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2007 US Open Interviews

S. WILLIAMS/A. Kerber

6-3, 7-5

THE MODERATOR: Questions.

Q. Each year at the US Open you have an outfit that matches your mood. What does your outfit say about your mood, how you feel about your tennis right now?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, my outfit was dark, and I definitely played a dark match today. My outfit was dark, but I thought it was kind of young, hip and fun. I felt definitely very young, hip and fun.

Q. What does it say about where you're at in your tennis game?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think the outfit is more stylish, like more it mod, which is kind of like '50s and '60s. I think '60s is more mod than anything. But I think that style is something that's iconic and, like, it never it's always in style.

Q. First match since Wimbledon. Decent period for you. What did you think?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I didn't play well at all, at all, yeah. It was a crazy match out there.

Q. But even for you, eight time Grand Slam champion, you have that much time off, you have to work out the kinks, don't you think?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I guess. I don't know. If I'd have done the things that I did in practice, it would have been a better match.
I just think I was too uptight about keeping my record for first rounds (laughter).

Q. Did you think about playing a tournament before this one?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I did. I was gonna play in New Haven. I wanted to play so bad, but I just couldn't. I didn't think it was the right time, so I just had to go with this one.

Q. How long have you been hitting two handed backhands now?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, a week, two weeks.

Q. Did it come back quickly?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah. It's my best shot. It came back. I have a great slice now. I have a great forehand. You couldn't tell tonight, but...

Q. What did she do that gave you so many problems on the court?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, it was me. I think she definitely played a tough game, but I just think I made a lot of errors. I didn't feel I moved my feet well. I felt like I was just flat footed. I felt like I was just heavy. I just didn't I don't know.

Q. Were you feeling the pressure of you having to win on this night after Venus had won?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I just felt like I don't know. I didn't feel pressure to win. I just don't want to lose in the first round.
I'll be better the next match.

Q. When did you realize the thumb was as bad as it got?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think about two weeks after Wimbledon 'cause I just thought it would get better within a week. I thought, okay, it will be better next week. Two weeks later, I was like, okay, maybe I should go on vacation.
So, yeah, I really thought I was going to play Fed Cup. I was so amped. I was so ready to play the summer. It just didn't happen.

Q. Was it a little bit scary when it wasn't getting better week after week?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It was a little bit frustrating because I felt like I was playing well and I felt like I didn't deserve it. You know, I was very frustrated actually. I just had to stay fit. That's the only thing I could do.

Q. It was a special night with the tribute to Althea Gibson. What do you think yourself and Venus' contributions have been for African Americans and for the game of tennis?
SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, I never think about it. I know every time I step out on the court I play for me and I play for all the other little African American kids out there who have a dream and who might not have the means, like myself and my sisters didn't growing up.
I feel like I play for them, too, and let them know if they fight hard and if they work hard, more than anything, your dreams can come true, whether you want to be a tennis player or a singer. You just have to work hard at it. I believe if they have a positive role model, they can do it.

Q. If you look at the pro ranks, there doesn't seem to be that many African American players coming up behind you just yet. The same can be said for the PGA TOUR with Tiger Woods' impact. Why do you think that is?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. I can't answer that. I really can't answer that.

Q. Do you feel a little bit like you've come into this Slam maybe not as prepared as you want to be, but you've progressed well and won?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I played like that in Australia. I have that on my back. I'll be fine. If I do what I do in practice I'll be fine. If I play like I did today, I'm going to be in trouble (laughter).

Q. Roger Federer said earlier tonight when someone asked him about Althea Gibson, he said it was before his time, he didn't know who we were talking about. Does that make tonight more important to educate some more of the players on tour as to just who she was?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think so. I can't imagine he didn't know who Althea Gibson was.

Q. That's what he said.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Which I think is the point. I think a lot of people don't know who she is, and they always say Arthur Ashe, Arthur Ashe. People forget that Althea Gibson was actually years, decades before Arthur Ashe.
I think it's important to have nights like this so you can teach young people that don't know who they are.

Q. How did you feel conditioning wise?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Fine, yeah.

Q. How does your faith come into the equation? Many people believe you rely on more than talent.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, yeah, I definitely rely on talent. But I think I pray, but I don't expect God to give me the Holy Spirit and let me win the match. I also believe that you have to work hard. He doesn't help anyone that's just sitting down.
I always just pray for strength if I'm facing, you know, some obstacles. Other than that, yeah, that's it. I hope that He can help me through that.

Q. What do you think about Venus hitting 129 tonight?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I hit 126 (smiling).

Q. You were talking earlier about role models. When you were a kid growing up thinking about tennis, was Zina a role model, or was it like she was a role model but you were looking at all the players?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Absolutely. I remember when I first met Zina, I was so excited. I got to hit with her. Honestly, it made my day. I remember when she was in the finals at Wimbledon, we were practicing.
This guy came screaming on the court, Zina's in the finals. She beat her. She beat her. We were so happy. It was a dream come true for us. It was the most amazing moment when I first met her. I thought I could beat her. She hit so hard. I was so young and weak, I could barely get the ball back.
I'll never forget how she hit with me and Venus. It was a great experience. She was really her and Lori McNeil, I really looked up to them.

Q. When she got to that Wimbledon final, did it change what you thought you could do?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Absolutely did. I felt like if she could do it, then I wanted to be there one day. My dream was always winning the US Open. I felt like I wanted to do the same thing at the Open.
It was unbelievable for her to get there. Everyone was so happy. I wanted to stop practicing to celebrate, but we kept hitting.

Q. Venus couldn't quite remember, sometimes your memory is better, but do you remember the first time you talked to Althea? Did she give you any special words?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I remember I talked to her after I won here in '99. I just remember her saying something to the gist of like she finally was able to see a black person win a Grand Slam. I remember her saying that. She didn't say that verbatim, but that was basically what she said.
I was so happy at the time. I was so excited to talk to her. Yeah, it was a great moment.

