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post #47 of 71 (permalink) Old Apr 19th, 2004, 01:09 PM Thread Starter
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Williams rebounds after dropping first set Williams rebounds after dropping first set




Associated Press
CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Venus Williams spun around, waved and touched her heart, mouthing "I love you" to the crowd.




After waiting 14 months for a tournament title, she had her celebration down pat.



No longer injured or tentative, Williams breezed through two wonderful sets and ended her drought by coming back to beat Conchita Martinez 2-6, 6-2, 6-1 Sunday at the Family Circle Cup.



"I just wanted to start this year from here," said Williams, a four-time Grand Slam tournament champion.



By winning on clay, she showed that she could be a factor at the French Open, which starts May 24.



And her postmatch pirouette and special salute to the fans showed how thrilled she was to be a winner again -- for the 30th time in her career. That ties Williams with Tracy Austin for 12th in WTA Tour history.



"I've never played in front of a crowd that was so supportive of me. A lot of times, I can be playing somewhere, and it's right in the United States, and I can be playing someone who I don't even know how to pronounce her name, and the crowd is very much rooting for the other player," Williams said.



"So for me it's very unusual to come to a place and really everyone is just showing a lot of support."



She didn't put on much of a show during the first set, when she lost her serve twice and had just 10 winners to 16 unforced errors.



But everything changed in the last two sets. Williams had 27 winners and 19 unforced errors during that portion of the match, while 1994 Wimbledon champion Martinez had seven winners and 28 unforced errors.



Williams last won a tournament in February 2003, when she beat Kim Clijsters in the final at Antwerp, Belgium. Shortly after, Williams strained an abdominal muscle, an injury that hampered her until she cut last season short in July.



She looked comfortable on court Sunday, particularly over the last two sets, handling Martinez's changing speeds well and volleying with confidence.



"The first set, I wasn't moving forward enough, and I just really was making too many mistakes," Williams said.



Later, Williams added, she "wanted to turn it around, and I really just started moving in and coming to the net. And, actually, when I was coming in, I felt really good up there, so I didn't stop."



Overall, she went to net 49 times, winning 35 points there.



Martinez, a two-time champion here, was in her first final in four years. The Spaniard dropped to 0-5 in three-set matches this season. Her first service game in the second set was listless and she was broken at love -- her first break of the match.



"I think I stopped doing whatever I was doing in the first set," Martinez said. "It's sort of tough to play against her. The ball comes differently."



Martinez won few points after the first set with the drop shots and short balls that were effective early. She occasionally was drawn into -- and, for the most part, lost -- hard-hitting rallies with Williams.



"The first couple games, I started really strong and hitting my forehand," Martinez said. Williams "obviously started playing a little better, too, not making many mistakes, but I definitely stopped doing what I needed to do."



Williams' serve also got better as the match went on. She hit 60 percent of her first serves in the second set and an ace in the third set was clocked at 113 mph.



In the doubles final, the top-seeded team of Virginia Ruano Pascual and Paulo Suarez beat Martin Navratilova and Lisa Raymond 6-4, 6-1. It was the 47-year-old Navratilova's last appearance at the Family Circle Cup, where she won five doubles titles and four singles titles.

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post #48 of 71 (permalink) Old Apr 19th, 2004, 01:10 PM Thread Starter
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Venus rallies to win first tournament since February 2003


April 18, 2004
SportsLine.com wire reports
CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Venus Williams spun around, waved and touched her heart, mouthing "I love you" to the crowd.

Advertisement After waiting 14 months for a tournament title, she had her celebration down pat.

No longer injured or tentative, Williams breezed through two wonderful sets and ended her drought by coming back to beat Conchita Martinez 2-6, 6-2, 6-1 Sunday at the Family Circle Cup.

"I just wanted to start this year from here," said Williams, a four-time Grand Slam tournament champion.

By winning on clay, she showed that she could be a factor at the French Open, which starts May 24.

And her postmatch pirouette and special salute to the fans showed how thrilled she was to be a winner again -- for the 30th time in her career. That ties Williams with Tracy Austin for 12th in WTA Tour history.

"I've never played in front of a crowd that was so supportive of me. A lot of times, I can be playing somewhere, and it's right in the United States, and I can be playing someone who I don't even know how to pronounce her name, and the crowd is very much rooting for the other player," Williams said.

"So for me it's very unusual to come to a place and really everyone is just showing a lot of support."

She didn't put on much of a show during the first set, when she lost her serve twice and had just 10 winners to 16 unforced errors.

But everything changed in the last two sets. Williams had 27 winners and 19 unforced errors during that portion of the match, while 1994 Wimbledon champion Martinez had seven winners and 28 unforced errors.

