move forward.

Q. Was it her serve or your serve frustrating you most?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't feel her serve was really threatening. I just was not returning well today. Usually my return is my strong point. Couldn't keep the ball in, so I had to take some pace off.

Q. You spoke earlier in the week about the fact that some players may come out there and be intimidated by you right off the bat. When you think about that, what are your thoughts? Do you feel like it gives you a huge edge?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I guess so. I don't know. I really don't know.

Q. Nicolas Kiefer said he's been somewhat affected by all the dignitaries at the UN, had to change hotel rooms and hotels. Have you felt that with any transportation problems?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. We had a nice time this morning. It was just a regular transport. He's staying at the UN?

Q. The UN Plaza, right across the street. He was.

VENUS WILLIAMS: That's a bad choice. But, no.

Q. You haven't noticed any traffic jams or anything?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Not at all.

Q. Coming up to the Shaughnessy match where your game wasn't top-notch, does that add to the frustration, thinking about the match before you played Tauziat? There were times like she looked like she was giving you a hard time.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think I played pretty good since Shaughnessy. I think she played well, had a nice game plan. Soon as I caught wind of it, I was able to come through. Today I don't think I played my best tennis.

Q. Do you put that down to the wind? What other circumstances came into play?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think a lot of times I was rushing sometimes, when I really could have just taken my time and hit some nice passing shots or some lobs. I don't think I had the opportunity to hit a lot of lobs because she hits a low volley. I didn't try for a lot of lobs.

Q. How different is it to play a serve and volleyer versus the baseliners?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I just think that you feel that your time is just taken away from you a little bit. It's okay. The match goes quicker.

Q. When you said you were upset, were you upset with yourself and how you were playing?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes. I never get upset when I'm playing, but today I was -- it was very strange.

Q. When you fell from the chair, did you think it was one of those bad days?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I really missed (laughter).

Q. What did you change for the third set?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I really didn't do anything much better. I just made a few more shots, maybe a little bit more determined. I'm sure she wanted to win, was very determined, too. Just had an extra edge. A lot of experience maybe.

Q. Usually when people struggle, people come through, they're happy. You're not seeming too thrilled.

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I thought I had quit playing tennis like that. But once again -- been a little while since I played a match like that. I can't accept these type of things.

Q. Have you missed a chair before?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Never.

Q. Any thoughts about how, why?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I was just angry. I just couldn't see.

Q. Do you think this was the worst match you've played in your streak, this particular streak?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I don't know. Well, yes. This is one of the worst, yeah.

Q. Worst set, that second set?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, yeah. That was definitely the worst set. I couldn't compete very well. I wasn't competing well.

Q. What's this streak like for you, Venus?

VENUS WILLIAMS: 24.

Q. Are you enjoying the way it's unfolding?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, sure. Hey, who wants to lose? I don't like it.

Q. Do you think about it before you go out?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I think about it after I'm finished; not before I go out.

Q. You're on this fabulous streak, yet you've had some really rough days: Today, Shaughnessy, Fraizer in Palo Alto.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Shaughnessy really wasn't a rough day. I think you guys think it was. She played well, and so did I. Against Fraizer, yeah, don't know how I won that one. Couldn't keep any balls in. She played magnificent. Managed to come through.

Q. Will you scout at all the Seles/Hingis match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't really think I need to because they would have to start serve-volleying, start slicing their backhand for them to be doing something drastically different. I don't think they're going to do it. I've played both of them in the past. Most of all, I have to believe in my game because when I'm worried about them, then I have a real problem.

Q. How much better are you going to have to play to beat Martina especially, or Monica?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I guess I'll have to play a little bit better. I'll always play better when it comes to the big match.

Q. Martina has been asked all week what it's been like for her to be kind of out of the spotlight, meaning that the spotlight is focused on you and your sister. She says that's an advantage for her because it takes pressure off. Do you feel the spotlight on you, any more pressure on you? Do you feel that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. Tennis is just a game really. The best competitor will win. If you start taking it too seriously, that's when it gets to be pressure.

Q. Did you realize you were getting angry at yourself? Did you have a little inner battle saying, "I've got to calm down"?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I was trying hard not to stomp my feet, swing my racquet around. I'm not used to that. Some players show a lot of emotion, but usually I don't. Pretty calm and collected, moving on to the next point. Today I wasn't always able to. That was maybe the main battle for me, why I didn't play well also. I was too busy thinking about the points before, not focusing ahead.

QueenO
Jun 19th, 2002, 02:05 AM
September 8, 2000

V. WILLIAMS/M. Hingis
4-6, 6-3, 7-5

An interview with:

VENUS WILLIAMS

MODERATOR: Questions for Venus.

Q. What did you think was the turning point in the match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I was really making quite a few errors, especially off her service game, until -- well, all the whole match, actually. My balls, it seemed, kept flying long, so I had to tame my shots. I just kept fighting and kept staying in there. Eventually things worked out.

Q. You seemed to have really worked on your net game. That helped you today. Can you talk about how you tried to improve that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I mean, really, Serena and I, we have three Grand Slam titles in doubles, and we have two in mixed. Pretty good volleyer. I just never got to the net that often. And when I did, I missed my shots. I think today I missed only one volley, and all my swinging volleys were perfect, mostly winners, I guess, except for maybe one. And I felt that whenever I moved forward, I had a better opportunity, and it was working out.

Q. When you were down 5-3, what was your mindset at that point?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. It went very fast after that. I just kept slugging, fighting away. Just had to cut back my unforced errors. I think a few times I moved forward at the right times, and I managed to convert.

Q. Was there a point where you said, "I've got to dig in right now"? You knew the match was on the line.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, actually, yeah, at 5-4, I thought, "Well, I waited till the last minute to break, this is the last opportunity." I was thinking that.

Q. People really like watching you two play. How much do you enjoy playing her?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, it's a great time. I think the only time that I don't have a good time is when I'm making those errors. But as long as I keep myself under control, it's pretty successful, actually.

Q. You mouthed the words saying, "Unbelievable," what was so unbelievable?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Just the fact that I really was not playing well today and I was down 5-3. It really just seemed like all of a sudden the match was over. That was pretty unbelievable.

Q. How much of a difference was your will to win? Even when you're not playing well, Martina could not close it out, but your will seemed to carry you through.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, yeah. I've got a pretty big heart these days. I really didn't want to lose. I felt that I should have an opportunity. This is my opportunity, I should take it, and that it wasn't over, even though it was 5-3. It was only one break. There weren't too many breaks of serve in this match. But I felt like, "This is my opportunity, I deserve to be in the finals, and I just need to go ahead and get it done."

Q. Is that the biggest difference, do you think, in the way you play, especially during this winning streak, that determination and finding a way?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I guess so. I've been around a little bit. I know a few more things, and I'm just trying my best to take my opportunities. Because when you don't, they're gone, and the next person goes on.

Q. What are your thoughts on playing Lindsay tomorrow? Is there any thought of tonight you have the chance to avenge Serena's loss?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, the only thing I felt about Serena's loss, I felt she -- she didn't play well actually in any way, shape or form. And I felt bad that like she had to learn a lesson like that. I feel that like it should have been me, that I should have lost like that, so she could have taken the example from me and not have to suffer in such a manner. Usually that's how it goes. So I felt really bad about that. I felt like I wish I could have taken the loss for her.

Q. But seeing how Lindsay played against her, the strategy she used, she said she's going to try to do something similar to that tomorrow against you. Can you look at that and say, "Now I know what I have to go against her"?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think Lindsay played well, but I think most of all, Serena played badly. She wouldn't make any shots. She was hitting across the ball." Serena, what are you doing today?"

Q. Where was Serena today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: In Florida.

Q. She's already gone home?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Her and her dog have left.

Q. When did she leave?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yesterday.

Q. Did you see your father leave?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Sometimes. He was in and out. I didn't see him at all times.

Q. After that dropshot?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Which one? The one I made or the one I missed?

Q. The one you missed.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, yeah (laughter). That was some shot, huh? In the heat of the moment. I have a pretty good dropshot these days actually, so it worked out.

Q. You don't get at all disconcerted to see him get up and walk out in the middle of a game?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, because I don't rely on my parents. Usually I have it all figured out, what I'm going to do. And, sure, sometimes if you're playing bad, they'll say, "Come on, let's go, get it done, you can do it," things like that. That's okay. But as far as strategy, I've got it all figured out. I don't really need too much to look at the box.

Q. You seemed to look at the friends box often in the match. What's the chemistry?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I didn't hear you.

Q. You seem to look at the friends box, your supporters, during the match. What is the chemistry that is happening when you look up at them?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, like today, I wasn't playing well, so I kept looking to them to say, "Come on, you can do it," things like that. But like in my other matches, usually I don't look at the box too much. But today I really felt like I needed more motivation because I just kept making these unforced errors. I felt that, sure, she was going to beat me, that would be fine, but just to make it so easy for her was unacceptable.

Q. It doesn't faze you when your dad's not there?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about the strategy you used today as opposed to '97 when you first played Martina?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, boy, '97, I was just a yearling. I have no regrets in '97 because I just -- I didn't know what I was doing basically.

Q. But your game is much better and smarter now, you feel?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, yeah, definitely much better. My serve is better. Maybe my thought process also is much better, to say the most important thing as far as the difference. You know, Martina, she played well. She took advantage of me because I didn't know what was going on.

Q. Forget about the rankings. Tomorrow, if you beat Lindsay, do you feel like having a Wimbledon under your belt, this tremendous streak of wins, that you would be the No. 1 player for the year?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I'm still No. 3. But in my heart, I don't feel like I'm walking out there and playing against a player that is better than me. If I felt that way, I don't feel I'd be able to succeed.

Q. Obviously Lindsay is a much different opponent than Martina. How will your approach differ against her?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I just think that I'll play my game, do my best, and usually that doesn't go wrong. Today I didn't play so well. But I did do my best. Well, maybe I didn't, but I tried hard.

Q. You said you didn't feel like you played with passion in the first set. What did you mean?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I felt like -- I wasn't even grunting. I usually grunt. Even in practice I'm grunting. I was like missing too many shots into the rallies. I felt like I wasn't giving it my all. My feet weren't moving, I didn't want to move to shots. That was not me.

Q. What will you do tomorrow to prevent that from happening again?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't think it's going to happen again tomorrow. I think maybe I just didn't want to hit a lot of shots today. But I think also there were a lot less shots than, for example, Wimbledon, or even last year in the semifinals, because I came to the net a lot more, I took a lot more balls out of the air.

Q. Lindsay once said that Martina's problem is she can't dictate points against you and your sister. What is this about dictating points?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Against other players I believe she's dictating the points more, hitting them on the run, they're hitting them back to her.

Q. What is dictating the points?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It means the next person is on the defense and you're choosing what happens in the point. I think that her game is not made for that as far as when she's playing against someone like me or Serena or Lindsay. She's playing against other players, yeah. But I guess she would have to practice more of a power game. Maybe that's just not her. Everybody has to use what they have. I think she uses that well.

Q. What has been the biggest turnaround in your rivalry with Lindsay? What do have to do to continue to win against her?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I stopped. I didn't like losing that way. It was just too much. I felt if I lost one more match like that I'd have to retire, really.

Q. What is a cooler name, Venus or Tiger?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Whatever you think. I love my name. What do you mean? I'm not a tiger. If I was a girl, my name was Tiger, I think it would be strange.

Q. Your streak is carrying you. Lindsay is playing some of the best tennis she's played. She's fully healthy. Will this raise the stakes as opposed to last time you met, a higher-level match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I hope so. At Wimbledon, it was a nice match. I guess it wasn't one of our best matches. I think two weeks later at Stanford, it was a little bit more maybe competitive, although it was an easier score line. But I think tomorrow I'll play well. This is the final of a Grand Slam. Everything's at stake. I'm not going to give anything away, the best I can.

Q. Did you feel when you started grunting, everything would be all right?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I felt if I started grunting, I think my effort level would be a lot higher.

Q. What about the Olympics? Are you guys still planning on playing doubles?

VENUS WILLIAMS: We hope to. I love playing doubles. I like having a Grand Slam in doubles. It's nice to see them add up.

Q. Is she still going to come to the Olympics with you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. That's the plan. I haven't seen anything in the papers that says she wasn't.

Q. With Martina and Lindsay over the last day talking about how they were teaming up against you guys, did you see that as fun or "Bring it on"?

VENUS WILLIAMS: These days it's like WWF Wrestling.

Q. Martina said in her press conference she feels she took a lot out of you physically. That inadvertently may help Lindsay tomorrow. Would you agree with that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't agree because for me it's no excuse to say, "I was tired, that's why I lost." If you're an athlete, you have to get out there and you have to be ready. Whether or not I'm tired has nothing to do with whether I win or lose. I don't have time to be tired during the match. After the match, sure, I can go lay down and sleep. Tomorrow, will be no excuse. I'm not going to be tired. In my mind, I'm fresh, I haven't even played a match.

Q. How tired are you right now?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm not tired. I'm young. I shouldn't be tired.

Q. Given the quality and the closeness of the last 10 or 11 matches between Martina, do you think you versus Martina is the best rivalry in tennis?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. I'm just taking a day at a time.

Q. Which one can be better than you two?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, we've played the most, for sure, a lot of three-set matches.

Q. I'm talking about quality, interest in the public. What could be better than when the two of you play?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know.

Q. When you compare the dynamics, you just compared it to the WWF.

VENUS WILLIAMS: You know, tag team. What do they call it?

Q. Tag team.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Tag team.

Q. How much of it really at the bottom line is hype, just people whipping up a frenzy, and how much is actually felt by you guys?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. Because like, once again, I've been put in the middle of something. I really don't have any concern or thought about it. Everyone these days is out for themselves, no matter what it is. So as far as alliance, I'm not even involved.

Q. When you were playing badly today, all the unforced errors, did you think, "Oh, my God, it's the '99 semifinal revisited"?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm tired of giving opportunities away. It all started at Wimbledon where I just stopped giving things away. Today it was the same way. I didn't play my best, but at the right times I think I moved forward, took some chances and did my best. Anything can happen, and today I was winning.

Q. You had a six-month hiatus from the Tour. You came back and barely lost since. Do you think that was as much of a mental rejuvenation as a physical one?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think maybe I had more time to think about the game, just to simplify it in my mind. But who's to say what would have happened.

Q. Did it make you want to be out there?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. Yeah, I was ready to play. I missed the countries, like visiting different places.

Q. Early in the year, you were being told by your dad, everybody was talking about you retiring. Here you are in the US Open final. What happened? I thought you were done.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I guess school wasn't that important.

Q. Speaking of school, I think they said there were 4,000 people who bought your dolls. Do you consider making some dresses that typify school so that some of the young children that bought your dolls will not just look at them as a tennis player, but think about education, too, because you think about education?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. I guess maybe I'm known as much as a school girl as a tennis player, get away from school. But I don't know. Right now, I guess the tennis dresses are what needs to be done. Later on hopefully maybe there will be other outfits.

Q. Are you thinking about not going back to school this fall, playing more tennis?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I want to play more.

Q. You don't?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I do.

Q. You do?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes.

Q. So you're not going to maybe go back to classes?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm going to go back, because I have to. I can't not go back because I started and I have to get finished. After this term, I'll be halfway done. Two more terms, it will be finished and I can play in the fall again. I could pick one or two destinations that I want to go to and play. But I think I have a good start now. Next year I won't have points coming off, just start strong then, and just get my degree.

Q. Have you seen the Arthur Ashe statue?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I saw a picture in the paper, but it wasn't a very good one.

Q. 25-match winning streak. Do you remember how it feels to lose now?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I know how it feels to be close to losing (laughter). That's a foreign feeling right now, and not a very accepted one for me. If it can continue this way forever, that would be unbelievable. Sure, I like this.

Q. Are you going to win tomorrow?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Let's hope for the best, expect the worst. I think it's a good chance.

Q. Given the off-court conversations and the talk about tag team, would it be sweeter for you to have beaten Hingis and Davenport on the way to thing?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I did that at Wimbledon. That's nice to beat the top seeds. Helps my ranking. I won a Grand Slam in great fashion. Sure, it would be nice.

Q. (Inaudible) personally, though?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't hold any grudges. I'm just competing out here, and that's all.

QueenO
Jun 19th, 2002, 02:06 AM
September 9, 2000

V. WILLIAMS/L. Davenport
6-4, 7-5

An interview with:

VENUS WILLIAMS

MODERATOR: Questions for Venus.

Q. Would you consider this your sweetest victory of the year or is it just satisfying because you felt like you had something to prove and you proved it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I feel that it was a very nice victory because I feel like I played Lindsay when she was playing some of her best tennis, and I won the match. That was nice because I've beaten the No. 1 and No. 2 players in the rankings successively. That's always really exciting when you win a Grand Slam tournament, that you know you performed your best and beat the best performers, too.

Q. No matter what the computer rankings say, you won the two most prestigious tournaments of the year. Do you feel like the best player of the year?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. I feel very good. I've always felt like the best player. I think it's just about an attitude, the kind of attitude you take out there towards your game, towards everything, and it paid off. I wasn't playing too well in the beginning of the week, and even yesterday. But in the end, I guess I did the right things at the right time.

Q. After the match you said something to your father. Were you indicating that you were hurt somewhere?

VENUS WILLIAMS: We were just talking, you know, like fathers and daughters talk.

Q. But you haven't hurt yourself in any way?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No.

Q. Can you talk about your ability to come back? You did it against Martina; you did it again today.

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

Q. Anything going through your head down 4-1 the first set?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I had been playing all the wrong tennis, I felt, and my strategy was not working. So I just had to change it up. And I think it was just some minor changes, but it worked out.

Q. What did you change? What were the changes?

VENUS WILLIAMS: You never noticed?

Q. How does this compare to Wimbledon? You always said Wimbledon was the first you wanted. Now you have this.

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

Q. Can you talk about your emotions from a year ago and how you came back from that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. I guess, as far as tennis, I'm a different person, just making it happen basically. Last year at this time I was watching Serena in the stands, you know, cheering her on. Whenever she made some mistakes, say, "That's okay, Serena." She pulled through.

Q. You didn't look too happy when she won.

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

Q. Did you talk to Serena after this match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, a little bit.

Q. What did she say to you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, "The Brady Bunch" was on TV so we were watching it and talking about how much she loved it.

Q. Did she come back? You said she was in Florida yesterday.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah.

Q. When did she?

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

Q. But you knew she was coming back?

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

Q. Were you disappointed that because of the rain, President Clinton left and wasn't able to see you play? Did you speak to him at all?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, we did. There was a whole interview, I guess, on CBS. We talked about a few things that were pressing in the nation.

Q. Like taxes?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Like taxes (laughter).

Q. What did you say about taxes?

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

Q. Does that mean you're leaning toward Joe --?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't really know that much about the presidential race. I don't read the paper. I think that's the main problem. I don't watch TV. Sometimes I'm -- I don't know what's happening in the country.

Q. Do you vote?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No.

Q. Not registered?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I don't vote.

Q. Can you elaborate on why there aren't too many African Americans in the Top 100 or the Top 50, you're the only two?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I mean, I would say there are more Czechoslovakians and Slovakians in the Top 100 than maybe black people. We just aren't playing that much. I'm only one person. I'm 20 years old. I can't tackle a problem of race. I'm doing my best. I'll do what I can.

Q. I just wanted you to give or elaborate on some factors why you think there aren't any. I know you're an individual person. I just would like to know if you have any idea on what the reason is.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Because we like basketball and football. We just haven't played tennis as of late. Now we're more visible, so it should be going - hopefully turning different ways.

Q. How young were you when you started?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Four. I was around tennis all my life, though. I started at four, but I'm sure I hit some balls before that.

Q. What does it feel like to finally have done what you always thought the two of you would do?

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

Q. Did you carry that feeling when you were down 4-1 in the first set, "I don't want to feel the same way I did last year"?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I felt like I wasn't taking my opportunities very well. I was just missing a little bit too much, maybe even hitting it a little too hard.

Q. Did you feel Lindsay was playing high level?

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

Q. How much do you think you were tested by Martina and Lindsay, and what sort of accomplishment is it to beat 1 and 2 back-to-back, do you think?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I did it at Wimbledon, and I've done it here. I know I can do these things. Yesterday, I really didn't play well. Today, it's a totally different match. It's the finals, and I just was able to keep my game under control because yesterday I had a lot of errors, and today I was just able to keep myself under control.

Q. Lindsay said she felt her serve really let her down in this match. You were five out of eight on break opportunities. Do you feel like you really took advantage of that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Basically if you miss your first serve, you're going to be a little bit vulnerable. I like to see second serves coming. I like to see first serves coming, too, especially if they're not around 110. I don't really feel very intimidated. I just feel that did probably play a role into it because you're always feeling on the defensive, you're always hitting second serves. I was taking some pretty good strikes at some of them. You just got to play your best when you get to the Grand Slam finals, because these days, especially since the 1997 US Open final, no one's giving these finals away.

Q. Do you feel that you get the level of support from the fans here at The Open that you deserve?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think that when I play the lower-ranked players that it's very strange. But like yesterday, I just felt they applauded any point that was good. Today I just really didn't hear them. I don't really remember.

Q. Tauziat match, was that an example?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't remember.

Q. Are you looking forward to the Olympics?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I am. It's tough for the tennis players to go straight from here to the Olympics, but it's okay. I'm looking forward to it. It will be a good experience.

Q. What, other than tennis, will you be looking forward to?

VENUS WILLIAMS: To watching? From what I heard, you have to do a raffle with all the players. By that time I think I'm going to be a little bit tired because I've played a lot. I just am going to look forward to maybe seeing the city because I've never been able to do that before. I think for me that would be more interesting.

Q. The other day you spoke about going back to school. Can you clarify how much time you're going to take away from the tour versus going to school?

VENUS WILLIAMS: School starts in October. It's 11 weeks. So for 11 weeks I'm going to be grinding. I'll play one or two events during that time. It's the fall season. There aren't as many larger tournaments, so I feel like I can take the opportunity to do something a little different.

Q. How many classes?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Six.

Q. Can you discuss the dance that your father did at the end?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It's not a dance really. I don't know why you all say it's a dance. He was just jumping.

Q. But he was looking to you to join him.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know.

Q. You wanted nothing to do with it.

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I really don't remember that.

Q. When you came back to Hamburg after your injury, at that time it was a tough time for you. Could you imagine you could win two Grand Slams in a row?

VENUS WILLIAMS: In my mind I felt like I could, but my game really wasn't there yet. I was really having a tough time keeping my balls in. All my balls were flying three or four feet behind the baseline. Even at Wimbledon, I was still having a little bit of a tough time keeping them in. But I got through it. Now I still feel that way sometimes, but it's better than missing short in the net. That's when you know you're really afraid.

Q. When you were down 4-1, in the past maybe would you have kind of said, "I have to hit more winners, be more aggressive"? It seems like this time you said, "I've got to stay calm, get a break back." Is it accurate to say that's how your approach differed?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It's tough to say because now I think I'm a different competitor than what I was in the past because I was just competing. For me, it didn't matter if I was down 4-1. I was just competing. When I did that, I just managed to get that first set. It wasn't for me about the score; it was about the point and about playing well. I don't know. It's hard to explain. I was playing the game.

Q. When you talk about competing, do you mean on the defensive points when you were running side to side?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Sometimes I do have to get on the defense. I do like to dictate, but still all these two weeks, even last week when I was playing in the tournament before this, my balls are flying, and I can't keep them in. I feel like I have to keep myself under control. Today I didn't hit for corners really hard as much because I wasn't keeping them in. So I used my speed as an ally, I guess.

Q. At Wimbledon you were all excited about going to the gala in the dress you brought from Florida. What do you think you can do here to give yourself a special treat to celebrate this great win?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I've been eyeing this ring for a little while. It's a designer ring. They never go on sale. I believe I'll be able to get that.

Q. What store?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It's at Saks Fifth Avenue in Florida. If it's not there, I'll get a nice piece of jewelry. Just one, though.

Q. You said you've always felt like you've been the best player. Will it affect you or bother you at all when you look at the ranking list and see third?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I've done my best, really I have. It seems like I can't move forward, but I know I will. I will move forward, it's just a matter of time. I haven't given myself a platform to do it.

Q. Does that mean it's your goal till the end of the year to reach the No. 1 spot?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I really won't play enough tournaments. I want to play tournaments. I think at this point I feel like -- see, I have a problem with getting bored. I'll start something and not finish. I went to school, and I have to go back and finish it because I have to finish things in my life.

Q. Does it mean that it's more important, the Grand Slam title than the No. 1 spot?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Grand Slam titles are great because everyone comes out and plays their best tennis. No one gives anything away. You have to stay concentrated because it's such a long period of time, two weeks. Being No. 1 is definitely one of my goals. I've never been there before, so I'm trying.

Q. Do you feel that your mental toughness is something you were born with or is it something you've developed over the years? If so, how do you approach it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think it was something that I was born with, but I think I lost it for a while, then I had to get it back - or else. I had no choice, either stay a mediocre player or move forward. It wasn't easy, but I moved forward.

Q. What are your thoughts on raw talent versus training? You and your sister seem to have a lot of raw talent that your careers have been built on, whereas there are some other players that get high-profile coaches and don't break the Top 5. How important do you think raw talent is versus training?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, you know, I don't know because I think at times it's even harder for the people who have a lot of talent because they don't work as hard, and things come easy. Then the player who doesn't have as much talent, they're working hard, doing their best, then they get on top. The other player is kind of wavering along. Either way you've got to work hard because you've got to build the confidence in what you're doing so you can do it when you're playing in the match situation. Whether you have talent or no talent, you've still got to work hard.

Q. Pete Sampras points to his losing to Edberg here in the final when he had to turn his game around. When did you know that you had to get mentally tough?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I think maybe I was expecting people to give matches to me. Maybe that's what it was. It seemed like I would get to the point where I could take the match, but I didn't, and I would lose it. I think now I've just gotten to the point where I go out and take it, not just hope that someone will give it to me by making mistakes.

Q. You have two majors now. How many can you see yourself in the future getting?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I've never had a goal to have all the Grand Slam titles, more than anyone, more than Margaret Court. I've just had a goal to play good tennis as long as I can.

Q. When you came in and sat down, you looked at the trophy. When you look at the names on there, how do you feel when you know your name is going to be added?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Feels real nice because it's going to be right next to Serena.

Q. You now have the most Grand Slam titles in the Williams family. How does that feel?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. I feel like we have three.

Q. How important is the support from your family?

VENUS WILLIAMS: There was a lot of people this week - sometimes too many. I guess in America, everyone wants to come to The Open, everyone needs a ticket. It's been good. Everyone's trying to help us out.

Q. Who is your pick for tomorrow's match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. It's nice to see the young people win, seeing that I'm one of them. I don't know. I didn't even think about it.

Williams Rulez
Jun 19th, 2002, 02:48 AM
It sure is fun to see things Venus said in the past... especially when she was younger... :p

Thanks guys! :kiss:

QueenO
Jun 19th, 2002, 02:56 PM
V. WILLIAMS/M. Martinez
6-3, 2-6, 6-0

An Interview With:

VENUS WILLIAMS

THE MODERATOR: Questions.

Q. How much did you know about your opponent coming into the match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I didn't know her at all. So basically I didn't know anything.

Q. What do you think now?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think she's a very good player. She plays consistently, and she has a lot of heart.

Q. David Magraph (phonetic). Did the second set only fire you up for the last? Did you get caught by surprise?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I didn't get caught by surprise because I've played enough before to know when you play your opponents if they lose the first set they'll be coming back in the second. I think mostly she played very well. I lost serves a couple of times, twice in a match that was definitely my downfall in the second.

Q. Holding your serve was the key to the third?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. I feel like more than anything else today I served well. I just think I hit a few mistakes at the wrong times in the second set.

Q. Do you find it hard playing the first tournament of the year to get going? You've been tested before in first round matches here.

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, actually I don't find it too hard to get going here. I guess I have had a really -- a couple of strange matches here the first round. But it's a good thing to have a little test in the first round, especially since I haven't played any tournaments prior to this.

Q. How long has it been into the match before you thought your game was really working?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I didn't feel like I was playing my top form throughout the match. I think I served very well though, so I was happy with that.

Q. How concerned were you at the start of the third set?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I was, of course concerned because she was playing well and very consistently. She had a couple of game points on her serve, and somehow I managed to turn it around and after that I was playing okay.

Q. I don't mean to embarrass you at all, but were you having problems with your outfit? You seemed to be tugging away at your top there. Was that a distraction to you at all today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No.

Q. Had you worn that outfit before? Is that new?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, this is a new line.

Q. Are you going to be able to persevere with it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Naturally.

Q. Is it like a two-piece thing or a one-piece construction?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Two-piece.

Q. You're happy about it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, definitely.

Q. Is that something that you designed, I assume?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, no, I didn't design that one.

Q. For our readers, could you describe the make-up? I don't think I could do it. It's not my area of expertise. People are always interested in what you're wearing.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think you'll do a better job than I would.

Q. How do you juggle the schooling that you're doing, the design stuff now, with playing?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It's not easy. It's tough.

Q. What's the secret? What advice would you give to a young girl?

VENUS WILLIAMS: The secret is no sleep basically. You become a zombie for eleven weeks and after thaat you get your sleep back in. But it's just something I wanted to do so I go ahead and do it. I have fun doing it. I'm happy doing it. If I got to the point where I wasn't able, then I would move on. But it's not much longer. I'll be done pretty soon.

Q. Should education be a priority to young tennis players?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Definitely I think so. Because I think in the first place that education really stimulates your thought process. You're able to think more clearly and more rationally. You know more things about the world around you. And also, tennis is not a guarantee, but usually you are able to keep your mind. So I think it's very, very important.

Q. Selena Roberts (phonetic) from New York. I want to ask you, do you feel pretty fortunate that you're able to go to school and have some time off and be able to get back in it pretty quickly? It took you a couple sets, but you got it back.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I need that time for me. It's just the way I do things. I have a short attention span so I have to be doing all types of things. I think I got that from my dad, we both have short attention spans.

Q. After last -- after a fantastic year last year, what expectations have you put on yourself for 2001?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Just to be my best and definitely take chances and always continue to go forward and not to regress or even to stay in the same position. And to just enjoy myself.

Q. Emulate at least what you did last year?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm pretty good at defending my titles. Definitely add a few more. I'd love to add this one but it's only the second round already. I got 13 more days ahead of me.

Q. You've had some anemia problems at the end of last year. How did you get over that? What was that all about?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I was always just tired, and I was thinking that maybe I was actually seriously ill. But I think -- I don't think I had a balanced diet and I think it's -- I think ladies are more prone to anemia than the men are. So basically I was just too tired to do anything. Actually I couldn't drive to school; I had to hire a driver because I'd fall asleep and kill myself. So...

Q. You seemed very tired in the last couple matches at the Olympics. Were you already feeling it then a bit?

VENUS WILLIAMS: See, I didn't practice very much at the Olympics. I hit 45 minutes, then I left the court. I was tired, but I made it happen. After that it was kind of downhill.