Q. You mentioned your natural ability. I remember watching you in Compton working, working and working, do you think you've become a natural or was it just hard work?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I was terrible. I couldn't hit hard. I hit lobs and slice. I'm amazed that I've come this far. I was terrible. Only thing I could do was run fast. I had like a terrible serve. Oh, my God. I had the worst forehand.
When I look back at old films my dad had, I'm like, I would have quit on her. It pays not to give up because somewhere along the line I changed. I was not the "it" girl at the time.

Q. It didn't come naturally?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I don't think so. Everything takes hard work.

Q. How did you feel about the crowd tonight?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I felt excited. I thought they were really having fun. I thought it was a lot of people out there. I thought I don't know. I thought they wanted to see a longer match when I got down or when the girl got even.

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Re: 2007 US Open Interviews

An interview with: Venus Williams (Rd. 1...
Venus Williams
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Transcribed InterviewV. WILLIAMS/K. Nagy

6-2, 6-1
THE MODERATOR: Questions.
Q. Big night obviously. Good way to start. All those figures out there on the court, winning on a night like this, what did it mean for you?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, it was definitely a tough act to follow in a way. Just watching the whole hour of entertainment, the whole story, I got to be part of the story, too, it was really moving. It's like, okay, Williams can't lose tonight. That's not part of the plan. It's supposed to be an all American win tonight.
You know, I was definitely thinking that. But it was amazing. It was awesome to see all the women. When I came out of the locker room they were all lined up. When you walk out of the locker room, you're walking, you're concentrated, then there are all the women this. It was just exciting because for that second I was just enjoying the moment.
Q. How many of them had you met before?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I know Traci Green. Obviously I know Zina. I've met Jackie Joyner Kersee when I was 13. Yolanda Adams, I love her. Other than that, Phylicia Rashad, yes, I know her. Aretha, I've met her. I did know a few.
Q. What did it feel like to be around that kind of power?
VENUS WILLIAMS: You know, it was amazing, just the energy of all the smiles, the well wishes. They all were wishing me so well. Just good things. Just the power of the spirit in Althea, the things she went through, and knowing it's people like her that gave us an opportunity to be here today. That all these women lined up here are because of women like Althea, and we all really are living up to that, it's amazing.
Q. Since you and your sister have come on the scene, what do you think your impact has been in tennis, the African American community in particular?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I definitely think there's a lot more African Americans coming to tennis. I always see a lot of people coming, a lot more African Americans watch tennis. So I definitely have seen a lot more faces in terms of that. But, I mean, I'm not out there every day in the community, so I can't see on a grassroots level exactly what's happening.
Q. There aren't that many on the tour. The same correlation goes with the PGA TOUR. Tiger Woods has been around about the same amount of time a you. There aren't any other African American players on the PGA TOUR. Why do you think that is?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I just think it's a tough, tough game to get into. Probably in the community there aren't as many people to play against. There aren't older people who teach as much. I'm not exactly sure, but I definitely think I definitely probably should be more hands on with trying to do more. But a lot of times it's tough just to be in the tournament, fulfill my commitments to the WTA and to the fans. I've definitely been thinking about that this year, how I can get more involved. I think I definitely will.
Q. You didn't seem to take very long to get into the match.
VENUS WILLIAMS: I felt good. When I was playing in San Diego I was really, really tired, but I was playing well. I wanted to pick up from where I left off there. I think she played well. Definitely her ball was a little bit different. It did give me some challenges. I felt like I was so close to the ball. Maybe I was just running fast hopefully. But it was very exciting to obviously start with two service return winners.
Q. Besides the fact it's the first round of a Slam, does an occasion like this provide extra nerves?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm definitely not necessarily more nervous. I always think my game through. But I feel pretty confident.
Q. And the wrist, the knee? Update on all those?
VENUS WILLIAMS: The knee is fine. I took some time off. I just couldn't get it to calm down. I needed to actually take prescription strength antiinflammatories to calm it down in San Diego after my first round. I didn't really want to, but I had to to stay in the tournament. I just realized that I didn't want to go into the Open like that. Took about 10 days off, then started playing again like after Toronto probably the middle of Toronto started getting back on the court. It was good. I still had so much to do, but that's life. That's life when you win.
Q. Did you know when you hit the serve, how fast that was?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I didn't realize it. I was so excited because I wasn't even trying. It just comes. Even when I'm trying just to say, Okay, I'm going to hit a half pace with placement, it comes 120. That's just how it comes.
I'm not really trying. It's so exciting. I was very excited. I wasn't expecting to do that at all. I guess I got to try for one more, 130.
Q. Did you see the number immediately?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I didn't. I think it was after the point. I was like, Ahh. I was so excited.
Q. The clothes, is this part of the new design?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, it's all part of EleVen.
Q. Shoes included?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Shoes included.
Q. How did they do on the court?
VENUS WILLIAMS: They did very well. They led me to a win quickly. That's what they're supposed to do. They're designed to do that. If I don't win, it's my fault, not the shoe's. I'm wearing everything EleVen now.
Q. Golovin has been beaten by Ahsha.
VENUS WILLIAMS: I've never really seen her play before, Ahsha that. Obviously it's a wonderful win for her, obviously a great night to do it with Althea Gibson tribute. It's good for American tennis. But I don't know her game very well.
Q. I spoke with Mr. Richard Williams outside regarding the significance of Althea Gibson's accomplishments. How did that influence your attitude, perhaps your performance tonight?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, like I said, I was really motivated because this was a night that the Williamses need to win. What's the score for Serena? 3 All. I guess the girl is playing well. Serena has a never say die spirit. I felt really motivated to definitely bring in the win because of the whole night.

