Jul 8th, 2002, 07:09 PM
Here you are.
Interview with VENUS WILLIAMS
S. WILLIAMS/V. Williams
MODERATOR: Good afternoon. Venus Williams. First question, please.
Q. Do you have something to your shoulder, an injury?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I'm okay, thank you.
Q. After the match, you sat down for a minute, then you started talking. What were you chatting about, if you'd be willing to share?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, just of what to do in the ceremony basically. If you don't know, then you don't know, if someone doesn't tell.
Q. Can you run through your emotions now?
VENUS WILLIAMS: My what?
Q. Your emotions. Are you more disappointed that you lost? More happy for your sister? More thrilled by the way you played?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Just normal. I would have liked to have won, but once again, too late.
Q. What was the difference in today's match? What did you see in Serena that made her the champion?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Really, I just think that she just had a better shot. I think I played well, to be honest, and high-percentage tennis. She just was pressing and hitting a lot of forceful shots.
Q. Did you feel at times your serve let you down today? Was that the big factory?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I did have some double-faults on breakpoints, but I don't really feel like my serve let me down today, not really.
Q. You're serving not as fast as you have here in the past. Is that the court, the balls, or is it your shoulder?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Just trying to last for all the matches now, not just one game.
Q. Are you consciously letting off a little bit?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Just I'm going for a higher first serve - how about that - percentage. I like that answer.
Q. Serena is more brave and violent than you?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I guess you'll have to make your own assumption.
Q. Yesterday twice she makes stop when you begin to speak. She answered on the question.
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I like to give her her space and let her speak.
Q. Have you ever seen Serena hit her backhand like that?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Really, she was just tremendous today. I think that it wasn't like a lot between us. But just on some of those points, she was getting some that I couldn't get.
Q. Did the quality of tennis seem much higher to you guys as it did to us?
VENUS WILLIAMS: We were just doing our best. We both wanted to win.
Q. Was it fun, especially the first set with the tiebreak, going back and forth?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Maybe if I had won, it might have been a little more fun. But having lost, I had more pressure on me to win the second set (laughter).
Q. You now have lost the two last Grand Slams to someone who is now the No. 1 player in the world. What do you have to do to beat her?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Just get down in there and fight. That's my best answer.
Q. As talkative as the two of you are during doubles, when you had the changeovers on today's match, was there -- as focused as you are, was there any point where you had the urge to talk to Serena?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, no.
Q. That last break against you, when you double-faulted, were you feeling tired at that point? Was there a little bit of tension you felt? What happened on that one shot?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Just a bad choice. I would have chose differently if I could have. But there it was.
Q. How proud are you right now of your sister? What sort of show do you think you put on today compared with the other Grand Slam finals you've met in?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think, you know, it's great to see Serena doing well because for a while there she wasn't doing her best. I didn't think she was doing the best that she could do. So now I think she has to feel better that she's taken full advantage of her career.
Q. And the show you put on today compared with the other Grand Slam finals?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, we're entertainers. We always want the crowd and everyone watching the game to be entertained, basically.
Q. In the past, Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert dominated women's tennis. Then there was a period when Steffi was dominant. Now you and Serena have the upper hand. If you have to say to those critics that say it's bad you're both dominant now, how would you respond to them?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I wouldn't respond.
Q. What do you think? Do you think it's good for women's tennis that the two of you are in a dominant position?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think so.
Q. In what way?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think that we get a lot of attention for not just only women's tennis, but tennis in general. People are watching tennis now.
Q. You both were stretching each other an awful lot, running down balls. Did you think while you were playing, reflecting afterwards, that was the best the two of you have played against each other? Seemed that way to us.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Just less unforced errors. Only this.
Q. But you both were going for lines, corners, making them?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I don't think I was going for it as much as Serena, but I don't play the same game as she plays. For her, it's all or nothing. For me, it's not this.
Q. Did she or anybody else make you run as much as this one?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Not normally. But you've got to have plan B. I'm glad that I can get to those balls, to be honest.
Q. As the older one, you were expected to care for and look after your sister for a long time. Is it maybe harder for you to beat her than it is for her? What does these last two Grand Slams mean for the hierarchy or order in the family?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Basically I think it's my responsibility to take care of each other more than anything. As far as the rest of the question, I don't really remember it, but I think that we're both pretty much in the same position.
Q. Talent is universal. You are a little bit sad. How do you stay with the dancing and singing, playing instrument with the music so generally?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't understand.
Q. You said last year Serena wasn't really playing up to her potential, and that's why she wasn't doing as well. There were specific things she had to do, get her emotions under control, work on some of her shots. What do you have to do to get back to the dominant position you were in last summer?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I still feel that I am in a dominant position, but it's virtually -- it's almost impossible to win every match. I aspire to do so, but it doesn't always happen.