Q. Missing the tournament here last year, does that give you extra incentive to do well when you come here this time?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Definitely. I really feel motivated when I come down here because basically I make a 24-hour trip just to come. The ticket is pretty expensive. I feel that I deserve to reward myself by at least some type of title, so that's the way I try to look at it.

Q. Other thoughts of the travel, how do you find that? I think when your dad's not here, you're probably also missing your dog. I read your dog travels around with you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes. I'm so afraid for him, he's so tiny that only I can take care of him. I need to know where he is at all times so it's tough for me. I really miss him. I'll bring pictures next time. (Laughter.)

Q. Is the anemia problem behind you now? How are you feeling?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Definitely it's behind me. I'm definitely taking care of myself better, eating my meals correctly, taking my vitamins and growing up.

QueenO
Jun 19th, 2002, 02:59 PM
January 18, 2001

V. WILLIAMS/M. Shaughnessy
6-3, 7-6

An Interview With:

VENUS WILLIAMS

THE MODERATOR: First question for Venus, please.

Q. I just wondered what your opinion was about the ITF ranking, that Martina was named world champion. Have you commented on that, whether you thought it was fair?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, she's well-deserved to be the world champion. She won quite a few titles at the end of the year, ended the year as No. 1 despite a lot of competition out there, tough competition. You win some, you lose some. Can't win it all. I had my fair share of wins last year.

Q. What have you found enjoyable about your stay in Melbourne?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I've done lots of shopping.

Q. Shopping?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes. The dollar's strong, I feel like I need a few rewards for all my hard work last year and perseverance, so I've been doing a lot of shopping. But shopping days are over now, I'm going to pick up the racquet and put down the credit card.

Q. If you get a chance, what do you intend to do when you leave here? Is there one thing you like to see in Melbourne?

VENUS WILLIAMS: You know, I don't know. I didn't think about it that much. I think that tennis players are some of the most travelled people who have never seen anything. So we don't, especially the top players, we don't even give ourselves a chance. Because it's tough, because after practice you have a few hours, and you relax or do you run out and do the tourist thing? So we just kind of choose to relax.

Q. I write for the Australian newspaper. We ran pictures of you in your new top, which was quite revealing. We had a lot of letters from readers saying they thought the pictures were sexist. Did you see them and do you have any opinions about running those pictures?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I really don't read the papers. I found a lot of times that stories are exaggerated, and there's a lot of uproar. I've been advised by my mom and dad not to read too much of anything, especially about me, so I kind of leave it alone.

Q. You didn't see the pictures?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No.

Q. Were you wearing the same top today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes.

Q. After you were wearing your outfit for the second match, how did you find it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I love the outfit.

Q. Do you feel confident and relaxed?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Definitely. Very relaxed, very confident, comfortable. Just beautiful.

Q. It's more -- you feel more comfortable with this?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I always feel comfortable.

Q. More relaxed?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I always feel relaxed.

Q. How did you feel about the way you played today? Kind of struggled at the end?

VENUS WILLIAMS: In general, I think I played a lot better. I played more or less to my game. My last match, I had nine winners. This match I picked it up, 30, 36 winners. So that was more or less me. I did -- I was impatient a lot of times because she was a very speedy player, and a lot of times I feel like I wanted to hit winners but at the wrong times. But in general, I do feel a lot better about the second match than the first one especially.

Q. And I think it was the seventh game of the first set you had an argument with the umpire. You said the other night it takes you a lot to get you irritated but you did seem to get irritated?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I just didn't understand the play but after a while I did.

Q. It's quite unusual to see you arguing with the umpire.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't feel like I was in an argument. I just wanted clarity.

Q. Did you have a foot injury at all?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No.

Q. Nothing?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No.

Q. Steve Wein, AP, how did you feel about your play coming to the net today? You were in early?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, first match I didn't come in as much, wasn't as confident in my first match. I think last year what really got me all my titles was just being aggressive and moving forward, so I'm definitely implementing that in my game more and more as the rounds go on. And, most of all, when I got to the net I was very effective. I missed a few of my swing volleys today, which is not normal, but everything can get improved.

Q. Are you still going on with your newsletter, with your sister?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, the newsletter, we had to file Chapter 11. But it was tough because we start going to school and we were just fighting just to get our work done. But we're definitely going to try to aim for a March issue for around Indian Wells or Ericsson.

Q. You said your winners are increasing in this match. Did you ever look up at the score board and see how many winners you've hit?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, most certainly.

Q. And look at your player that you're playing and saying she's making more errors on the backhand side or do you read that for yourself?

VENUS WILLIAMS: This court they didn't show the errors, forehands or backhands. It's nice for a player like me, a lot of times I get out of control with my errors. It helps to keep me under control. I can see my first serve percentages, evaluate my game. So it's actually very helpful.

Q. What difference do you find from the this Grand Slam and the others apart from the difference?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I think that the fans are really, really nice. The US Open fans are like no other fans. And French, they definitely get behind their players. Wimbledon is more reserved. These fans, a lot of times they'll just pick a player and go for that player. They're always very much into the match; they're very lively. I think that's the best part of this Slam.

Q. Was it your sister who was watching you today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't think Serena's here.

Q. Okay. It wasn't one of your other sisters that was in the --?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No.

Q. -- The TV was filming.

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, maybe my mom. She looks rather young.

QueenO
Jun 19th, 2002, 03:01 PM
January 20, 2001

V. WILLIAMS/D. Chladkova
6-4, 6-1

An Interview With:

VENUS WILLIAMS

THE MODERATOR: First question for Venus, please.

Q. You look like you didn't want to hang around out there.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, it was very hot. I didn't really want to make my stay too long but sometimes you do end up staying out there a little longer than what you propose in the beginning. But today was pretty fortunate.

Q. Were you surprised, the way Denisa played the first set, especially the first six games?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think she played very well. I think also I had unforced errors, I was up an early break. Then she tied it back at 2-all. We were on serve until I guess 5-4, I managed to get the break. After that, I played a little better and maybe she was a little bit nervous; I don't know.

Q. Now that Serena and Martina and yourself and Seles or whatever are into the second week, the tournament really begins? Is that kind of how you guys really see it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I guess it is somewhat like two tournaments in which maybe the first week is possibly more dangerous because of you're playing lower-ranked players until you're in the fourth round. You really have to be on your guard. The second week is when you really have to be ready to play. So in both ways, both weeks are very, very important.

Q. You play next round Amelie Mauresmo. You played each other once three years ago, but you have changed your game and she has changed her game. You have both progressed. What do you expect of that match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, we both have come really a long way since then. She's -- the Finals of this tournament. She's really popular in France. I've won a few titles myself. So I think that tomorrow will definitely be -- or whenever I play her -- will be an important match. Naturally, we advance to the quarterfinals. She likes playing here in Australia, I think she likes the surface and I think basically I want to go out there and play my game and be serious and not take anything for granted.

Q. What do you know about her, her game?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I know she likes to hit her backhand I guess. I haven't played her in a while, a long time.

Q. Do you prefer playing a player like her, who really generates a lot of speed like the way you do then you can feed off that? Or is it easier to play a player like that as opposed to Hingis, where she mixes up a lot more?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think anyone likes to have a lot of time. So I guess someone who plays with less speed, I feel like I have more time. Today against Chladkova sometimes I felt like I had less time but it wasn't very much of an issue because every player's different so I have to be ready for that.

Q. Venus, when you were a kid did you follow the tennis, the stars, the women stars at the moment? Because at that time, the three or four top players didn't have any problem in the previous matches until reaching the quarters or the semifinals. Today we can see Denisa against you today, Martina had a lot of trouble in the first set. It's completely different, isn't it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, it's different. I think in that time maybe the players didn't really believe that they could win or have a chance. But maybe over the years they start realizing, "Hey, I want a better career for myself. I, too, want to advance. Why can't I win?" I think just the whole attitude, not necessarily even like the game, just how people feel about themselves and playing against the top players.

Q. (Inaudible).

VENUS WILLIAMS: It was a protection for me.

Q. No injury?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I'm doing okay.

Q. Which sort of relationship do you have with the people in the locker room? It's your sister, you, the others? Do you have someone who you are close to, you can speak with, you can do a practice together, you like, you go out to dinner?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I don't know any players like that. Not very much.

Q. No interest?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I mean, even last year we played nine tournaments so I'm not around a lot. And I mean I say hello to the girls. Sometimes we have some conversations about different things, but I don't really know anyone so closely.

Q. Somebody spotted you in a record shop this week, is that right? Have you been out buying CDs?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, that wasn't me.

Q. You haven't played with the same outfit today as on the first day. Is there a reason?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I wear the same outfit. (Shaking her head yes).

Q. Is black your favorite color?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, blue was my favorite color, but now it's army green. Green. So I've moved on.

Q. So you would have a new outfit next week perhaps?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. It could happen.

Q. It looked like you had sewn up the slit across. Is it completely sewn up now just to make it more comfortable?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It's the same outfit. I was always comfortable with it.

Q. Was it modified in some way?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Modified?

Q. Like was it sewn up, stitched up?

VENUS WILLIAMS: (Laughing.) No. It's the same outfit.

Q. How many people called you and left you messages and flowers and something like that, how many men?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Not too many.

Q. (Inaudible)

VENUS WILLIAMS: It's a good thing. I can't have my mind anywhere else. It's too much. But I think people are shy these days. It's so tough, you know, people are being rejected all the time and nobody wants that.

Q. With the other girls you talk about fashion?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. Not very much. Not about fashion, no.

Q. What do you think of Martina's outfit with the long sleeve and the short sleeve?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I think that style was out last year. You know, it was something that was popular from the designers right down to the popular price level. So, you know, it's something that was in fashion on the runways and now it's on the tennis courts.

Q. What classes did you take when you were at school this fall?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Speech. Science. Many fashion concepts, deals with the demographics of the people you're dealing with, knowing your customer, knowing how to sell your product and your lines, pattern making. (Laughing.) What else did I have? Two more classes. Textiles. I was very disappointed with my teacher who was so bitter. And I had fashion history, which was very interesting actually. Very inspirational. I would have never known all the things -- well, school you learn so much. So I had six classes.

Q. Have you thought in depth about what you would like to do with this education?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Me?

Q. Do you expect it to lead to a job in the fashion industry once you stop playing tennis?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'll have to work for myself, work at my own pace. But I really don't want to be too busy. I work hard now and I think that when you have a big business, sure, you can make money and have a dream. But it's a lot of work. I don't want to work that hard after tennis.

Q. You guys are from Florida. What do you think of George Bush taking the oath of office today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, boy. There's a lot you can say on that. But I didn't vote.

Q. You didn't?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I'm not political. I'm a Jehovah's Witness, we don't really vote. No matter what happens, we'll be all right.

QueenO
Jun 19th, 2002, 03:03 PM
January 22, 2001

V. WILLIAMS/A. Mauresmo
6-2, 3-6, 6-3

An interview With:

VENUS WILLIAMS

MODERATOR: First question for Venus.

Q. Finally you have proved to yourself or to the crowd or to Mauresmo that you have much power?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I was really having a tough time on my serve today. I tried to remember everything that my dad has told me. It just didn't work out today. I ended up really just having to hit serves at 150 kilometers to get it in. At the end, I really just went for the gold and got lucky.

Q. When you have a shot like Mauresmo made where she hit the big backhand into the corner, what goes through your mind? You seemed to shake it off and go right into the kill mode.

VENUS WILLIAMS: She hit a great shot. Not much I can do about that because I went for some myself, but not such great ones. There was nothing I could do about that. It was a good thing that I won the next point.

Q. Does that show a little bit of killer instinct that you could weather a shot like that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I've been through a lot of ups and downs in my career. I know how to deal with certain situations. Every now and then it goes against what I've planned. Luckily enough, I was able to pull through.

Q. Do you think the Mauresmo you find here is a very strong player with the shot so strong as you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know, you'll have to ask her if she thinks her shot is as strong as mine. But I think she serves very well out wide, in the deuce court, the ad court, in the corner she serves very well. I have to keep my eyes open for that. I think that's one of her strong points.

Q. How did you feel you played overall then?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think I was a little bit up and down today. In the first set I was really able to stay level. You know, after that, I was up and down. I think she was a little bit, too. I guess we weren't really sure about what we were going to do. I better walk out with a better game plan next time.

Q. After the third game of the first set, three fresh racquets got brought out. Were they late? Do you just like them that fresh? What was going on?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I didn't pick them up. He was nice enough to bring them out. I didn't request them.

Q. Did you actually go on court with just the one?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. Actually, I went out with more than four racquets.

Q. How important is patience to a player when you get to the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think it's a virtue and then sometimes a snare. If you're too patient, the next person might just step up. If you're not patient enough, then you could make too many errors. So it's a happy medium in between. As long as I'm moving up to my short balls and attacking, making my shots, I'm okay. I think maybe you have to take it to the next person, make it happen more than be patient.

Q. You'd rather be over-aggressive than over-cautious?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, yeah, definitely.

Q. You said you decided to go for it at the end. Why did you make that decision, after the long rally, the last two serves?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I guess I ended with two aces. I really thought that, you know, it was actually time for an ace because I hit so many out, that it was bound to go in. Lucky end.

Q. Serena was having a good look. Was she wearing the supportive sister hat or --?

VENUS WILLIAMS: She was definitely a little supportive because I was a little upset in the second set when I was getting down. She said, "Come on, Venus, do your best." That really helped out a lot because I just felt I wasn't playing my best tennis. In the second set I made a lot of errors at random. She was there for me.

Q. Are you that conscious of the family being present? You can pick their voice out?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Uh-huh, yeah.

Q. How conscious are you of the crowd overall? When Amelie got to the point where it was going to go to the third set, the crowd started getting behind her, are you aware of that cheer?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I wasn't paying attention to that. When she hit that wonderful backhand down the line, I did hear a roar. I was kind of concentrating on the next point. Most times I'm not really thinking about the crowd - not too much.

Q. Seems the first game of the match you chipped and charged very powerful.

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, no.

Q. Hit and charge, sorry. It was your intention to put some power on the ball at the beginning of the game?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, at the beginning of the game, I was doing okay, coming in like I normally have done, at least since last year, coming to the net. You know, after that, I couldn't get off the baseline. I set camp up. You know, normally I like to come in after the short ball, and I did that okay in the first set. After that, I didn't do it too much.

Q. Is your power going to be your key weapon with Coetzer?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I think maybe just moving in after the short balls, just playing consistently, just playing every point, not just looking forward to the next game or the next set, but every point. Naturally, she's a top player. She's in the Top 10. She has a lot of experience. She's looking forward to, you know, capitalizing on this opportunity, getting to the semifinals. I can't take anything for granted.

Q. When you get to this stage of a tournament, are you able to dominate a match, given the caliber of players that have gotten this far?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think so. I think as long as I keep my head on, I'm actually always playing well.

Q. It's up to you, you decide, "I'm on tonight," you have the match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I guess so. If you say so, okay.

Q. How closely will you watch Serena and Martina?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, hopefully I'll be at the match. But I think I'll have a match myself. Hopefully, I won't be watching it too close. Hopefully I'll play first and I'll be able to get there, but we'll see.

Q. How important is scouting your potential opponents on their current form? Do you have anyone who does that for you specifically?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, not really. I see a lot of the players on TV. I actually pick up on things very quickly, either in the warm-up or in the first one or two games. I think that's just part of being a smart player, really just knowing your opponent.

Q. Is Martina Hingis the most in-form player?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think she's playing the most consistently at this point. When people get to big matches, people tend to play either a lot better or a lot worse. Hopefully I always play a lot better, and Serena will. I guess Lindsay is playing well. I'm not sure. I haven't seen any of her matches. Seems like Martina has been having some fairly easy ones.

Q. What do you think about the issue of prize money that's come up this week? Do you think the prize money is right where it needs to be? What do you think?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think that it -- I guess sometimes it's a tricky subject. If the tournament makes money, shouldn't the players make money? But yet we do make a pretty good living. So if the tournament, I guess, does better, then the players should, too.

Q. Correct me if I'm wrong, did you have a knee guard, knee support on during the doubles match the other day?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, I did.

Q. How was it tonight?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It was a lot better today. I think the Rebound Ace is a tricky surface maybe. But now I feel cured (laughter). I took the band off.

Q. Can you tell us what type of injury it is?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't have it anymore. My knee was just sore. Really, I woke up this morning, I was up and jumping.

Q. Tendonitis or something like that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I guess tendonitis, a sore tendon. But usually tendonitis sticks around a while. But it went in a matter of days, five or six days, so I'm really happy about that because I can move a lot faster.

QueenO
Jun 19th, 2002, 03:05 PM
January 24, 2001

V. WILLIAMS/A. Coetzer
2-6, 6-1, 8-6

An interview with:

VENUS WILLIAMS

MODERATOR: Questions for Venus.

Q. Do you think you might have been let out of jail today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Uhm, I don't think so. I think I pretty much fought for everything I had. Toward the end I really cut down on my errors and I was able to move forward. Plus I've been in that situation quite a few times before, so I have a little bit of experience of being in the hole.

Q. Nevertheless, she did appear to have the match for the taking if she could have made a couple of exceptional shots.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't think she did anything wrong, to be honest. I think I was just able to capitalize on some of the short balls. I moved forward, and I think I hit a few winners. I don't think she really just -- I think in the last game she had a few errors, maybe she was thinking too much. But I don't really think she did anything wrong.

Q. You seemed to be really laboring, particularly in the third set. At this stage, how is your health and your fitness?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I guess it's as good as it gets at this point.

Q. Really?

VENUS WILLIAMS: You know, if I'm not in shape now, it's too late. I just have to play this tournament, go home, get in better shape. I think more than anything, tennis is a mental game. If you tell yourself you're not tired, lo and behold, you aren't.

Q. Did you feel flat at times?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, definitely in the first set I felt very flat. But I had to really pick myself up if I was planning on staying in the tournament.

Q. How do you do that? If you're having a slow start getting into a match, what is it that maybe you tell yourself or that you force to happen to get into it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think it's like a natural reflex. If I lose the first set or anyone on the tour loses a first set, just to really get back in there in the second, which I was able to do. Stayed on serve in the third till late. I think it's just not liking to lose. I don't like to lose. I really just didn't want to.

Q. Does it seem like you're getting to the point that you can kind of just turn it on, like Pete seems to turn it on sometimes and finish it out?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't -- I don't think so, as far as turn it on. Today was not one of my better days, but I think I had no other choice than just to make the right choices. You know, I had no more room for error. So eventually I was able to do that, fortunately.

Q. Sometimes you go to your bag and look at notes. Did you do that today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I always have a set of notes.

Q. What are they telling you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Basically I just use the notes so that my mind doesn't wander in between the changeover, just to keep my mind focused on the match. That's what it's mostly for.

Q. Motivational sentences?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No (smiling).

Q. What did you tell yourself when she served for the match at 5-3?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. I just -- actually I just stayed calm and made a few shots, came to the net a couple of times. You know, my mom was really over there helping me feel better about myself, I was having a rough day. I really think that helped out the most.

Q. Did the roof closing play any part, either positive or negative, towards your outlook?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. Actually, you know, it affected my hairstyle. I thought the sun was going to be out, so I pulled my hair back, put my hat on. If I had known they were going to close the roof, I would have worn a ponytail. It definitely affected my hair.

Q. Was there a time out there today that it felt like it was easier to not lose it than it was to win it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, there were times when I really just wouldn't move forward. It was terrible. I realized that I couldn't win the match like that. I could just, I guess, lose it. I've been in the situation before, like when I was younger. I would lose matches because I didn't move forward, and I didn't just take it to the person, make something happen. So that's what I had to do.

Q. Just like the last match, it was the service at the end that stepped up. Was that a conscious decision?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Uh-huh, yeah, because a lot of times there's a lot of pressure on your serves, especially in a match like that. Sometimes it's better to get the first serve in. But I always go for the big one at the end. I guess it was pretty close, but I always had a plan to hit an ace.

Q. Are you serving well enough to go further?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think so. I definitely think so. If I can just stay in there.

Q. Do the balls play any differently because the roof is closed?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Not that I'm aware of. Not in my opinion.

Q. Is a match like that ideal preparation for your next match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: In this case I can't be sure because we have a doubles match today. I believe the semifinals are tomorrow, including a doubles match also, providing that we do win the match today, which I'm hoping we do. In this case, it would have been better to have a 6-1, 6-1 win. But no matter what happens, you got -- I have to stay out there. So naturally I would have liked to have an easier match.

Q. Are you playing better tennis now than you were at the start of the tournament? Do you feel that you're playing better?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm not sure exactly if I'm playing better. I just feel just confident in my competitive attitude, more or less. I'm always ready to compete; I'm not always on my best game. But I do feel like I can do the right things at the right time. I think that's the most important thing.

Q. Do you have a lot of respect for Coetzer's game? How would you say it plays against other Top-10 players?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think that if you aren't careful on any day, she can really give you a bad day, ruin your tournament. So I think everyone respects her because she makes quite a few shots, she runs down shots, and she's improved her groundstrokes as far as producing winners. So it's definitely someone you have to be careful against.

Q. You talked about your mom's support. Is it just a vibe you get from her? Can you actually hear her saying things?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I can't really hear her saying things because of the crowd and the clapping, but I can hear her voice and I can see her. I don't look up a lot, especially if I'm really doing bad, I feel a little bit bad because I know what she's told me to do, and if I'm not doing it, then I feel a little ashamed, so I don't always look up. Especially like in the first set and the second set, I was feeling a little bit nervous to look up there. But when it's really time and I really need some support, I do look up.

QueenO
Jun 19th, 2002, 03:07 PM
January 25, 2001

M. HINGIS/V. Williams
6-1, 6-1

An interview with:

VENUS WILLIAMS

MODERATOR: Questions for Venus.

Q. Nothing worked for you today: Your service, your backhand, your forehand.

VENUS WILLIAMS: You know, I just had an off day. She played her normal game, which is to get quite a few balls back, be a great counter-puncher. Today just didn't seem -- I didn't do the right things.

Q. The fact that you played doubles is definitely an advantage for the tennis public, but do you think it served your cause?

VENUS WILLIAMS: As far as?

Q. Maybe do you think playing too much tennis has had an adverse effect on your result?

VENUS WILLIAMS: You know, I think that if I'm in the doubles competition, I should be ready to play. After all, I'm here to play tennis. So that's what I should be able to do. If I'm not in shape, it's my problem.

Q. Any reasons that you can come up with that it wasn't your day today, or it just wasn't your day today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It just seems that I wasn't really prepared today to hit as many balls as possible.

Q. Was it the heat, humidity, or just generally?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Uhm, yeah, I just played a lot of matches. Yesterday was a long day. I guess I just didn't have what it took today, and Martina, she did. She came out, stepped up to battle, and now she's in the final.

Q. How long would you have to go back in your tennis-playing career to find the last time you lost like that on a tennis court so comprehensively?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. She's beat me before 6-1, 6-2, when I was like a baby, my first year on the tour. I don't think every game was like 40-Love. When it was time to get the important points or if she was down a breakpoint, she got those points back. A lot of times I'd be in there and I'd just miss a shot, you know, just giving it back to her. That's something you can't do, especially in a Grand Slam semifinal.

Q. How well do you think she played today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think she played very well. I think she played her normal game.

Q. Was it better than some of the matches she'd played against you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think she played about even, and that's important to do, be ready to play.

Q. Did you feel any pressure before the game?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I didn't feel any pressure at all. I've been in this situation quite a few times now - I guess five or six, which is enough. No, I didn't feel any pressure.

Q. How frustrating is it as a professional athlete to know that some days, regardless of your preparation, you can wake up and things just aren't clicking?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It happens every now and then even to the best of us. But maybe sometimes it happens for a reason, sort of a wake-up call, get out there and start practicing harder.

Q. Do you think this will be a wake-up call, or do you think the score was so out of whack with your previous matches that you just chuck it up to a fluke?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't understand the question. Will it be a wake-up call?

Q. Will you internalize this and really go back and work hard, go back to the drawing board, or was this match such an aberration that you won't take it seriously?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't think that this can happen again, but you never know. Things happen all the time for no apparent reason at all. Normally I wouldn't expect this to happen again. But, sure, I'm going to go back and work hard, everyone will, I guess who's lost here.

Q. Will you reevaluate your approach to Australia for next year on the basis of this year's performance?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm not sure. Depends on how I feel next year.

Q. Yesterday was kind of a stressing day anyway because 8-6 against Coetzer, then your sister's match, then doubles. Which one of those three different moments in the day has been more demanding on your concentration?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. They all were pretty tough. Myself out there yesterday, I wasn't playing my best tennis, a little bit out of control at times. Then Serena, there's nothing I can do in the stands. In the doubles, we lost the first set, but we went on to play a little bit better after that. I'll have more just different points in my life.

Q. Over the next three months, how much and where do you plan to play?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Three or four tournaments. I'm in Europe, some in the States.

Q. Do you know which ones they are, please?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I plan on playing in Nice, Indian Wells and the Lipton -- the Ericsson.

Q. Are you coming to play Rome?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm supposed to, yes. As long as I'm happy and healthy, I'll be there.

Q. Will you and Serena sort of keep away from one another as much as possible, except the Slams, again this year?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know, just depends.

Q. On what?

VENUS WILLIAMS: On where we decide to play.

Q. Who will make that decision?

VENUS WILLIAMS: We do.

Q. Your preparation for this tournament, do you regard this tournament as highly as the other three Grand Slams? Do you intend to play next year?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I regard it very high. Naturally, I would have loved to take this title home. I traveled a long way to get here. It's a sad thing not to go home with the title. But hopefully I'll be back next year, probably take it home, who knows.

Q. Lindsay Davenport said after her match that the heat made the balls float, she had trouble controlling them. Did you have the same problem?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, not at all.

Q. What was your best match of the tournament?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think they were all about the same (laughter). I don't know, maybe the doubles match yesterday.

Q. Can you put a finger on why we haven't seen the sort of tennis we expect from you in this fortnight, haven't seen sort of the consistency, accuracy?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, it hasn't been normal. Ever since last year at Wimbledon, I've been working really hard to play consistent tennis. I did do that until my last tournament last year. And this year has been very erratic, the Australian Open. I just think I needed more preparation time. Maybe you guys should put the tournament a little later for people like me.

Q. How much do you think you lose from your game when you take the fall off and go to school and everything?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, not too much. Just as long as I have enough preparation time for the beginning of the year.

Q. What do you consider preparation time? Is that actual match play or just practice?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Just practice time.

Q. How much school have you got, how many more years are you going to try to fit in?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think I have about 45 more credits.

Q. Different system in America.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Each class is worth three credits, so I have 45 left, maybe a little less.

QueenO
Jun 19th, 2002, 03:08 PM
March 9, 2001

V. WILLIAMS/S. Pitkowski
6-0, 6-1

An interview with:

VENUS WILLIAMS

MODERATOR: Questions for Venus.

Q. Good start to the tournament?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes. I'm trying to make a change from my starts this year, in general.

Q. Have you felt that it's been a slow start to the year?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, yeah. Just had a very slow start. I don't feel I played up to my potential or my personal best in the previous two tournaments. There's only room for improvement. I felt that I could move forward in this tournament, in this match.

Q. I spent a lot of time on the golf tour earlier this year. You and Tiger had similar years where you just had wonderful winning of Grand Slams. Everybody has been asking Tiger, "What's wrong," because he has not won a tournament. Has that been a problem with you? Is there any pressure on you to repeat from last year? Do you feel, "I have to win something right away"? Can you wait until the next major, next Grand Slam?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I would prefer not to wait (laughter). If I could have a guarantee that if I did wait, I'd win the next Grand Slam, sure I'd wait. But it doesn't work out in life like that. All the other players aren't willing to make that deal with me. I definitely would love to have this title, and the next one after that, you know, really just get in a rhythm, get a lot of confidence on my groundstrokes, just play very competitively.

Q. When the year ends, this is what happens obviously, both in golf and tennis, you then start the whole thing over. Do you notice a big change, like a new year, or does it just seem to keep going?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. I don't know how I feel about it. I think it feels like a new year. I think for some people who play a lot, it just seems to keep going. For me it's definitely a new year, time to do new and better things. You know, hopefully I have a nice year. Had a nice year last year. To improve on that would be nice. There's no Olympics this year, so that will be different.

Q. What has happened in between the time that you lost to Lindsay - I think it was in October, she broke your winning streak - through now, with your game?

VENUS WILLIAMS: What happened to my game?

Q. Yeah.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I didn't practice that much. I was extraordinarily lazy and I had a lot to do. All that put together, my game went down a little bit. But I've been back on the practice court. Right now I don't have too many distractions. I think I'll do better.

Q. How does that feel, to be so dominant like you were, then get to a point where your game isn't quite where you want it to be?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, I've always been at that point - not always - but I've been at that point before in my career. I know how to pull out of a slump, how to pull out of a bad match. Really, I just think it's refocusing yourself, always setting new goals so that way you move forward.

Q. Do you scold yourself when you get lazy?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I like being lazy. I think my dad does. He calls me every day. I feel pressure to go practice.

Q. What are you doing when you're lazy? Watching TV? Eating potato chips?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. Obviously nothing.

Q. Shop?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm trying to cut back on my shopping. I don't do too much shopping in Florida anymore. I buy a lot of fabrics. That's mostly my shopping in Florida. I do my shopping while I'm traveling - tax free.

Q. You do need some sort of a break, though, otherwise it just becomes one long, continuous stretch? After the great year, you need a little period to relax, calm down, start over?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, yeah, definitely. I do at least. Maybe not everyone else does, but I have to, or else it gets boring for me. I have a short attention span, so things always have to be different and lively for me. I guess a good way to do this is just always adding new things to my game, having new challenges, really just getting beat a couple of times. That becomes a challenge, too, to stay on my streak, I guess.

Q. Do you really have time to study? You're attending university now. How is that going on with the game?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I had school in October until December. Now I have an online course, which is really irritating, but I'm getting through it. It's writing. I just don't like doing it. I don't know. I just don't like doing it. Hopefully I'll get through it. Two more weeks left, three more essays. That reminds me, I've got to write one when I get back. I'm writing an illustration. If there's anyone out there that wants to write it for me, I'll give you a great interview for it (laughter). Serena, I'm sure she'll do the same. She is really struggling, worse than what I am. I've helped her a lot, but she's just no motivation at all.

Q. What's the nature of the course?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It's English II. We just write essays, using MLA format. You know, thesis statement, topic sentences to support it, transitional sentences, all that fun stuff. You guys are professional at it, I guess.

Q. Does that mean that you're not going to enter the media as a writer at the end of your career?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Definitely. I have to get that speak-and-say-it thing. I have it, but I haven't installed it. It's where you speak and it types it out for you. I definitely need that.

Q. So the problem is the typing, not the writing?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Both. It takes time. It takes time to do it, ideas. After a while, you start filling paragraphs with nothing. But the teacher's been real nice.