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Re: 2007 US Open Interviews

V. WILLIAMS/I. Raluca

6-4, 6-2
THE MODERATOR: Questions.
Q. Not as much pressure as there may have been on the Venus Williams of six, seven years ago.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Do I feel like what?
Q. Do you feel there's as much or less pressure than there might have been on you six or seven years ago? You won Wimbledon, which I assume puts a little pressure on you. But then again it's been a few years since people thought you were the dominant player here.
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think really the only pressure I react to is the pressure that I put on myself. I think what's important to me is my expectations, which obviously are very high.
Q. You went through a rough patch like all athletes do. Is it not as high?
VENUS WILLIAMS: What are you saying now?
Q. Years ago you were top of the game, No. 1. Went through a bit of a down period. When you went through the down period was it the kind of thing where you said, I'm putting just enough pressure now, or was it, I'm just going to get myself through this; whatever I do I do and then I'll come back again.
VENUS WILLIAMS: All my expectations are very high going into every tournament. I'm definitely trying to come out with the win. I want to be the last one standing with a plate over my head. That's my goal every time.
Q. Are you happy with the way that you played today?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, actually. I mean, I think I missed a few shots that were easy, but ultimately, I mean, it's important to get to the next round. I always feel like my game will be there. I'm not stressed out on a few shots. Feel a little wiser, so... It was good today.
Q. Do you feel like you're sitting pretty high in terms of your perch right now, how you're going forward in the tournament?
VENUS WILLIAMS: It was definitely a wonderful way to start the tournament. It was really exciting, the tribute to Althea. Now I definitely feel like I'm on a roll. I feel like when I need the points I get them. I'm playing very strong. Everything is going well.
Q. Aretha said some interesting things about you and Serena. She said it was incredible your dad brought you so far, and she added that it takes men to make champions. Do you have any reflection on those comments?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I definitely respect her. I definitely couldn't have done it without my dad. I don't know what I'd be doing. They're great parents. I definitely suspect I'd be doing something positive. But if he hadn't started us then we wouldn't be in tennis. So I definitely respect what he did. But a lot of moms out there, like Martina's mom, who has done great things, too. It goes both ways.
Q. If you weren't an elite level tennis player right now, what would you imagine you would be doing these days?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. It would have taken me a while to figure out what I wanted to do. Probably would have ran track, because I ran track when I was younger. But obviously tennis was the place for me. I have to work hard to keep my weight on. I'd be even thinner if I wasn't playing tennis. Probably be modelling somewhere. Maybe those two things. I'd probably be doing something in the arts. I love the arts.
Q. When did the track days stop? What was your favorite race?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I was like a middle distance runner, like 400/200. That stopped once I moved from California. I was pretty good. Ultimately I would definitely choose tennis over that, yeah.
Q. Why?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Much more interesting.
Q. More lucrative?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, you said it, but... It's just much more interesting. I can't imagine having to train every day running. At least in my training I get to work on all kinds of different things. Very stimulating.
Q. Ever spoken with Jackie Joyner Kersee who has a tennis connection?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I got to see her the other night, all the women in the hallway. It met her when I was younger, but I haven't spoken to her since.
Q. The US Open is so intense, the travel from the city, so many other things going on to make this a spectacle. With the kind of madhouse that it is, is there anything you do to sort of keep grounded or have a little fun non tennis, whether it's hanging out with your sister, going shopping?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Not necessarily. I'm always very happy after a win, but mostly just rest, try to save my energy, try not to get unfocused, try to I guess, really focus on the tennis. So I don't do anything in particular.
Q. You're one of the few people that has been able to grow up as a junior player, get into the pro ranks with a sibling. How important has that been in your formation?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think that's the way it's always been. We've always been training together for life. It's normal for me. I wouldn't have it any other way. I couldn't imagine it any other way. For me it's a perfect circumstance.
Q. Can you describe how the US Open is different than the other Grand Slams.
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think the US Open is really, really intense. That's just the take I get on it. It's just really intense. I feel the intensity I think of just the city, just all the people. The stadium's huge. Just very intense.
Q. Are you still in the fashion business?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, I am.
Q. Are you going to take part in the in the Bryant Park festivities?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I want to be in the quarterfinals or finals. That's my main goal. I probably won't be at Bryant Park. I'm trying to be here.
Q. Do you view the fashion competition as that? I mean, do you feel as if now a lot of the top women are competing to see whose outfits might get the most attention or the most buzz?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Personally, as far as the way I look at fashion, just for me, it's just about being me. I guess that's the way it's always been for Serena and I. Things we wear are our personality. As far as the other women, I don't know what their goal is. But I just want to wear something that's me on the court.
Q. You must check out what other women and players are wearing, think that's a great idea or...
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, not all designs are successful.
Q. Have you ever offered any unsolicited advice on the tour?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Serena and I, it was funny, we took manufacturing concepts in school. After that class we had learned all the fashion lingo in that class: silhouettes, acceptable, all the stuff when you're at the fashion show, everybody's talking the lingo. When you get in the class, all of a sudden you're talking the lingo. I mean, I feel like a fool. But, yeah, not everything's acceptable.
Q. Coming back to tennis, you're clearly in what everyone's considering the toughest half of the draw. The point has been made several times today, whereas normally in a regular draw you might have had one or two more matches to find your groove before the heavy game had to start. You're only about a match away from when you start hitting phenomenal players to play. How do you feel you'll be going into that?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I feel fine. More than anything, what I ask is to be in the draw, because last year I wasn't even in the draw. I had no chance. I was a spectator. So for me it's just important for me to be here. Whoever I play, they're across the net. I'm controlling what's on my side. If I execute, it goes pretty well. It's all about me for me.
Q. Normally you play your career and then get into business. The paradigm has totally changed. It's simultaneous. Can you comment on the opportunities out there for elite athletes in business, as well as just the endorsement arena?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think for athletes, elite athletes, lots of athletes, I think it's important to take your opportunities while you're playing. Whatever you envision for your future, go for it now. It doesn't have to be a hundred percent. Obviously the sport will be a hundred percent. But then there's a lot of people who can help you make your other dreams come true. For me, that's what I do.
Q. Your father said at age four he had you doing spreadsheets on the computer and learning about financing and loans.
VENUS WILLIAMS: I forgot all that. I do not use Excel, but I use PowerPoint.
Q. When you first came here, there was no Ashe Stadium. Do you remember when Arthur Ashe Stadium opened?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I came here the year the stadium opened, '97.
Q. Do you remember your first match here at all?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I lost the first set. I think I was really nervous. I think I won the next couple sets. I only lost a game. That was just like the beginning of lots of good championship times.
Q. Your impression walking into the stadium the first time?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't remember. I think I was just nervous. It was tough. I was young.
Q. You're still young.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, actually.
Q. There was some debate on the TV last night. Maria was winning pretty easily. You won your first round easily. There was a debate about making women's draws smaller. Do you think there's any merit in that?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, man, what do I think of that? No, I like the draw sizes now. I think it's perfect. I think we have to honor the history of the Grand Slam for the last, however many years. I think it's been 128.
I think there's a lot of opportunities for young up-and-coming players. Seems like now we have some Americans up and coming. It's a great opportunity so we got to keep it like that.
Q. How do you feel about that in terms of your own skills and what you're trying to do right now?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm always trying to get to the next level. I always feel like I can be better, and that I am better than the girl I was before. A lot of times for me my performance is never good enough. I always feel like I could have done better. I don't dwell on the past. I definitely feel like my future is the place I want to be, that the future is brighter and better, I can get better. I don't just stay stagnant or live behind.
Q. You talked about if you didn't play tennis you might be a model, something else. If you were happy doing what you were doing, could you settle for being average, or do you think a part of you needs to excel or be extraordinary in whatever you choose to do?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, we were definitely taught in my family, I'm sure lots of people are taught the same thing, is to be extraordinary. For the record, I don't want to model. I don't find it stimulating. I love what I do.
But as a young person, it's a good way to start your life, so maybe I would have done that.
Q. You can't imagine yourself being average and being okay with that?
VENUS WILLIAMS: In my little world, how I see myself, I see myself as special (laughter). At least if I wasn't even doing anything super special, I would feel special. I've always felt really good about me. So that's really what counts.
Q. What's the most special part of Venus?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I love being me. I just like myself. I love being in my family. I love the way we interact, always have each other. I like the decisions I make. I like my style. I just like who I am. I'm comfortable with that. So whether or not I was working a desk job, I would feel like, you know, I was a special person.