Williams last won a tournament in February 2003, when she beat Kim Clijsters in the final at Antwerp, Belgium. Shortly after, Williams strained an abdominal muscle, an injury that hampered her until she cut last season short in July.

She looked comfortable on court Sunday, particularly over the last two sets, handling Martinez's changing speeds well and volleying with confidence.

"The first set, I wasn't moving forward enough, and I just really was making too many mistakes," Williams said.

Venus Williams holds her first trophy since beating Kim Clijsters in Belgium last February.(Getty Images) Later, Williams added, she "wanted to turn it around, and I really just started moving in and coming to the net. And, actually, when I was coming in, I felt really good up there, so I didn't stop."

Overall, she went to net 49 times, winning 35 points there.

Martinez, a two-time champion here, was in her first final in four years. The Spaniard dropped to 0-5 in three-set matches this season. Her first service game in the second set was listless and she was broken at love -- her first break of the match.

"I think I stopped doing whatever I was doing in the first set," Martinez said. "It's sort of tough to play against her. The ball comes differently."

Martinez won few points after the first set with the drop shots and short balls that were effective early. She occasionally was drawn into -- and, for the most part, lost -- hard-hitting rallies with Williams.

"The first couple games, I started really strong and hitting my forehand," Martinez said. Williams "obviously started playing a little better, too, not making many mistakes, but I definitely stopped doing what I needed to do."

Williams' serve also got better as the match went on. She hit 60 percent of her first serves in the second set and an ace in the third set was clocked at 113 mph.

In the doubles final, the top-seeded team of Virginia Ruano Pascual and Paulo Suarez beat Martina Navratilova and Lisa Raymond 6-4, 6-1. It was the 47-year-old Navratilova's last appearance at the Family Circle Cup, where she won five doubles titles and four singles titles.

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post #49 of 71 (permalink) Old Apr 19th, 2004, 01:12 PM Thread Starter
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A POST-MATCH interview with: Venus Wiliams

Venus Williams defeated Conchita Martinez


2-6, 6-2, 6-1

Sunday, April 18, 2004





AMY BINDER: Questions for your 2004 Family Circle Cup Champion.



Q. Well, you did it. You broke the drought. Are we going to see you run on like Henin-Hardenne did last year?



VENUS WILLIAMS: That's what I'd love to do. I really just had a wonderful tournament and I'm so excited.



Q. How gratifying is it to do this your first trip here?



VENUS WILLIAMS: I didn't even think of that until they said it out there. I was like, oh, that's not bad. It's not bad. It's such a huge event and such great players, and Conchita's been in this final so many times and won it a couple times, and you know that she's an expert at what she does, so there are a lot of factors in there that make me feel good.



Q. What would you say you did differently the last two sets adjustment wise than you did in the first?



VENUS WILLIAMS: The first set I wasn't moving forward enough, and I just really was making too many mistakes, and just that second set from the first point I wanted to turn it around, and I really just started moving in and coming to the net. And actually when I was coming in, I felt really good up there, so I didn't stop. I just kept it going.



Q. Still trying to come back from injury, how gratifying is it to win for the first time in a while?



VENUS WILLIAMS: It's nice because it's been really difficult for me and challenging, and even this week with injuries, and it's just been really rewarding to have this title under my belt.



Q. Venus, you've mentioned twice this week how great the crowd was to you, and you made it sound like this has been unique for you. Can you describe what's been so different that you made a point of talking about that?



VENUS WILLIAMS: Everybody has been so wonderful. Everyone has been such a huge fan. I've never played in front of such a crowd that was so supportive of me.



Q. Venus, what are the crowds usually like, and what's the support usually like at other places you go?



VENUS WILLIAMS: A lot of times I can be playing somewhere and it's right in the United States, and I can be playing someone who I don't even know how to pronounce her name, and you know, the crowd is very much rooting for the other player, so for me it's very unusual to come to a place and really everyone is just showing a lot of support.



Q. Do you think part of that might be because they want to see a longer match or --



VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know.



Q. -- maybe want to see a three-set match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I have no idea.



Q. When you're in a crowd like that, what keeps you going and motivated and sticking with it?



VENUS WILLIAMS: All the advice I'm getting from the fans. You mean like this crowd?



Q. Well, no. When it's not like this, when you don't have the support and you're out there, and you know, it's pretty much you. I mean is your family in the audience or --



VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm so focused, and I'm so pretty well trained. So that really does it for me.



Q. Venus, are you 100 percent back, or you know, if you're not, what percent are you would you say right now?



VENUS WILLIAMS: I couldn't even name a percentage on it. I think there's a lot of points where I've played really well, and I think there are some points where I've played, you know, below what I'd like to be at. I think right now it's just going to be very important for me to stay on an even plane and play each point very consistently and very Venus.