Q. Are you in the two-year or four-year program?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Two-year. Our school in Florida only has the two-year program. Others around have four.

Q. Do you intend to go beyond that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No (laughter). I'm tired of it. It's all I can handle right now. Really, I think fashion is something where you just have to have experience, hands on work.

Q. Why not give it up and do it later?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Because I like it, it's interesting, it's always changing. It suits my personality, I think. I just like to get a lot of things done, as much as possible. I'll be done in four or five years, you know. Oh, Lord, I don't know. Maybe three.

Q. Are you still in the newspaper business?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, yeah. Serena and I, we're thinking about putting one out. Like I said, I'm lazy. I've really been thinking about writing. This time, though, we're really going to get it professionally done. We did it ourselves, did the whole layout ourselves. Now I think we're going to have like a graphic designer for us, put pictures in it. The next time around it will be nicer. It will only be six times a year instead of every month.

Q. One minute you're telling us you're lazy, the next you're telling me you like to get a lot done.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I do. It's just that I like my lazy time. I still like to do a lot, just be busy. That doesn't mean I like to write.

Q. What are the new goals you have this year? You said you want to set some new goals.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Definitely, my new goals are to play consistently, as always. That was something I was really working on last year, throughout the whole time that I had all those wins, just play consistently always. If I were ever to take the top position, something like that were to happen, naturally I'd want to be consistent in every match. That's something I want to work on also, just improving my serve. Other than that, I'm pretty good.

Q. How did you like playing at the stadium for the first time?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It was real nice. I like it.

Q. How come you didn't play in this tournament for two years? Last year I know you had an injury. You weren't able to fit this tournament in the schedule?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I guess I just didn't play. I was here one year. I played doubles with Serena. After that I just -- I was injured. It's been a couple years. But I'm back.

Q. You're fashion conscious. How do you like the purple court?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I like it. It's nice. It's mostly blue - a little bit purple - mostly blue to me.

Q. It looks purple from the press box.

VENUS WILLIAMS: To me it looks blue.

Q. Given how you beat Martina at Wimbledon and the US Open last year, what exactly happened in Australia? Think back about it a little bit.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I was just tired - just too tired. That's all.

Q. Was your conditioning not where you wanted it to be?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't think it was where I wanted it to be. After just giving it my all for a little while, I was just tired. So many things went wrong for me, a lot of glitches in Australia. In the end, I just wasn't able to do it. That was a long time ago. I gave it my best. Just wasn't successful that day. I don't think anyone really remembers that match. I don't.

Q. I do.

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, you don't (laughter).

Q. At least one person here did.

VENUS WILLIAMS: The rest of you don't.

Q. Kind of shaking it off, saying, "It's just one match"?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Really, it's not going to be in history. I don't really feel bad about that match because I was just tired. There was just nothing I could do that day. I was tired before I stepped out on the court.

Q. Did you like your match today? Obviously, unfortunately the largest cheer is when she got her one game.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I hated giving that game up, really I did. Things like that happen. She played well. It's not like she played badly. I was able to get all the important points.

Q. Do you find that you and Serena have lazy moments at the same time?

VENUS WILLIAMS: As far as?

Q. When you're going through a lazy period. Is she out there working harder and you're not?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, we're usually lazy at the same time. We motivate each other. If I get out and start practicing hard, she will, too, vice versa.

Q. Are you motivated now?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I have to be, yeah. This is my job. If I don't play well, I have no income. I don't want to live paycheck to paycheck.

MODERATOR: Are you serious?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, my God. I think my mom would kill me if that was happening.

Q. You must buy some expensive things.

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, every now and then.

Q. According to Forbes, there is a tennis player who makes more money than you, it's Anna Kournikova. Do you have any comments about that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: She must have a large tax bill. She's probably looking forward to that tax cut. I'm hoping for it myself. Need some relief.

QueenO
Jun 19th, 2002, 03:11 PM
March 11, 2001

V. WILLIAMS/C. Black
6-4, 3-6, 6-0

An interview with:

VENUS WILLIAMS

MODERATOR: Questions for Venus.

Q. A bit of a struggle?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. Just really got away from my game plan basically. In the third set, I really just went to doing what I had planned on.

Q. What you should have done earlier, is that it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, yes.

Q. What was your game plan?

VENUS WILLIAMS: My game plan, I don't want to share that, but I did not stick to it. When I didn't, I was just confused. It was a real bad state.

Q. In the second set, the fourth game, you were down, easy lob, hit it in the net. Seemed to deflate you. You went right out the next couple games. Did it take you a while to recover from that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I don't think so. I wasn't playing my best before that time. I guess all that matters is I was able to recover.

Q. When you say "game plan," are you just not playing the way you want to when you get out on the court? You were telling us the other day you haven't practiced enough so you're not hitting the way you want to.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm hitting much better. I'm hitting really well. Once I got away from what I know how to do, what I had planned on doing, then I didn't have a plan at all. I was just out there hitting the ball. That's how I felt. Really, the third set I said, "I'm going to take this opportunity and I'm going to go ahead and play the way I know how, just start off right away."

Q. Is that just a loss of concentration, looking around, it's a nice place to be, snow on the mountains, suddenly the set is gone? Do you entirely lose concentration?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I don't think so. I think she started to play a lot better, she started to get confident, and I started missing quite a few shots, just really not doing what I'm able to do.

Q. You came out and dominated the third set. Are you able to take something positive out of this?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, definitely. I feel good about coming out of the match because, in the end, I did go out there and do what I'm doing in practice. I served a lot better. So there's always a positive. Even if I did play badly, that's over with, it's finished, there's nothing I can do about it. I just have to move on to the next round.

Q. When a match does go to a third set, do you feel your fitness gives you an advantage?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Definitely. I just think that my mental state gives me an advantage usually because most of the time it doesn't matter to me whether I'm tired or not. At that point I have to keep on running, I have to be a professional. If I lose because I'm tired, I don't think that's a professional excuse. I would really just not admit it until months later maybe. "Yes, mom, I was tired."

Q. What in particular are you doing with your serve? Trying to mix it up more? Be a little more conservative? What?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I just find that a lot of times I'll hit a big serve and they'll just block it back. Since I'm not willing to serve and volley at this point, you know, it's really a waste of energy at times. A lot of times I'll just hit a kick serve and wait for the short ball. The past two girls I played, they weren't very tall, so a kick serve is a lot harder. I mean, even for me the kick serve is sometimes difficult, and I'm six feet.

Q. Are you still having fun out there?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, still having fun.

Q. What's home life for you? You and Serena have your own house now?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah.

Q. Can you go days or weeks without seeing or talking to your parents? Are you always in contact?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, always in contact.

Q. How far are they?

VENUS WILLIAMS: 15 minutes.

Q. So what's the hardest thing about living on your own?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It's not very hard.

Q. Laundry, et cetera?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't wash. I don't clean. I wasn't made to do that.

Q. So who cooks?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Normally, I'll cook. But that's not very often because there's never usually a lot of time for that. I get Japanese take-out usually or I'll have a sandwich. I manage. I don't really know how. I guess that's the toughest part, you know, I have to find my own meal now.

Q. When you do cook, what is the Venus specialty of the house?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I cook nice meats and I cook good desserts. I don't really like to eat the desserts, I just like to cook them.

Q. Serena told us yesterday you were going to help her with her English paper. Did she rope you in to doing that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I haven't even written mine and it's due today. I was supposed to have the rough draft in on Thursday. I'm ready. I've started mine. I have a thesis sentence, three-topic sentence, supporting (inaudible). I've mapped it out; all I have to do is fill it in.

Q. She said you were going to help her with hers.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes. I've picked her subject already.

Q. You're going to write it for her?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Please don't write this. The teacher could read this. He could read this.

Q. You signed several endorsement contracts recently. Are you getting ready to sign a few more?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think right now I just really have to concentrate on playing because the more contracts that I may be in, the more responsibility that I have to my sponsors. I have a limited amount of time. Plus I think that we've taken all the contracts that we really believe in, things that represent us well. We just don't take anything that comes to the door.

Q. How about the sports drink contract? I was talking to your father. He said you're about to endorse some sort of sports drink. Is that going through?

VENUS WILLIAMS: You've got to talk to him.

Q. He told me you are. Has he told you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm just a dumb athlete. Come on, I'll sign anything (rolling eyes).

Q. There's still a chance you could play Serena in this tournament. Do you look forward to that or would you rather do anything but have to play your own sister?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't mind playing her. It's always a good match. You know, it's going to be late in the tournament, so that's nice, too. We've played each other actually in two finals. We're one and one in finals. In semifinals, I guess I'm up one. It's bound to happen because we're playing on the professional tour, play pretty well, always in the main draw. Hopefully one day we'll meet in the finals. We'll take those top positions and stop losing sets for no reason.

Q. Can you tell me what specifically is your favorite dish to cook?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Lamb chops. But I don't eat them, but I like to cook them.

Q. What happens to them? The dogs?

VENUS WILLIAMS: You know, either I eat a little bit and I then I forget to put it in the refrigerator and it will spoil. Sometimes I'll cook if someone's over, but that's rare. I just cook them up.

QueenO
Jun 19th, 2002, 03:13 PM
March 12, 2001

V. WILLIAMS/R. McQuillan
6-4, 6-2

An interview with:

VENUS WILLIAMS

MODERATOR: Questions for Venus.

Q. Is that a preventative measure on the knee (referring to wrap on right knee)?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah.

Q. Or did you tweak it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. It was just a preventative measure just so I can keep continuing on my campaign of pain-free.

Q. Where do you think your game is roughly right now in terms of where you'd like it to be for the peak times in the year?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think my game's doing actually very well. I'm doing a lot better as the year's gone on. It's March already. This is my third event. I feel a lot better about my game, especially compared to my last tournament in France. I'm definitely doing well.

Q. Did you get a little overly excited each time you were serving for the set?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, my grip was slipping. I kind of shanked it.

Q. Why no doubles this time?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. My knee's a little sore. I can't do too much.

Q. Is the knee sore all the time?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No.

Q. Every couple days?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Do you want the exact time schedule? 8:30 in the morning, I feel a little stiff. By 9:00, I've warmed up (laughter). No, I'm okay. I'm okay. I'm out here playing. If I wasn't okay, I'd just be right at home. It's good enough to be playing on.

Q. There's been much discussion today about the event last night. Only one of the Top-10 players showed up apparently. You got the top award of the year and you didn't show up. Is there a reason for that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. I mean, I heard it was a wonderful event. I was really sad that I couldn't go. It wasn't possible. I really wanted to play possibly the night match so I could get on over there last night, but it just didn't happen.

Q. The fact that it got over by 8:20, that didn't give you enough time when you didn't play till this afternoon?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It's been tough for me because I'm still on east coast time. By the time 8:20 comes around, to me it feels close to 12:00. It's just been tough. You know, I had the opportunity of going, I hoped, but it just didn't work out.

Q. You might play Dementieva, who you've beaten. Can you talk a little about her type of game, how good you think she is, how good you think she could be?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, she's had a win over me in her career, over Lindsay at the Chase. She's very consistent. She moves very well. Those are some of her strong points. She also has a lot of power. She seems to be pretty confident about her game.

Q. Did she surprise you last year? Is that a player that you thought you had to change the way you think about her as the year progressed or did you see her coming?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm not sure.

Q. A year ago at this time, going into this tournament, she was a player who if you saw coming up in the draw, you might say, "I know a little about her, but she's a Top 50 type." Now all of a sudden only a year later, she has a Grand Slam semifinal, a Chase semifinal. Is that a surprise to you or is that a player a year ago you would have picked out?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I mean, I don't think I really would have picked her out because I didn't know her. Eventually I ran up into her at Federation Cup and we had a tough match there. Actually, I met her in '99, seen her coming along. You know, I didn't know where she would go from there. I didn't really concentrate on her results after that. I concentrated on my game. But she's done well for herself.

Q. She credits that match as the turning point in her career.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, really?

Q. To you, it's just another win (sic)?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Another win I didn't get, I guess.

Q. Are you working out more with Serena or with other hitting partners most of the time?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Sometimes we have different practice schedules, different times we play our matches. She hit a little earlier than what I did today, so she hit with a partner. I hit a little later, so I had to hit with a partner. Normally we hit with each other, especially at home.

Q. You may be heading towards hitting against each other in another round. How do you feel about that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It just hasn't happened that often, four or five times. I guess it's a lot more times than I've played a lot of other players. You know, it's bound to happen. It's going to happen in the semifinals. Hopefully we'll both get there.

Q. What could you tell us about this chain or string of international academies or camps that you have, that the Williams family has, international tennis camps? What is that all about?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I wouldn't be able to tell you anything. I'm not sure what you're talking about.

Q. A press release came out today saying that you and Serena and your dad are coming out with a label of water that has 800 percent more oxygen in it than normal bottled water, and some of the proceeds are going to go to fund this string of international tennis camps and academies that the Williams family has. You don't know anything about it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: You have to talk to my dad about it.

Q. Are you really that much out of the loop on the commercial stuff? Do you kind of let your dad handle all that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Sometimes. If things get down to the crucial stages, sure, I want to know what I'm going to be involved in, naturally.

Q. Does this sound like a crucial stage to you, that you're going to be opening up tennis academies around the world?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. I'll have to talk to him and see.

Q. When are you going to work that into your schedule?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know (laughter). Have to clone myself.

Q. Are you about done with fashion school? Is that going on much longer?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. I'm thinking about not going back this fall. Not forever, but postponing it. I miss the European tournaments a lot in the fall. I really like going over there. I really missed it the last two years. You know, then again, I really would like to finish as soon as possible. Just have to hold out and see.

Q. Are you still doing your newspaper?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Uh-huh.

Q. Just whenever you feel like it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It hasn't been published in quite a few months now.

Q. Time for another.

VENUS WILLIAMS: It is. It is. If you want to type it up, give me a call.

Q. You can scan it.

VENUS WILLIAMS: You're right. You're right. Hopefully we can get it a little more professionally done. It was a nice newsletter, but it was like a high school newsletter. Maybe now we'll add some pictures.

Q. Serena is still in high school age.

VENUS WILLIAMS: She's almost out of the teens. She finished high school maybe '98, yeah.

Q. Is Dementieva one of those players where you pretty much have to bring your A game to beat her or is she still a notch below?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I really think you have to bring your A game against all the players now because players are less intimidated, and really they're just trying to get a win for themselves and bring their games up. Especially if you let them back into the match, they really start to get confident, they swing a little bit faster. I think everyone, you have to just come out and take it to them immediately.

Q. How well did you have to play to beat her the last time?

VENUS WILLIAMS: The Olympics?

Q. Yes.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think she was a little bit nervous. I don't know how anyone couldn't be nervous playing in a gold medal match. I guess I was a little nervous, too. I guess I'm a little experienced and better able to get through the nerves than she was. The second set was 6-4, so that was a little tough. I really just wanted to close that match out as soon as possible. Things started getting close at the end, so I was happy to close it out.

QueenO
Jun 19th, 2002, 03:14 PM
March 14, 2001

V. WILLIAMS/E. Dementieva
6-0, 6-3

An interview with:

VENUS WILLIAMS

MODERATOR: Questions for Venus.

Q. This is what they call a local angle question. Because you're coming to Boston on Tuesday to visit the kids at the club, I remember Billy Jean King telling me that she met you at a clinic that she gave in Los Angeles.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes.

Q. She said she thought you were about ten years old.

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I was definitely a lot younger. I was like six, seven, like Domino's Pizza League.

Q. She said you were as tall as she was then. Does that seem right?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Might be a small exaggeration.

Q. It's a good one, though.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah.

Q. I'm thinking of these kids in Boston. They're going to be so star struck when you walk in. Is that the way you felt when you met Billy Jean?

VENUS WILLIAMS: You know, I don't really know. All I remember, I was just really so happy to be hitting the ball. They had little drills, you got to hit four balls, moved on to the next court. I was really so excited. I was doing my best. There was free pizza at the end.

Q. You're going to be hitting some balls on Tuesday, right?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah.

Q. What are your thoughts on playing Serena?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It ought to be a good match, you know.

Q. How do you get yourself up for a match against your sister? There haven't been that many of them.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I mean, it's pretty easy because she's really a great player and a tough player. If I don't bring my best game, I'll be defeated. So it's not very hard to get up against her.

Q. Were you surprised at how easy the first set went, considering the battles that she's given you before?

VENUS WILLIAMS: You know, I just really went out there, hopefully try to take every point. The first set was relatively easy. It was very hot out there, so I guess that made it a little bit harder.

Q. How much of this result was you playing very well, and how much of it was what seemed like some jitters and unsteady play on her side?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think she didn't have her best day today. I'm not sure why. I've had those kind of days, too. As she gets older, she'll learn how to pull through those kind of days.

Q. What's your opinion of her?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think she plays very well. I think she's very determined. She moves well. She just has the potential to just keep getting better and better. It's all up to her.

Q. Does she seem to have the right kind of temperament?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Definitely, she's very motivated. She works hard. Looks like she's willing to always do a lot better, take the next step forward.

Q. Will you have to up your level to beat Serena from today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I definitely always would like to play better, sure. I definitely think I have to play a lot better than I did today.

Q. Serena said she found herself copying you all the time, that it was ridiculous for her to do that. Could you comment on that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, when we go to restaurants, she'll ask me, "What are you getting? " "Why?" You know, I feel happy to be the big sister. I do what I can.

Q. Does it ever drive you a little crazy?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I love it.

Q. Is she a good little sister?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah -- no. Well, yeah and no. She takes a lot of my things. I can't find things and I know she has them. I guess she has the right to do that, though, the little sister.

Q. Most little sisters sort of know how to get to their older sister, press their buttons. Does Serena have that quality?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I don't think so. She doesn't do that.

Q. She also mentioned she called her mom, her coach. What is your opinion about your mom being like a coach?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, definitely. I called my mom on the phone before I played my match, too.

Q. What did you ask her?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I didn't ask her anything. I just waited to see what she would say.

Q. And?

VENUS WILLIAMS: And she just said, "Stay focused."

Q. Do you think you and Serena are moving close to a point where you'll be so much better than anybody else in women's tennis, it will cease to be competitive?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I seriously doubt that. We're great players, but there's a lot of other great players on the tour also. Because we're human, we're going to have some mistakes every now and then. Tennis is a sport that it takes a little longer. It's not like a track and field race where it's 30 seconds, one minute. It can go on and on. I think that we definitely want to improve our games. I think we definitely have a lot of room to improve. I think you just always have to be watching behind you to make sure that, I guess, even to get new ideas to get better.

Q. Are you edging ever closer to the concept of you being 1, 2, that your dad talked about two, three years ago?

VENUS WILLIAMS: None of you guys believed us anyway.

Q. That was the goal. I'm just interested, now that you are a veteran of the tour, kind of know more what it's about, and on the other hand, Serena has made such great strides that we didn't foresee, is it closer to being a reality or are you backing off?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, we're always going to put our best forward. Hopefully our best will be 1 and 2. That's what we think we can do. So far we haven't done very bad. We just plan to do better. It will come. We haven't always been the fastest at everything. We always take things at our time.

Q. How do you stay focused on the ball going point by point when playing your sister? Is it possible or are you going to know she's across the net?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, it's definitely possible.

Q. Do you feel like you've done that successfully almost every time you've played her?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Uh-huh, I definitely think so. At the Wimbledon semifinal, I really wanted to win Wimbledon, so I guess I played a little better that day. She played me in a final at the Grand Slam Cup. That day I really just was scraping to get that one set that I got from her. She was playing well that day. So definitely it's easy to focus because if I don't, the result will be terrible.

Q. She's had a tougher time doing that against you, wouldn't you say, especially Wimbledon, was so emotional?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. I don't know. I think maybe I put a lot of pressure on everyone that I played at Wimbledon last year. I guess she became another victim.

Q. Martina has talked before about the difficulty of beating both of you in one tournament. This time it's the other way around. You might have a tough match. Does that give the survivor in the other bracket an advantage?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I don't think so. I think you have to approach every match as a professional. We're both professional players. Whether or not I play the No. 1 or No. 2 player in the world, that should be no excuse whether I win or lose, because professionally you have to be ready to do anything that comes my way.

Q. Will you practice with her?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah.

Q. Before your match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah.

Q. That's not a problem?

VENUS WILLIAMS: (Shaking head negatively.)

Q. From the time you debuted many years ago, you and your sister have gotten tremendous press, in my opinion. What is behind your thinking now that the press didn't believe that you would become dominant players? Are you serious about that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, yeah, all you have to do is just go back and read the articles. But in my opinion you have to believe in what you're doing because if you don't believe in what you're doing yourself, why should the next person? In the end, I have to have confidence in what I'm doing. We have to have confidence in what we're doing. That's the most important thing because, you know, no one's going to get us out of bed and make us go practice. We have to do that ourselves.

Q. You guys understand that unless you play a full schedule all year, it's pretty tough to become No. 1.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm lazy (laughter).

Q. So do you see maybe this year or next year that you're going to put the school aside a little bit, the other activities, play the full schedule and attain No. 1?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I don't know, sure, who knows. Just depends on how I feel at that time.

Q. How much does being No. 1 mean to you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I guess it should start to mean a lot more to me so I can work a lot harder to be there. I did okay last year. This year I've had a slower start. Definitely I'd like to do a lot better, do a lot more. I think I would love to play well at the Grand Slams. I think when do you that, as a result you are able to have No. 1 ranking, usually.

Q. You talk about going to school. You're studying fashion. How long have you been studying fashion?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Two years now.

Q. Tell me, what in the world is a dart.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't have a dart right now. A dart is used to shape the areas that are round on the body.

Q. Girls have more darts than guys?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Let's hope so. If you look at the back of your pants, maybe you'll see where you have a little seam line about this long. That's a dart. You can put them for styles. You can put them to shape. Serena applies very good darts.

Q. Did you design the dress today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I did not. Normally, Reebok does their designing because they know what they want for their markets, they know what they're shooting for. Normally they'll do the line. Maybe now and then I'll do a dress. But I really leave it up to them because they have their own goals as far as how they want their product to look.

Q. Do you have approval?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes.

Q. Is your stuff available in stores, retail? Serena's, there's very little of it.

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I don't think mine is just yet. I didn't sign my deal until later in the year, so I don't think they had the opportunity to sell the clothes to the stores.

Q. If somebody sees what you're wearing, they want it, it will be a while?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think maybe in August.

Q. When you're playing Serena, does there come a point in the match when you're not conscious it's your sister you're playing or are you always thinking, "That's Serena across the net"?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I'm always conscious of everyone that I'm playing. I'm not really thinking if this is Serena out there or not at all.

Q. Martina was No. 1 last year without winning a major. Is there a part of you that respects or even admires her ability to go out week after week and play the tournaments?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, that's really admirable because I haven't done it. She goes out there and plays consistently every tournament. Normally everyone has a bad loss every now and then. That happens to everyone. She plays well every tournament. She really doesn't have any ups and downs. Maybe she'll have a tough set every now and then. As the No. 1 player, she should be able to do that. I'm looking to get there.

Q. You mentioned after your first round match that you had this laziness problem. Is that something that has to be overcome or will you overcome it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm lazy in certain aspects. I think everyone needs their own lazy time. Too much laziness can really bring you down, I guess.

End of FastScripts....




--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

QueenO
Jun 19th, 2002, 03:16 PM
March 15, 2001

An interview with:

VENUS WILLIAMS

MODERATOR: Questions for Venus.

Q. I saw what happened out there. What was the name of the trainer, I saw you went to her and talked immediately? What did she tell you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't quite understand.

Q. While you were practicing.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I was just doing my best to warm my knee up, to stretch, to do what I could to compete. She's my trainer. She knows what's best for me.

Q. What's her name?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Carey Brooks (phonetic).

Q. What did she say while you were doing the stretch?

VENUS WILLIAMS: She just said, "Stretch." I was stretching my shoulder out and my arm, my quadriceps, a normal routine, then a little bit more.

Q. When did you first start hurting?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I've been really having some knee problems since I played in Nice. I got a lot better. I took a week off after Nice. I've been playing with it taped since then. You know, it's been sore. Finally got to a point where I just couldn't continue, not confidently and not effectively.

Q. So when you went out to hit today, you just couldn't move very well?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I was moving like a grandma.

Q. It's your right knee?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, my right knee.

Q. Every time you're moving to the right, you're getting a shooting pain?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm having a difficult time bending. At my height I have to, if I want to compete well. Just stopping and changing directions. Movement is one of my strengths. I just don't have a chance against Serena if I can't move.

Q. Was that something that got worse as the match went on yesterday?

VENUS WILLIAMS: As my match went on yesterday?

Q. As your match went on, did your knee feel worse and worse?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I feel a lot worse after matches usually, especially if I have to extend myself in a match, do a lot of running and bending, then I do feel a lot worse. But yesterday, I didn't have to run and bend as much as normally, as I would have.

Q. What have they said you need to do to get rid of it now? How long might it take?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Just strengthening.

Q. How often?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I have to strengthen my quadriceps and my hip muscles, and ice. I have a new pair of orthotics. You know, it's really sad because it's kind of a setback. I used to have knee problems with my left knee. I finally got rid of those. I thought that after Nice, you know, I was moving on. Hopefully I'll be able to compete at the Ericsson.

Q. Did you think about just trying to get through it and get through the pain, how much did you think about that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Normally that's really not an option for me because I really don't like to play through pain. I think it just makes the problem a lot worse. You know, I did everything that I could do, different tape jobs, to be able to play tonight, but .

Q. Why wait so long? Why wait until right before the match to make the decision?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I made every effort to be on the court, you know, like stretching, warming up, taping, seeing the doctor. He didn't have a magic pill.

Q. When did you make the actual decision that you weren't going to play tonight, how long ago?

VENUS WILLIAMS: When did I make the actual decision?

Q. Yes. At what point in time did you inform the tour that you weren't going to play?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know what time it was. It was very close. I would say 10 after -- 10 before, maybe 15 before. I'm not sure because I didn't look at a watch.

Q. Did you take that decision or did the doctor say, "I don't think you should play"?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I take the decision. The doctor, he didn't know me. I guess he didn't know what my injury was like and what I could do and what I couldn't do. So I guess he wasn't in a position to tell me whether I could compete or not. I've had this injury before, so I knew what I could do and what I couldn't.

Q. Do you think you would have played had you been scheduled to play somebody other than Serena?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I don't think so.

Q. You and Serena often don't play non-Slam tournaments together. Elena yesterday, and a number of people before her, made the charge that your dad decides the matches. Some people putting these two things together are saying that this was something decided within your family. What would you say to people who would make that comment?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Everyone has their own opinion.

Q. Is that opinion a false one or otherwise?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, it's not a true opinion at all. Everyone makes their own comments. That's how rumors get started. I guess rumors are more exciting than the truth.

Q. And the truth is?

VENUS WILLIAMS: The truth is I'm suffering from an injury and I'm really looking to get back for the Ericsson. Once Wimbledon comes around, the rest of the year, I have a lot of points coming off. For me this is really the prime time to get some points and really to move up.

Q. Is this going to keep you out of the Ericsson?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I hope not. I'm just going to ice and rest and tape because I love playing down there, my family's down there, I live down there. I missed it last year because of injury also. I'm going to do my utmost to be there.

Q. In the back of your mind, you've had a problem with the other knee, now this one, does that concern you long-term?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I just think I have to work a lot harder as far as just strengthening weaker areas in my body. I think everyone has weaknesses. Especially when you're playing an abusive sport like tennis, I'm more visible, everyone has some injury they're going to deal with.

Q. Will you need surgery?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I'm not going to get surgery. I'm going to pray.

Q. Why do you think there's a perception amongst some of the other players that when you play Serena you guys aren't always giving a hundred percent against each other?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I have no idea.

Q. What do you say to them? Do you say, "That's not the truth. We play as hard as we can. Whoever wins was the best woman on that day."?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't say anything to them. For me it's not an issue at all. I don't even think for them it's an issue. I just think they come in here and you guys ask them a question.

Q. The crowd in the grandstand was pretty vocal when they made the announcement you weren't playing. Pretty angry response. If you never pulled out of any tournaments before, I don't think there would be that kind of response. Do you think you're getting a reputation with the fans as somebody who doesn't always show up?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I don't think so. It's very disappointing for me and most of all for the fans. I'm scheduled to be there at 6:00, and I can't. What more can I do? I can't send Venus No. 2.

Q. I understand some are down at the ticket office asking for their money back.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't have any money to give them back.

Q. Did you have any idea this would be the case when you finished playing yesterday, "I might not be able to play tomorrow"?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. There's always a measure of soreness after any match. Your back gets sore, especially if it's a tough match. If you have an injury, you always get sore. But, no, I didn't expect this at all.

Q. After you withdrew, did you talk to your dad at all?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. He wasn't here. I think he left around a couple hours earlier. I haven't talked to him yet.

Q. What did Serena say when you talked to her?

VENUS WILLIAMS: She started telling me something funny that happened to her. She's supportive.

Q. What do you think your dad will say?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Nothing. Nothing at all. He just wants us to be happy and to be healthy. That's one of the main reasons I didn't play a lot last year is because I was just ready to come back earlier. He gave me a choice to come back, but I just never did because I guess I felt it was better to --.

Q. He made some statements last year during the Chase that some of your problems and Serena's were more in the mental line. Talking about TV revenues. Do you see how this flows into questions about what you're doing?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I don't.

QueenO
Jun 19th, 2002, 03:18 PM
MIAMI, FLORIDA

March 23, 2001

V. WILLIAMS/M. Oremans
6-2, 6-0

An Interview With:

VENUS WILLIAMS

THE MODERATOR: First question, please, for Venus.

Q. What was the feeling in the knee today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I felt a lot better. Fortunately I didn't have to run too hard or run too fast. I'm feeling good. I'm happy to be competing here because it's one of my favorite tournaments, I play at home. My nephew, my niece can come. My sisters are at school, but my brother is here. So I love it here.

Q. You've got a lot of stuff to defend this summer, big titles. Are you looking forward to that, or is it pressure to defend them? Where's the balance with the US Open and Wimbledon?

VENUS WILLAIMS: I'm not afraid. Really I was looking to gain a lot more points in the beginning of the year, but it hasn't happened yet. I mean, I think a few, but not a lot. That's why it's really important for me to be able to play right now because I have so much coming off those Grand Slams and all the little titles I won last year. So I really want to get in working order.

Q. Last year when you were defending the US Open, did you remember how felt going in as a defending champion?

VENUS WILLAIMS: I was defending Serena's title. That's the best I could do. (Laughing.)

Q. Did you learn anything from having seen what she accomplished there?

VENUS WILLAIMS: Oh, yeah. Definitely. Because Serena, she played every match in the '99 US Open, she went for it, she did all the things at the right time. It was really a good lesson for me. We really help each other as far as learning to play. I take things from her, she takes things from me. We set good examples for each other. That was definitely my turning point. She was my encouragement. If any other player had played the way she did at that US Open, I most likely wouldn't have taken notice. But since it was Serena, I really could notice. I meant a lot to me and it helped me.