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Re: 2007 US Open Interviews

V. WILLIAMS/A. Bondarenko
6‑1, 6‑2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Talk about the match. Almost everything was going well, except for the serve, right?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. I definitely would like to have a higher first‑serve percentage. But it's not something that I'm worried about. I still feel like I can get my serve in. My second serve nowadays has a lot of kick. Definitely bouncing really high. So it was a good day.

Q. And the return game was real strong. You were stepping in pretty well, taking control of the serves.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I mean, it's just coming. I know I'm going to go for it. But a lot of times I'm just hitting it and it comes. So it's nice that it comes naturally.

Q. The way you're playing, you're so calm and relaxed, not having a lot of trouble out there, it's kind of a contrast to your sister. I don't know what you notice when you watch her play. Is that because your personalities are kind of that way or because of where you are right now in this summer of tennis?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I got to see some of the second set of her match. I was getting ready. I was thinking, oh, I shouldn't watch this so I don't get tight for my own match. It was kind of a back and forth of "should I?" or "shouldn't I?" She's obviously is an unbelievable competitor. When push comes to shove, she shoves (smiling). I'm not too worried about whether or not she's going to make it. As for me, I just feel like I win all the important points and that really makes a big difference in obviously how my opponent feels playing against me, how I feel obviously about the match, too.

Q. When you are this calm and playing this well, is there sort of a cracking point that when you get into a tight match, How do I handle it now?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I definitely think I've played a lot this summer and definitely been in some tight moments ‑ not only at Wimbledon but also Fed Cup. I definitely feel like I have those moments under my belt. I don't need to necessarily experience something yet again to learn. So it's all good.

Q. Looked like you came out swinging, let it go all night.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, definitely told myself I can play, I know what I'm doing, to go out there and execute. That's pretty much my game plan.

Q. When was the last time you felt this good about your game in the first week of a Grand Slam?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Let's see. I mean, at Wimbledon I felt I guess more than anything just determined. A lot of times I didn't feel like I was perfect, but I felt really good. The French Open wasn't a good time for me. I wasn't very healthy. I don't know. Then after that I missed Slams. So this definitely is nice.

Q. So it's been a while?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, to be honest, I always feel like I can do it. I always feel confident, like I go into every tournament going for the win. So on that level mentally I always feel confident.

Q. Ivanovic is looking forward to this match because she feels like her game is rising all the time. Give your assessment.
VENUS WILLIAMS: She's definitely a good player, great competitor, and a nice person. It's good to see good things happening for her.

Q. She recalled a time I think at a junior tournament where she and a friend wanted to take a picture with you. Do you remember that?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I wish I did. I wish I could. But there's a lot of people. I don't remember.

Q. I think it was Ancic's sister who had requested it. The two of them have this picture with you.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Wow. I'm glad I said yes. I can't say yes to everyone. I'm glad she doesn't have a memory of, Oh, that girl was mean. It's nice.

Q. Do you remember what you were like at 20?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, foolish. Didn't understand anything. I think it's the same now. Always learning. So, yeah.

Q. If she asked you with that picture in hand now to sign it, what would you say?
VENUS WILLIAMS: That's so sweet. That would be so sweet.

Q. What would your autograph say on the picture?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. Something like, Many good times ahead. Something like that.

Q. Bartoli was talking about playing Serena, Ivanovic, what it would mean for them to beat you at the US Open.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Serena plays Bartoli?

Q. Yes. Can you relate to how big of a target you are, how big of a win you are for other players?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think that definitely players, when they come to play against us, I think they know that they obviously have to play very well. And also on our end, we also know we need to play very well because all the players are also very, very good. But I think there's definitely a huge mental preparation going against Serena and I.

Q. Stature‑wise, you guys are so far up there for some of the players, to beat Serena or Venus at the US Open on Ashe is a big deal for them.
VENUS WILLIAMS: For sure. Yeah, it's a big deal.
Q. Do you feel right now it's great these young kids are coming up, Ana is telling us how she admires you, do you want to say, It's not their time, I'm still here? Do you feel that determined right now?
VENUS WILLIAMS: When I come to the tournament, I'm coming to win. I'm not necessarily thinking about the next player's chances or if it's their time or not. I am definitely focus inward on what I'm doing. Everyone gets their chance. You work hard, you get what you deserve, if that's a win or a good result.