Q. Yesterday you increased your service speed and the amount of times you attacked the net as the match went on and today you did it the same way. Were you it working into your game as you went along through the match and decided to come to the net more because of it?



VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't actually get to see the stats a lot, but I do realize when I do come in a lot. With the service speed I'm not always paying as much attention to because I'm more or less thinking about placement, and sometimes when they're coming big, it's just that they're coming big.

Q. Well, yesterday one thing I noticed was that you were serving second serves in the 90s, which probably made you feel very comfortable with where you were in the second set and that you were going to win that one, but also that you were trying to use part of your game that is important for you to step up and be in the top tier. Is that what you feel like you have to do with your second serve is to get it in the high 80s and 90s?



VENUS WILLIAMS: I definitely think so. I don't like to see any of my second serves in the 70s. I like to make my second serve an asset instead of a liability, so this week has actually been a very good week for my whole serve and my whole second serve also.



Q. How much of that was mental after that first set the way you really came storming back?



VENUS WILLIAMS: I just was so disappointed that I had given away the first set, and it was just really disappointing for me. I wanted to at least contest the match and not give it all away. So that second set I just wanted to make sure I lifted my game and be proud of what I was doing out there.



Q. And you did that all week, I thought. You surged. As your opponent's game got slower, a step slower, your speed of the pace on the ball you were sending back over the net quickened, and I was wondering if that's your secret weapon. As your opponent wore down, it was almost you got more powerful, and even today in I think it was the second set you were up 3-0 and your grunts got louder, you were setting up earlier and you were just teeing off on the ball.



VENUS WILLIAMS: She's a good player and she changed her game plan throughout the match. Sometimes she'd hit harder and sometimes she slowed it up and hit the moon balls, and I think what was key for me was not to rush and to definitely play my game and to try to move forward. Any time I started rushing I started missing a few, so...



Q. Venus, do you think American tennis fans are less prone to think about who's from their country when they pick who to root for than other fans from other countries do?



VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. I definitely think so. We aren't -- I think the difference is that we have so many stars in this country, whereas, if you go to a smaller country, they've got one or two or three stars and they're always on that side of that. So we're spoiled here with famous people and achievers.



Q. So Venus, are you going to take Serena out to dinner or anything for suggesting that you come here?



VENUS WILLIAMS: She's taking me out to dinner.



Q. Did you rub it in at all like my kids would have done because she hadn't won and then you won in your first time. My kids would be going at it right now.



VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, no. No. Your kids need to talk to Serena and I. Not at all.



Q. One other question. Your father and you are very close, again, at an age when most people are growing apart. Why are you so close to your father would you say?



VENUS WILLIAMS: I think because we were really raised to be close as a family is the first part. And the second part is you only get one dad, and you know, if your dad makes mistakes or if I make mistakes, that couldn't get in the way of any relationship that I have. It's just like, what's that song, it's too late when you die or something like that. Remember that one? To admit you don't see eye to eye.



Q. "The Living Years" by Mike and The Mechanics.



VENUS WILLIAMS: Not that it's all like that. So if he tells me to bend my knees, I don't like get upset.



Q. Can you talk to my son?



Q. You're not going to rub it in just a little to Serena?



VENUS WILLIAMS: No. In fact, she congratulated me, and she really just helped me out there to be able to win that match.



Q. Venus, I'm curious, I'm told that you've been getting these gifts, I've been asking you. Can I get anything any opinion on what you've been getting?



VENUS WILLIAMS: I got a bracelet today with sapphires. I think it was white gold, and yesterday I think I got a DVD player, portable. And then I got a basket of body products, like oils and things like that, and I got a purse and I got a watch. What else did I get? I got two purses actually. I don't remember the other things.



Q. Is this the kind of thing normally that happens on the WTA Tour?



VENUS WILLIAMS: No. No, not at all. I think the bracelet was saved for the finals, for the last two players possibly. But no. It was very nice.



Q. So is it safe to say this is in your experience the best tournament that gives gifts?



VENUS WILLIAMS: I like the tournament because I like it. Even if they gave me gifts, if I didn't like the event, I wouldn't come back. I like it here because it's a great place.



Q. Safe to say you're coming back?



VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm coming back.



Q. Venus, you heard about what happened with Patty Schnyder and Martinez yesterday in their match?



VENUS WILLIAMS: No. What happened?



Q. Schnyder thought that she was taking too long between points trying to retrieve the ball that she'd used to win a service point. Did you notice her taking any extra time out there today? It didn't seem to bother you, but did you notice it at all?



VENUS WILLIAMS: I think she took more time than -- she took the allotted time and she never went to -- she never got a time warning during the play, so if you're not getting warnings, then it's all legal.



Q. Does that affect your play at all? I noticed you were out there first. All week you've been out there early just waiting, and you seemed to focus and wait patiently. How does that affect you?