Q. Does that mean you take notice about other past champions or champions in the future? Not just your sister?

VENUS WILLAIMS: I'm not so connected to them. So I see it, but I don't take it to heart.

Q. Did you give any consideration to not playing this tournament?

VENUS WILLAIMS: Yes, I did. But I stayed off the leg. I had a couple engagements. So I think that helped a lot because if I hadn't had something to do that I had to do that I committed to do, I would have been trying to practice more. I know that would have thrown me off. But I'm not really off of my game, which I'm happy. I didn't practice too much. And I feel pretty confident. So I'm happy about that, too, because I'll take a few days off and I'll be off of my game. Serena will take some days off and she'll be ready to go, so...

Q. Obviously you want to win and I'm sure you wish the best for your sister. If you should end up meeting in the final in this tournament, do you think that might be a way to answer your critics, by playing in the final? Are you looking forward to the opportunity to do that?

VENUS WILLAIMS: I really, I want the best for Serena, and naturally I want the best for myself, too. But hopefully we'll both be in the final. That's what we like. And we played once in the final here before, and, for example, at the US Open last year, Serena had a tough quarter final loss and I was a little bit sad because I felt like I -- I'm the older sister so I should have the hard lessons in life so that way she can learn from it. That's how it worked out. Serena was second, I was first. She learned from all my lessons and all my losses so when she came out she did even better. I kind of felt like I should have taken the loss, but she learned from it and it was good for her to have that loss.

Q. Bart McGuire was in here last night and gave a detailed explanation of the injury you had. He said he met individually with you and your sister and your father and had some suggestions or recommendations about how to confront these kinds of issues in the future, more on a public relations sort of plain. Could you share with us some of the recommendations he gave you?

VENUS WILLAIMS: Well, as far as really just being straightforward, really not beating around the bush because we usually tend to take everything in stride. Things kind of just run their course and they move on. So I think in this instance we really just need to meet it face-to-face because really we're a good family. We're incredible in everything that we've done, and we've been honest. Really, we're just two young people that are really doing something with our life. We aren't doing anything else other than that. We've only had positives in our life. So that's really all.

Q. Do you think it was good advice?

VENUS WILLAIMS: Oh, yeah. Definitely. He has quite a few more years on me. He's the CEO of this Tour, knows a lot more. Really, the information I can gather, more advice I can get as far as dealing with these things now and even in the future, that's good for me because, you know, so much is so much and anyone can get tired and frustrated. I don't feel like that. I think the Tour has really supported me, my family and even some of the papers.

Q. Do you have any regrets about how you handled I guess what happened last week?

VENUS WILLAIMS: You know, there's a lot of ways it could have been done, but really I just did what I could to be in the match and really that's really why I had a late withdrawal, because I wanted to be there. And I've learned that I can't take anything, I can't change the past, only do better in the future.

Q. Venus, given that you like to take the fall, you'd rather absorb the hurt than see Serena absorb the hurt. How hard was it for you to sit in the stands and hear her being booed or you or dad being booed?

VENUS WILLAIMS: I didn't feel bad about being booed because if people feel like that, if they aren't my fan, I can't change their mind. I'm not into changing people; it's almost impossible. As far as Serena, I don't know how she felt about that. If anything, I was there for her to be strong, encouraging her, and, you know, I just think we learned a powerful lesson about how people can be.

Q. Were you wondering what the crowd reaction, reception would be like for you to today? What did you think about that?

VENUS WILLAIMS: Yeah, I did wonder how it would be today but then I also knew that I am in Florida and whenever we're away from home we're always on the front page in the headlines here, especially in Palm Beach, on the Palm Beach Post. I really felt it would be supportive for us, for me. And plus what happened was last week, it was 5,000 miles away so it didn't directly affect anyone in Florida.

Q. Switching gears, do you design your own clothes?

VENUS WILLAIMS: No. Not normally. Sometimes. But --.

Q. Does your contract with Reebok involve designing in the future?

VENUS WILLAIMS: I have the leverage to design some pieces. I don't really want to if there's not a line for them. I think they more or less know how they want their lines to go and their planning for the future and their marketing and so on and so forth. So I don't really try to bother with that because I don't know as much. They're a huge corporation.

Q. You're learning about it though, right?

VENUS WILLAIMS: I'm learning about it. It's good because I can learn more.

Q. Do you consider yourself an artist?

VENUS WILLAIMS: Yes.

Q. Did you think the response to last week via the crowd and press was unfair, or do you understand how that response was?

VENUS WILLAIMS: Well, I think the crowd may have felt slighted in a way that they didn't have the opportunity to see the match, and I understand that they, you know, paid money, possibly the semifinals -- I don't understand the ticketing. Maybe it costs more than a first-round match, the ticket. I can understand that. As far as the press, I don't always understand you all but I do know that you want a big story. I do understand that, you're interested in selling papers. It's all a business. Everything is tennis for me, it's my career and it's entertainment but it's also a business. But all of it, I think, was a lot -- not very necessary.

Q. Is this injury related to the growth spurt you had during your early teenage years?

VENUS WILLAIMS: I've had a knee injury since I was six, pains. I think it has a lot to do with my body build, the way I'm put together. So a lot have it, my injuries are preventive if I know beforehand my weaknesses. Most of the time you don't find your weaknesses until you get injured, so...

Q. The reason why you waited until almost the last minute to call the match was because you didn't want to call the match?

VENUS WILLAIMS: No, I wanted to play. I could use the points. I could use the title.

Q. What's the treatment for the knee?

VENUS WILLAIMS: Ice, exercise, stretching surrounding muscles and quadriceps.

Q. What did the doctor say about how long it's going to take to heal?

VENUS WILLAIMS: I've had this injury before. When you sit around with it, it doesn't help. It's even more sore. If I do take time off and I can't just rest, I have to do my exercises and things like that or else I come back even worse. So I just have to exercise and keep moving.

Q. You tempted to go out and try to play and perhaps quit on the court if it was too much?

VENUS WILLAIMS: Yeah, I was. There was a lot of factors involved including that I was playing a top player. If I'm not at 100 percent, what can I do? So in the end, I had to make the choice that was best for me because at the end of the day I have to go home and I have to take care of myself and I have to be healthy and no one else can do that for me.

Q. Have you and Serena ever sat down and had a very serious discussion about the future, about how it might be necessary for you to start playing each other more often and it's inevitable that you're going to play each other, why don't we just see if we can -- by playing each other more often we can get over the emotional difficulty of playing?

VENUS WILLAIMS: Well, the first part is that we don't have an emotional difficulty playing each other. We never had a problem playing with each other. We played each other on five occasions already. I just think that people keep thinking there's an emotional problem. Serena and I, we love each other. There's nothing -- we don't talk about tennis normally. A lot of times we'll talk about a lot of the difficulties we had the court, "I couldn't keep the ball in, I didn't know what to do." Things like that. But we don't talk about tennis at all.

Q. Why don't you play more tournaments together? You've actually played one tournament where you play doubles together, not singles?

VENUS WILLAIMS: We play what we want to play.

Q. You're talking about, you know, not being able to change peoples' minds. There's obviously a lot of perceptions out there. People make their statements, how they want to think. What else do you do mentally to sidetrack yourself from falling into what their thoughts are?

VENUS WILLAIMS: Yeah, it's easy to worry about what others think, everyone does that unless you just really just don't care. But I do care. Because naturally, you don't want someone to think bad of you, especially if you think good of yourself. So I have to realize that I can't change what you write. You guys make that decision. I can only control my actions and what I do, and that's all I can do. I'm only one person overall.

Q. Andre Agassi said yesterday that if somebody charged that there was a match fixed in any way that he would be very upset about it. Would you give your response to what the charge that was made this week in the Enquirer that the match against your sister at Wimbledon, your father had asked Serena not to win that match or to lose the match? What is your response to something like that? Is it upsetting?

VENUS WILLAIMS: My response is that the accusation is false; that it's not true; that my dad would never do anything like that. What can I think? The magazine isn't exactly the top-notch or exactly credible. I have to move on. That was last week.

Q. Does it blow your mind that they ran a story on it?

VENUS WILLAIMS: No.

Q. Can't believe they'd do that?

VENUS WILLAIMS: If anything, Serena and I have become pretty famous.

Q. Is it disappointing to see one of the sources is a relative? Have you read it? Did you read the whole thing?

VENUS WILLAIMS: No, I haven't read it. I've heard about it. Really just what can I say? Maybe I should check to see if he's really a relative for all the things he said.

Q. What, if anything, can you and Serena do to change these misperceptions about the way the two of you approach your matches against each other?

VENUS WILLAIMS: I don't know. I don't know. I just think that it's inevitable that we'll play each other again, especially if both of us are playing and we're healthy and we're winning. It's going to happen, and we have no issue with it. It's what we always wanted because we both wanted to be professionals, always be the best, hopefully we'll be 1 and 2 in the future. That's our goal. And, you know, with time, everyone will see.

Q. You pulled out of the match. You were honest with yourself. Could you have imagined that it would have created a worldwide controversy?

VENUS WILLAIMS: No. It always seems to happen with Serena and I, and I don't know why. I don't know why.

QueenO
Jun 19th, 2002, 03:21 PM
MIAMI, FLORIDA

March 25, 2001

V. WILLIAMS/S. Cacic
6-2, 6-2

An Interview With:

VENUS WILLIAMS

THE MODERATOR: First question for Venus, please.

Q. You had both knees bandaged tonight. What was the reason for that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Just protection.

Q. Either one sore or just precautionary?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Precautionary.

Q. You happy with your playing?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm fairly content, you know, I'm doing some of the things that I've been working on. Sometimes I'm not, but other times I am so I got to be happy with the win tonight that I didn't have to work too hard and really move on to tomorrow.

Q. Conserve a little bit of energy by doing that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Not conserve energy, but really just not stressing my body too much.

Q. I am loving this blue and white.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Thank you.

Q. Everyone is teasing me because I am doing the fashion questions. Is this one of yours?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, no. It's not one of my designs. Serena was telling me she likes it a lot, too.

Q. I like it a lot. I noticed you've been doing a lot with white, you had the white with orange during Wimbledon. Now this.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know.

Q. Is it a trend?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Normally I try not to wear white but this turned out to be the best set in the little collection, so... This is what I'm in. Actually, I've won matches in this. I have other dresses I can wear, but I'm just superstitious.

Q. I wonder what happens to the ones that are retired. What happened to the Wimbledon outfit and what happened to the US Open outfit?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I saved the Wimbledon outfit and the US Open outfit. The rest, I'll try to save one of each design, then I have to get rid of the rest, give them away.

Q. Do you feel like you play better in a particular style? I notice you favor the two pieces or the cutouts.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, normally I have the one-piece for the past couple years, but now I have the two-piece. I have some one-piece dresses but I haven't been wearing them.

Q. Other than stamina, you kind of blowing through people? I mean, it's kind of easy right now. I mean if you had some tough matches early on with some tough wins, would that be helpful in the end?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I've had a lot of tough matches in my life, so I've been there and I've done that and really I like it this way. That means I'm playing good because I was up 4-1 and I could see her trying to move her feet and get in there. I felt that I kept the balls deep and hard and so I kept neutralizing her efforts. I think she really just felt that she couldn't get her foot in. Although she didn't play exactly bad, maybe she felt a little rushed. But I know she can play. She's a good player and I've played her before. So, I think it's good for me that I'm able to do that.

Q. She hits pretty hard.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, she does. Gets something on the ball.

Q. You don't waste any time. When it comes to getting the ball to move, you don't waste any time?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Sometimes I'm playing too fast. I try to slow myself down but I just don't want to, especially tonight. Other days I play a little bit slower, but sometimes I do play fast, especially if I lose a point. I want to get to the next one and kind of correct the mistake.

Q. How do you adjust to the flow of the match? (Inaudible)?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Depending on what kind, if I had a long point, naturally I'll try to recover a little bit. If I make too many mistakes, I do have to slow down and take a step back and reconsider. But, normally I do like to play fast.

Q. Is that happening in a millisecond in your mind? So much is going on. How do you work it when you're trying to pace yourself?

VENUS WILLIAMS: The best thing is when you play and you don't have to think. But when I'm out there and I do have to think about what I'm doing, then I think I just need to go back to practice and work a little harder.

Q. And in the practice process, how do you work that out? I'm trying to go from what happens in your mind. You need to go to practice and work that out. Can you tell me what happens?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, if I'm not turning my hips on the ball, maybe I'm just not comfortable with doing it in a match, I'll go to practice and work on it. Especially if I have an easy match, I'll start working on things that I want to do especially under pressure situations.

Q. Are there days you just don't feel like practicing?

VENUS WILLIAMS: That doesn't happen too often, especially at a tournament. I will practice. At home, a lot of times I don't feel like practicing. But when I was at the Olympics, I didn't feel like practicing and I didn't because when I went out there, I was just wasting time and kind of making my game a lot worse because I was playing lazily. So at that point, I was tired. I had done a lot of weeks in a row. So that's the reason I didn't really want to hit.

QueenO
Jun 19th, 2002, 03:23 PM
MIAMI, FLORIDA

March 26, 2001

V. WILLIAMS/T. Garbin
7-5, 7-6

An Interview With:

VENUS WILLIAMS

THE MODERATOR: First question for Venus, please.

Q. On that article that was in the paper, do you have any comment on it about what they claim, racism and all that junk?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I, uhm, did not see that article. Nor do I read the papers, especially during tournament time. But I don't think racism is junk at all.

Q. Your dad talked about racial taunts that he heard, I guess, before the final involving Serena. What were you aware of?

VENUS WILLIAMS: As far as what?

Q. What did you hear? Did you hear the same kind of thing?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I heard whatever he heard.

Q. Which was what?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think you already know.

Q. Is that a distraction, when your father's outspoken about stuff like that, or is that important for him to air his point of view?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think it's important for his point of view to be heard if he wants to speak. And as for me, I'm here to play tennis and that only. That makes me happy enough.

Q. It's not a distraction?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No.

Q. Have you considered if you're going to go back to Indian Wells?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It's a year away. Hopefully I'll be healthy enough to just be playing.

Q. So you would go back there?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Only if they want me.

Q. Did you think the booing was racially motivated?

VENUS WILLIAMS: What do you think?

Q. I wasn't there.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I can't say. I mean, the questions are redundant. It's already ten days ago. Whatever happened, happened. I can't change it. There's nothing I can do about it.

Q. Talk about your match today. Obviously maybe a little tougher than you might have expected?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I had some up and downs, my balls were flying. I couldn't always keep them in. I had to resort to other measures. Hopefully I'll play a lot better tomorrow.

Q. Health-wise, how are you feeling? Do you feel like you're back on track?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm feeling good. I'm doing my best. Today, I think I could have made the match a little shorter so that wasn't good for me as far as on my knees. But I'm going to go home and ice and do everything I can so I won't be stiff tomorrow.

Q. Do you have enough to get to the finals and win?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I hope so. It's the quarterfinals already, and I think if I get a win tomorrow then I'll have two days off and that will be good for me.

Q. How's your love life?

VENUS WILLIAMS: (Laughing.) I'm not on the market. I'm not on the market. I'm taking my ticket away, I stepped out of line.

QueenO
Jun 19th, 2002, 03:25 PM
MIAMI, FLORIDA

March 27, 2001

V. WILLIAMS/J. Dokic
6-2, 6-3

An Interview With:

VENUS WILLIAMS

THE MODERATOR: First question for Venus, please.

Q. How did you play today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think I played a lot better and a lot more controlled especially compared to yesterday. I think I was able to serve a lot better, too. So it's probably -- as far as that aspect, I was really happy.

Q. Was there anything that you did yesterday in particular that you, you know, that you felt --?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I just made a lot of errors yesterday. I wasn't hitting out on the ball as much as I would normally. But a win is a win. I got the win yesterday and that's why I was able to come back today.

Q. Do you look ahead to the next match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. At this point, sure. But I'll just be getting ready, preparing and most of all thinking about what I'm going to do.

Q. Do you have tendinitis in both knees?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I guess I have different problems in both knees, but... Hey, it's part of life. It's part of playing sports.

QueenO
Jun 19th, 2002, 03:28 PM
MIAMI, FLORIDA

March 29, 2001

V. WILLIAMS/M. Hingis
6-3, 7-6

An Interview With:

VENUS WILLIAMS

THE MODERATOR: First question.

Q. With everything that is going on in the last week or so it would have been easy for you to get off track. How have you been able to maintain the focus on your tennis?

VENUS WILLIAMS: For me, it is really not very difficult because in my opinion all these things going on around me are not very important because I have more important things in my life, so many more important things and most of all because tennis is not all and everything for me. So I really been able to really keep my game under control. I haven't been overhitting really, that is the most important thing. I have been serving alot better this week too.

Q. With the wind out there, were you trying to simplify your toss a little?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, definitely brought my toss down a little bit which was sometimes a little bit detrimental. I hit some balls really long, but other than that I was okay. Serving my second serve halfway decent but the wind was a factor. I don't know if it will be windy on Saturday, but I will definitely take that into consideration in my next practice.

Q. Do you think your fast start made all the difference in this match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Definitely. It is a lot easier when you win the first set. Because I feel a lot more confident going into the second and because you don't really have to claw and fight to get back into a third.

Q. Against a quality player like Martina, have you ever had an opening three games as strong as the three you had today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. Quite a few times. I didn't always back it up but today I did. I guess I am a lot older and more wiser, but I have had some starts against maybe Martina like that before. Actually, the first time I played her at the Lipton in 1997, I had 3-Love and lost it, but --

Q. Did you just make up your mind. I am going to come out in this match, I am going for winners on every opportunity?

VENUS WILLIAMS: That is my game, to hit the ball. Any time that I try to play otherwise I become an average player because my game is to hit and any other thing I don't really know how to do because I don't practice that. So, it is important for me to go out and play my game and not be convinced that I have to play a different way because I am playing a certain player.

Q. Do you approach a match with Martina any differently than anyone else, Do you feel a different sense of rivalry with her, or is she basically another excellent player that you are playing against?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I approach every match differently depending on who I am playing. If I have never played the player before or if I am playing Martina, then maybe I will be a little bit more focused going into the match because she is a good competitor and really try not to give her too much room to get back into the match because she is very good at that.

Q. What are your thoughts of making another final and playing either Dementieva or--

VENUS WILLIAMS: I am really excited. If I could play every tournament like I do the Lipton, I would be undefeated-- I am sorry, the Ericsson. It is hard for me, guys. It is hard for everybody. But if I could just do this every time I'd be No. 1.

Q. Have you played either of them that much, I mean, Capriati?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Capriati only once back in 1997. Dementieva quite a few times. Well, three. And I think my odds are good against both of them and I think they are evenly matched going into tonight's match for them because I played Dementieva last week and I saw Capriati play yesterday, so I can't say who is going to win-- looks to me like they are hitting quite a few over the net but I would say Dementieva is a little more powerful.

Q. Did Martina seem more pre-occupied with the trial coming up?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know-- I think she maybe had a slow start, but I had a fast start, that could be part of it. And it was windy, and it seemed to get more windy as we went on, so it was a little weird out there with the ball turning into you and on your serve. Also, we were serving in the sun for at least half of the match so there were a lot of outside factors today.

Q. Did she seem any different than any other time you have played her?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. No. Not at all.

Q. When Martina was asked to explain her comments about racism on the Tour and then why African Americans had an advantage in her opinion, she said it was because people were afraid to say the wrong thing about African Americans and that the media took it easy on you and Serena.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't quite understand.

Q. Her comments-- this is Martina's comments. She said that people were afraid to say the wrong thing about African American players on the Tour. That was one. She also said that the media took it easy on you and on Serena?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't understand, though, the question, why would she say that in conjunction with what question she asked.

Q. The other day she said in a press conference that there -- it was nonsense that there was racism on the Tour and that African Americans had an advantage being on the Tour. She was following up to those comments.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't think anyone has an advantage on the Tour. I think as far as the WTA Tour and also the Grand Slam events, they are very fair. And if anything, I have been a marquis player all my life. I have had an extra advantage, I would believe, I haven't had to come from the bottom as an unknown scrub, so I couldn't tell you how that how that would be. But as far as outside of tennis. People are afraid to face the reality. No one wants to see bad things; no one wants to see the dark side. They want to be happy. And I don't blame that. But we have got to face our fears and go head on to any problem that we might have in America, that is how I believe.

Q. People have to look at their attitudes?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It is hard. It is hard to change. Especially if something you have been taught - your parents taught you mentality of a country is hard and it takes time. That is all I have to say.

Q. Venus does it give you a special satisfaction to defeat Martina Hingis and mainly in the way you did today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I had quite a few unforced errors, so if I could just get myself somehow -- maybe I need to go an 11-step program for unforced errors.

Q. Can you talk about the two times that you faced problems today, 5-4 she was serving for the second set and also when she had a set point in the tiebreaker, what was going through your mind each time?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, at 5-4 I don't know. She made a few errors, but I think I hit a few good deep shots and when I was down in the tiebreak I said Venus, this is your advantage, I was serving, so hit a nice first serve and took my time on my overhead and it was 6-All.

Q. Did you think about a third set?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Not during the second set because I was concentrating on the second and really doing my best to take that one.

Q. Two bandages on your knee that don't go all the way around, what are they designed to do?

VENUS WILLIAMS: They are designed to keep me out of pain basically.

Q. I don't understand how.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, they are preventative measures so that way I can continue to play tournaments like the Ericsson.

Q. I don't know if you have heard yet, but a judge ruled today that you are not going to have to testify?

MODERATOR: Due to legal and security reasons they are not answering any questions on this matter. Next question, please.

Q. What about her own security concerns?

THE MODERATOR: Next question, please.

Q. Venus, I am wondering about Jennifer Capriati. You played her once. You were talking about the 1997 Lipton match. Do you have any memories at all from that match and how much has Capriati changed or progressed?

VENUS WILLIAMS: She played great that night and I played pretty good too and I just remember at the end I was just very calm and pulled the match out.

Q. You said that you wanted to play the higher ranked player when they asked you --

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, I like to play the higher ranked player. It is more to my advantage for my ranking purposes; that is how I feel.

Q. Dementieva, if you play her she is going up to No. 8 on Monday, I believe, how has her game progressed since you just played her a couple of weeks ago compared to when you first did?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think she hits the ball a little bit harder. Maybe -- she's always been very consistent but it just seems like she has just taken her game up a step in her serve, return, groundstrokes - volleys she just doesn't come in that much. Seems like she has just taken her game to another level.

Q. Seems like you defeated her pretty easily at least by the score; that was your last match at Indian Wells. Was your knee hurting in that match pretty much?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I know the match before I played Rachel McQuillan, I was sore, moving pretty slow, and against Dementieva fortunately enough I didn't have to work that hard. But I was moving slow and moving faster this week.

Q. You said you didn't have to work that hard?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I didn't have to work too hard.

Q. Why is that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: She made a lot of errors. I think she didn't play her best that day.

Q. Venus hits a 68 mile an hour serve. Does she have to improve her second serve to play at your level, especially on big points?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't think she has to improve her second serve because until someone really threatens her or everyone threatens her every time and says -- and makes a lot of winners, then she doesn't have to improve it. Occasionally she play someone like me or Serena or Lindsay or maybe Clijsters who is going to maybe take a chance, but most people are just happy to put the ball in play.

Q. You said that you were very focused throughout this entire week. Did you ever say to your dad, gee, just let my tennis do the talking; try not and say too much to the press?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I never tell him what to do. I am not in that kind of position. I am just a kid.

Q. Did you ever wish you could tell him to do that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No.

Q. Venus, you were raised -- if you meet Jennifer in the final you sort of come at it from two different ways being tennis prodigies. You remember when you were wanted to play and your dad was holding you back, was she ever mentioned as don't burn out quickly, don't -- look what happened to Jennifer?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I just think when Jennifer -- she's an isolated case as far as what may have happened to her. Maybe she was tired. Maybe she decided I am going to layoff and play tennis a little later in life. Maybe it is not for me. Maybe that is what happened to her. I don't think it was anything exactly so tragic. Maybe she needed time.

Q. You said that you felt you were a wiser player now than you were before. Can you tell us in what ways you think --

VENUS WILLIAMS: I just play a lot smarter. I don't always try to kill the ball. Give myself a chance. I still like to hit hard because that is my game and it keeps people on their toes and it keeps them pushed back, but I think in general I make a lot better decisions.

Q. Davenport said she believes your father likes to just say things to stir up the media and leave you and your sister to deal with the consequences. Do you and Serena feel that way?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, we don't.

Q. Did the leg hurt today? Is pain something you just -- you are just going have to deal with or did you feel -- (inaudible)

VENUS WILLIAMS: Actually I am happy that the final day is coming up for me because I have all of April off, so I can just kind of relax and just get off of my legs and my arms and everything. It has been a tough month for me actually since February. So it has been a tough two months.

Q. Is your knee hurting now?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I am okay. If I was hurting too much then I wouldn't play. But I just really have to -- really start an hour earlier whereas in the past I would maybe take 15 minutes to warm up, now I take an hour so it is hard for me to be so disciplined.

Q. Do you think too much is being placed on Indian Wells and what your father says rather than on your tennis?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. I haven't placed too much on it. Really life is just about moving on and learning from everything that happens to you.

Q. Is it a possibility, you know, Serena was hurt, hurt her knee was hurt and there were, you know, can this be getting in a position where if even if she wanted to stop because she is hurts -- is there a danger of this whole injury thing whether it is you, Lindsay getting out of control, whereas if you are hurt you have got to stop as opposed to just playing through because of what people may say?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't understand the question.

Q. The question is Serena was hurt and I am wondering if, you know, there could be a point where maybe you will want to stop because you are actually in pain but because of the Indian Wells thing or whatever you figure, well, let me play through this, where maybe you should stop, do you think there could be a danger of playing through pain when maybe you should stop and not play?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I don't think it is a danger because I think the person has to decide whether or not they can endure it or whether or not they can continue and if it is good for them or not so everyone has to make that decision for themselves. Only the athlete knows that for sure.

Q. This past week it seems that there has been this suggestion again that maybe your dad has a great influence on you and Serena greater perhaps than he should, can you address that issue?

VENUS WILLIAMS: He does have a great influence on me. He is my dad and I like when he is happy with me. And I do my best and he has given me everything that I have right now or else I would be somewhere struggling in college and I guess in California, I don't know where I would be. Who knows, maybe lots of bad things could have happened to me. Maybe because of tennis I have stayed so focused in my life. So I am really, really thankful and I have nothing to say badly against him because he loves me. He want the best for me, and he has done everything that he can and he'd really -- he'd give his right arm.

Q. Because of this perception do you feel that you and Serena that you have to declare your independence from him or not?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I do everything that I can to -- because I realize, especially now, I think about, you know, I am not always going to have my dad around, hopefully we will all keep living as long as possible, but, you know, I really try to start visiting my dad more too and my mom because I have to realize that they are not always going to be here, so I should make the best of it and like learn things that happened to them in the past and learn more about me too, so that is what I try to realize these days.

Q. How has your mother dealt with all of this last couple of weeks?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't think we have anything to deal with. Because when you know the truth, the truth sets you free. So we have no issue at all.

QueenO
Jun 19th, 2002, 03:30 PM
MIAMI, FLORIDA

March 31, 2001

V. WILLIAMS/J. Capriati
4-6, 6-1, 7-6

An Interview With:

VENUS WILLIAMS

THE MODERATOR: First question, please.

Q. Did you ever win a match saving 8 matchpoints?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I haven't. This-- I guess there is a first for everything. She missed a few shots. I was able to stay in there.

Q. When she hit that passing shot on one of the matchpoints, when you let it go, you were thinking it could go in or --

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well I don't think I really had a really great play on it. I had some play on it but not all the best and it went long, so, I was back in it again. I just kept getting back in it some way or another. Then, I had breakpoints and kind of ruined those, but I was just really trying to just take advantage of my opportunities and eventually I was able to.

Q. Earlier in the tournament, Venus, you said I think we have learned a lesson how people can be. Two days ago you were jeered by most of the stadium. Today you got tremendous applause and held up the winner's trophy. What lesson can we learn or you learn from the two different days?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think both Saturdays are exact opposites. But I don't think there is anything to learned to be honest. Just a nice match.

Q. But it felt good after all you went through before to emerge the victory here today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I don't think it had anything to do with it. That was two weeks ago in Indian Wells. It was a different crowd and I can't expect people to like me just because I am a good person. They don't know that. They don't know me. And most of them will never have the opportunity to even meet me. So I have got to like myself, that is how I feel.

Q. Can you remember the last time you played Jennifer in 1997, how do you think she has changed and how do you think you have changed?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I play a lot smarter. I played more percentages I think. But even then it was nice not even to play smart because you go for broke and that kind of makes you even a greater player. I think she is playing a lot better. She adds a lot more spin on the ball. She has always moved very well and she has even stepped that up some. So I think most of all mentally she is a lot tougher.

Q. How physically and emotionally draining is a match that long? I am sure you get a little perky when you win -- but...

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah.

Q. Talk about that process.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I just think the heat was a major factor today because it was so hot that I think it took a lot out of both of us. If it had been a cooler day it probably would have been much easier to go out there and run, run, run. I think most of all it was the heat but we both pushed each other to the limit.

Q. Was there ever a point you thought you were going to lose?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Not really, no. I just didn't feel like that. I just-when I was facing my matchpoints I just kept telling myself what to do at the right time, everything that my dad had told me to do, that is what I tried to do. And I never really felt like I was going to lose. I felt disappointed when I lost serve those two times to go down 5-4 and 6-5. That is the only time I felt badly.

Q. What sort of things has your dad told you to do when you are matchpoint down?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Really just the basics, look at the ball, stay down, hit your topspin, turn your hips, all those little things that are really important under pressure.

Q. The dropshots seemed to keep her a little off balance as well. Then she tried to hit you with a couple of them. How much did that help to get you past those match points?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I have a really good drop shot especially off the forehand side and really I had her on the run and on the rope and she was far behind the baseline. It just seemed like a good idea when I hit them to hit the dropshots because she was far away, and she really -- she ran most of them down. I actually had to hit a shot afterwards, so.....

Q. You have had a quite a bit of success here. Is there an advantage -- have you ever been sleeping at home first of all?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No.

Q. Do you consider this your home tournament; is that why you feel so good here?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I feel good here because I feel like I have all the conveniences of home even though I am not exactly at home. I do stay in the hotel because it means about hour an 45 minute drive for me. It is too far. It is too exhausting to drive so far. Plus if you run into traffic it could be longer. The way Miami is, normally I take the turnpike because I95 is not just reliable anymore.