Q. Both of you have tough draws. There is a potential for a semifinal.
VENUS WILLIAMS: We're a couple rounds away. I think as long as we keep playing well, stay determined, it can happen. That would be nice for us, for both of us, to get as far as we can, one of us to be in the final. It would be great.
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Re: 2007 US Open Interviews

Serena Williams
Friday, August 31, 2007
Transcribed InterviewTHE MODERATOR: Questions.
Q. If the plan here after a long layoff after Wimbledon is to use this first week to find your groove, roll into the second week, do you think you're right on schedule?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm getting better, you know. I just I'm better than I was in my first round, for sure. So that's all that matters.
Q. Were you frustrated out there?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Not as frustrated as I have been in my other two rounds. Not as much.
Q. So you feel like your game's improving? You're happier now than you were a couple weeks ago?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know if I'm happier. I'm happy I was able to come through. I don't think I played well at all.
But I'm happy I was able to come through.
Q. If you're not playing your best right now, you've been through this process before where you had to come back from an injury, so you know what you have to do in the first week?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, you just got to fight, hope to win. And that's what I did. You know, this girl was a top 10 player before. Wasn't she? I knew it was going to be a tough match, not easy.
Q. Just how mad were you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Mad? I mean, I was just I don't know. I was mad at different points and different shots.
For the most part I tried to stay I try not to go as crazy as I normally do.
Q. During your match today it felt that somewhere in the middle of the second set, Vera was about to do something fantastic and take lead in the game. Did you feel that as well?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I felt she definitely picked up the level of her game. I definitely felt like they started playing better and doing different things.
Q. What is your opinion about your next opponent, Bartoli?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I played her before. I saw her play at Wimbledon. It's going to be a good match. She's doing really well. I'll have to be ready.
Q. The umpire at one point told you to put your book away, what was that about? What was the explanation to you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: He told me I couldn't use my notes. I was like, well, it's not like I'm Harry Potter, and my dad can magically give me notes to read; it's something that I write myself. Just little things. What if I were to take a paper on the court and write something, what's the difference?
So I'm not one for coaching never have been. I just couldn't understand. I've been doing it for years. It's not like something all of a sudden. It's something that I just do.
Q. Is this the first time you've been told to put it away?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, and then he said it was fine. I asked him if that was something they do on the ATP Tour, because I don't play on that tour, nor do I belong over there.
He said, yeah. I was like, no one has ever told me. I've been doing this for my first two matches as well.
Q. Are you going to find out if it's really a rule or something he just made up?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. I'm over it. I moved on.
Q. What do you feel like you need to improve on in the next round? What part of your game right now are you not happy with?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I have to just make sure I keep moving up, keep moving forward I think is what I need to do most.
Q. Did you feel a little bit sluggish today?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I didn't feel that sluggish. Did I look sluggish?
Q. What's the best and the worst part of playing at home?
SERENA WILLIAMS: The best part is, there's nothing like playing at home. I can't think of the worst part. There is no worst part.
Q. Do you play well in practice?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't think I've been practicing the greatest, so...
Hopefully I'm waiting for it to come together.
Q. The book, are these spiritual things you say to yourself or technical things you write down to remind yourself to do?
SERENA WILLIAMS: They're more technical. Maybe I'll publish it (smiling).
Q. They had it in the British papers, the zoom lens?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, that wasn't fair.
Q. Were you surprised to see that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah. I was like, "errrr." That's the British way. They're very up close and personal. You got to be ready for that when you go over there. I learned after that. I was like, okay, I'm going to hold it up or put my towel over it.
Q. Are you a little down? Are you a little disappointed with your form?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I was upset after the match. I didn't feel that I played the greatest at all. I actually felt like I didn't play well at all.
But that's said and done. I'm moving on.
Q. Does it feel somehow different to play Russian players?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, because there's so many of them. You play about six a week.
Q. When did you start bringing the notebook with you on the court?
SERENA WILLIAMS: The summer of 1973. It was a long time ago.
Q. Does Venus also bring a book?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No. That's something she's never done. It's something I just I used to take I didn't take a book, I just took like a little paper, just something I wrote something on. I kept losing them, and then I was like, maybe, okay, maybe I'll just keep a book.
Q. How many weeks where you able to practice before you got to New York?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I was training the whole time. Since I left Wimbledon I kept training. I actually was practicing a lot. There were some shots that were limited.
Q. Thumb, couldn't come over the backhand?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Right. I actually have a great slice. I just don't use it that much.
Q. Have you watched much of Venus playing?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I was watching her a little bit when I was cooling down upstairs. She's playing really good. She's encouraging me to do better. She's playing unbelievable.

