Venus Williams defeated Vera Zvonareva6-3, 6-4
Friday, April 16, 2004
Q. You started out with you had four aces, and they ranked in speed from the high 80s up to the 108, 109 miles an hour. Did that have anything to do with the secret weapon you were talking about the other night?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, no. Come on. There's no secret weapon. I'm just playing as hard as the next person, and I'm just trying to supplement my game with extra stuff, but no, I'm hoping to serve even more aces in the match.
Q. The speed change is what I was particularly interested in, especially with clay. Somebody was telling me it's like a chess match out there compared to the hard court, which is where your power comes into effect. Can you talk about that a little bit?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. You do hit a few extra balls, and sometimes you try to hit the ball deep and next one short and next one at an angle and definitely think about the placement a little bit more because there's more time out there. But other than that, I still stick to my normal game and not really change too much.
Q. On to the semifinals and looking at the bracket there, you and if Lindsay wins will be only two of the Top 10 players seeded here. Talk about, I guess, the lack of Top 10 seeds being there.
VENUS WILLIAMS: It's been a good tournament. Obviously there's been some unforeseen circumstances, but that's life. You always have to be ready for plan B, C and D.
Q. Venus, it seemed like in the second set when you were able to get the break back and even at 4-4 that really seemed to turn the momentum in your favor. Did you feel that at the time?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I was a little bit disappointed that I had been in that situation, but at that point all I could do was try to rectify it, and she was playing well and she's a good player and very determined. So I definitely had to be on top of my game and not really anything below.
Q. You looked pretty upset at one point in the second set. Was there something wrong or were you just frustrated?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Do I look upset?
Q. You looked really upset, looked like you were about to cry.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, shocker. Well, I don't know. I don't quite remember that point in the match, so --
Q. She double faulted twice, you know, after she got the early break, and then she double faulted on set point. When you see people doing that, do you think they're stressed out? Do you feel like you have them at that point? I mean those are obviously huge points to double fault.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. It's hard these days on court. You have to play well, and I think I was putting a lot of pressure on her serve and her second serve. So maybe -- I don't want to talk too much, but that was probably, you know, her alternative.
Q. Three matches this year, how good do you feel going into Saturday?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I always want to be better. What I'm trying to do these days is take the positive out of my matches and not really focus so much on what I could have done better or the mistakes that I made because then I get too bogged down and I take that into the next match instead of taking a really positive outlook. So what I'll do is just focus on all the good things I did and focus on that tomorrow.
Q. At the same time I think this is your first match where you won in straight sets.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Here?
Q. Yeah. Here.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh. Maybe not.
Q. Venus, since some of the seeds have been taken out at the top of the draw, do you consider yourself a favorite now to win?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I just really want to do well for myself. And to be honest, in the thought process, I don't consider myself a favorite at any tournament. I consider myself the one who has to fight harder than the next person. I think as long as I'm thinking that, I'll be fine.
Q. How close do you think you are to playing what you normally consider your best? Are people intimidated the way they once were with you?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't think anyone exactly comes and says, yes, I'm really happy that I'm going to be playing Venus. I don't think it's that way, but I think a lot of players probably think, wow, maybe I can get a win against her now. But I think that a lot of points I am playing well, and then there are some points where I haven't played as well as I could and I'm just going to focus on definitely playing each point more consistently than the last one.
Q. You overcame early breaks in both sets. Did you feel like, especially at the run at the end of the second set that you were playing more at the level of your potential right now?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I just -- I don't know. No. I really felt like I could have played a lot better, but then I played a really good player and she played some good points and she had some good lobs when I came into the net, so it was a challenge out there, but I definitely would like to even just take it from there and go play better.
Q. Do you think people are more confident against you now than they might have been before?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I guess you'd have to ask them, but really when I step out there on the court, my main focus is me, and whether the next person is confident or not just doesn't affect how I'm hitting the ball. So as long as I'm confident and hitting the ball, I'm really okay.
Q. In that way do you play -- it's my perception that you usually play pretty much the same way against everybody, that you don't worry a whole lot about counter punching what other people do. Is that a fair description?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think it's important to recognize your opponent's strengths and weaknesses, but definitely I feel that my game is strong enough that I don't have to go out there and change it for any player that I do play.
Q. Were you concerned at all about the quick turnaround from an evening match to early afternoon?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I like the day matches. So I was happy to be on at day.
Q. The sun doesn't bother you at all? When you're serving into the sun at all didn't bother you?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Sometimes, but I'm a professional tennis player. No excuses. You have to get out there and I have to play. Sometimes you're a little bit blinded after serving in the sun, but you have to keep playing the point; and she's playing under the same conditions I am.
Q. Are you healthy now? In your mind are you healthy now?
VENUS WILLIAMS: It's hard, but I'm trying.
Q. The other day you talked about you said, even in the last six months the depth in women's tennis has certainly improved a lot. Who would you actually go pay to see play a match? I know you don't have to, but --
VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I don't have to pay. What?
Q. Neither do I, but my point is that like maybe are there players you enjoy watching just for the sheer love of the game, hey, I'd like to go watch her play?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I just really love women's tennis, to be honest, and I like watching everyone play, just to see people compete against each other, and not necessarily even to scout players or what have you. I just like to see women's tennis matches. So for me all the matches are good. I'm kind of biased maybe.
Q. What about the men when you're at a mixed event?
VENUS WILLIAMS: You know, men's tennis is awesome, too, but I really only watch the women.
Q. There's a general disappointment that Serena's not playing, that Henin-Hardenne and the other players have dropped out. If you're a big fan of women's tennis, does that make this week less exciting for you?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I don't think so. I think the tournament is wonderful. We have a wonderful facility, and there's a lot of exciting matches, and definitely opportunity to see two Americans in the final. So I think there's a lot of things that are definitely happening here.
Q. Is there a sense of relief that, oh, I don't have to meet Serena in the final?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Not really because I would like to get there first, so why be worried about something that hasn't happened yet?
Q. The crowd was pretty well behind you today, I mean squarely behind you, and you talked about how they cheer for you a lot down here, you like to play. Did that help you at all, because the match was -- you were down, I think, 3-1 in the second match and then 4-2 you came charging back with two breaks to take it all. Did the crowd have any effect helping you with that?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Everyone was so positive, saying "Venus don't let up" and "go get her" and what have you, and I've never played in front of a crowd that's really, really been so behind me ever, and it's almost to the point, okay, how do I deal with this? So it's definitely -- definitely nice.
Q. One person in the crowd today was Serena. I mean did she say anything to you this morning or did she talk to you at all, and could you hear her cheering for you out there?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. I always hear her because I know her voice.
Q. Did she say anything to you before the match?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No. She just said, "remember what I told you yesterday," and that was all.
Q. Is it hard when you're -- I mean when you're good enough that people are constantly rooting for your opponent, you know, and you made it sound like this was a rather unique situation for you today.
VENUS WILLIAMS: It is. I always -- of course, I don't expect everyone to be a Venus Williams fan, go Venus. Everyone has to have their favorites, and that's what makes women's tennis women's tennis. But I've never played in front of a crowd that the majority of people wanted me to win I felt like. So like I said, I had to adjust.
Q. Do you think that was because of the injury? I mean I know McEnroe was loved at the end.
VENUS WILLIAMS: No. Serena told me, like last year she came here and everyone was definitely for her, and I was like, "Wow, Serena, that's great."
Q. Are you coming back next year with your sister?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I want to. I want to make it a priority.
END OF INTERVIEW
The Official Fashionista of the Royal Court