Q. Serena was asked to summarize last week's tournament in terms of just one term or phrase and she did a good job. If you had to summarize this week and the results here in just a word or a phrase what would that word or that phrase be?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I just think I was just able to hang in there through it all, through all my tough matches, through any ridiculous comments or questions that I had to face and things move on. Time moves on, things pass. So that is how I feel.

Q. What is your schedule look like in the next couple of weeks?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Home. I am a little tired, little broken. (Laughs) I am tired of taping because it really pulls your skin off. It is irritating and it is tough to get the spray off and I am -- I don't like the tape. So I am going to go home and train so hopefully when I am playing my next tournaments I won't have to -- I don't really like have to go out there and rely on my tape to get me through the matches. So I am really happy that this has been the last day of my competitions.

QueenO
Jun 20th, 2002, 12:38 AM
WIMBLEDON, ENGLAND

June 26, 2001

V. WILLIAMS/S. Asagoe
6-2, 6-3

An interview with:

VENUS WILLIAMS

MODERATOR: Venus Williams.

Q. How did you like your game today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think I played okay, you know, for a first round match. Sometimes those always can be a little bit shaky. But I think I had the opportunity to hit a lot of balls, hit a few returns, so that's always good.

Q. Did you feel any pressure out there as the ladies' defender on centre court?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Not at all. I don't really feel any pressure to. Having won last year was really a dream come true. Whether or not I win this year has nothing to do if I won last year, in my opinion, because I still want the title just as much. So I don't feel any pressure to defend. If anything, I would just like to win again.

Q. Serena said yesterday she found her mind wandering occasionally. Did you find it difficult to concentrate today? Looked as though maybe you did early on.

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I didn't have any difficulty concentrating. I think it's easy to lose focus, especially when you're winning easily. But I didn't have any issues with that at all.

Q. Did you lose focus early on, all those unforced errors?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I really just started going for too much. I wanted every shot to be great and perfect. Sometimes you have to play 50%, not 100. I was able to crawl out of it. But, you know, I did have some errors. All I can do is learn from it, just go back on the practise court.

Q. How did you find the weather today out there?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, it was hot. But I had a little preparation, living in Florida. But it's quite hot.

Q. We saw you revealing your new dress today. I was just wondering, apparently we heard that you had a new lucky charm that you were going to be showing today.

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. It's just a rumor. I don't have any lucky charms.

Q. You don't have any superstitions?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I do, but I don't have any lucky charms.

Q. What are your superstitions?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I just like to wear the same style dress every time. If I kind of defer from that, then I start to believe that I'll be less successful. So I have to try a dress out in doubles before it can be ready for single's.

Q. Would it be fair to say that Bobby is your lucky charm?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, Bob has been having some discipline problems lately.

Q. Really?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah.

Q. Is that why your game is fluctuating?

VENUS WILLIAMS: As a mom, you've got to worry. He's doing okay. I heard he escaped some disciplining. While the other dogs were being disciplined, he ran under the couch so nobody could reach him.

Q. If Bobby were here?

VENUS WILLIAMS: If Bobby were here, he'd be a joy every day. He helps me warm up on the court. He's quite noisy. He just makes you feel good. He's a feel-good dog.

Q. Given the importance of this dog issue, what type of dog is Bobby?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Bobby is a Yorkshire terrier. I'll have to bring a picture next time. Serena has pictures in her purse. I do, too, but I didn't bring it.

Q. What is it like to walk on here and being the defending champion? How is it different than last year?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I feel really motivated. Anytime you come to Wimbledon, in my opinion, you just have to feel motivated, especially when you walk out on centre. There's really no better feeling. The court is so perfect, it's the best grass court I've ever played on in my life, including all the other courts at this facility. I love being there. 1:00 start on Tuesday, I came through.

Q. The thrill of winning last year, was it as great for you as you would have anticipated going in?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, it was super. I think you have a lot more feeling when you lose because it's just so hard, especially when you lose a tough match, it's really tough to get going again. When you win, everything's perfect. But I think you have a lot more feelings when you lose a match. So I just want to keep winning.

Q. What about winning specifically here at Wimbledon?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, it was real nice. My first Grand Slam at Wimbledon. That's really a top pick, in my opinion. If I could choose one to win first, it would have to be this one. Really a dream come true.

Q. Your dad wondered whether the French would have been on your mind today at all. That is accurate?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, definitely I was thinking about it. You know, I still haven't gotten over it. I feel really deprived not having been able to compete there. I really felt I had a good chance. I think the draw really opened up, too, all the players either withdrawing or falling out. Yeah, I don't think I'll ever get over it.

Q. How did you spend the time between the French and now?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I got a just punishment. I went home, had to face all types of heat, and I got bit by a lot of bugs. I was punished. I was motivated enough to win my match so I could stay here at Wimbledon.

Q. Lack of match play has never really seemed to be a deterrent for you. Are you the kind of player that gets a lot out of your practise time?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I try to get as much out of my practise times as possible. If I'm not practising effectively, I might as well not be practising. That's how I feel. Really, I try to do a lot of my work in my mind. I try to really be prepared before I come to the tournament so I don't have to work on anything at all, I have it all together when I get here. When I arrive at a tournament, all I have to do is just maintain my game. That's really what I focus on. I think you have to win the battle in your mind first before you go out there on the court. So I think that's one of the reasons why I don't have to compete as much as the next player.

Q. Are you trying to be any kind of a different player this year? Anything you're doing differently than last year?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, not really. I think everything I did last year was quite good. If I could just do what I did last year, I think that would be perfect. Move forward, just execute it. That's enough to win a Slam.

Q. Do you think finesse and touch still has a large role in the women's game or do you see it kind of going away from there, power and aggressiveness are pretty much the number one elements now?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think if you have the opportunity to bully your opponent, then you have to take that chance. Also I think that finesse and touch is also something that if you can kind of move your opponent around, being tricky, kind of having them off balance, that's perfect also. But sometimes if you have the power, it's perfect to use it. So I think it's a happy medium between both. Learning to use both is good.

Q. When do you go to touch and finesse? Normally when you're not playing as well? Do you start out saying, "If I can overpower my opponent, that's what I'm going to do. If I can't, I'm going to have to go to Plan B or C"?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Normally I use less power if I'm winning easily. I take a lot off the ball, start to really enjoy myself. But if I'm not winning easily, it's a lot harder for an opponent, always having to feel that I'm pushing them back or they have to keep returning my deep balls and my hard balls, whereas if I was just hitting them softer, they feel less pressure that I'm even going to hit a winner. In my opinion, I have -- God gave me the gift of being strong, I'm going to use it.

Q. Jennifer is having such a great run. Do you feel like she's the player to beat in this tournament?

VENUS WILLIAMS: At this point I don't even think she's on my side of the draw, so I haven't really thought very much about it.

Q. Is it fair to say that she's the best player in women's tennis at this point?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, at this point she has the best results, so you'd have to say that she's doing the best, whereas the rest of us have been trying, but it hasn't exactly happened.

Q. The Lawn Tennis Association says that you and your sister asked for 100,000 pounds each to help promote tennis in this country. What was your take on that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: What do you think about it?

Q. Pardon me?

VENUS WILLIAMS: What do you think about that?

Q. I'm just reporting what the Lawn Tennis Association says. What do you reply to that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know because I haven't read anything about it, so I wouldn't be able to make an educated opinion.

Q. Would you like to help promote tennis in this country? If the opportunity arose, is that something that appeals to you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I just think, you know, you've got to start pressuring, because in time it will come. I don't think I'd be as helpful as someone who lives in England, and someone who understands how to work with players. And also if you don't know the answer, how could I? I just finished being a kid myself, so I'm just trying to grow up.

Q. Are you a little surprised that you're essentially in the same position this year that you were last year where you came in here not playing your best tennis, you'd been injured, taking a lot of time off, and now you're in a position where you have to kind of step up, win Wimbledon, go through the summer, have a big run?

VENUS WILLIAMS: What was the question?

Q. The question is, are you a little surprised that you're in the same position this year that you were last year?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I don't think I worked hard enough. I deserve to be in this position. It's okay. I'm not doing that bad.

Q. Apart from all the hours and hours of preparation all the players put in, back to this superstition point. Is it fair to say that most of the players are a superstitious bunch?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think most of the players probably do have their pet peeves. It's hard to get rid of them once you have them.

Q. Does Serena have some?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know.

Q. Serena has a little dog?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. She has two now.

QueenO
Jun 20th, 2002, 12:40 AM
WIMBLEDON, ENGLAND

June 28, 2001

V. WILLIAMS/D. Hantuchova
6-3, 6-2

An interview with:

VENUS WILLIAMS

MODERATOR: Questions for Venus.

Q. That was a very hard game for you today.

VENUS WILLIAMS: In the first set, I had a lot of opportunities, but I wasn't capitalizing. I was just kind of rushing. After that rain delay I said, "If I don't hit the ball over the net, then she can't hit the ball over the net. I have to hit it back so she can hit it back." That kind of slowed things down in my mind.

Q. How far away are you from reaching your best form, do you think?

VENUS WILLIAMS: You know, I'm not that far away at all. I just think at times -- I think I'm setting up well, moving my feet well, I think I'm serving quite well also. I think sometimes I'm just a little bit off with my shots, the contact point. Really, it's not about who's playing the best, it's about who's making the decisions at the right times, who's playing the right points well.

Q. Is it like you sort of want to progress as the tournament goes on?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, definitely.

Q. I just wondered, how impressed were you with her? She's only 18. She's a big, tall kid. What would you say are some of her strengths and weaknesses?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't really see any weaknesses at all, except for she hasn't played as much as maybe the next person has. That would have been me today (smiling). Some things are even predictable if you have a little bit of experience. All she has to do is just keep working hard, believing in herself. Basically that's all you have to do - for anyone.

Q. Do you think she has the raw talent for the Top 20 sort of thing?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I definitely think so.

Q. It was recently written that you and Serena wielded an authority like no one else in the game; if you were male, that you would be applauded for your intensity and your competitive streak; because you're women, black women, you're seen to be caddy; and to quote McEnroe, that you lack humility. Do you think there is a kind of double standard toward you and Serena? Could you comment on his observation?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. It's so tough these days. I don't read anything. I'm not interested in watching the match. If I do, I put it on mute. To me, what's important in the end is how I view myself. When I'm injured or I'm retired, I'm still going to have to live with me. For me, that's all that matters. What the next person thinks is not so interesting for me.

Q. Do you feel that you and Serena do wield or do have a kind of authority on court? Is that part of your presence out there, a part of your game?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think that when people come out to play us, I think they hope that we have a bad day because if we don't, it's pretty rough - especially in doubles (laughter). If one of us is having a bad day, the other one isn't going to. The other one is going to hold the team up with all the force. Really, if we don't have a bad day, then we're pretty merciless. Even if we do, it's a rough game. We just have to play more consistently.

Q. Talk about Serena a little bit, how you think she's grown up and matured in the last couple years?

VENUS WILLIAMS: As far as her tennis?

Q. Tennis and dealing with tennis. Lindsay was in here talking about growing up on tour earlier. She really went from 18 to 20, you've seen her the most, how do you think of how she's done?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think she's doing well. I'm proud of her, everything she does. You know, I'm proud of her off the court, too. She works hard. Most of all, she makes good decisions with her life. That's the most important thing. As far as growing up, I think Serena has a lot more to do still. Maybe because she's the youngest, she doesn't get her way, she might abuse me, yell at me (laughter). I back down. Maybe I have to stop doing that.

Q. How do you view what Jennifer Capriati has done to turn around her life and career? Do you and other players find yourselves rooting for her to a degree?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I was really happy for her in her Australian Open victory. Most of all, I was happy for her parents, too, because they've worked so hard. You can see the work they put in. As far as the French Open, I was so focusing on myself. I didn't even know the result till quite a few days later. Up until now, she's had great results. At this point she's actually one of the best players in the world. You can only applaud her.

Q. What do you think of her story, what she's done?

VENUS WILLIAMS: You know, I think it's tough because everyone has put so much emphasis on the past, and right now is the future. I think we should just be happy for her and let her move on.

Q. Do you consider her right now at the level where you and Serena and the best players in the world are on a consistent basis?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Definitely. I haven't played her recently. But she's playing well, more than anything else. I haven't played her in a while. One day I will. It will be a good match.

Q. Has what happened to Jennifer demonstrated you can't have other influences in your life - even though you would want to have friends, boyfriends - you cannot have that if you want to be successful at tennis?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. It's hard to find that happy medium. For everyone, it's different. I don't know. I think for everyone, it's different.

Q. The image of you leaping in joy at the end of Wimbledon last year after match point was one of the great images in tennis in recent years. Can you remember anything that was going through your mind then or in the moments after that? Was that the happiest moment in your tennis career?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. Well, you know, I don't know what I was thinking. I was just pretty intense by then because it was a tiebreaker, and I was just determined to run every ball down. I was determined to play well. I just wanted one more point, one more point every time. Take one more point until all the points were for me. It was a nice time. That's my title - no one else's. For me, it's more about this year now.

Q. Was that your happiest moment thus far?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I can't say it was. I've had so many happy moments. That surely was a happy moment. It's kind of like I've been planning all my life for these moments. I've worked hard. More than anything, I believed I'd be there. For me, it wasn't a surprise that I did because I had a plan.

Q. Do you feel like one of the older players? Hard to say that at your age. You've been around four or five years now.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I've been in and out, you know (smiling). I guess I'm getting there. I'm 21 now. Can rent a car maybe, so...

Q. Do you know if you and Serena plan to play for the US in Fed Cup in Spain in October or November?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It's in Spain?

Q. I think it is.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I've never been to Spain. I want to. If I go to school, it makes it tough. I can only have three weeks where I can either play or have time for myself. All the other weeks, I have to be at school or else I'll be removed. They don't make any exceptions.

Q. What time period is that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: From October to December. It just depends what I decide.

Q. Someone once wrote that you felt there was nothing cooler than being smart. Is that something that you would agree with?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, being smart's one thing, and having common sense is another. There's a lot of things that goes into the combination. But it is sweet when you can think your way through situations. Just depends. I like having smarts.

Q. In Britain at the moment, there's a big drive to get kids from cities involved in tennis. What was it like for you growing up in Los Angeles? Can you describe the area you grew up in?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I lived in Compton, right on the border of Lynnwood. First I lived in Lynnwood, they changed the border, then I was in Compton. You know, went to playing tennis. Spent my allowance on the ice cream truck, doughnut truck, the candy store behind. There was another store that sold Icees, spent my money there sometimes, too. I really had a great time. I didn't have any bad times.

Q. Tennis is available, easily to everyone?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. There's quite a few public courts in Compton or in the Los Angeles area. From what I saw, there were a lot of older people playing, like 35. They did have kids. They had the opportunity to start the kids. But it is accessible. You know, everything that's involved, I don't know. Mom and dad made it happen for me.

Q. If it hadn't been for your mom and dad, would you have found it easy to work your way up?

VENUS WILLIAMS: If it hadn't had been for them, I wouldn't be here talking to you.

QueenO
Jun 20th, 2002, 12:42 AM
WIMBLEDON, ENGLAND

June 30, 2001

V. WILLIAMS/E. Likhovtseva
6-2, 6-2

An interview with:

VENUS WILLIAMS

MODERATOR: Who would like to start?

Q. You didn't waste much time out there. Do you feel you're hitting top gear?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm definitely getting better and better. The only thing, I feel like I can get the job done even if I'm not playing my best. I feel confident in my shots. I like playing here more than anything, so I don't want to be out.

Q. What sort of an experience has it been this week as a defending champion? Do you feel it's tougher to try to repeat getting through that first week?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, definitely not at all. I don't feel any pressure at all. More than anything, I just enjoy playing. I love this tournament. I really would just like to take it this year. I don't feel any pressure, and I'm happy that I don't. I know a lot of players do. And for me, I just don't feel any pressure.

Q. Has it been the week that you wanted, as you look back now and you head toward the second week of the tournament?

VENUS WILLIAMS: There's a few things I would like to work on, I would like to see myself do better. But I am hanging on and winning, so that's most important.

Q. What do you want to improve on, Venus, what parts of your game?

VENUS WILLIAMS: A lot of technical things really. It would be just a lot of technical things. It's not anything like my concentration or my return of serve, my serve, although I would like to improve my return game. But everything else is like technical.

Q. You're No. 2, Lindsay is No. 3, Jennifer Capriati, who is going for her third Slam, is No. 4. When this tournament ends, Martina Hingis will still be No. 1. Is there a concern about the ranking system?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I'm not concerned at all. I think the results have shown that she is No. 1 at this point, and I think everyone else at this point probably hasn't deserved to be No. 1. And right now, even though she hasn't won all of the big events, she has played quite consistently and she hasn't been injured, so it does reflect how consistently she's been playing.

Q. Your dad wasn't overly happy apparently, despite Serena winning very easily the other day. Was he happier today with you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. I haven't seen him. I thought he was happy with her win.

Q. Billy Jean King, I believe it was said the other day that it's the job of every generation in women's tennis to advance the game. What would you say? Do you agree with that? What do you think is the job of your generation to advance the women's game?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think, sure, I think it's really brave and actually a good idea for all the current players to advance the game. But I don't think it's really happening today, not in the way it used to. I guess priorities are different. Even in the fact that kind of tennis runs on its own, whether you're here or not. It's become more commercial. So there's some different variables involved.

Q. So are you saying the game is not being advanced these days?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I definitely think the game is advancing, for sure. But I don't think the players have to do as much maybe as they did in the past for it to advance because at that point, the game really grew, back in the '70s and '80s. Now it's kind of stabilized.

Q. Are you always supremely confident when you walk out on any of the courts as Wimbledon?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Depends on how hard I practised before I got here. At this rate, yes.

Q. You feel confident at the moment?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, I do. Thank you.

Q. Although you won the match quite easily and simply, you made a number of unforced errors. Were these because you were going for the shots more or were they, as it were, inadvertent, that you played loosely?

VENUS WILLIAMS: How many were there?

Q. I would have thought about eight or nine that you wouldn't have wanted to make.

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, that happens sometimes. Really, once you get in the more important matches, you would like to close out in those kind of things, really not make those errors. You know, that's something I'm going to have to work on. I've been kind of doing that this whole first week. But I know it's something I can clean up.

Q. Do you feel going into the second week it's like a different tournament now?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, not really because the matches I've played, no one has given me anything. They've tried to beat me. If anything, it would be more dangerous because at times you do play players that you have not heard of who are extraordinarily motivated because they're trying to move forward in their careerrs; you play younger players. I think in both weeks you have to be equally as serious because no one wants to lose, no one wants to walk off the court a loser, no one wants to go home anymore. That's something you have to realise. I play hard every time.

Q. What do you think of going to the WTA Championships from New York to Munich?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I kind of like Munich. I've been twice, once for the Grand Slam Cup, that's no longer. So now The Championships are there. More than anything, I had good memories in Munich, so that makes it kind of a happy place for me.

Q. And the World Championships, that would be just another title or is it something special?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, it's definitely something special, the World Championships. It's the year-end event. Don't want to end the year with a loss; I want to end the year with a win, on a positive note.

Q. I was surprised to hear you say that you felt that Hingis was the best player in the world, if I heard correctly. Are you saying that not being hurt, playing consistently, reaching quarters, semis and finals is a more important measure than doing well in the biggest events in the sport?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I wouldn't say -- as a professional for me, it's more important to win the big ones than to finish well. Finishing well for me isn't enough, especially at this point in my career. When I was younger, maybe it was okay, but now it isn't for me anymore. But I think at this point everyone else has been injured or in and out or up and down. At this point she has played the most consistently. And I don't think at this point anyone else would exactly deserve to be No. 1. She deserves the spot, and that's why she's there. Anyone else deserving will be No. 1, and they'll stay there. So at this point it's her.

Q. Even Jennifer?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, she's working her way there, just like me, just like everyone else. Really, you just have to play well for quite a while to get there, to prove that you are the best.

Q. Is getting to No. 1 for you very important? How does it compare to maybe winning a championship like Wimbledon again? Which would be more important for you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Winning Wimbledon, more important for me.

Q. Why is that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Because I love it here. I like this Grand Slam. I don't like to lose at the Grand Slams at all. Sure, if you can play well in the Grand Slams, it's pretty much a guarantee that you can have the No. 1 ranking.

Q. What of Petrova?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm playing her?

Q. Yes.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh (smiling). Serena has played her in the last three Grand Slams. Petrova has not been the victor. She might take her anger out on me. I hope that doesn't happen. But she's a good player. She gets a good hit on the ball. I think that she's playing pretty well and she's playing better with every tournament. She's quite young. But, I'll walk on the court, just going to concentrate on me.

QueenO
Jun 20th, 2002, 12:44 AM
WIMBLEDON, ENGLAND

July 2, 2001

V. WILLIAMS/N. Petrova
6-2, 6-0

An interview with:

VENUS WILLIAMS

MODERATOR: First question for Venus, please.

Q. If you could I guess assess your play, your thoughts at this point in the tournament.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think my groundstrokes were a lot better today. My movement was very good. But my serve was a little bit down , really just my first serve percentage, whereas in the rest of my matches I've been serving quite well. Pretty confident I can bring it up.

Q. Obviously, tomorrow a lot of people are going to be talking about your sister's match with Jennifer just because it's a headline match-up, I guess. Your thoughts on that match and maybe what Serena is going to have to do to get through.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I mean, I'm going to be hoping Serena wins all the way. She's my sister. I want the best for her. You know, I think in the previous matches she's played against Jennifer, they've been very close. But I don't think Serena's performed nearly as well as what she can do. I think she's just been given a lot of effort in those matches, and I think that's why they've been close. I think Serena picked up the level of her game today. She's just going to have to go out there and compete. She has a choice to compete well and compete badly. She has to make that choice.

Q. How do you feel about playing somebody as old as Tauziat?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I just feel no difference. Each person is a competitor once they walk on the court, and possibly trying to beat me, so that's how I see it.

Q. Generally, how do you see the match against her?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I just think that I'm going to have to stay calm and not get rushed at all, just stick to my guns.

Q. Is there more of a challenge playing someone like that, who is more experienced on grass?

VENUS WILLIAMS: You know, it's just playing a different player. Everyone's different. You keep that in mind when you play them, what their strong points are and what their weaknesses are. So that's how I approach every match, a different match against a different player.

Q. Serena said she bought her dress already for the Wimbledon ball. Have you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I did. But, you know, nothing about the ball dress yet. Mostly the tennis ball.

Q. Serena mentioned how your father had encouraged you to step it up in the second week, to bring it up another notch. Can you give us any insight or detail on that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, he did. I was playing okay in the first week, but not nearly up to my potential. I was really making quite a few errors at random, basically two or three a match. Even though the scores were easy, I was making the games a lot harder. Whereas today, the score was easy and I won quite easy. So that was nice.

Q. Are you all friendly with Jennifer? Do you feel like you have maybe an intimidation factor over her with the fact that her mental breakdowns, I guess, against you at the Ericsson, letting three match points get away against Serena at the French?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I don't really know her. She's a little bit older than what I am. She's probably more serious about life than what I would be at this point. And as far as a mental advantage, I think that everyone walks on the court to play me, they have to be ready to play well. And I think she knows she has to play well against both of us. Really, I don't think it's a problem for her, and it shouldn't be a problem for anyone because if you come out and play a top player, you do have to play well to beat them. I think she keeps that in mind, not only when she's playing me, but any top player - in fact, these days, any player.

Q. You've always admired Sampras. Do you see yourself being able to win this tournament as many times as he has?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, it would be a dream come true just never to have to lose here, yeah. Never have to walk home a loser. That would be great. But you win some, you lose some. He's lost a few here before he got his wonderful record. And I've had my losses, actually, since '97. So maybe I'm done paying all my dues.

Q. The other day you said that you were just finishing getting over being a kid, now you have to grow up. Is it more fun in some ways being a kid? Do you miss that? Are you looking forward to the challenges?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I didn't feel like I had to grow up. Just saying I'm starting to grow up. I think that I'm not going to lose as many things. I'm going to hang on to the things, especially the things that I like. So I've made that pact with myself. I'm going to keep my little things.

Q. What are some of those things?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Just little things like hairpins that I really like. I won't just throw them around. I'll put them in one place all the time. Because I really like them. If I let Serena borrow them, I'll make them give them back. A little hair band my mom gave me, I've had it for six months now. I really like it. Maybe she didn't give it to me, but it's mine now. Just things that I'd like to keep. No need to keep wasting money by going out and buying more. I'm trying to be more parsimonious.

Q. Will you talk strategy with Serena tonight at all? Do you guys talk about it? Will she help you at all for your match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. I guess so, we'll talk about the match. Maybe, I guess. Sure, it's a good idea.

Q. Anything you would say to her about Jennifer?

VENUS WILLIAMS: "Play your game." That's all she has to do really. She has a great game. If she gets out there and plays, it's going to be rough for anyone, as long as she competes well. If Jennifer beats her, and Serena has played well, then kudos for Jennifer.

Q. Would you talk a bit about playing Navratilova for the second year in the doubles? You cut short her ambitions last year.

VENUS WILLIAMS: It's just basically Serena and I, we love doubles, and we hate to lose in the doubles. We don't like to lose in the doubles, especially before we lose in the singles. No losses for us, especially before singles. Yeah, I don't know. Maybe if I was playing Navratilova in singles, I'd feel a little differently. It's just another match for me.

Q. She has a better partner this year.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I can't exactly say that she has a better partner. De Swardt was a good player. She had a big serve. I think that helped her out a lot. Haven't played Sanchez in doubles in a little while, but I know she's a good doubles player. I don't know, we'll see.

QueenO
Jun 20th, 2002, 01:11 AM
WIMBLEDON, ENGLAND

July 3, 2001

V. WILLIAMS/N. Tauziat
7-5, 6-1

An interview with:

VENUS WILLIAMS

MODERATOR: Venus Williams. Who would like to start?

Q. What happened there at 5-1 in the first set?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think maybe I got a little overconfident and then she started to play a lot better, and I felt a little rushed. But I was able to say, "You better calm down and get through it."

Q. How do you feel your relationship is with the Wimbledon crowds now that you're coming back as champion? Does it make a difference in the reaction to you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I think they're quite nice. I think they're very nice, and very supportive. Get a lot of support here, a lot more than other places.

Q. (Inaudible) than last year?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't remember. A lot of times you don't even hear the crowd. You're really just focusing on your thing. A lot of times I'm not thinking about the crowd.

Q. What are you going to have to sharpen up in your game for the semis?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think I'm playing well already. I think today was just a different match because I was playing a serve and volleyer. She knew if she was going to beat me, she was going to have to come into the net because she wasn't going to be able to beat me from the line, from the baseline. But my passing shots were nice today, so that helps me out. But, you know, I think I'm ready. I'm feeling well. Especially in my Round of 16, I did a lot better than my first previous three matches.

Q. Which of the two girls would you like to play?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I usually pick the higher-ranked player.

Q. Why?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It helps my ranking (smiling).

Q. Have you ever played Kim Clijsters?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I have not played her before.

Q. You saw her playing already here?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Not really. Just a few points here and there.

Q. Do you think you have a shot against her, no problem?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, I think I have a shot against anyone, and who knows. But, like I said, I'll just play the winner. If she's the winner, I think that would be sweet for her. But we'll see.

Q. What are your thoughts about playing Lindsay?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'll be ready. I think maybe she hasn't been playing her best game. She's played a few tough players like Dokic. It was good to come through that match. But at this point I'm just focusing on myself, really just playing out there, showing no fear.

Q. Serena seemed to have a difficult time on court today with some indigestion. Did she exhibit any problems like that this morning at home?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I mean, I think you have to talk to her about that. I'm just going to be quiet.

Q. You didn't have any discussion after about pulling out of the doubles because of her problems with the singles match, did you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I haven't really spoken to her.

Q. How does your form compare to last year? It was a dream year with 35 wins in a row, Olympics, US, Wimbledon. How does it compare? How are you playing now compared to your peak last year?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think I'm playing okay. A year later, I'm a little bit wiser, I know a little more. I think can I get that kind of form again. Once you've done it once, you can do it again. That's what I feel like. You know what it takes.

Q. What were the keys to last year's match against Davenport? Are things very different in your games, respective games, this year if you were to face her?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I don't think our games are different. None of us have switched from a two-hand to a one-hand or become a serve and volleyer. We're pretty much using the same weapons that we used last year. That's all.

Q. What were the keys, though, last year? What would you try to capitalize on this year if you faced her?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I just think the key is I really wanted to win, I really did. I wanted it all for me. I think that was the whole key. She was a little off, too. She had back problems last year. And I don't think she played her best. But, I don't know.

Q. How important is serving well, though, when you play against the other elite players, especially on grass?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I think serving well is important. But I think that even if I don't serve well, I can still win. A lot of times if I don't hit a big first serve, I can still rely on my speed to run down any ball. So I don't really feel threatened against my serve always.

Q. When Serena suffers a tough loss like today, do you sort of see it as part of your role as her big sister to give her some words of support? Secondly, when she does get knocked out of a tournament, does that give you a little extra motivation?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, you know, it's not my role to criticize or tell her what she did wrong. I'm sure she knows what may have happened. I didn't really see the match. I saw like the last game. But, you know, yeah, sure, I love supporting her, all the way to the end.

Q. And now that she's out, in any way do you think you'll have just a little bit extra motivation?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, let's hope so. If I can't do it for myself, I'll do it for her.

Q. What are your thoughts on Clijsters as a player?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think she's a very good player. She has great groundstrokes, a good serve. I haven't really played her. Seems like Serena plays her. I just never had the opportunity yet.

Q. You saw her play Serena in the desert.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Uh-huh, yeah.

Q. What were your thoughts about watching her play then?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think she's playing well. I think she's playing a lot better than what she was about a year ago. But she was younger then. She's been through a lot more matches. She was at the French Open final, where she almost won, I guess. So I think she's come a long way since then. She's probably feeling good coming off of that match.

Q. Can you tell us something about your long-term ambitions? I imagine when you were young, your ambitions were to win Wimbledon. What are your long-term ambitions?

VENUS WILLIAMS: As far as what?

Q. What are your long-term ambitions?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know (laughter). To stay healthy, that's one. If I can just keep playing on the tour, and without injuries, then I think I can do well. You know, ups and downs.

Q. To beat somebody's record or anything like that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, because I didn't start myself in tennis. It wasn't like I was self-motivated. My dad started me. It was his dream before it was mine. So I think if it was the other way around, I would have different motivations. But for me, I just want to play tennis, I want to play well every time, give my best. When I'm done, I'm done.

Q. So if it was his dream, what is your dream now?

VENUS WILLIAMS: To win Wimbledon in 2001.

Q. The other day you said you had a plan in terms of winning Wimbledon last year. Do you have a plan this year? Can you share just a little bit of it with us?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, I think just playing better and better actually with all my matches. And I think really it's just about the person who's going to do the right thing at the right time, who's going to be willing to do it. So that should be my plan. Really right now I'm just ready for my semifinal.