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Re: 2007 US Open Interviews

S. WILLIAMS/M. Bartoli

6-3, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. What caused you to lose focus on the first two points?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't think I lost focus. I don't think I lost focus because it was in the beginning of the match.
Q. For you what was the key of this match?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think the key was definitely being able to hold serve. She has a good return and she was actually serving better, I thought today, than she had in maybe some Wimbledons, because I saw her play in Wimbledon. I thought her serves were much faster.
Q. Can you talk about possibly playing Justine. Third time you guys have played in a Slam this year. How do you feel you're going into that match against her?
SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, I'm going in feeling like I don't have anything to lose. I just feel different now. Excited about the prospect of meeting her again.
Q. If you do play Justine, do you think this surface is the best surface for that matchup for you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't really care what surface I play on. So I mean, US Open now, so I don't I don't think about it that way.
Q. Where would you put your level at now after four matches?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm definitely better than I was in my first match. Each match I feel like that I've gotten better. I'm still not where I want to be or near. But I feel like I'm doing better, which is important.
Q. Just talk about the thumb and the effect on a two handed backhand? Any residual?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No. I don't have any pain when I hit a backhand at all. Not at all. I've been really, really excited that I don't have anything.
Q. When did the pain finally go away and how much of a relief was it?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think it went away probably right during the tournament or when the tournament started, because I don't remember having much pain in my first round, or I don't remember. Maybe a little bit but not much. Just it's been really good, and I've been really, really happy about that.
Q. Have you lost your voice a little bit? You sound a little hoarse.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Do I?
Q. Yeah.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know why. I didn't scream too much today.
Q. Is there anything else that might be physically affecting you right now? The thumb is okay, but is there something that we're not seeing that might be affecting your focus?
SERENA WILLIAMS: There are a lot things that I think affects everyone. I would be the last person to tell you just in case Justine or Safina reads it, and they're like, Oh, I know what to do.
Q. You're very good at coming back and playing great after not playing for a long time. What advice would you give as the secret to do that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. I think it's important for players to have match play. I would have preferred to have Pilot Pen or L.A. or at least one tournament under my belt going into this because I think it just makes it a little bit easier. Just fight. That's the only thing I can say.
Q. Your serve in Australia was really key to your win there. Did you start to feel that kind of rhythm in your match today on your serve?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I definitely felt a lot better on my serve today, especially against her because she's actually a really good returner. So I felt that my serve was actually a lot better today than had been in my previous matches. It's on track. I want it to just keep getting better with each round, especially now with the quarterfinals.
Q. You said before you feel different now, is that just physically or is there an emotional component to that, too?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I don't know when I said "I feel different now."
Q. Just at the start of this interview.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Did I?
Q. As opposed to the other times you were getting ready to play Justine.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh. I can't keep up with what I say on a daily basis. I might have been just jabbering at my lips. Might have just been filling space.
Q. I guess maybe are you more confident now or something like that? Do you feel better about your game going into this match with Justine?
SERENA WILLIAMS: At Wimbledon I couldn't hit a backhand, so I'm very confident in that fact that I'll be able to do that. I was really proud of myself to get that far because I had to take six weeks after, so I was thinking how in the world did I even play? Just having that confidence is always positive.She played well at the French. I don't think I played well, but I think she did and she was really focused. It's just a new start for me.
Q. Did you ever get an explanation or were you offered an explanation about the other official's concerns about the notebook or is that just a closed issue?
SERENA WILLIAMS: The guy apparently he's an officially for the ATP Tour and he got confused because I was playing so well. He thought I was playing on the ATP Tour, and so he got that confused. So he got that confused. On that tour I guess you're not allowed to have notes. I don't know. I don't play on that tour. I'm assuming that's what the rule is. I think he got confused. He was really impressed with my serve.
Q. Do you then have an understanding it if it's okay that you do some reading in the match now?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, it's definitely okay. I mean, it's something I've done my whole career. I'm not one to I never got signals or any of that stuff. Pretty much when I'm out there, even when they have the coaching, I hate to call out coach when they have them. Sometimes I do, but I never really want to. So I'm always out there by myself and that helps me to stay focused.
Q. Outside of Venus Justine's played you tougher than any other player of your generation. Talk about that and why the rivalry has become so special.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, she's playing well and she's fighting for everything. She kind of believes that she can win, and maybe that's what makes that special.
Q. What was it like playing with that thumb against her at Wimbledon?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know how I played. Like I wasn't going to play, and then like the doctors were like, Oh -- when I injured my calf they're like, You shouldn't play. Then when I injured the thumb they were like, You can play. They had it was vice versa, so I probably shouldn't have played. They were like, Okay, well, you can play. We don't see anything wrong. I'm like, Okay. I'll play. And with the calf they were like, Don't go back out, and I totally could have. Are you guys following me? Okay. So honestly I really think my slice is a lot better than it was at Wimbledon. I had a terrible slice back then. I don't know. Again, I just don't know how I was able to compete on any level being how -- seeing how bad it was when I went to see a hand specialist in the U.S. Like seeing the degree and the level of it I was really shocked, and impressed.
Q. What exactly what was medical diagnosis?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I had a really bad sprain in my ligament. It's common with football players for like safeties or whatever position. They kind of grab the helmet and the thumb kind of goes back. They never see this injury like outside of football players, so it was really strange. Like I said, I went to a specialist and he was able to diagnose it well.
Q. Is that the guy in L.A.?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No. It was a different guy. And I just had to be like in a splint without moving it. Always had my thumb up, so it was weird.
Q. You're bringing football injuries to the sport of tennis.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Right.
Q. How hard it was being out all of six weeks? I think you came to watch James at a tournament. Was that hard watching, or do you get inspired watching him again?
SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, it was really difficult because I was on a roll and I felt like I was going to win Wimbledon. I felt like I was just going to do big things in the summer. I wanted to win the thing where you can double your money here. I was really ready to play, and I felt like, you know, when I final dedicate myself this happens. So it was actually frustrating and I had to get over -- mentally I just had to like just pull myself back and be like it's going to be okay, because it was really hard. I felt like I was working so hard, and to have another setback was frustrating to say the least.
Q. In the locker room of the quarterfinal of Wimbledon, Venus said that you talked to her and kind of gave her a pep talk. Like, Do it for me because I don't know if I'm going to be able to do it. Do you guys talk about who's going to win semifinal the end of year Grand Slam titles, because you're each tied at one now.
SERENA WILLIAMS: No. Well, we don't talk about that. We're pretty focused on both of our matches. Obviously I want nothing but the best for her and she wants nothing but the best for me, unless of course we're playing each other. Then it's like, Okay I want to win. That's how we look at it.
Q. So Serena, level wise you're saying you're going to have to get a lot better. How much better? If Justine plays her best, what do you have to go, 20, 30% from where you were today?
SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, I'm playing better each round. I'm not trying to peak until I can get to the finals, and that's when I really bring my A game out. I feel like I can do it if I'm there.
Q. But this could be a final. If your seeding was a little higher you're talking about you have the eight Slams and Justine has six. If you're at opposite ends of draw it's a potential final.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, V has six, too.
Q. Will you be able to attend the African American parade held once a year in Harlem?
SERENA WILLIAMS: The African American gay parade?
Q. The African American parade in Harlem.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Because there is the other parade going on. No, I won't be able to attend any parades. I'm very focused on my tennis.
Q. Because the community miss you a lot.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I'm trying to stay out there and just do the best I can on the court.

