2004 French Open Diary by Venus Williams - TennisForum.com
 
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old May 24th, 2004, 01:33 PM Thread Starter
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2004 French Open Diary by Venus Williams

Venus --- My Arrival in Paris

5/23/04 8:22 PM

Hi everyone! I want to thank all of you who took the time to come over to my live chat session Thursday at USAToday.com. For all of you that could not make it scope out what you missed here. There will be more updates everyday that I am in Paris. Be sure to read my French Open diary beginning Tuesday, May 25th in USA Today where I will update you on what's going on at the French Open and, more importantly for some of you, what is going on in my life. You can also see my updates right here on my website.

I am now in Paris. I just flew in today, so my words are fresh from Paris and I am just anticipating the excitement of my first match. I know, everyone wants to know how my ankle is. Well, would I come all this way (nine hour flight, jet lag, yada yada yada) for nothing? I won't go into details just yet , but I am all set to go.

Oh yeah, there's good news: I finally saw Serena. I have not seen her since the Family Cirlce Cup in Charleston - five weeks ago. When I finally arrived at the hotel ( the driver first took me to the tennis center. I remind you that I had JUST arrived from the airport, nine hour flight as you know and tons of luggage, just why, why would I want to go to the tennis center instead of the hotel????) I knew Serena and my mom had also just arrived because I saw Serena's guitar case waiting to be taken up to her room. Not everyone has a Taylor guitar (I copied her and got one too but hers is better).

Heres a Blooper: I just checked in and I was happily on my way to my room, I was dying for sleep and I was so tired that I was delirious from my, you guessed it, nine hour flight. What do you know, someone is already checked into the room! The bags looked familiar, like yeah because the are the bags of my hitting partner! I start making some noise and the doors of the other rooms start opening around me and out pops my mom, right next door! Out pops my physio therapist, on the other side! One big happy family, we are reunited and have a group hug - only because it irks my mom, I mean DJ Funky G (will explain later), when we get all sappy so of course we love to do it. We just have fun, win or lose, but mostly win, of course.

Finally I got the room situation straightened out, important because I was so tired that by then I couldn't even understand English. As I was getting on the elevator to go to my 'real' room I hear Serena coming from all the way down the hall. She looks so cute, her hair is awesome. Even though I have not seen her for five weeks it only seems like one. She is so much fun.

So that's my arrival in Paris. Check USA Today everyday for my French Open diary which will also be posted right here on my website. Okay, I am finally going to get some sleep!!!

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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old May 27th, 2004, 12:25 PM Thread Starter
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Venus battles through mental struggles in the first round

While in Paris for the French Open, American Venus Williams will send e-mails to USA TODAY describing her various daily experiences throughout the event.
From: Venus Williams

To: USA TODAY readers

Subject: Focus

"I always watch the matches that are on before me. (Tuesday, Venus followed the Fabrice Santoro vs. Arnaud Clement match that lasted 6 hours, 33 minutes). With a match that dramatic, it was hard to refocus. After losing the first two games in my match, it became apparent to me that I was still thinking about Santoro and Clement. My opponent (Tamarine Tanasugarn of Thailand) did not waste any time in punishing me. I was able to get my focus back by telling myself, 'Hold your serve, Venus,' and then battle back for the break. Then I knew that it was time to pull out the notes, which I write to myself before the match to help me simplify. It worked like magic, because I won the next 10 games in a row making the score 6-2, 4-0. But then I became overconfident and went for shots that were not necessarily the right ones. My opponent won three straight games and was gaining momentum. I realized that I didn't want to be in the same situation as Santoro and Clement, so I strongly urged myself to close it out! (Venus won 6-2, 6-4).

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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old May 30th, 2004, 08:02 PM Thread Starter
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Venus gets in a rythym to adjust to clay surface

While in Paris for the French Open, American Venus Williams will send e-mails to USA TODAY describing her various daily experiences throughout the event.