Q. Do you worry that people will misunderstand you or your family because of the kind of struggle, I guess, people to understand whose dream it is for you to be playing tennis, kind of what your dad's role is? Do you worry that people will misunderstand and maybe, I don't know, become indifferent to your success?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I don't worry. I don't go to bed at night worried about it really. No, never crossed my mind.

Q. At what time your dad's dream became your dream?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. I was just out there playing.

Q. Was it at an early stage?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, no. I was just playing tennis. I guess once I got older, close to 10 or 11 or 12 is when I really started to be -- to really, I guess, like tennis or really realise what was going on. I really don't know, to be honest. I don't remember.

Q. Is it important for you to be liked out there as a tennis player or as a person, or not?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Wasn't that like the chief theme of Death of a Salesman, to be well-liked? What happened to them. So, I just think that you got to like yourself first. If that doesn't help, you've lost.

Q. When did you see Death of a Salesman or did you just read it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I read the book.

Q. A while ago or recently?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It was in high school.

Q. Did it depress you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I thought it was sad. I was waiting for the punch. And it was just -- I thought it was sad really because, you know, I think they live their lives in a way that could have been -- that was less than what it could have been. It was just a story, though. Thank God it wasn't real people.

Q. Tauziat talked about the power players. Do you think people focus too much on the power and maybe miss other aspects of your game?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I guess so. In general, I do use my power. I don't always -- I don't hit every ball as hard as I can. But for me I think it's a chief asset. Even today when I wanted to get a free point, put a little more mustard on the ball, it's mine. Not always, but in general it is. That's the way I play. I can mix it up. Whatever it takes, that's what I like to do.

QueenO
Jun 20th, 2002, 01:12 AM
WIMBLEDON, ENGLAND

July 5, 2001

V. WILLIAMS/L. Davenport
6-2, 6-7, 6-1

An interview with:

VENUS WILLIAMS

MODERATOR: Venus Williams. Who would like to start?

Q. Turned into a much tougher match than it started out for you. What happened?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Really, I just think she started to play a lot better. She started to hit a lot of penetrating balls. I felt really like I was on my back foot. Then I made a few loose shots, too. But I think really it was her.

Q. How did you turn it around in the third set after that breaker?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, I really just didn't feel like I was going to go home without the win. I just think it was how I was feeling. So I really think it was just that. And basically she had played well. I had missed a few shots. I think the third set I had about one unforced error. So I think that helped a lot.

Q. You talked a lot the other day about really wanting this title last year. Can you talk about how much you really want it this year?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think I'm just playing well, maybe even better at this point in this semifinal than what I did last year in the semifinals. So for me that's really exciting.

Q. What about your desire? Is it still pretty strong?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, yeah, for sure. I don't like to go home without carrying a plate or a trophy or a title or something. So I think that's motivation enough for me. I love winning here. Once you win here, it's pretty addictive.

Q. What about you personally, do you really get a rush from winning?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Sure, I love to win. But I don't think I get a rush.

Q. Could you talk a little about facing Justine in the finals. Were you expecting Jennifer?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Really, I thought the match could go either way. Justine's a very good player. Everyone wants to get to the finals these days. Everyone wants to win. So really you have to watch out for every player. For me, it wasn't very surprising.

Q. She's beaten you in your only meeting. What is it going to take to reverse that result?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, the last time we played, I was just really moving kind of slow. I don't think I was playing as well as maybe I could have, really as well as I did today. And, you know, I feel comfortable going into the final. I've been there once or twice before - in a big final. So I think that my chances are good.

Q. Lindsay was saying that your serve was particularly effective today. Have you served better than that? Is there any reason why it's so on lately?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, it just seems that when it comes time, to the larger matches, I'm just able to raise the level of my game to really a high degree, which makes me think, "Why didn't I play so well in the first rounds?" But maybe I didn't have to play that well. In the beginning of the tournament, I really struggled a lot with unforced errors. No matter what I did, I couldn't stop making them. Really, I started cutting them out, finally. And today I knew I'd have to serve well. Really, any match, when I serve well, it's just so much easier for me. And I think it makes my opponent think a lot about having to break me. So if I can serve well, then it's really important in the match.

Q. Do you think you have to play against a big player to show your true form?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I just think I have to play a big match. But it's nice playing someone like Lindsay, especially in a big match like this, because it really proves to yourself what level you're on, where you need to improve. For me, I think I've done my homework.

Q. You're one win away from back-to-back Wimbledon titles, which hasn't been done since Steffi Graf. What would it mean to you to be in that same breath with a champion like her?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm just doing my best. I'll just have to do whatever it takes. For now, I'm just, you know, putting everything behind me because, now that I've been able to be victorious today, I have to look forward to the next day. I did play well today. I'm just trying to move on. And really for me it's not about making history; it's just about trying to win Wimbledon 2001.

Q. I think Jennifer suggested she perhaps underestimated Justine a bit. Any danger that you might do that? If so, how do you avoid that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't think so. My mom told me never to underestimate anyone. So I take that good advice. You have to be playing pretty good tennis to get to the finals of a Wimbledon. That says a lot. So I'm going to be out there hopefully rowing like I did today.

Q. Do you plan to come back for many years? There was some talk earlier in the week about thinking very early - you're very young -about early retirement. Is that something that ever really crosses your mind?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, not at this point. I'm too young to be thinking about retiring.

Q. You said last year when Martina was up, everyone was talking about her coming back here at 43; you didn't ever see yourself coming back here at 43. When do you see tennis ending for you and what would you do later in life? Do you ever think about those things?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think it's too early to be talking about the end. I'm not there yet. As far as what I'd do at the end of my career, I want to do something that I enjoy, but I don't want to do too much. I don't want to work too hard, so... Maybe I'll be a couch potato (laughter).

Q. On a scale of 1 to 10, how hard have your first six matches been?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Sometimes they've been very difficult because, not only was I playing against my opponent, I was also playing against myself. And really it was all I could do sometimes just to keep the ball in play. You know, as the tournament went on, kind of -- I naturally raised the level of my game. For me it's nice to have that kind of built-in ability. But my last three matches have been a lot more easier for me. Even though I played better opponents, they've really just been a lot easier because I've been executing a lot better on my shots.

Q. Is it hard for you to go out and practice, do all the things that it takes for you to keep this high level?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I think that if I practice more, then maybe I would have had a better part of this year. But that's okay. I had a good time whatever I was doing. I guess it was worthwhile. Sometimes it is hard to practice because I get a little bored with practicing. It's not always fun. I think, you know, some of the champions like Steffi Graf or Ivan Lendl, that's where they really excelled, because they excelled in practice, and they were able to do well in their matches because of that. Maybe I have to get the same attitude.

Q. Last year at this same stage obviously you were thinking about the final. How do you prepare for the final? Do you repeat the same preparations this year?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't remember at all. But it's like I knew I was going to win last year - after the semifinal, I just knew it. I don't know, I just felt that way. Hopefully I'll have that same feeling this year.

Q. Are you going to practice? Are you going to drive around London? I heard you've been trying to work out the roads in London, roundabouts.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I do drive, but only if I have to get somewhere. I don't drive leisurely, and I don't go to London. I hit the grocery store, drop a few people off. I'm a designated driver now.

Q. Is it strange not having Serena here?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, it is. I was sad because on my day off the other day, I woke up early, went for a walk. Normally I have my dog with me when I was doing that, or Serena. You know, I was sad that we couldn't do our little shopping together. You know, I've got to do it for her now. But, you know, she called me, and she said, "Bring the title home." She was very serious about it. So I feel pressured now to bring it home.

Q. Was that after your match with Lindsay?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I really don't talk too much with my phone, I've tried to cut it down.

Q. What was that last phone bill?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't look at it anymore. I've now put it on my credit card so that way I can still get points, so I don't really have to look at it.

Q. You said you hoped to have that same feeling that you were going to win, but you don't yet?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, it's so close after the match now. But last year, I was kind of going home in the car, I just felt like I was going to win. This year's totally different. New year; new opponent; new game. So, really, I just think I have to just play well, serve well.

Q. Does it surprise you to see someone her size generate that much power off both sides, but especially the backhand?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think it's good for her. You know, when you have power, I think that helps you out a lot, especially in tough situations. You don't have to hope that the next person miss. Maybe you can make something happen. So that's good for her.

Q. If you play 100%, would that be enough against Justine Henin? Will you decide the final?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I hope so. If I play a hundred percent, I can't do more. So if that's not enough, then too bad for me.

QueenO
Jun 20th, 2002, 01:14 AM
WIMBLEDON, ENGLAND

July 8, 2001

V. WILLIAMS/J. Henin
6-1, 3-6, 6-0

An interview with:

VENUS WILLIAMS

MODERATOR: Who would like to start?

Q. What does it feel like to emulate Althea Gibson?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Am I trying to emulate Althea?

Q. She won twice.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I can't say I'm trying to emulate her. Really, I was just trying to make my own success.

Q. Your celebration seemed much more subdued than last year. What was the reason for that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think it was the fact that I was up 5-Love, and last year, you know, I won in a tough tiebreaker, so it was two different circumstances.

Q. Does this one mean as much to you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, I think it means more to me.

Q. Why?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Because I had to work a lot harder to win this one. In my first rounds, I was really not playing very well. I really just kind of had to force myself to play good tennis. So for me it was a real effort.

Q. Was that third set one of the best you've ever played?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Maybe yes and no. Yes because I played a very good set, in important situations, which is super for me. I was really relaxed at that point - really just ready to take it all. You have different feelings that you go through when you're playing. At that point I was really ready to go.

Q. You look at this in a newspaper or something tomorrow, you say, "What a strange match." You lose one game in the first and third sets combined, then she beats you in the second set. How did it go so up and down?

VENUS WILLIAMS: You know, I think in the second set, we were on serve. It was just one break toward the end. Surely if you're going to get broken, it's better to get broken maybe in the beginning and not the end. And I didn't play as many good points as maybe I should have, and she played better points than me. But maybe it was just experience that came through, or maybe she was a little nervous in the third - I don't know. But I'm happy it went my way.

Q. You seemed to whisper a few words immediately after the match. Can you convey what you said to her?

VENUS WILLIAMS: You know, I just didn't want her to be upset because she'll have her chance. She plays very well. She plays a lot of gutsy matches. If she just keeps playing the way she is, good things are bound to happen.

Q. You've won three of the last five majors, which is an extraordinary accomplishment. Martina Hingis hasn't won for over two and a half years. Do you feel you're now the best player in the world?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm the best player today (smiling). I really am happy about this whole two weeks because for me this is the first time where I've served very well every match that I've played. For me, that's a good breakthrough. I always served well at the important points - no double-faults or any of that stuff. So for me that's a good thing. Really just moving forward. Last year I don't think I worked as hard as maybe I should have after my wins. I was just tired. So when you're tired, there's not a lot of motivation to get better. But this year I'm going to take it a little differently, I'm going to work a little harder.

Q. People are always interested in who the best player is overall. You obviously are the best player today. Overall, in the big picture, are you the best player?

VENUS WILLIAMS: In my mind, I'm always the best. I can't see anybody better than me. If I walk out on the court, I think the next person is better, I've already lost. In my mind, sure, I'm best. On paper right now, I'm No. 2.

Q. Could you tell us about your feelings once the match was over, immediately afterwards?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I was really excited. You know, I love Wimbledon. It's great not to have to lose here. I haven't lost 14 matches in a row - plus the doubles, I guess. So for me that's really sweet. It was good because, sure, it would have been nice with the crowd, maybe nice for you writing to have a tough third set. But for me, it was nice just to kind of run through it. And that was sweet. This means just a lot more to me this year because I hadn't played as well in the other Grand Slams as I would have liked, especially with my French Open. And I really wanted it.

Q. You said you're going to do something different, take this win differently.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Last year in between Wimbledon and Stanford, two weeks from now, I didn't practice at all. I won that tournament.

Q. You didn't do so badly.

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. And I won San Diego. I didn't practice that much for the US Open either - then I won two tournaments after that. At the Olympics, I didn't hit hardly at all. I'd get out there, I'd be practicing, I'd just be fooling around. Really, if you start fooling around, your game gets worse, you walk off the court. I was a major pin collector at the Olympics. I didn't do too much practicing. I didn't really practice. I had about eight wonderful days of practice before Wimbledon, that lasted me the whole year.

Q. And this year?

VENUS WILLIAMS: This year I'm going to practice more.

Q. You're ready to do that? You told us the other day you don't like it so much.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think I can capitalise better, just really work on more things in my game - moving forward, taking the ball early - just some new strategy that I can add to the next year coming. I didn't really do that last year. A lot of things happened. I went to school. There wasn't a lot of time . A lot of sponsors, things to do. But I'm going to make time to practice.

Q. You talk about taking the ball earlier. You were moving in today so aggressively and consistently. How much was that part of your plan going in?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Definitely I want to move forward because no one's going to give you a Grand Slam. If you take it, you've got to move forward, or at least be willing to move forward a little bit. Even if you're not going to the net, attack the short balls, something. That was my plan today. I didn't even want to think about it. If I see a short ball, I'm moving in. That's how I like to play.

Q. With your serve, now that you've won two of these, do you get the feeling that Centre Court is yours now, that this is a place you're going to dominate for years to come?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think it's going to be a great place for me years to come. I've really been serving well this past two weeks. Really, everyone I played couldn't return my serve. So for me that was a plus because I have very easy service games. If I get in a tight area, then all I have to do is serve it out. For me, that was a real plus. It's a real plus to your game to have that ability. Serving like this on the grass makes it even more difficult because the ball is coming so fast, and it stays low. I think that was really important these past two weeks.

Q. Do you think about the record number for single's titles here and think, "I can get that"?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It will be tough because, you know, I'll be older. Some people started when they were younger winning titles. My first title is at 20. If I could have started winning at 16, maybe the story would be different.

Q. Bill Clinton yesterday said that on the court you move like a gazelle. First of all, do you agree with that? How does that make you feel?

VENUS WILLIAMS: People have been telling me that for years - actually, ever since I was nine. Actually, I've been working on my movement because I notice that I'd really slowed down and I wasn't concentrating on really getting every ball. So this past two weeks - everything's happened in the past two weeks - really started trying to move a lot faster. That's frustrating for your opponents too. They can't get a ball past you. Once I put my mind to it, I got a lot better.

Q. (Inaudible) the crowd transferred their allegiance to the underdog?

VENUS WILLIAMS: You know, I've had a lot of experiences like that with the crowd. Doesn't seem like that often that, you know, I'm the player that the crowd wants to win. For me, it's not as important because I want to win. Even if the crowd's on my side, I still have to win for me. I still have to hit the ball. They can't do it physically for me. Who knows, maybe there will be a day when they root for me.

Q. They were last year. But were you aware of it today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, for sure they wanted her to win. I guess it's always nice to see the unexpected happen. But for me it's not an issue. If they don't agree with a call, it's not an issue. I don't function this way, where I have to have approval.

Q. "The Death of the Salesman" you were talking about the other day, being liked and liking yourself?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I guess it fits into that theory.

Q. Will you play more next year and try and become No. 1 or where does being No. 1 sit in your list of priorities?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It's on the top list now. Maybe in the past, it wasn't. Grand Slams definitely are No. 1. Then No. 2, for sure, is No. 1 (laughter). Oh, boy, like a Dr. Seuss book. Really, that's all. I have to make it a priority. I have to play more. Either that or I have to win every Grand Slam, which is not easy, so I'll play a little bit more.

Q. Earlier this tournament you said you were just getting over being a kid. Does winning three out of five Grand Slams and two Wimbledons in a row make you feel like you're growing up, or you are grown up? Does it make you change feeling like you're just getting over being a kid?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I don't feel changed. I'm still a kid, and I don't want to grow up yet - but I have to in some things, but not everything. So it's a happy medium.

Q. Will you go to school again in the fall?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. I'm not going to say what I'm going to do. I like school, but then I miss the tournaments. I do. Because there's a lot of places that I like to go. For me, I judge a tournament whether I have good memories there. For me, I'd miss all the places where I had good memories. I'm going to miss it this year, but we'll see.

Q. When you stood up out of the chair, walked to start the third set, what words were in your head?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. I don't remember exactly. I was really ready to serve it up. At this point I was very confident in my serve. If I could return a little bit better, that's all that counted. By that point, I was just very relaxed, very loose, just really ready to compete. Maybe when you first get out there, you're a little bit nervous or a little tight. By the time you get to the third set, you've got to be loose. I just felt very loose.

Q. How tough was the rain delay for you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It wasn't tough at all. I'm used to the rain. I expect it. If it happens, it happens. I still have to play.

Q. You got introduced to that your first year here? Wasn't it five days before you played a match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. I don't recall playing that year.

Q. How about yesterday, had to wait and wait, of course never got on court? Were you here? Did you finally realise you weren't going to play?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I was here for a few hours. I went home, then I came back. Really, I was ready to play any time. But I think the delay helped me a lot, just to think things through, kind of make it more simple in my mind. Maybe if I played at 2:00 or whenever I was supposed to, maybe things would have went differently, I don't know. But by the time I got around to today, I was very calm. This time I did a lot of thinking before the final - maybe more than what I needed to. I think that helped me to stop thinking as much.

Q. Is tennis a passion for you or is it just something you're really good at?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think tennis is something I'm really good at. I like playing. It's a great job. Sometimes things get really complicated, especially if you're having a really bad time in your career. But right now, things are quite simple.

Q. Do you like kind of the celebrity that comes with it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I like the upgrades, special privileges and things like that. But other than that, no. I'm just trying to be me.

Q. When is the time when it's been very hard for you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Really, just every day, you know, going to the supermarket. If I want to get an ice cream, if I want to go to the health food store, if I want to go to the mall, or if I want to go to Blockbuster, just things like that. I just like to be solitary, just me and my little dog, we go everywhere.

Q. You say there's been times in your career when it gets complicated.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Like after the Olympics, that was a really tough time. Everyone was thinking about the Olympics, I guess. But as far as when things get complicated, when you have tough losses or you're not playing very well, then tennis seems really complicated, just with the technical aspect maybe. But when you start to play well, it's not as hard.

Q. When you look back on today and this fortnight, what will stand out most for you years from now? Obviously, it's different than the first experience of winning.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. Maybe the finals will because it's different playing someone like maybe Capriati in the finals than playing someone who's there for the first time. I think that will stand out. Maybe it's more difficult.

Q. More difficult in what way?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Really, you know, she had had the win before, the one time that we had played. But that time I didn't play well, so... This time I had a better plan.

Q. Your approach to this sport has been so unconventional, and I guess continues to be, like when you don't play as much as some of the other players. Is that something you take pride in, kind of don't want to fall in line with everyone else with a full schedule?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I don't like to be like everyone else. It annoys me. That's what I mean about fashion trends. Like I'll be doing something, and all of a sudden it's trendy, so I have to put it away. If I want to pull it back out, suddenly I'm out of style. I don't like that. But with tennis -- that was irrelevant (laughter). Really, I like to do things that make me happy. That doesn't mean I have to do everything the way maybe the next person does it. Everybody has their own way of doing things. For me, if I want to play, I'll play. If I don't, I won't. If I want to go to school or if I want to retire, for me, whatever is important for me at that point, not for what's conventional.

Q. Justine Henin today said she thinks it's going to be hard for anyone to beat you here for quite a long time. She acknowledged the other players. Do you start to sense that, that the other players now fear you maybe the way they feared Sampras here?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Ooh. I don't know. We'll see. I just have to keep playing well. I think I have a good combination because I return very well on the grass, in my opinion, especially maybe my semifinal, and I serve very well. I hit my groundstrokes well, of course. Plus I'm willing to move forward when I get to Wimbledon. At other tournaments, maybe not as much. But at Wimbledon, I will move forward. I think it's a good combination.

Q. What do you think of the Duchess' outfit? A bit like Serena's dress at Roland Garros?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I have to tell her.

QueenO
Jun 20th, 2002, 01:15 AM
August 24, 2001

V. WILLIAMS/J. Henin
6-3, 5-7, 6-2

An Interview With:

VENUS WILLIAMS

THE MODERATOR: First question for Venus, please.

Q. How is your back, Venus?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm okay, thank you.

Q. Can you talk about the resolve you showed in the third set, coming back after dropping the second set like you did?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I just think the whole match I played inconsistently. I played, you know, some nice points, and I played three or four bad points. And I'm just looking to play more consistently at this point.

Q. Is it a serious hardship to have to play day and night like that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, normally you don't want to play like this. It's not a normal circumstance. So it's unfortunate, but it has to be done.

Q. Have you done it before, and how many times has this happened to you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I've never done this before in professional tennis.

Q. What will you do between now and tonight?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Eat, stretch.

Q. Sleep?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. (Smiling.)

Q. Are you upset with the way you played?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I wasn't too happy with the way I played because I just feel I can play a lot better. But in a way, it's good for me to have a match like this so that way I at least get more of a rhythm.

Q. How much difficulty did you have serving into the sun playing on that side of the court?

VENUS WILLIAMS: At times it was a lot harder to hold in the sun, but I changed my positioning and my toss to get around it the best I could.

Q. Mentally, how are you going to feel for tonight taking on Jennifer? Physically, we know your story. But will you be able to come out with the same intensity tonight?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I definitely think so because if I'm going to compete, I have to compete as a professional. I have to be ready for all things, so I can accept my responsibility as a pro.

Q. What about the crowd? I noticed they almost sort of turned against you when Henin got hot. Did you get a sense of that at all? What was your reaction to that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: You know what, half of the time I don't even hear a crowd. Especially in a match like that. So mostly I'm focusing on my game or my shot or what I did wrong or what I did right. So a lot of times I don't hear at all.

Q. What happened at the end of the second set when she won four games in a row, 11 to 12 points? Was it because she came on so strong, was playing so well? Did you lose focus or what?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I guess I had a matchpoint at 5-3, and then at 5-4 I was serving into the sun which was difficult. And she just played well. She did play well. And I made a lot of errors, so that never makes it too hard for your opponent to play even better, to feel better, so (inaudible) started hitting out more.

Q. Did you have a problem with your wrists?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I'm feeling okay.

Q. Does this schedule interfere with your plans for the Open at all?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I still plan to be at the Open on Monday. (Laughing.)

Q. But your preparation, did you have to alter your plans at all?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, not at all. That's why I'm here - so I can play a tournament and feel good before going to the Open; hopefully, win the tournament and be at my highest going into a Grand Slam. So for me, I'm here to have the competition.

Q. Did you change anything at all in the third set? You went down 1-love, and then I think you won four of the next five games to take control of the set.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, yeah, I just stopped missing as many shots. I really just tried to string together a few good points, at least stop making errors for three points in a row. If I could just do that, I'd be okay.

Q. If you should go on and win tonight, does it give Lindsay a big advantage, not having to play today because of Clijsters pulling out?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm in good shape. I should be able to play tomorrow if I'm able to win tonight. But most of all, I have to focus on this match, and I've done some amazing turnarounds in my time. (Laughter.)

Q. In some ways is it a good thing you're able to go back on to the court tonight and maybe put this match behind you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I prefer to play one match every day, but... At least in doubles it's kind of you're doing half the work. You don't have to even move in doubles at times. So...

Q. You said it's good to have a match like that. Could you elaborate on that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, if I'm not playing well, then maybe it is a good thing for me to have a longer match so that way I can just get my groove, just play a little better, start making better decisions.

QueenO
Jun 20th, 2002, 01:16 AM
August 24, 2001

V. WILLIAMS/J. Capriati
6-4, 7-6

An Interview With:

VENUS WILLIAMS

THE MODERATOR: First question for Venus, please.

Q. You played really well. Just assess, in your own words, how good you played.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, really in the beginning of the match I think that, you know, for the first two games maybe I tried for a little too much. But that's okay. That's much better than trying for too little. So I was able just to make a few more shots and break it even. And more than anything, I think it's a great match for me because my game is more in tune. And also because, you know, it's always great playing a power hitter. I like playing the players that are faster and better because it challenges me to raise the level of my game.

Q. Are you tired after two matches in one day?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. Maybe it will hit me tonight, but I'm just riding on a high. I don't know. (Laughter.)

Q. You looked like you had a lot of energy in that match. Did you rest up between them?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah.

Q. It seemed like you gained momentum.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I just went home and threw on the ice and did some stretches. A short nap. I don't know. I just think that I have to be ready for anything. More than anything, I did want to play because I really need the practice. And to play well in this tournament, especially with the player field, would be a good way to enter the US Open in my opinion.

Q. Winning here the last two years, do you almost feel like this is your place?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. I dropped my first set today. So I didn't like that too much. (Laughter.) But, you know, I'm in the finals again. I like playing Lindsay. We have a lot of fun when we play each other. So I'll just come out tomorrow and serve big, return big, run fast, do my usual thing.

Q. Talk us through the tiebreaker. Tell us about the tiebreaker. It was like you pressed the gas pedal at that point.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, when I play a tiebreaker, I just want one point, I just want the first point. And then after that, I just want one more point and a second point, just one point. And that's how I play my tiebreakers. And especially in a tight situation, in my opinion, it's important to get the first serve in. If I'm really hitting my second serve well, then I'll go for more on the first. But today I was hitting it quite well, but still I thought it was more important to get the first serve in and not to miss. That's what I tried.

Q. Were you thinking, "Gosh, I got to win this tiebreaker so I don't have to play yet another set tonight"?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I like to win at all costs. Of course all costs being fair and within the rules. But I do whatever it takes. If I'm out there, I'm competing. I'm there by my choice and I like to compete. I don't want to, like, shy away from competition. So I was living in the moment in the tiebreaker. And if it went to a third set, so be it. I would try just as hard.

Q. Did you feel more comfortable tonight and feel you played better? You seemed to play better tonight than this afternoon?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, the level of my game raises, the higher the level -- the higher the player that I play. So I just seem to play better and better, depending on who I'm playing. And I guess it's a good thing about me. Maybe in the past I didn't play as well when I played important matches or, you know, the better players. But at this point, I'm having a great time in my career. Whereas when I get to those important matches, I'm just making it happen.

Q. The crowds haven't been, in the years previous that you've been here, they haven't been like this. Do you sort of take that all in at all?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Take in what?

Q. The size of the crowd.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, I think they probably came to see Jennifer. (Laughter.)

Q. What makes you say that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I mean, they love her, and they're happy to see her doing well. So, you know, I can't say it was me that they came to see.

Q. Can you understand that, the fact that they're cheering for her?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Understand what?

Q. They're cheering for her. The crowd was pro Capriati?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Half the time I don't hear it. It's just -- if you've ever been in competition or if you've played sports or if you're competing, a lot of times you just don't hear anything. I can hear line calls, things like that. But other than that, I don't hear anything. If I'm really playing well, it's like a game of chess. I'm just moving it here, moving the ball here, putting it where I want. And at times I don't hear the crowd.

Q. Early in the week you talked about your matches with Davenport. You talked about a couple years back when you played here you had a nice win against her. Now it's more even. Talk about the competition that you have with her now.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Nowadays, I've won quite a few matches - the majority of the last matches since the last two years, I suppose. But they've been close and they've been good matches. And I've had to play. It's not like she gave them to me. So I think it's just that I'm playing better; I'm raising the level on my game and she's not able to expose weaknesses where she was in the past. I'm just getting older. I have to get better; I can't go backwards.

Q. Are your wrists okay?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. I'm playing. So if I wasn't okay, I would have to call it a day. But I'm here and I'm healthy.

Q. Why do you think the amount of injuries to top players has increased over the recent years?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It's hard these days. I don't know why other players are injured. And half the time, I don't know why I'm injured. (Laughter.) It just happens. With the amount of practice that goes into everything and the amount of tournaments that we do play, and the top players, we are always advancing to the final rounds so we play more than the average players especially if we're playing doubles also. So I guess you could take that into account. But maybe we all need to go to the gym more and build muscles to protect ourselves. I don't know what it is.

Q. Do you lift weights?

VENUS WILLIAMS: When I'm forced to. (Laughter.)

Q. It seemed one big key tonight was your ability to handle her serve and to break her serve. Do you agree with that, or was there anything else that you thought was the difference in the match that went in your favor?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm pretty confident on my return of serves. It's one of my best parts of my game. A lot of times I don't even have to practice it because I know it's there. But on the times that I did lose serve, I think I rushed and I tried to do too much. And I should have just slowed down a little bit and get my serve in and play the ground strokes. But, you know, she's a good player. And if you're not ready to compete, it might be your day to leave the tournament.

Q. So many people focused their eyes on the miles per hour. How much attention are you giving to that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I look at it every time. (Laughter.) I do. And, for example, if I'm serving, then I like to see what I'm doing. Or if the other person is serving, and they throw in a serve at 65 miles per hour, then I have to see that as an insult and I have to put it away. So that's how I try to see it. But no one -- unfortunately, no one's hitting those little puff balls anymore. People are smoking it.

Q. What impact is the mentality as far as seeing you up in the 115, 110, 120 this afternoon?

VENUS WILLIAMS: What's the mentality?

Q. How are you reacting to seeing your numbers compared to your opponent's?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I don't know why I serve it so big, to be honest. I'm not especially muscular, and I am tall but it doesn't look like I should be able to serve so well or so hard. But I do. I just hit it. And there it goes. (Laughter.)

Q. Can you talk a little bit about your preparation going into last year's Open versus this year's Open? Is there a major difference, do you know?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, I was lazy last year. I left, like, the California tournaments and I went home for two weeks and I barely hit. And I came here and I guess I got a couple of good days of practice. When I go to the tournament, I will practice. At home is where I guess I don't do my job the way I should. But this year I did practice more, and I just -- I just like to win. I don't like losing, so if I want to keep winning, I know I have to practice.

Q. Did you think immediately after last year's Open that you knew you were going to change your schedule?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I practiced even less. I went straight to the Olympics. I was tired and I had a few strained muscles. And I had a lot of fun there. But a lot of times I'd be on court and I would just -- when you go out on court you have to practice right. If you practice bad techniques, it shows up in your game. So I wasn't serious about practicing, so I'd just have to leave the court. Then I'd go trade pins. That's what I was into then. Those were good times, but I should have practiced more.

Q. You said the level of your game raises when you play a better player. Did you start thinking about this match with Jennifer a half hour, 20 minutes after your match with Justine? When did Jennifer start climbing into your thoughts for tonight?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I mean, I expected myself to play well enough hopefully to advance to the semifinals and I expected her to play well so to advance to the semifinals, too. So, sure, it was in the back of my mind. But it really doesn't matter who I play.

Q. I meant after you finished beating Henin, did you start thinking about Jennifer right away or did you allow yourself a couple hours to relax?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I already knew what I was going to do. So I -- there's a certain mindset for me, when I play. I'm not as talkative, maybe not as nice either before a match. So... Everything has to be just right and just perfect. If it's not, then it's a problem. But normally that's about two hours before the match, not the whole day before or anything like that. But I knew what I had to do and I was serious, and now I can joke.