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Re: 2007 US Open Interviews

S. WILLIAMS/M. Bartoli

6-3, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. What caused you to lose focus on the first two points?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't think I lost focus. I don't think I lost focus because it was in the beginning of the match.
Q. For you what was the key of this match?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think the key was definitely being able to hold serve. She has a good return and she was actually serving better, I thought today, than she had in maybe some Wimbledons, because I saw her play in Wimbledon. I thought her serves were much faster.
Q. Can you talk about possibly playing Justine. Third time you guys have played in a Slam this year. How do you feel you're going into that match against her?
SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, I'm going in feeling like I don't have anything to lose. I just feel different now. Excited about the prospect of meeting her again.
Q. If you do play Justine, do you think this surface is the best surface for that matchup for you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't really care what surface I play on. So I mean, US Open now, so I don't I don't think about it that way.
Q. Where would you put your level at now after four matches?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm definitely better than I was in my first match. Each match I feel like that I've gotten better. I'm still not where I want to be or near. But I feel like I'm doing better, which is important.
Q. Just talk about the thumb and the effect on a two handed backhand? Any residual?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No. I don't have any pain when I hit a backhand at all. Not at all. I've been really, really excited that I don't have anything.
Q. When did the pain finally go away and how much of a relief was it?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think it went away probably right during the tournament or when the tournament started, because I don't remember having much pain in my first round, or I don't remember. Maybe a little bit but not much. Just it's been really good, and I've been really, really happy about that.
Q. Have you lost your voice a little bit? You sound a little hoarse.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Do I?
Q. Yeah.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know why. I didn't scream too much today.
Q. Is there anything else that might be physically affecting you right now? The thumb is okay, but is there something that we're not seeing that might be affecting your focus?
SERENA WILLIAMS: There are a lot things that I think affects everyone. I would be the last person to tell you just in case Justine or Safina reads it, and they're like, Oh, I know what to do.
Q. You're very good at coming back and playing great after not playing for a long time. What advice would you give as the secret to do that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. I think it's important for players to have match play. I would have preferred to have Pilot Pen or L.A. or at least one tournament under my belt going into this because I think it just makes it a little bit easier. Just fight. That's the only thing I can say.
Q. Your serve in Australia was really key to your win there. Did you start to feel that kind of rhythm in your match today on your serve?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I definitely felt a lot better on my serve today, especially against her because she's actually a really good returner. So I felt that my serve was actually a lot better today than had been in my previous matches. It's on track. I want it to just keep getting better with each round, especially now with the quarterfinals.
Q. You said before you feel different now, is that just physically or is there an emotional component to that, too?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I don't know when I said "I feel different now."
Q. Just at the start of this interview.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Did I?
Q. As opposed to the other times you were getting ready to play Justine.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh. I can't keep up with what I say on a daily basis. I might have been just jabbering at my lips. Might have just been filling space.
Q. I guess maybe are you more confident now or something like that? Do you feel better about your game going into this match with Justine?
SERENA WILLIAMS: At Wimbledon I couldn't hit a backhand, so I'm very confident in that fact that I'll be able to do that. I was really proud of myself to get that far because I had to take six weeks after, so I was thinking how in the world did I even play? Just having that confidence is always positive.She played well at the French. I don't think I played well, but I think she did and she was really focused. It's just a new start for me.
Q. Did you ever get an explanation or were you offered an explanation about the other official's concerns about the notebook or is that just a closed issue?
SERENA WILLIAMS: The guy apparently he's an officially for the ATP Tour and he got confused because I was playing so well. He thought I was playing on the ATP Tour, and so he got that confused. So he got that confused. On that tour I guess you're not allowed to have notes. I don't know. I don't play on that tour. I'm assuming that's what the rule is. I think he got confused. He was really impressed with my serve.
Q. Do you then have an understanding it if it's okay that you do some reading in the match now?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, it's definitely okay. I mean, it's something I've done my whole career. I'm not one to I never got signals or any of that stuff. Pretty much when I'm out there, even when they have the coaching, I hate to call out coach when they have them. Sometimes I do, but I never really want to. So I'm always out there by myself and that helps me to stay focused.
Q. Outside of Venus Justine's played you tougher than any other player of your generation. Talk about that and why the rivalry has become so special.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, she's playing well and she's fighting for everything. She kind of believes that she can win, and maybe that's what makes that special.
Q. What was it like playing with that thumb against her at Wimbledon?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know how I played. Like I wasn't going to play, and then like the doctors were like, Oh -- when I injured my calf they're like, You shouldn't play. Then when I injured the thumb they were like, You can play. They had it was vice versa, so I probably shouldn't have played. They were like, Okay, well, you can play. We don't see anything wrong. I'm like, Okay. I'll play. And with the calf they were like, Don't go back out, and I totally could have. Are you guys following me? Okay. So honestly I really think my slice is a lot better than it was at Wimbledon. I had a terrible slice back then. I don't know. Again, I just don't know how I was able to compete on any level being how -- seeing how bad it was when I went to see a hand specialist in the U.S. Like seeing the degree and the level of it I was really shocked, and impressed.
Q. What exactly what was medical diagnosis?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I had a really bad sprain in my ligament. It's common with football players for like safeties or whatever position. They kind of grab the helmet and the thumb kind of goes back. They never see this injury like outside of football players, so it was really strange. Like I said, I went to a specialist and he was able to diagnose it well.
Q. Is that the guy in L.A.?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No. It was a different guy. And I just had to be like in a splint without moving it. Always had my thumb up, so it was weird.
Q. You're bringing football injuries to the sport of tennis.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Right.
Q. How hard it was being out all of six weeks? I think you came to watch James at a tournament. Was that hard watching, or do you get inspired watching him again?
SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, it was really difficult because I was on a roll and I felt like I was going to win Wimbledon. I felt like I was just going to do big things in the summer. I wanted to win the thing where you can double your money here. I was really ready to play, and I felt like, you know, when I final dedicate myself this happens. So it was actually frustrating and I had to get over -- mentally I just had to like just pull myself back and be like it's going to be okay, because it was really hard. I felt like I was working so hard, and to have another setback was frustrating to say the least.
Q. In the locker room of the quarterfinal of Wimbledon, Venus said that you talked to her and kind of gave her a pep talk. Like, Do it for me because I don't know if I'm going to be able to do it. Do you guys talk about who's going to win semifinal the end of year Grand Slam titles, because you're each tied at one now.
SERENA WILLIAMS: No. Well, we don't talk about that. We're pretty focused on both of our matches. Obviously I want nothing but the best for her and she wants nothing but the best for me, unless of course we're playing each other. Then it's like, Okay I want to win. That's how we look at it.
Q. So Serena, level wise you're saying you're going to have to get a lot better. How much better? If Justine plays her best, what do you have to go, 20, 30% from where you were today?
SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, I'm playing better each round. I'm not trying to peak until I can get to the finals, and that's when I really bring my A game out. I feel like I can do it if I'm there.
Q. But this could be a final. If your seeding was a little higher you're talking about you have the eight Slams and Justine has six. If you're at opposite ends of draw it's a potential final.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, V has six, too.
Q. Will you be able to attend the African American parade held once a year in Harlem?
SERENA WILLIAMS: The African American gay parade?
Q. The African American parade in Harlem.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Because there is the other parade going on. No, I won't be able to attend any parades. I'm very focused on my tennis.
Q. Because the community miss you a lot.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I'm trying to stay out there and just do the best I can on the court.