But normally, I have a high winning percentage, that's what it takes, I guess hang in here and stay on tour, is to win some and lose some.
Q. Is it getting any emotionally easier to play Serena in these matches or is it still tough inside?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, it never was difficult.
Q. It's not difficult emotionally?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No.
Q. What do you think you can learn to your younger sister now?
VENUS WILLIAMS: What can I teach her?
VENUS WILLIAMS: As far as what?
Q. What you can learn.
VENUS WILLIAMS: What can I learn?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, I don't know. I guess we just try to take the best from each other, even on and off the court. Just we're role models for each other to see what each other's doing good. I suppose with each other, what we're doing bad. But I don't criticize her. That's the only thing I won't do.
Q. Will you get treatment on your shoulder?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Just going to rest for the doubles. It's good that I don't have to serve every other game.
Q. Do you believe you will be the world No. 1 again?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, that's what I'm here for, to be on top. Not trying to linger around at No. 2.
But I've done my personal best this year. I don't think I could do more.
Q. I noticed that you had your chair facing the Royal Box, whereas Serena was facing the court. Was that just incidental or did you prefer not to be able to see Serena at the changeovers?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No. She turns her chair. I just sit how they come. They were sitting like that. They were facing that way.
Q. What do you think the rest of the tour thought? It seems like the only two who can get your shots are each other. What do you think the rest of the women's tour thought as they were watching that match today in terms of the bar?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Not sure, to be honest. I never gave it any thought.
Q. Are there times when you hit a shot that you think nobody else would have gotten that except Serena?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, sure. But then again, I think there's a lot of times that maybe she wouldn't have gotten it. Just today she played very well. Really, I kept my balls most times deep and on the line, and she kept returning them deep and on the line. So what can you do with this?
Q. Was she simply unbeatable today, if anybody plays her or even you at your best? Given what you just said, even you at your best you couldn't have beaten her?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I hope. I'm never going to count myself out. If the match wasn't over, I still wouldn't count myself out (laughter).
But I think that for anyone to compete against her like this, it's going to be very difficult.
Q. What kind of instructions did you give her about going to get the plate, what she needed to do?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, no one told me the first year that you have to curtsy. So I was just running around like a fool (laughter).
I made it a point to tell her that you have to curtsy. I said, "Did you know that?" She said, "No." "Well, you have to curtsy."
Actually, that was about it.
Q. Was it strange not having the Duchess of Kent out there?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I liked this Duchess very much, too (laughter).
Q. At what level does it hurt to lose your Wimbledon crown?
VENUS WILLIAMS: It's not fun losing, no matter who you lose to. Doesn't matter. It's not something that I'm going to get used to or try to adjust to because I'm not one for losing often. So naturally I'm going to go out there and try to win the very next time.
Q. Does the shoulder hurt at all? Do you need ice?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Going to take some time between the singles and doubles. That's all I can do.
Q. Feel like muscle more than bone?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know.
Q. What is the different atmosphere in the final US Open, the French Open, and here? Did you realize that today there were no more than a hundred black people watching the match?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I love this court. I like the way it plays. I like the stadium. As far as black people watching the match, well, maybe more will come out next time, I hope. But I think that everyone there thoroughly enjoyed the game. That's what's most important.
Jul 8th, 2002, 07:10 PM
MODERATOR: Ladies and Gentlemen, 2002 Wimbledon Champion.
SERENA WILLIAMS: That's me (smiling).
Q. How do you feel?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I feel really good. I'm happy. I'm part of the club. So I'm very excited.
Q. Did they give you anything, besides the trophy? Do they give you a little card you have to flash?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I'm waiting for the pin, all the members have the pin. So I'm waiting for it. I'm really excited to get it.
Q. Do you think this has been the best match between you two sisters, out of the nine times you played?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, I don't know. I played really well I think in Munich way back in '99. That was really exciting. The Ericsson, now known as the Nasdaq-100, back maybe in '99 also.
But this is up there, for sure.
Q. Can you talk about that last game? It looked like you were almost ready to hyperventilate, that you were trying to take big breaths, calm yourself down a little bit. Can you take us through that from before you served on?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, okay, I was thinking, "Well" -- always think on the bright side. I figure there's a bright side in everything. When I was up 4-2, serving for 5-2, I lost that game, I thought, "Well, you know, I could have been down 4-2 in the set." So I was always thinking on the bright side. Then when I was serving for it, I figure, "Whatever happens, either way I'm still up 5-4." And I just have to stay calm.
What's really been able to help me, I've been thinking 20 years from now, am I going to regret missing this serve? Am I going to regret doing this? So that really helped me calm down. I just wanted to breathe, you know, try to get through it because I really don't get nervous, but then I think maybe I was a little nervous there.