From: Venus Williams
To: USA TODAY readers
Subject: Clay

"The myth that I am not a clay-court player is just not true. I admit that I don't need a calculator to tally the number of clay-court titles to my name (six), but I am proud of them! I also realize that the power game that I play classifies me as more likely to win Wimbledon (on grass) instead of the French Open.

"What I have learned over the last nine years is that I can use my power to my advantage on this tricky surface, but muscle is not always the answer. On the other hand, I could never allow myself to retreat behind the baseline and wait for my opponent to make a mistake. The power in my game is one of the factors that has allowed me to achieve everything that I have in this game. However, I have learned that mixing a pinch of spin and a dash of patience with my natural power game is the perfect recipe for getting into the clay-court rhythm.

"Today in practice, I was gradually able to get into that rhythm, which eluded me in my first-round match (against Tamarine Tanasugarn). I was also moving better today in practice because I feel much more at ease on my ankle (which was strained three weeks ago on clay). My mom, always the voice of reason, reminded me that I should not be too vigorous and to save the best for (today's match vs. Jelena Kostanic). What I don't think many people realize is that I love to play on clay. Clay challenges me to evolve my game, and it is these kinds of challenges that motivate me.

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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old May 30th, 2004, 08:03 PM Thread Starter
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Long day ends happily for Venus, Sister

While in Paris for the French Open, American Venus Williams will send e-mails to USA TODAY describing her various daily experiences throughout the event.

From: Venus Williams
To: USA TODAY readers
Subject: Long day.

"I spent over 10 hours at the tennis center practicing, playing my match and watching Serena's match (Thursday). Serena's match lasted for over two hours. It was not her best day, but she still managed to win (defeating Maria Kirilenko 4-6, 6-2, 6-4). Sometimes I was a little too vocal. Once I yelled out during the point because I saw that she was going to win an important game. Cheering out during a point is a big no-no in tennis, but I just could not help myself.

"I enjoyed my match against Jelena Kostanic (Venus won 6-3, 6-3). She is fun to play because she hits such a variety of shots. I encountered topspin, underspin, high balls, low balls, slice shots, drop shots and lobs. I had to watch the ball really closely so I could be ready for her reply.

"I ran into a few old friends when I arrived back at the hotel. We went to dinner at a nearby Greek restaurant. As I was paying, the cashier, who is also a waiter it's a small restaurant started asking me the funniest questions all in French. 'Are you a model?' 'No', I replied. 'Volleyball?' No again. 'Runner?' No. 'Tourist?' 'Sometimes,' I said, which is partly true. I am a tennis tourist who travels the world to play and catch a few sights on the side. Because of my frame, people sometimes ask me if I am a model or a basketball player. I get a big kick out of it because I enjoy when people treat me just as Venus Williams, not Venus Williams the famous tennis player."

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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old Jun 4th, 2004, 12:19 PM Thread Starter
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French Open run ends with loss to Myskina

While in Paris for the French Open, American Venus Williams will send e-mails to USA TODAY describing her various daily experiences throughout the event.
From: Venus Williams

To: USA TODAY readers

Subject: End of the road

"It was a bumpy day at the French Open for both Serena and me.

"I was sure that I was ready to get to my second semifinal at this tournament, but I just was unable to find my 'A' game. I did try to pick up on my opponent's strategy right away and keep the ball in play. However, everything that I needed to do to win the match just eluded me. Anastasia Myskina played a great game, and I congratulate her on that. Nevertheless, in the back of my mind I know that if I had been able to have more practice and fewer injuries I would have been better prepared.

"At this stage I have to concentrate on my next tournament, which is Wimbledon. I will go home and practice for the next two weeks on hardcourts, because it is the surface most similar to grass.

"At the end of every tournament I always reward my whole team by taking them to McDonald's. But everyone has scattered now, packing their bags, making flight arrangements and taking care of all the things that always come up at the last minute. I might have to make the trek all by my lonesome, and I have to keep them all in mind because I'll be in serious hot water if I don't bring enough back for everyone!

"Au revoir, Venus"

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