Q. This afternoon you told us you were disappointed with your game.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I was just disappointed with the unforced errors and with -- that I was just playing one good point, three bad points, and I was doing all I could do just to stay level. But for whatever reason, I couldn't. But tonight, I had to stay level and I had a great practice with the afternoon. So I was ready.

Q. What do you think about the fact that women earn less prize money than men do?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think in three of the Grand Slams we do. Hopefully, we'll be able to get the same kind of prize money. It's hard to change minds. And hopefully we can change minds. But as far as our tours, we have a separate tour and a lot of the tournaments, I believe, are equal or sometimes more than the men. But we're getting there. We're worth it. So I think it's gonna be a matter of time.

Q. Regardless of tomorrow, win or lose, how do you feel going into next week with the US Open?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I just feel that I've just got to focus. It's probably not going to be an easy route; it never is. Especially in a Grand Slam people come out and try to take you down. But that's part of the fun. And I'm really just looking forward to hopefully playing well. I just want to serve well. As long as I do that, things are very easy for me.

QueenO
Jun 20th, 2002, 01:17 AM
August 25, 2001

V. WILLIAMS/L. Davenport
7-6, 6-4

An Interview With:

VENUS WILLIAMS

THE MODERATOR: First question for Venus, please.

Q. How do you think you did today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I guess when it counted, I was able to get the point. So that's a good thing in a match.

Q. Physically, did you feel any effects from yesterday, late in the match maybe?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Maybe I was just tired of running. Not necessarily that I couldn't run, but just tired of doing it. But other than that, I'm okay. I was okay. Normally, under normal circumstances, you don't want to have to play that many matches in such a short time period. But it happens, and I'm really happy to have won the tournament. And I just hate to lose. I don't like to go home not having won.

Q. Do you think it turned out better that you played so much?

VENUS WILLIAMS: You know, I don't know. She hasn't played since Wednesday, I suppose. And I guess in a way it's a good thing. But in a way maybe it's a bad thing I played a lot, and she didn't hardly play at all. But I don't know, to be honest.

Q. It looked like your back tightened up in the second set. You squatted down, your serve velocity lessened a little bit.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Really, I was just trying to stay loose. Then on the serve, less power, more placement. I'm going to get a measure of power no matter what I do in my serve, but I was really just trying to throw the racquet. And a lot of times you just throw it where you want the ball to go and it goes there. So I use different kinds of methods on my serves.

Q. So you were fine?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes.

Q. Any frustration in that second set? You missed a lot of break point opportunities.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. She played well. She served well. And I don't get angry out on court, really. I -- if I lose a point or a game, there's nothing I can do at that point. But it's not like I gave up. I did do my best. I might not have done the right thing or I might have made a mistake, but I did do my best, and I look forward to the future in matches. So I don't get angry. Hopefully, I'll capitalize on opportunities, but it doesn't always happen.

Q. You don't dwell on that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, not at all. Except there was one point where I didn't like, I had a break point, an easy backhand, and I kind of missed it. You know, that was sad. But...

Q. Walk us through matchpoint. Can you talk about it a little bit.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Matchpoint, I hit a slider up the T, which is when you -- on the ad court, if you're hitting a serve, you want it -- I don't hit it as hard, about 100, 102. And when I hit it, it slides. It goes -- it changes direction. So my plan was to hit a slider up the T. That's what I call it. What happened? What did happen?

Q. (Inaudible.) You had some great reach there.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, yeah. I hit my slider up the T, and she returned it a short ball. Hit a forehand approach. I do remember now. She hit a great passing shot. And I guess if it wasn't for my height and my one inch extra on my racquet, I wouldn't have got that ball. (Laughing.)

Q. You only lost one set here. You've won three straight titles. What is it about the court or New Haven or whatever that brings out the best in you here?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. I guess I don't like to go into the Open with a loss. It seems that I manage to play my best here, and I don't know what it is. I just have good play at this tournament. I always serve really well at this tournament also.

Q. Lindsay was saying that you're considered to be the favorite going into the Open the way you're playing right now. Would you agree with that? Do you think it's wide open?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I just think that really with the way I've been playing the last year, year and a half, that I'm one of the favorites because of my past record. But you just have to -- I have to be serious going into it and play every point, and that's what counts I guess.

Q. How about your sister winning last week, you winning this week, is that kind of neat going in back-to-back?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, it is. It's quite nice.

Q. Given the atmosphere here, the size of the stadium, the crowds, and the fact that the court's the same as it is at the Open, is this the perfect place for you before the Open?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, actually it is. This week was very tough with all the top players here. It's wonderful for the tournament, but for me it was -- it was tougher than normal. The last two years I would meet a top player in the final or semifinals, but not always every match. So it was a real challenge for me to stay focused the whole time. But as far as courts, I'm not picky. I'll play on anything.

Q. Yesterday you talked about rising to the level of your opponent. What did you do today differently against Lindsay that maybe you weren't doing yesterday?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yesterday, or last night, I believe I played a lot better than maybe today. Normally, I like playing Lindsay. Normally I play a lot better. But today I was not -- I was just -- it seemed like I was hitting the ball and it would be just out. I didn't see it out, but the linesmen saw it out. (Laughter.) It was quite bright out there also, and when she was serving it was hard for me to see the ball at times - it was so bright with no clouds in the sky. So that was a tough factor.

Q. (Inaudible).

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. Not at all.

Q. Why do you enjoy playing against Davenport so much?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. I just have fun against her. Because we just hit the ball and we get some good points in there. Hopefully, I win all the long points but that doesn't always happen. But I guess I just like returning serve. I like -- I guess I just like playing against her style of game.

Q. That mental toughness you talked about, the not wanting to lose, not liking to lose, when did that start with you? I mean at an early age here, playing against your sister perhaps, as a little kid, or...?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I never liked to lose, I suppose. But as time has passed and the better that I've gotten, the better my results, the more I just hate to go home a loser. So maybe it's that. And maybe it's just that I win a lot more and I'm used to winning. When I lose, it's just a foreign idea. Maybe that's what it is; I don't know.

Q. Is that in anything you do, any kind of game or anything you do? You hate to lose?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, on the SATs, I lost very badly. (Laughter.) But one math test I did so bad, honestly, I didn't even bother to look at the result. I think I got like a 20. I was not good at math.

Q. Can you tell us about your clothing line.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I design for Wilson Leather.

Q. Is this like your own business?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, no. It's not my own business, but I am designing for a company. So this is my first time as a designer, so I'm hoping it will go as well as my tennis.

Q. How often do you do it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, basically there's two terms - the fall and then the summer/spring. So basically, there's one line for the fall. Later on in the fall it's kind of a holiday where we introduce a few more items on the rack. I design leather products so it's mostly outerwear.

Q. Does it have your name in it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, it's -- my name's in it. It's been fun. I don't have the same kind of confidence in my designs that I do in tennis. And it's just a different market. Tennis is like you can go out there and you can work hard and you can make it happen. But with designing, other people have to like it. It has to sell. So it's different. It's kind of like being judged. In tennis, I make my own thing happen. So it's a new idea. And plus, it's different also because I have to work with people. And in tennis, I'm on my own, I do my own thing. So this is nice being able to work in a different setting.

Q. I saw something where they said you're focusing more on the color than the different cuts.

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, primarily I focus on cut.

Q. Okay.

VENUS WILLIAMS: The lines and how the lines are formed. I like to play with my lines, and then just add a little color. For the first time, I didn't want to be too flashy the first time around. So just I'd like to see people wearing it. That would be exciting for me.

Q. Where are your dolls? I can't find them.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Really? A lot of people have said that. I have no idea. Somebody told me they got some at Wal-Mart. I know they were at the big toy store in New York.

Q. I went there. I think they were sold out.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Really? I have no idea. I'm sorry. (Smiling.)

Q. Getting back to that mental toughness we spoke about, was there ever a match or an incident that you recall where you lost the match and thought you had a chance to win and said, "I'm never going to let that happen again"?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Too many. The last time it happened was at the US Open in '99 really. I just gave away the match. I just refused to win, basically. And it was disheartening from my performance, that I wasn't competitive enough just to step up and take a chance. That was the last time I've ever done anything like that. These days if I lose, I lose hitting the ball. I lose hitting out. I lose like a winner.

Q. Have you ever won three times in a row at the same site?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I guess at the Ericsson. But I had one year off because I was injured. But I've won three years in a row, the years that I've played. But three successive years, only here.

Q. You played so well when you came into the net today. Have you thought about trying to come into the net on a more regular basis?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I was coming a lot more last year. I haven't been practicing as much. If you don't practice it, it just doesn't come out in the match. So I need to get in there and make it happen. But it seemed like I was successful at the net. I hit a few terrible drop shots. You know...

Q. I was talking more about your volleying.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. I'm pretty good at volleying, because I was like a doubles champ before I was a singles champ.

Q. It seems like if you ever add that to your arsenal, it would be a real difficult task for anybody to play you. You don't have much in weaknesses.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Volleying, you mean?

Q. If you ever started serve and volleying?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'd have to want to serve and volley, and I don't want to.

Q. Want to get it over with?

VENUS WILLIAMS: My dad might want me to, but the player has to want to. I like it at the baseline. That's where he taught us to play, at the baseline, and I'm addicted.

Q. How much of a sense of satisfaction do you get when you have -- I mean, in 24 hours you beat three of the top six or seven players in the world. That's pretty impressive?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It was nice. It was a challenge for myself just mentally - sure, physically; but mostly mentally. And I feel great to come out the winner, because I didn't play any pushovers and they didn't let me win. So for me, it's nice to feel satisfied to have beaten such great players and to come out of it alive.

Q. Have to improve any of your game for the US Open?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Really I think my backhand. I've been making a few unforced errors at times when I really shouldn't. Basically, capitalizing on my break points. It seems like the better the occasion, the better I do. And, hopefully, I'm gonna bank on that.

Q. Do you ever stop and think about where you might fall into line of women's tennis players some day down the road?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I haven't. I think maybe I should make some goals if I really want to be in the record books. I guess I am already, especially with the sister thing. But... I don't know. More than anything, I'm just playing tennis because I like it. It's a great career for me and I'm happy to be here.

QueenO
Jun 20th, 2002, 01:19 AM
August 26, 2001

An interview with:

VENUS WILLIAMS

MODERATOR: Questions for Venus, please.

Q. How are you feeling?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Feeling good.

Q. Who do you see as your biggest threat this year?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Really, I really haven't thought about that basically. More than anything, just focusing on my game. As long as I'm in good form, I feel pretty confident going into any match.

Q. No niggling injuries or concerns at all?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, not at this point. I'm okay. But two weeks of tennis can do a lot to anyone. It's just keeping in shape, scheduling practices right along with the matches.

Q. What about the rain? It's supposed to rain from tomorrow. Is that ever a concern?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I've been through a lot of rain delays in my lifetime. I'm quite used to them. It's not an issue for me. I'm used to waiting. I play when I play.

Q. What about the state of women's tennis at the moment? Do you see it as being dominated now by up-and-coming young women rather than the men? It seems this might be the last hurrah for a lot of the men. What about women's tennis?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think definitely the younger players are doing a lot. I mean, Jennifer is 25, and Lindsay is about the same age. I'm a little younger. But basically it's anyone who's working hard gets the results, whether it's the whole year or one week.

Q. Can you feel your game coming to a peak now, or do you still feel there's an awful lot more to come in the future?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I definitely think I can do more. I can't stay complacent in this game. I always have to get better. If I think I'm at my best now, then it's a problem. I always have to get better. So I'm looking always to get an edge, add something new to my game, hopefully be a little smarter, something.

Q. How do you think your game compares now with 12 months ago? Can you feel definite improvement? If so, in what particular way?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think I'm serving better, more consistently. Since Wimbledon, I believe I've had one bad -- two bad serving matches. Other than that, the rest have been quite good. So for me, that's a definite improvement. Also I play a lot smarter. Just the older I get, the smarter I guess, the wiser (smiling). It goes along with my tennis, too.

Q. Which part of your game are you particularly working on?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I guess just basically staying aggressive, because when I'm not aggressive - when I wasn't aggressive in the past - not too many good things happen, big titles like the US Open. But the more aggressive I was, the more I went for it, the better my results were. So basically always trying to move forward, that's what I work on.

Q. When your serve does go off, is it usually the toss? Are you rushing too much? How do you do a self-analysis when your serve isn't doing what you want it to?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Sometimes it just doesn't seem that simple. Seems like whatever I do, it just doesn't go right. Like I say, it's a bad day. But I'm trying to get away from that, whereas I know I can serve the ball, so I just have to serve it up. That's really what I'm trying to do now, just to change my whole mindset. Haven't had too many bad days. I feel confident with my serve. Especially before I go out on the court, before I even play the match, if I can see clearly exactly what I want my serve to do, where I want it to go, those are good times.

Q. How much better is your second serve today than it was a year ago?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, I think last year is really where I started to improve my second serve. Nowadays, I mix it up, I hit one at 100, then I'll hit some at 70, 80. They usually don't go below 80 these days anymore. It's not just me. Most of the players are serving the second serves much harder. A lot of the girls I'll play, maybe it's just playing against me, I don't know, because I'm a top player, they'll come out and start serving at 90 miles an hour on the second serve. So these days, no one wants to be attacked anymore.

Q. There's another player who is probably a big threat at this tournament, Serena, who won in Toronto. I'm wondering if you saw that tournament and did you give her any tips or hints?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I didn't see that. I saw the end of one match.

Q. She was serving really well.

VENUS WILLIAMS: She was?

Q. She was really focused. She seemed to be more focused. I'm wondering if you have any comment on her game, how it is coming into this US Open? Will you look forward to a Saturday night final with her?

VENUS WILLIAMS: That would be nice. I haven't really seen her in the past couple of weeks. She went to Los Angeles and Toronto. Last week I was in New Haven. I hope she's doing well. We try to motivate each other, try to help each other. A lot of people, a lot of the players don't have that, they don't have a sister out there motivating them who is also a professional player, who can give good advice, because they've been there and done that. Serena won the tournament, just as happy as if I won. If I win, she wins; if she won, I win.

Q. Do you practice together when you know you have a match, with Serena?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Normally at the Grand Slams, we do have a hitting partner because there will be different times and different days. Back when I was younger, we used to hit together all the time. I play a two and a half hour match, come back out and hit with Serena. Nowadays, it's not the same, because we always get to the finals, the semifinals. We don't have the energy to do that. So we have a hitting partner.

Q. At Wimbledon you talked about how, although you played very well the second half of last year, you really didn't practice very much. You were surprised you actually did as well as you did. You pledged that you were going to work harder. This second half of this year, how much have you followed through on it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I've worked harder, put in a few more days. In my opinion, I don't have to work hard every day, but I should work hard. It's just finding a happy medium.

Q. Do you feel like you're working hard enough?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I could always work harder. There's always more to do. But I don't want to kill myself.

Q. A lot of players on the tour who are playing a lot of tennis are coming up with injuries. I know you haven't played as many tournaments as Lindsay or Martina Hingis. I'm wondering if you feel that's been an asset coming into this tournament, the fact that you may be fresher than they are?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, after last week, I don't know. I may be at a disadvantage now. I'm going to take it easy for the next couple of days and hopefully get ready for my first-round match. But as far as being fresh, maybe mentally because I really try to take it easy on myself because I have to be number one, I have to put myself number one, not a tournament, not a tour. In the end, after all that's finished, I'm going to be left with myself. No one else to take care of me. So I do what makes me happy. Playing more tournaments, playing less, whatever is best for me.

Q. What do you do in between matches to keep relaxed?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm always relaxed. I don't know.

Q. Listen to music, go to movies?

VENUS WILLIAMS: During a tournament, nothing really. I don't do too much, not at all. More than anything at a tournament I try to do the least amount as possible. I don't really get involved in activities. I don't go out to restaurants very much. Just keep it at a minimum. Then afterwards, I have all the fun I want, especially if I won the tournament, I have more fun. If not, you have to go back and hit the practice courts. That's not always fun.

Q. When you played Jennifer a couple days ago, did you feel like you were kind of playing for the future No. 1 spot?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I didn't feel like that at all. Obviously, both of us are doing pretty good this year and neither of us is No. 1 just yet. But if she was No. 1, she sure would deserve it. If I was No. 1, I guess I would, too. So if either one of us gets there, it would just mean that we deserved it.

Q. How well do you have to play to beat her?

VENUS WILLIAMS: In my opinion, just have to play consistent tennis. It's not a good idea to go out there and make a lot of unforced errors - really against anyone, it isn't, it makes your day a lot harder. But she's quite a fast player. Can't rush your shots. For me, I just go out there and just swing and have fun. That's when I produce my best tennis.

Q. It seems that you're more relaxed coming in this year than you were last year, even though there may be higher expectations for you to defend your title.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. I like playing here. I like playing at all the Grand Slams.

Q. How important is this title to you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It's very important to me. But whereas in the past, when I was younger, I would really take a loss really hard, it was tough for me. Whereas these days, I'm I guess a lot more serene about it. I don't go down with the loss. I may lose on the tennis court, but afterwards, I move on. So it's not as hard for me to accept a loss, and maybe that's why I'm more calm. But I don't expect to lose (laughter).

Q. Are you feeling any pressure coming in here having to defend your title?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, not at all. I don't know. I don't really feel a lot of pressure or stress in my life. The only time I do is when I'm late for things, then I do feel a little stress. I don't like being late. That's the only time I feel pressure. But other than that, I feel great having won last year, and that's my title. This year I have to try again.

Q. One of the reasons Martina is No. 1 is because she plays a lot more tournaments than most of the other players. Are you willing to play more tournaments to achieve the No. 1 ranking?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, only the future will tell. I'm going to try to change my schedule next year, maybe play more tournaments at the beginning of the year, maybe taper off at the end and see how that works out. So far in my career, I've tried to spread them out all over the year. I'm going to try something different maybe. But, you know, I think Martina has always had consistent results. It's very rare that she'll lose in the first round or the second round. Occasionally, but that happens to everyone.

Q. If having played 13 or 14 tournaments this year, she might not be No. 1.

VENUS WILLIAMS: You might be right. I don't think she's going to do that.

Q. You've mentioned enjoying playing at night. Is it more exciting or is it less taxing physically? What is it about the night matches?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I just think at the US Open to play a night match is pretty special.

Q. And why?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. Just maybe when I was a kid, I used to watch the tennis on TV. I would see the night matches. Maybe that's what I remember from watching. But I do like to play during the day because then you can probably hit a few shops in the afternoon (smiling).

Q. What are your thoughts about the prime time final?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think it's very exciting. Last year was somewhat prime time because of the rain delay. But I think it's a great, great move for us. More than anything, what I think about it, I hope I'm there in that final.

Q. You talked about how you could change your schedule next year, when you're committed to something, you need to really play well. Do you feel like you control whether or not you become No. 1, that's in your control and nobody else's?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I guess so. I never thought about it like that.

Q. How much is it in your control, do you feel? Do you feel that kind of confidence?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, definitely I think so. I never really set my goals exactly for the No. 1. Mostly, it was setting goals for the Grand Slams. As a result, if I can play well in them, I suppose I could be No. 1. But, you know, I'm not thinking about it day in, day out. When I'm on the practice court, when I'm thinking about my tennis, mostly I'm thinking about improving my game, taking my game a step up, up a little further.

Q. How much are you possibly motivated by past achievements by other people in the game? Do you have any particular record or target you would like to chase yourself long-term?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. That may be my problem: i don't have enough goals.

Q. What about the simple one of having won all four Slams?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, definitely. I'd love to have all four Slams - maybe even in one year, that would be even better. Like I say, I have two more to chase after. But I do have Wimbledon. That i guess was my first Grand Slam, a lot of memories going down there.

Q. What is the biggest problem you find at the other two that you haven't won so far?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I guess I haven't done too bad. But it's just, for whatever reason, I haven't won them yet. I sincerely believe I will. As long as I believe it, it can happen.

Q. What's your biggest weapon? What should your opponents watch out for?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Maybe more than anything, I'm just a good competitor. Sure, I have a lot of other things that I can do on court, but I believe that I'm a good competitor. So no matter what the score is, what's happening, what kind of day it is, I'm there to compete.

Q. Will your family be here, your dad and mom?

VENUS WILLIAMS: People are in and out. Everybody has their own life. It doesn't revolve around the US Open. My mama, she was in New Haven, she'll be back. My sister is here, but she has classes on Tuesday. Other two sisters are in LA, they might come in for a few days and come back.

Q. What about your dad?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, he's here.

Q. Who was your idol when you were growing up?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I used to serve like Boris Becker in the Juniors, with the rock back and everything. It was Monica Seles for a while, too. That's why I grunt today. I was not a grunter. When I was around ten years old, started grunting like Monica. Haven't turned around since.

Q. Do you do diving volleys like Boris?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. There was glass on the court (laughter).

QueenO
Jun 20th, 2002, 01:20 AM
August 28, 2001

V. WILLIAMS/L. Dlhopoiclova
6-2, 6-3

An interview with:

VENUS WILLIAMS

MODERATOR: Questions for Venus.

Q. How did it feel to get back out there on the court today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Felt good. It was a little windy. I had more unforced errors than I would have liked to have had. But I'm in the second round now. It's where I wanted to be.

Q. Would you say this is probably the best way you can possibly start this tournament off?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Sure. I don't really want any hard matches, especially since my week last week. That was a tough week for me. I'd like to start off a little bit slower this week. Here I am.

Q. Are you pleased with the expanded seedings, 32 seeds instead of 16, the way it sets up for the top players?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, I suppose that makes it a little bit easier for the people who are not in the top 16 because they've worked hard to be in the position that they are with their ranking. It does help them to be rewarded for their hard work. It helps the top players to get an easier round in the beginning. So I think it works out well for everyone.

Q. A couple of kids from Compton on the cover of Time Magazine this week. How cool is it to be on the cover?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I'm going to have to put it in my scrapbook when I get a copy. I might not ever get this opportunity again. So it's pretty nice.

Q. Felt pretty good to see yourself on the cover?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes. I just saw it recently. I guess it just came out. It's only a week. It's pretty fleeting.

Q. Can you pronounce your opponent's name?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I can't.

Q. Obviously, you've never seen her before?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I hadn't seen her. She's a good player, though, very good player. She tried hard even when she was down 5-2. It probably wasn't easy for her playing the US Open wind. I'm quite used to it. I've been playing this wind since '98. Seems like I always have a match in the wind. That might have been tough for her.

Q. Would you describe the way you attack in general?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Normally I look for a short ball. I attack with my serve. A lot of times I'm attack my opponent's serve. I use a lot of power, try to keep my opponent on their guard, on their toes.

Q. And with your big serve, do you think about you can do that more a little bit?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Sometimes I serve a big one, sometimes a serve a kicker, in the body. Depends on what the score is, what the situation is, how much I want to risk.

Q. Did you notice that most of the time women attack less than men on court? Do you think it's lack of physical ability or lack of confidence?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think the ladies attack as much as the guys. I think it depends on the style. Most peoples these days that are baseliners on the women and men's tour are comfortable at the baseline. No one really wants to come in. I think it depends on the style of the player, men or women.

Q. Pete has always been one of your favorites. He was in here before saying people have started worrying about him now. I was wondering about how you're feeling about him?

VENUS WILLIAMS: He was worried?

Q. Everybody is sort of asking about him, he hasn't won a tournament in 17 tries, the sympathy thing.

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I think he's in a position in life that he wants to be in. He's been a champion all his life. Things seem to be going well for him. You don't always win. I think he's done well for himself.

Q. As you know, Zina struggled for a long time to get any kind of contract. Ironically when she reached the final, she got sort of an instant small contract. You've gotten a contract worth more than $40 million. How do you think times have changed? Do you think it's true, Martina Hingis' comment that blacks have an advantage in terms of getting sponsorship?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. I don't know much about what happened in the past. I think your best bet would be to ask Zina. Back in the '80s, even before that, I wasn't around. The '80s, I was like watching cartoons, stuff like that. I have no idea.

Q. But you're a student of the game. She couldn't get a contract for years.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Really?

Q. Even though she was a Top 10 player.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Really?

Q. Yes.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. I don't know. Maybe I should ask her about it.

Q. Have you seen much of this Ashley Harkleroad, making a lot of a splash, trying to be the next Anna Kournikova? Have you seen a lot of her?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I guess you're telling me now. This is the first I've heard.

Q. You haven't seen her play at all?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No.

Q. You're playing the woman that just beat her next. She was a former junior champion here. You never came up through the junior ranks. Can you sympathize with the pressure that these kids are under?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think pressure is really how you process it. It's not easy a lot of times, especially when you're coming through the ranks, especially if you're getting a lot of press, to deal with it. You just have to challenge yourself to step up and move forward, to compete. Once you can break it down in your mind, make it that simple, it is quite easy. But everyone's different. People deal with pressures in life differently. Take it one step at a time.

Q. You said pressure is how you process it. What's the biggest pressure you think you've faced in your tennis career and how have you handled it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I guess when I first came around, I was young. I didn't quite understand how to win just yet. I had a few tough matches. It was only about three, though, where I lost in the first round. After that, my last first round loss, I think it was '96 in Oakland. I didn't play again until March the next year. I was really eager to play. I was very excited to play. I didn't have any problems after that. That was my biggest challenge, I suppose.

Q. Do you plan to play in more tournaments next year?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think to this part I've lived up to my commitment. I believe I only played one tournament that -- I didn't play one tournament, Rome, where I was supposed to appear. But I'm doing what's good for me. Maybe I'll play more next year. I don't know.

Q. Who did you lose to in March '96?

VENUS WILLIAMS: In Oakland in '96, I lost to Brenda Schulzt. That was the beginning.

Q. That was not your first year.

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. But I played not many matches. That was about my fifth tournament, I think. By that point I think I was more ready to play, ready to get out there.

Q. Last night Serena sprayed like 23 errors in her first set alone. I was wondering if you were conscious of the fact that you wanted to come out there and not be as jittery as she appeared to be, keep your errors down, not overhit? Did you talk about her game last night?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I didn't see her last night because I went to bed. She just said she couldn't stop making errors to save her life. Sometimes you have those days. But I think the difference was that I did play last week. I played a lot of matches last week, a lot of points. I was pretty clear on how I wanted to perform, where I wanted the ball to go. I think that was the difference.

Q. How different is it, if it is, to come into a tournament like this as a defending champion? Does it put more pressure on you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm definitely able to move on from the last year. I had a great time winning last year. Those are my memories. Can't take it away. I'd like to be equally as successful this year. In order to do that, I have to leave last year behind. Mainly I'm just competing for the title.

Q. I remember a few years ago in Key Biscayne you told me you knew two or three Italian words, giardino (garden), cane (dog), some others. Have you learned something more in this past summer?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I'm sorry. You know, my dream is to learn French, so that way I can say my title speech at the French Open.

Q. You should get a French boyfriend.

VENUS WILLIAMS: You might be right.

QueenO
Jun 20th, 2002, 01:21 AM
August 30, 2001

V. WILLIAMS/M. Tu
6-2, 6-2

An Interview With:

VENUS WILLIAMS

THE MODERATOR: First question for Venus, please.

Q. You're not feeling all that well?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I'm feeling okay, thank you.

Q. In the throat?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I'm okay. (Smiling).

Q. Did you feel like that was a step forward as far as the way you're playing?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think I played okay. You know, I feel I can do a lot better. I really just wanted to keep my focus when I get leads and try not to let my opponent back in the match at all. So that's what I'd like to work on next round.

Q. You did lose your serve three times. How do you feel you served?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't think it was my serve that lost it. I think after I hit the serve in, I made mistakes on my ground strokes. So I'm a little disappointed. I hate losing serve and I didn't think it was especially necessary, not tonight. So I have to try to hang on to it a little bit better.

Q. Were the conditions pretty tough out there?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm used to the wind now. It's always windy here. I've played a lot of years in the wind here.

Q. Still undefeated at night. What's it like to play out there at night? What do you like about it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: You know, I'm a marquee match, match of the day. They chose me to play the night match. That's nice. And I guess what is it about the night matches? I don't know. I guess I've always - I don't know. It was nice having a nice record at night. I'd prefer not to have any more losses.

Q. Tracy Austin said on the telecast that if you play your best, you will win your tournament. What do you think about that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I definitely think if I play my best, I have a wonderful shot at winning the tournament. But, you know, I don't always play my best. If I can play near my best, that will be great, too. As long as I'm playing those important points correctly, that's what counts. So I'm looking forward to just improving in every round.

Q. You've won three of the last five Slams. Does that make you hungrier or does it allow you to get a little bit comfortable? How do you feel coming in here?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I definitely love winning. I hate going home a loser. I hate having to start over. I'd love to take this title home. I've just started, I only have three. I'd like to just kind of keep counting them until you got to start counting my toes.

Q. I saw your father up in the nose bleed section taking photographs of you. What do you do with all those photographs? Do you keep an album?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know yet. I don't know.

Q. Even the ones all the way up there? I'm sure you look like a little speck down on the court. He was very intent on taking lots of pictures?

VENUS WILLIAMS: He's probably going to have a big panoramic photo put on the wall. I don't know what he's going to do.

Q. Yesterday Lindsay Davenport said that, "The impact you and your sister and also Anna Kournikova had on the Tour has been great; that you've drawn a lot of attention to the Tour." The difference is Kournikova hasn't won anything. What do you make of her impact on the Tour? Do you think it's fair she gets all the attention not having won?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think she's a great competitor. On the occasions I've gone out and played her, I've had to compete well and I've had to play well. She has a lot of talents. And, you know, I can't say why she hasn't been victorious in a tournament yet. I think she definitely has all the ability to do anything. But, you know, it's tough. I've been injured and she's injured now. So I guess we'll have to see when she comes back around.

Q. How about the hype surrounding her? What do you make of it? Do you think it's had a good or bad impact on the Tour?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think it's had a good impact on the Tour. And about the hype, I don't know. I don't think it's all hype. I think that she's a good player. She's had good results. And she's a competitor.

QueenO
Jun 20th, 2002, 01:24 AM
September 3, 2001

V. WILLIAMS/S. Testud
6-4, 6-0

An Interview With:

VENUS WILLIAMS

THE MODERATOR: First question, please.

Q. You're down 2-4 a break in the first set. Don't lose another game the rest of the match against a good player.

VENUS WILLIAMS: You know, I played her last week at the Pilot Pen - a couple weeks ago - and actually I was in the same situation except I got down 5-3 and won that set in the tiebreak. And, you know, I had some opportunities in the second game to convert to 2-love, but I hadn't been doing that well this tournament. So basically I'm looking forward to tightening up in the quarterfinals.

Q. Doesn't sound like your cold has improved much. What symptoms are bothering you most on the court?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Whoever said I had a cold?

Q. Sounds that way.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, really? I'm doing all right (smiling).

Q. Do you have a cold?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't think so.

Q. You haven't dropped a set so far in this tournament. I was just wondering if you could talk about that. How surprising is that to you and what do you think that says about your game, where it's at?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Basically, especially if I'm feeling good, especially mentally, I have a clear vision of how I want the game to go and how I want the ball to be. So when I feel like this, I don't have to work very hard. And I think that's what it has been in this past week. That's how it's been, basically. So whenever I get down a break or if things feel a little tight, I feel as if I can get out of there.