Q. What are you reading under your towel? What kind of inspirational messages are there?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, just things that I need to work on. Just reminders, like, "Look at the ball." Just simple things like that. Because normally I get unfocused when I'm sitting down, I start to look around. But Venus doesn't really have that problem, but I do. So I just try.
Q. Things you wrote to yourself?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, things I write to myself - to stay focused, I won't look around, lose my mind.
Q. Is this the fulfillment of sort of a lifetime ambition, winning here?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I can't become satisfied because, you know, if I get satisfied, I'll be like, "Oh, I've won Wimbledon, I've won the US Open. Now can I relax." But now people are really going to be fighting to beat me now.
So in the beginning of the year, I said, "You know, I don't care what happens this year, I want to win Wimbledon." And it was an extra bonus for me to win the French. Sure, I really wanted to win the French. I mean, I just couldn't even believe I won.
But I just wanted Wimbledon. I wanted to become a member of so much prestige, so much history. I want to be a part of history.
Q. What do you plan on doing with that membership? Are you going to hang out here? Go for lunch?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, this is going to be my main hang-out, don't you know (laughter)?
Q. Can you talk about the difference between now and a year ago? You're a three-time Grand Slam winner. A year ago, that US Open felt a long time away.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, times were low a year ago. But, you know, it's high tide now, it's high tide.
Q. Do you think of yourself a little differently?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Like I said, it's all changed ^ mentally. I'm mentally a different person: i'm stronger, I seem to have more experience under my belt. I don't know. I don't know what the main turnaround point was. Maybe last year at Wimbledon when I lost - it was a tough loss, it really was. I don't know, just sometimes I wonder if I hadn't of lost, would things be different.
Q. What was the difference today in the match? And what do you think right now sets you apart from Venus on the court?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, today, honestly, I wanted to win so bad, and I kept thinking to myself, "Okay, Serena, just stay calm. She already has two Wimbledons. Try to fight." And I really played really good today. Venus, she didn't -- her serve -- her arm was a little tired. Too much work on it. We just really have been beating ourselves up.
So in the second set, she couldn't serve as well as she did in the first because my game -- wasn't as high, because I wasn't as emotionally high in the second as I was in the first. So I think things might have been different.
Q. Your dad has always predicted you would be the better player eventually. Do you feel now you're the better player with the No. 1 ranking and this championship?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No. I don't know. I just always believe the way Venus plays at times, it's impossible to beat her. Because sometimes, even in practice, I'm really fighting just to get the ball back. And I don't even think I'm a good enough partner for her because of the way she's playing against me.
But I don't know. I'm not going to say that I don't feel I'm -- but I think really, if I missed a shot in that match, things really could have swung either way, and she would have been sitting here as the champion. I just think we're so close right now -- okay, I lost my mind.
Q. You were serving for the first set at 5-4, she broke your serve. Were you afraid you were going to have nightmares about that game? What were you thinking there?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I thought at that point Venus, she was playing really good at that point. And I said, "Well, whatever happens, I'm going to go out here and I'm just going to fight and try to hold my own." And then at the end of the day, when I go home, when I go to sleep, I'll be able to say, "You know what, I tried my best." I don't want to have to say I didn't.
So that's what I was thinking at that point. So then I wanted to go out and fight again.
Q. A lot of American kids when they're 20 like to come over to Europe and kick around, see the Eiffel Tower, Big Ben. In the summer of your 20th year, you won the French Open, Wimbledon, you've become No. 1 in the world. Can you possibly compare your life to the average 20-year-old American?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, it's impossible. I think I live a definitely different life than most 20-year-olds. You have some pop stars who are 20 who are living maybe the same life I'm living.
It's totally different. But I'm just as normal. None of it goes to my head. I have normal friends. I'm just as normal as anyone else, but I'm just not -- it's going to be impossible to be the same.
Q. Do you have any friends on the tour outside of Venus?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, yeah. I talk to -- well, Chanda and I really get along well. Alexandra and I, Alexandra Stevenson, we're really good friends. And Kim, she's a very nice girl. We always talk. There's a lot of players - LisaRaymond, Rene Stubbs. We definitely get along.
Q. As aggressive as Venus can be with her groundstrokes, after the French Open, did you have the sense she had to become more aggressive against you today, maybe take a few more risks with her groundstrokes, go for the corners more today?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know if I really had that feeling. I just felt that we both were struggling a little during the French. I don't know. I didn't really feel that she had to go for more. If anything, I had to go for more because she was running so fast. I kind of at one point made a couple mistakes I shouldn't have made because she was pretty much getting everything back.