VENUS WILLIAMS: It's fine. My mom told me never be second. Be first. Be ready. Be the first one.



Q. She did. Why?



VENUS WILLIAMS: Because you don't want to be the -- what did she call it, end tails or musset.



Q. The hind part. You don't want to be the hind part?



VENUS WILLIAMS: My grandmother said that. You don't want to be the last one.






END OF INTERVIEW

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post #50 of 71 (permalink) Old Apr 19th, 2004, 01:28 PM Thread Starter
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Venus is back in big-stroke way
'For me it’s very unusual to come to a place and really everyone
is just showing a lot of support'

By Ron Cioffi
********************

FROM THE FAMILY CIRCLE CUP IN CHARLESTON - Venus Williams faced a clay-court expert on the green clay here and proved that power can always rule on any tennis court.

A week ago, the struggling Williams was being overlooked as a top contender for this title, but on Sunday she smashed her way to a 2-6, 6-2, 6-1 victory over Conchita Martinez. It was her first title after a 14-month drought.

Venus beamed a brilliant smile, but despite a large amount of crowd support, is still wincing that she isn't the biggest crowd favorite. "A lot of times I can be playing somewhere and it's right in the United States and I can be playing someone who I don't even know how to pronounce her name and the crowd is very much rooting for the other player," she said. "For me it's very unusual to come to a place and really everyone is just showing a lot of support."

At week's outset, the tournament looked it would showcase a final round match-up between No. 1 Justine Henin-Hardenne against he bitter rival, former No. 1 Serena Williams. Henin-Hardenne defeated Serena in last year's final, which snapped Serena's '03 undefeated streak and the Belgian began her run to the top.

Looming in the background as this year's favorites were Amelia Island champ Lindsay Davenport and finalist Amelie Mauresmo. But Henin-Hardenne dropped out because of a virus and Mauresmo didn't play due to continuing soreness in her back. Serena won her first match but withdrew with a sore knee injury, the same injury that sidelined her from July '03 until last month. Davenport cruised into the quarterfinals before losing to Patty Schnyder. Even former Roland Garros champ Jennifer Capriati was supposed to have an impact, but she was upended by Petra Mandula.

Considering her slow, uneven return to the tour after last year's abdominal injury and given that this was her first tournament on clay since '03 Roland Garros, Venus didn't appear to have the match toughness to be considered a force.
But she got a good measure of revenge of Zvonareva in the quarters, knocked out rising Croat Jelena Kostanic in the semis and against Martinez, blasted 37 winners and a displayed a 71 percent success rate at the net.

After an uneven first set, Venus began the delivering the power tennis that won her two Wimbledons and two US Opens.

"[In] the first set I wasn't moving forward enough, and I just really was making too many mistakes and just that second set from the first point I wanted to turn it around. I really just started moving in and coming to the net," Venus said.

Williams, who is known for having a fantastic yet spotty first serve but has been burdened with an undependable second serve since 2001, said she is beginning to ratchet up the speed on her second balls."I don't like to see any of my second serves in the 70s. I like to make my second serve an asset instead of a liability. This week has actually been a very good week for my whole serve game," she said.

CONCHITA LOOKED TIRED
Martinez, who turned 32 during the tournament, seemed to lose her energy as the match progressed.

"I couldn't play with her like five or six shots. I wasn't patient enough or tried to do whatever I do best, so I was maybe a little too rushed or something," the Spaniard said.

Martinez added that Venus' balls can be deceiving. "She's really tall and so the ball comes a little different. I didn't feel like I was in a rhythm today."

Martinez exploited her use of spin, drop shots, lobs and punishing forehand in the first set. But, as the match progressed, she couldn't combat Venus' arsenal.

Williams will head to Slovenia on Monday and hopes to lead the US Fed Cup team to Fed Cup victory on red clay.

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USA's Venus Williams holds the trophy for the Family Circle Cup tennis tournament Sunday, April 18, 2004, in Charleston,S.C. Williams defeated Spain's Conchita Martinez, 2-6, 6-2,6-1.

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[img]http://images1.**************/images/thumbnail/2567411.jpg[/img][img]http://images1.**************/images/thumbnail/2567412.jpg[/img][img]http://images1.**************/images/thumbnail/2567413.jpg[/img][img]http://images1.**************/images/thumbnail/2567414.jpg[/img][img]http://images1.**************/images/thumbnail/2567415.jpg[/img][img]http://images1.**************/images/thumbnail/2567416.jpg[/img][img]http://images1.**************/images/thumbnail/2567417.jpg[/img]
Venus Williams warms up before the 2004 Family Circle Cup watched by her father



[img]http://images1.**************/images/thumbnail/2567416.jpg[/img]

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