Q. There's six of the top eight that are left in this tournament that are considered power players. Among all of you, I mean you can't beat each other to death from the baseline, what do you think is going to be the next evolution in the women's game that will separate the ones who win the big tournaments and the ones who don't?

VENUS WILLIAMS: At this point, I think it's possibly conditioning, you know, because we're -- and consistency, because out there, sure, it's okay to hit with power but you do have to get it in also. Being consistent, if you're able to get that extra ball back by having the conditioning, then that might be the next thing. I'm not envisioning, especially -- Serena and I are a little bit younger at 20 and 21, but Lindsay and Jennifer, they're a little older so they might not be as ready to change their game and go to be a serve and volleyer. I don't think that's going to happen, especially they're having so much success at this point.

Q. You mentioned earlier in the week you're starting to mix up your serves a little more. Are you thinking those are the things you're adding that is taking you to the next level then?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, definitely. I don't really hit the ball as hard as I can every shot anymore - just when I have to. If I'm playing a more important match, I try to use my power to bully my opponent. Why not? But nowadays, I'm just coasting.

Q. Quarterfinals will be against Kim Clijsters. What do you know about her game?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I've seen her play Serena about three times. So hopefully I've paid attention. But, you know, I'm ready. If I'm not ready by now, it's gonna be too late.

Q. What did you see when she played Serena?

VENUS WILLIAMS: She's always played a good game. She had not her best match at the Ericsson. I think Serena just played very well. She's strong, she runs well and she's a great competitor. As long as you're here to compete, then it's gonna be a tough match.

Q. Can you win the tournament with the percentage of first serves you had today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, that was dismal. At least these days I'm serving at least 55 percent. On a good day it's like 65. So if I served like 70, it would be a nightmare for my opponent (smiling). But it hasn't happened yet.

Q. How does your approach and/or your game change the first week of a Grand Slam versus the second week?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, in the first week I really look to -- I do a lot more of my harder practices, but I try to pace myself because I'm playing a Grand Slam. Especially since I played last week too, the week before, your body just starts to break down because of the intensity. You start straining muscles easily, especially towards the end. So I'm just trying to stay in shape.

Q. Some players will say, "I'm playing every match like it's the finals. Go, go, go." You're more of one to pace yourself?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. I just, you know, am playing. And like I just seem to play better as the tournament goes on. Like at Wimbledon, I was playing quite bad in the beginning rounds. But as soon as I got to the semifinals, I was able to play a lot better. I'm hoping this will be the same thing.

Q. You obviously have to spend a great deal of your time focusing on tennis, but you also are one of the leading young African Americans in our country. I know you've been asked this many times, but could you take a moment and just share with us your thoughts on being a representative for African Americans and your role in terms of speaking on different issues.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, you know, I think that each -- every one of us in this country, we have to be a representative of ourselves and of our family and most of all of being an American. So wherever I go, you know, I carry the flag.

Q. You're one week into this tournament, so is Serena. You're both still in it. Do you allow that to enter your stream of consciousness at all at a tournament where you're on course to meet each other in the final possibly?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't think that's what we're thinking about at this point. Sure, we'd love for both of us to be in the final, but that's only happened once so far -- twice, we played the mixed doubles final at the French Open. But we still have a tough way to go. Possibly I'll play Jennifer in the semifinals and Serena has Davenport. We know she's a great competitor. So at this point, it's like one point at a time.

Q. Great new hairdo. New to my eyes. Very stylish. Could you comment on that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: You mean the color? (Smiling) It offsets my eyes. No, I just -- my mom bought me a new hair clip so I'm using it.

Q. The other day Andre said he couldn't believe he went through all the aggravation of having long hair when he was younger. Do you ever think about the days with the beads and how you did it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, you know, that was last millennium. Yeah, "Update. Don't be late." That's what I've done. I had to. I've had no other choice, or else I would have been a fashion misfit.

Q. You said before you were kind of coasting. What do you mean by that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I just mean that I haven't -- more than anything, I haven't had to run very much. So I don't run as much as I used to back when I was younger. I would, like, lose a first set or win the first set, struggle in the second, come back in the third, do all kinds of running, hitting lots of short balls, opponent run me around. I'm a lot smarter now. I don't have to do all the running I used to.

Q. When you were talking about how you can kind of see things, where the ball should be going, does that mean you know physically you're going to respond once you can see the right strategy from the match, your strokes are going to come together and all that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. It's like I can see what I'm going to do before I do it and that's when I know I'm playing good tennis. If I don't see it, then I have a tougher day.

Q. Is it you can see what you can do, or is it also you can kind of anticipate what the opponent is going to do?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, it's just really about me. Surely I like to know what my opponent is doing, especially if they have a certain weakness. If I'm playing bad, I'd love to capitalize on it. But mostly it's about me when I go out on the court.

Q. It seems a few strokes really let you down. Your forehand, I guess there was some commenting on TV about it, seems to have let you down some. I see that your stroke has actually changed a little bit, the forehand, the way you take the racquet back versus a long, smooth stroke. Have you gone through some changes on your forehand?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I don't see where my forehand has let me down.

Q. Looks like you're turning a lot faster. The racquet is really snapping back versus the long strokes you used to take.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Quick preparation is great because the ball comes fast and you have to be ready. But, you know, I don't see where my forehand's let me down. If anything, it's helped me out. I get more pace off of that side. But I don't know. Someone hits to my forehand, I'll be ready.

Q. I think it was two matches ago I asked you about your record at the other two Grand Slams you haven't won. Would part of the reason for not having won the Australian Open, for instance, be that your father or Serena hasn't been with you? And perhaps will he go this year coming up?

VENUS WILLIAMS: You know, I used to think that a little bit this year until like this Wimbledon. Whereas this year at Wimbledon, I was just -- I just wanted no one to tell me anything because I knew exactly what I wanted to do. At that point, I knew I could win on my own. Well, sure, I have to win on my own because out on the court I'm alone. But, you know, I wanted my dad to be at every tournament, and that wasn't always the case. After that Grand Slam, I did know that I'm okay on my own. But, you know, the reason I didn't win there was because I wasn't ready. So I just shouldn't have made the trip.

Q. At Wimbledon some of us were surprised when you spoke on how you were being quiet during the Championships, more or less by yourself. Is that happening again here at the Open? Do you like that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: You know, after that doubles loss yesterday, I was really upset. You know, because I love doubles and I love winning doubles with Serena. And I've really changed. I was pretty friendly before that, but now I don't really talk to anyone. You know, I talk to you guys, but I have to or else I'll be fined (laughing).

Q. Would you talk to us anyway?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I just -- maybe it was a wake-up call. Wasn't playing very well, and now I'm just pretty serious. I don't have too much small-talk anymore.

Q. Did you and Serena talk to each other after the loss?

VENUS WILLIAMS: The team we played, they just played incredible. I mean, I would hit an overhead at the girl and you know I have a big overhead, she'd get it back for a winner. And if they're gonna play like that, I hope they win the tournament.

Q. Which girl are you talking about, Chanda or Callens?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Chanda. And Callens, I've never seen her play before like that in my life either. So congratulations.

QueenO
Jun 20th, 2002, 01:25 AM
September 5, 2001

V. WILLIAMS/K. Clijsters
6-3, 6-1

An interview with:

VENUS WILLIAMS

MODERATOR: Questions for Venus.

Q. Do you have any plans for Saturday night?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I'm hoping to be in the final (smiling). 8:00 sharp at the dance, so... Yeah, I still have the semifinals first.

Q. How happy are you with today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: My unforced errors count was just really high. I wasn't stringing together the points the way I'd like to exactly. I did a few good points, and then I missed a few easy shots, too. But, in general, a win is a win, and I'm happy to have won.

Q. I think Clijsters pushed Serena two years ago to three sets. You guys have never met before. Was it easier than you thought?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I've seen her play quite a few times so I knew what to expect. You know, I was disappointed that I lost serve in one game, but I was able to hang on the rest of them. I think I only lost serve once. That was a nice stat for me.

Q. Is there something going on with the conditions that was affecting your serve?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It was a little bit windy with the toss. I feel that I'm accustomed to the wind at this point. Have to get my first serve percentage up. Really I'd like to have a few more aces. Some service winners would be nice too.

Q. You said your service game the other night was dismal. How would you describe today's?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It was definitely much better. I think she was returning my serve well. You know, I hit a fast one, she would get it right back, so that was nice for her, I guess. For me, I would be a lot happier if it was a service winner. You know, I think I served better. I was in the 50s, so that's definitely bringing it up from the other day.

Q. Now that you played Clijsters yourself, what do you think about her game?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think she's a very strong player. I could see exactly why she got to the French Open final. She's very fast. She has a lot of power. I guess she just has to use it to her advantage every time that she plays.

Q. But she was not strong enough to beat you today.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, it wasn't today. Today wasn't her day. There will be other days, just like there were for me. Sometimes it wasn't my day. But there will be other opportunities.

Q. What does it say about your game where it was somewhat uneven, but you had a relatively easy straight-sets victory?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I just think it's experience. Really, I was just doing exactly what my dad told me to do, so that helped out a lot, when I was listening. When I wasn't, it was tougher.

Q. What did he tell you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'll keep that for myself. But everything that he told me always works out.

Q. How much confidence does it give you having successfully defended Wimbledon, coming into the US Open?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I wasn't trying to defend Wimbledon; I was trying to win Wimbledon. For me, it's a totally different thing. I'm not trying to defend here; I'm trying to win. So it's a great big difference. I don't have any pressure to defend because I'm here to try to take the title home.

Q. Your sister said last night that you gave her some very good advice about champions not getting nervous in tough situations. How did you come up with that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. I don't really remember what I said. I talk a lot sometimes. I guess I did tell her that champions will hit over the net and not into the net. If you hit in the net, there's just no chance at all. The opportunity is finished. If you get it over, it might drop in.

Q. Have you guys talked at all about possibly meeting in the first prime time final?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, you know, I guess just one more match to go for each of us. But we're against some pretty good players, No. 1 and -- Capriati has to play yet. If I play Mauresmo, you know, she's not a joke either. I guess I have to wait and see who I play.

Q. What went through your mind when you got broken in the opening game?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, she played very good. She was trying to force me, you know, to play. But I was pretty confident, especially in my return game. Really just haven't been broken before in an opening game. That's happened before. Wasn't anything for me to get nervous or shaky about.

Q. If it is Jennifer who you play in the next round, what's the key to the match-up when you face her? Obviously, this would be the only Grand Slam left that neither of you has won this year? She won the first two, you won the last one. What would be at stake against her?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I suppose getting to that prime time final. A lot of people have been vying to get there. It hasn't been an easy road. I guess whoever comes out and plays superior. I believe it will be a good match, a tough match.

Q. What would it mean to you in a couple weeks' time to be on the cover of Time Magazine and then be on prime time at night?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I guess I have to win the next round first. But if I'm there, I'm going to take the full opportunity to try to make it happen, take another title home.

Q. Tactically, what are the keys against Jennifer for you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: She's a very strong player. She does everything well. In my opinion, you just have to come out there and play good tennis, be ready to compete on that day.

Q. What about styles of play? How does she compare with yours, for example?

VENUS WILLIAMS: You know, I think she plays very well. She hits the ball quite hard. Nowadays, I don't really try to hit every ball hard anymore. When I have to, sure, I like to force it if I have the opportunity. I think maybe I don't have as much pace on every shot as she does.

Q. Did you feel it was confusing Kim today? She was expecting you to hit every ball hard. When they weren't, she was a little confused.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I believe I had a few free points on the serve because of that. Maybe she was expecting a hard one, and I would hit it just at a medium pace. She was thrown off. I threw up some high ones. But I feel I'm able to mix it up. Maybe that was to my advantage today.

Q. The governor was here today talking about the First Serve program. I was wondering if you ever had an occasion to see him play or hit any tennis balls with him?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No.

Q. Ever even met him?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No.

Q. Have they enlisted you with this First Serve program, to be a part of it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. But I get letters from him when I win sometimes.

Q. Do you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah.

Q. What do they say?

VENUS WILLIAMS: "Congratulations." Things like that.

Q. Did you even know he was a tennis player in college?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I didn't know that.

Q. You were saying you don't feel the pressure of defending. There's this beautiful ad of you with all this grace and serenity on television. You're on court, you look so graceful and serene now. Could you talk about your growth, this image that has come to develop around you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, when I first started, I was a beginner, everything was exciting. Things are still exciting - even more exciting now because I'm winning. But back then, I played a few good matches. Burn-out. Fall to the wayside. It was very exciting because I was doing things for the first time, stepping up to the occasion. But nowadays, I expect to do these things. I expect myself to hit those shots. If I don't, then that's a surprise. So maybe that's why I'm more calm now. If I win a big point, I've expected to do this. That's what I expect of myself. So that's the difference, I think.

Q. Some of that first-time stuff is gone. What makes it fun now?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, the first times I didn't win. But now what's fun is that I'm actually able to take titles home.

Q. Given the ebb and flow you were talking about of your career, is this surprising? This is your fifth Open and your fifth semifinal appearance here?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It is?

Q. Yes.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, that's nice (smiling).

Q. It seems like in the last two, three years, more entertainers and athletes are coming to see you and Serena specifically, especially at the big events. Is that great to see? Does that give you a sense of pride? Do you think you and Serena are Tiger-izing the game?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I guess they come because they've heard a lot and they want to see what's going on. Thank you. You guys wrote it. You know, I think it's nice. I think it's very exciting that people are coming out from all walks of life to come see us. It's not only us, it's other players, too, in my opinion. I think it's especially exciting, especially here at The Open, the place to be during these two weeks.

Q. In a sense, you have movie stars and music stars, it seems like you're making tennis very cool.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I thought it was cool. That's why I kept playing. So, you know, I thought it was always nice.

Q. When you played Capriati in New Haven, it was really close. The crowd probably would have gotten behind whoever ended up losing. It was Jennifer that day. You said that they were probably sad to see her lose because they have come to really like her. Can you talk more about that, given the year that she's had?

VENUS WILLIAMS: You know, I just think in general the fans have always loved her from the very beginning, you know, when she hit her first ball. I remember. I was like a baby, but I was following it, too when she hit her first ball. Everyone has been watching her and following her story. They feel like they watched her grow up. Maybe that's what it is. So she has a lot of fans and a strong fan base. They really come out and root for her and want her to win.

Q. Are you getting over your cold?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know what's going on. Whoever said I had a cold?

Q. Sounds like you have one.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Really?

Q. We have pretty good ears. Considering you haven't dropped a set yet in the tournament, is this the perfect way to go into a big match like you have coming up? Is this part of you that wishes you had a chance to be tested more?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, I think I tested myself enough. Today I had quite a few unforced errors. So, I think that I'm ready to play, ready to compete. If I'm not, I've just wasted 12 years of my life practicing. Here's my chance.

QueenO
Jun 20th, 2002, 01:26 AM
September 7, 2001

V. WILLIAMS/J. Capriati
6-4, 6-2

An interview with:

VENUS WILLIAMS

THE MODERATOR: First question for Venus, please.

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.

Q. Where did you see that? When did that happen?

VENUS WILLIAMS: This was like in '98 in Sydney, Serena was playing a top player (inaudible). Serena was down 1-6, love-5. She was fighting like there was no tomorrow, like it was her last day on Earth. After that I reconsidered. I wasn't such a fighter. After that, I became a fighter, too. That's what I took from her game. We've taken different things from each other's game and advised each other.

Q. Do you think she's taken anything from yours?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. I tell her different things, what I've learned over the years. But I don't know. You'd have to ask her.

Q. There's been criticism in the past about when you played. In tomorrow's match, would you want it to be as quick as possible, you win, get it over with, or would you want it to be three sets, epic, show everybody how fantastic this match can be?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm always hoping to play a clean match (laughter).

Q. Last time you played your sister was in an exhibition for your mother's charity. How competitive was that match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, that was a tough match because I had taken seven days off, and it was very windy. So I wasn't playing my best tennis. That was the toughest part of it. But other than that, it was okay.

Q. Jennifer told us she didn't have to run down so many balls as she had to do today, and she kind of ran out of gas. Was there any point where you realized she was tired?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I didn't see that she was tired or not. She's a pretty strong person. Well, actually a person and player. I didn't see her fatigue. Maybe she was searching for the answers to get back into the match. Maybe I saw that, but in my opinion, she ran for every ball.

Q. She also complained about the wind. She mentioned the wind. Did that bother you too?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I'm accustomed to the wind at this point. Every year I play here, I play through the wind. Likely, she hasn't had the same experience that I've had in the wind. So maybe that was a factor.

Q. Tomorrow night is the first time that the women's final will be on prime time CBS. Obviously, historic for you and your sister. Are you aware of how important this is for the WTA? Will you be following the ratings after all this is over? From the business end of it, is it something you think about?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It's fantastic. It is. When I first heard about the prime time final, I was hoping that I'd be there. I was gonna make it my personal goal, you know, my personal dream to be in the final. And it's happened. What do you know, there's Serena, too. It's great. It would have been great, in my opinion, if it was -- especially for us. It's women's tennis, it's the last final, it's in America. It would have been if it was Serena, Jennifer, Lindsay, an all-American final, it would have been great.

Q. Do you think the attention this match is going to get tomorrow can have a positive impact on bringing more African Americans into the game of tennis?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, I don't know. I don't know too much about things outside of tennis. I understand things in this small world, but outside of what's growing and what's happening, I don't know.

Q. A lot has been made about the number of tournaments you play and the number of tournaments your sister plays. Now that you're both in the final, what does that say to you, versus all the other competitors on the tour?

VENUS WILLIAMS: We do what makes us happy. I feel I've played enough. So... I've been to places that I've wanted to be. I've had good times and good memories there. For me, that's what counts.

QueenO
Jun 20th, 2002, 01:27 AM
September 8, 2001

V. WILLIAMS/S. Williams
6-2, 6-4

An interview with:

VENUS WILLIAMS

THE MODERATOR: First question, please.

Q. Congratulations, Venus.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Thank you.

Q. How do you feel?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I feel okay.

Q. Are you a mean big sister?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I think I'm one of the best out there. So... I don't know.

Q. Do you consider tonight a win for the Williams family? What's the significance?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, for sure, because this is our first Grand Slam final together, and really that's the way we'd like it to be. Because then both of us win in a way. And, also, I just hate to see Serena lose anyway - even against me. So I think that's the harder part. For anything, it would be easier for her to beat me, then I'd maybe be, I don't know, happier. It's kind of strange. But when you're the big sister looking to take care of the younger one...

Q. If that's true, do you think it would have been easier for you tonight if it were Jennifer or Lindsay? Would you be more joyful now if you had beaten one of them in the final?

VENUS WILLIAMS: If I was the younger sister, maybe I'd feel more joyful. When you're younger, (inaudible) you're used to finding a way to get in and out of things. I don't exactly feel like I've won.

Q. That's what I mean. That's why I'm asking. If you were playing a different opponent, would you be a little bit more joyful?

VENUS WILLIAMS: If I was playing a different opponent, I'd probably be a lot more joyful. But I'm happy I won the US Open again. There's nothing like winning a Grand Slam. Serena and I, we both know that when we come out there, it's going to be two competitors competing against each other. That's just the way it is. When you walk out on the court, if you're not a competitor, you just got to go home. And we both understand that.

Q. How did you and your sister spend the day today before you got here?

VENUS WILLIAMS: We practiced, had lunch, took a nap, headed over.

Q. Your mother said that you took a nap. Serena went out and did some shopping with mom.

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I think Serena -- I don't know. I don't think she shopped. I hope not, because then she probably got some things I didn't get (laughter).

Q. You got some sleep, maybe that helped?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I love sleeping (laughter). Nothing like getting those zzz's on. Always try to take a nap before a match if I get the chance. A lot of times it's hard to get up for me. Today it took me about an hour and a half to get up.

Q. There's much talk about the dream. Often, you have told us that this was your parents' dream. At what point did it become your dream? Secondly, the dream of both of you playing together in a Grand Slam tournament, when did that happen?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It's tough to say. When I was younger, I played tennis because my parents wanted me to. I was happy doing it. I never thought twice about it. And I suppose later on, as I got older and was able to understand and I kind of understood what was going on around me, that's when I decided or I understood that, "Hey, I wanted to be a player, too." From the beginning, it was just a lot of positive reinforcement from my parents. Again, I understood I'd be a good player, I guess.

Q. There are a lot of sisters, brothers. What has happened today is really so unusual in tennis. So many things could have gone one way or the other. Because of the development, how do you see this, both of you together, in terms of the historical perspective of this event?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, boy. Well, I don't know how we ^ both had to be two good sisters together. We're both good athletes, that helps a lot. Then we worked hard and we believe in ourselves. That helps a lot more. Then we kind of stepped up and made it happen. That's what counts. I guess, you know, years from now we'll look back and laugh. We still laugh. But now we look back at the times that we've had before and we laugh and say, "Boy, if I had known, I would have done better here and there." I suppose we can keep the memory for ourselves.

Q. So many figures from the world of sports, from entertainment, celebrities of all kinds came to this match. What does that mean to you, that all these figures came to see a little tennis match between two women?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, actually, I was looking at the screen, too. I don't deny myself a look on the screen when I'm on the changeover. So I look and see who's here, too.

Q. Could you tell us a little bit, some of the celebrities you saw, what went through your head.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I saw all of them - all of them that they showed on the screen. I was thinking mostly about the match for sure. But I like watching the screen.

Q. In the past, your matches with Serena have been filled with a lot of unforced errors - one way or the other. Were you surprised the way she came out? Was she a little rattled in the beginning? How do you describe that first-set dominance you had?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think we were even until I got the first break, and it could be that I'm really used to playing these Grand Slam finals now. That could be it. This is my fifth one so far, my fifth Grand Slam final. So I think maybe that played a factor.

Q. You didn't drop a set this whole event. Is this the easiest Grand Slam you've won? I mean, are you just playing beyond, you know, any skill level you played before?

VENUS WILLIAMS: In terms of the scores, I suppose so. It has to be my easiest Grand Slam. But it's been a hard week, or two weeks. I'm a little tired.

Q. Are you at the top of your game? Can you move up?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't feel I played my best. I don't feel I did. But I guess it's not always the best that counts. It's how you play the important points. And I'd like to, of course, improve my game.

Q. Do you still have the goal of being No. 1 in the world?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Sure, I do. It just hasn't happened (smiling). When I'm deserving of it, I suppose I'll be there. But it hasn't worked out just yet.

Q. You said you've been in five Grand Slam finals now, and you think that that's helped your comfort level, confidence in the match. There are certain points you might have been down Love-30. Can you explain how being in the finals helped you out.

VENUS WILLIAMS: It's really just that maybe I understand the plays more, more than Serena does, which is putting the ball where I want it to be or trying to draw an error. So that could be it, too. But I don't know. Just, you know... I don't know.

Q. Do you think that women are overtaking sport? If so, what role do you think you and your sister have in that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: The sport of tennis?

Q. Yes.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think definitely right now we're the top story in tennis. It's real exciting because every time I go out there, especially if I'm playing someone like Lindsay, Martina, Serena, Jennifer, Monica, I'm going to be in for a battle. And I think that's exciting. And what we've all brought to the game, we've worked hard, and I feel that we deserve it - and the sport does, too.

Q. Martina's pretty much acknowledged that she's not the best player in the world this year. Jennifer has two majors. You have two majors. If you had to realistically assess it, would you say you were the best player this year?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I guess I've had the most amount of titles. But for me, I've almost done my personal best. I would have loved to have won some more Grand Slams, but that wasn't the case. Someone else was more deserving of the first two (laughing). So it wasn't me. I've done my best. And the year isn't over yet. I'm still looking forward to hopefully improving my ranking. Who knows?

Q. Just sort of eradicating tonight's match and everything, can you understand how people in the media particularly look at matches between yourself and Serena with a very sort of critical eye, almost waiting to see if there's any sign that one maybe is sort of slumping at such a time, sort of a suspicion, almost? Obviously something that you abhor. But can you understand why they're saying, These two sisters, how hard is it for them to play each other? Do you understand that, or do you just find it complete nonsense?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I rarely try to understand. When you spend too much time trying to understand things, then that takes too much time, in my opinion, energy. I develop my own theories and beliefs, and that's how I go.

Q. A few years ago you said you'd like to travel to Africa. I was wondering if you ever envisioned yourself playing a tournament there?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I suppose we had one tournament in Egypt, but it's not there anymore. But I sure would like to go. It's hard, because when we do have time off, we have to also spend that time practicing and training so we can play as well as we do. Isn't a lot of free time in our schedules. We have full-time jobs, actually. So when I have the opportunity and the time, I'd love to.

Q. There were times when she wasn't playing too well. As a sister, did you feel yourself feeling a little bit sorry for her? If you did, how did you deal with that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I always like to see Serena play well and do her personal best. I was happy to get free points, that's for sure. But then on the other hand, I was, you know, being like -- kind of like if I was sitting in the stands and Serena was playing someone else and I was saying, "Come on, Serena, just do this or do that." When I'd find myself doing that, I'd lose a couple points. So I just want the best for her in the end.

Q. How did you overcome feeling sorry for her?

VENUS WILLIAMS: When I lost a couple points, I wasn't sorry anymore (laughter).

Q. There were people, Venus, who were thinking ahead to when you're 1 and 2 in the world, you and Serena, and that you could be playing more Grand Slam finals. Do you think that gradually will cut through the difficulties you feel maybe emotionally now about playing sister against sister, and that it will become, "Okay, you've won Grand Slams, I've won Grand Slams, let's go for it"? Mentally, emotionally, there won't be any problem whatsoever playing your sister. Do you think that time will come?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think pretty much today, I don't think we had a problem playing each other. Sure, I wanted to win more than anything - and Serena did, too. We understood that. But I think we played an okay match today. I think that when I had some opportunities like to break serve, I was able to capitalize on those more than what she was able to. So that was the key, the difference in the match. But we both went out there competing, trying to win this tournament. Hopefully, there will be better matches. I mean, after that Andre and Pete match, no one can live up to that again in this tournament - maybe not ever.

Q. Martina and Serena have said something about the wind on center court. You guys practice in Florida. Is there anything about the wind on center court here that makes it different from the wind factor in an open area?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, Florida is windy in March and April but not really the rest of the year. And really, the most difficult part, I suppose, is that at the other tournaments normally it's not windy. The US Open is the tournament usually where it's very windy. Earlier on, in the years before, '98, '99, it was more difficult for me to get used to it. Now I just play with the wind, it's okay.

Q. On a scale of 1 to 10, how much would you say Serena is getting out of her potential?

VENUS WILLIAMS: As far as effort level, definitely a 10. Serena always gives her best, tries her hardest. But as far as executing, she definitely could do better. Everyone has to try to do better in my opinion. Once you start getting satisfied, it's going to be a problem.

Q. How are you going to celebrate this?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I'm going to pack (laughter). You know, I'm going to do whatever Serena does. I don't know too many people, Serena knows more people than what I do. Maybe I'll just kind of tag along.

Q. Do you think the men are going to start complaining that they're not getting equal prize money with the Williamses taking all the fat checks like this?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I don't think so (laughing).

Q. You talked about playing more tennis next year. So how many tournaments are you planning on adding to your itinerary? Do you have any idea?

VENUS WILLIAMS: This year I suppose I've played ten or eleven. I thought that was enough. If I had won a little bit more, it would have been better. But I was happy on the places I went. Next year, I believe I'd like to play more in the beginning of the year, maybe less at the end. So I'm going to look at the calendar and see what suits me best.

QueenO
Jun 20th, 2002, 01:29 AM
SANEX WTA TOUR TELECONFERENCE

February 23, 2002

VENUS WILILAMS

JIM FUHSE: Venus, congratulations on turning No. 1 on Monday. Has it had a chance to sink in yet, and do you have any special plans for celebrating it on Monday?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think my special plan would be just to get home, finally. It's been a long time on the road. I think I'm just looking forward to getting home and getting some rest with my family.

Q. I saw in your comment earlier this week that reaching No. 1 is a dream that started with your parents and then you took it over. How long have you wanted to be No. 1; and the way you've been playing lately, was it just a matter of time?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, you know, obviously, when you're on a professional tour, you don't aspire to be No. 3 or No. 2. Normally you do your best to become the best. At this point, I am the best player in the world, so that's exciting and it's going to be mine at least a week.

Q. The way you've been playing, has have you been in this kind of a zone in a while? The streak you had going in through the Open, and then winning the tournaments in the last month or so, have you been at this level in a while and how much more do you think you've got to go?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, more and more I've learned tennis is just mental and technical. As long as you have the mental game down, your techniques are solid, physically all you need is just your body to be there with you. And physically has been one of my problems in the past. The past two months I have been able to play without pain and that's done a lot for me.

Q. A lot of people have talked about how you are the best player and you have been the last two years; yet, you have not really played a schedule maybe to make yourself in the No. 1 spot by not playing as much and going to school and everything. Has it really been that important and a focal point to you, or maybe winning the titles at Wimbledon and US Open take precedence; is that driving you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Really, I think that if I had been No. 1 in the world and had not won any Grand Slams, it would be less of a significance. But having won Grand Slams, that really just makes it a lot more enjoyable, and I just feel like I deserve it. You know, being No. 1 and winning Grand Slams and winning titles, that's just all a part of having a successful career. I've worked hard; so I feel like I deserve a few perks there.

Q. A lot of us who live down in south Florida have known you from since when you were a kid have heard your father say you and Serena would be No. 1. Now that it has happened, what has his reaction been?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I just think that he's head over heels. He's going to give me a few pointers to try to stay on top.

Q. How important is staying on top? You just said you'll be there for one week, but how important is it for you to keep it going?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, right now, it's just been great getting there, but it's another thing staying there. So I just have to be dedicated and more than anything, keep enjoying the game, because at any point it becomes a burden, at least to me, that's when it's a problem.

Q. Your dad's prediction years ago that you would be No. 1, certainly, one of thee boldest predictions that has ever been made in tennis history. Did you ever think -- did you ever think, "Gee, I wish he had not done that, to just let me play"?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I never thought that. I thought he was telling the truth. I was just being the daughter of a proud father. And more than anything, I think he knew he put the work in and that he had -- we were listening to him, and I think that's why he had that confidence to say that myself and Serena would be Grand Slam Champions. Right now, we are some of the best players in the game, I guess, in history, and I just think that I give a lot of credit to my dad for that.

Q. You obviously did not play a lot of Junior tournaments. You skipped a bunch of other tournaments and never altered from having your parents being your prime coaches. Is there an aspect of your career that you are most proud of, venus?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think the best part is that I've enjoyed myself along the way and that I have not limited myself just to playing tennis or made myself believe that that's the only thing in life. I've always been doing