Q. You were always going for everything.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I guess (smiling).
Q. What did Venus tell you about her shoulder after the match?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, she didn't tell me anything. Venus is the type person that she won't -- she never has an excuse for anything. Because I knew it was hurting beforehand.
And I said, "Are you okay?"
She said, "Oh, yeah, I'm going to be okay."
"Are you going to be all right?"
"Oh, yeah. Don't worry about me."
And you really have to respect her not only as a person, as a player, as a sister, because not everyone would do that. She never lets anything bother her like that. She's a real champion. You know, this is why she is where she is.
Q. Did you notice her serve not as fast as it's been in the past? Last year she was hitting it 124. Today not.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, especially in the second set today I noticed it. Definitely, obviously, if I'm a competitor, I'm going to have to notice it. Unfortunately, it's like -- it's a war out here. You know, if there's a weakness, someone's going to have to be attacked. So, unfortunately, it was too bad.
Q. You guys have been in Grand Slam finals playing each other before, but this is the first time you've met in the finals of Wimbledon. As you were saying, the tradition here is a much bigger deal. Can you talk about being out there, the two of you on the court, in the finals of Wimbledon?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Wow, I don't know. When I first walked out there, I was just thinking I wanted to win, but I was thinking also that my dad always said that, you know, one day we'll be playing in the finals of Wimbledon, in the finals of the US Open, just the big ones. And here we were 10, 15 years later.
And it's really amazing if you think about it because my dad - and my mom - it's hard to get one champion, but now he has two. And this is unbelievable really.
Q. For you guys, too. You were the ones doing all the work all those years.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I did a lot of work. And, you know, I don't regret any of it. It's nice when you can do a lot of stuff and you never have any regrets.
Q. When you said before that you tend to look around during changeovers, we noticed that you actually turned your chair around. Venus was facing the Royal Box, you were just facing the court. Was that a conscious decision?
SERENA WILLIAMS: She never turns her chairs around. In doubles I make her turn them around. I don't know why I like to turn them. Because normally they're always facing the court. So I always -- you know, I'm very -- I have to have it the same way every time. So for me, I just did it like that. But she normally never turns hers around.
Q. Did you go to Venus for the advice on what to do in accepting the plate or did she offer it to you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, she told me. She told me, "When you accept the plate, you have to curtsy to the duchess." I think she was a princess today. I'm not sure. I'm not sure. I didn't do it to the guy, though. Then she told me afterwards that she wasn't sure. Since she wasn't sure, she did a small one. I realized I should have done it, too (smiling). Older sister is always the wisest.
Q. The fact that Venus has already got two titles, did that give you the extra drive to win this one?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, it did. When I was able to win the first set, I think I got a little lackadaisical, I got a little too satisfied. I think I had a chance to break her. I was up 30-Love. And I just hit a couple ridiculous shots. Then I said to myself, "You're going to be telling your grandkids about this day, how you didn't take your opportunity." So then that's what I decided I just needed to go ahead and take my opportunity.
Q. I listened to your interview with MaryCarillo, this whole issue with rivalry. In your answer, you said that for you spirituality comes first, family, then tennis, even though it's a big part of your life, comes third. I would like you to explain what you mean by "spirituality"?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm a Jehovah's Witness. If you don't believe in God -- I think if you don't believe in God, it's going to be tough to live life because pretty much that's the basis of life, it comes from God. And so being a Jehovah's Witness, obviously we believe in God and the Bible. And without Him, I wouldn't be here right now. I really thank Him for everything.
I've been blessed really. People are sick, just born with just disorders, and I've been blessed to be born, you know, pretty much healthy. So I really -- that's basically what I mean.
Q. Your shoe contract is coming up. How much incentive is that to kind of show the world and the next shoe company that you sign with that you're worth major bank?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I definitely am. I'm really exciting, I smile a lot, I win a lot, and I'm really sexy (smiling).
Q. As much pressure as you may have put on yourself, looking back on it, was it fun?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, it was fun. You know, it was a great match. It was really fun. We were really serving and returning, Venus running down balls - I was running down a lot of balls, too. You know, it was a good match to watch. I think the crowd really got into it. So it was fun.
It wasn't long. Our matches really never last long.
Q. Do you feel a heightened sense of wanting to win the doubles so that Venus can leave with some type of championship?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, most definitely. And mostly because I would like to win the doubles, not only because for Venus, but just for me, too. I don't like losing at all. I just never have, and I probably never will.
Q. You mentioned your grandkids.
SERENA WILLIAMS: My dog's kids, my son.
Q. Now that you haven't blown this, what do you imagine you'll tell your grandkids about your first Wimbledon championship?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Tell them that, you know - I don't know - I had fun. It was just an experience of a lifetime, and I tried to hold on to it as long as I could, at least another 52 weeks.
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