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Re: 2007 US Open Interviews

V. WILLIAMS/A. Ivanovic

6-4, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions.
Q. Everyone knows how well she's been playing this year, was that kind of a statement match from you?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Statement match. I can't say that I'm not here to prove a point per se. I'm definitely out here to advance to the next round, to make my chances better, to get obviously to the title, which is the ultimate goal for every player. So no matter who I'm playing, I'm not out there to prove anything or, so I beat so and so. It's important for me to get to the next round.
Q. Are you back to where you were when your sister and you were dominating tennis in the finals here? One of the keys was getting healthy, and then did you ever lose that desire to get back there?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Never. I never lost the desire. Definitely had some tough losses. Even early this year trying get back and get healthy and find my game. But I think that always builds character and makes the wins a lot sweeter. So ultimately I love what I do. I love playing tennis and that's why I play, win, lose or draw. Well, never a draw, but win or lose.
Q. Are we jumping to conclusions matching the two Williams sisters in a couple of rounds?
VENUS WILLIAMS: That would be awesome because it would mean that there he is a Williams in the final, and it would mean that Americans have a chance to win. I think this whole couple weeks has been great for American tennis. Seeing the two guys play well was really exciting. Obviously Serena and I are in the draw, so it's just nice, and James and Andy. Just great.
Q. You kept really serving much better than her. You never allowed her to get really get into too many points.
VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I have to use my serve as a weapon, and obviously my first serve is a really weapon. So definitely I wanted to get my first serve percentage up today. It's just about being able to perform when it's most necessary, and obviously she's a very good player, really talented and I know that it'll do me a lot of good to get that first serve.
Q. It seemed like even off the ground you were rushing her. You made her uncomfortable on your serve.
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think that she wanted to get the first hit against me. I don't think she wanted me to get my racquet on the ball. So I think that was a lot of pressure for her. Personally that's how I felt.
Q. Are you playing as well as you did the last couple of rounds of Wimbledon?
VENUS WILLIAMS: The funny part is that I never felt that I played well at Wimbledon. Finally, I looked at some films this week and I was like, Oh, I played very well. Finally the realization came that I did play well.
Q. You started so well in that first match and people were yelling at you.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. No match is a given. You got fight for each and every point no matter who the opponent is. I think all of us professionals understand that.
Q. A couple of years ago I asked your mom about the crowd, and she said that she was surprised that the crowds weren't behind you and Serena, and that now I asked her about it today and she said that it really turned around, and it was amazing how the crowds here really seemed to get behind you and your sister. How do you feel about that and have you noticed it?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I didn't hear anything today. I didn't hear any -- only people I could hear was maybe in my box, but other than that most of the time I don't hear. In a zone.
Q. How different do you approach this from Wimbledon? Because your game a somewhat similar. You've been coming in a lot, and hitting the ball pretty big, the way you would on grass. Is the surface similar so it makes it easier for you to play that or do you say, Hey I'm going to play like I did at Wimbledon, why not?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I definitely have the game where I'm hitting the set up shot that I should come in, so I have to obviously do the right thing and come in. I think the courts are playing slower, to be honest. I see a lot of long points now, a lot of people running down a lot of balls. So I don't think the courts are playing too fast as in previous years maybe.
Q. Even at Wimbledon?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Even at Wimbledon, yeah, I think they were definitely playing slower. But, you know, ultimately I'm going to -- anyone who wins a big tournament, is aggressive, take chances and execute. That's how it's done.
Q. You've always been a very composed person. You seem exceptionally calm right now, and through this tournament. Where is that coming from?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. A blessing from God, I guess. When I got on the court I just wanted to not rush, and just take my time, and just go ahead and do what I needed to do, tell myself to just go ahead and take care of the job, if that makes any sense. A lot of times in my head I just try to make it simpler and not let it get complicated, and just really enjoy hitting the ball.
Q. It's been some years since you won here. Do you remember the feeling you had on court then, and can you compare it at all to how you're feeling?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes: Jubilee. Always so excited when I win. No one is more happy than me. So it was definitely very good. I always feel really fantastic winning here.
Q. I mean the tennis itself, how you're playing?
VENUS WILLIAMS: How I feel now?
Q. Yeah. The way you feel about your game.
VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm always looking to improve. Always, you know, just like I said, I never felt I was playing well at Wimbledon until I finally realized. So I'm trying not to be so hard on myself, and obviously notice the good things that I'm doing, and try not to be an overachiever type.
Q. Do you feel like you have anything left to prove in this game, and that everything that comes now is sort of gravy?
VENUS WILLIAMS: For me I've always tried to take my game to the next level, not just me but my dad. We always try to make new moves and play differently and bring new things to the game, so I definitely feel like there's a lot more that I can bring to the game in terms of my style play: Aggressive. Even the things like playing less aggressive and coming in on a slice, and coming in after a return, all kinds of things I still I can bring to the court, and that's exciting to me.
Q. Did you give your sister any advice on how to play Marion?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. I sent her an e mail because I was asleep when she left the hotel. For sure, we always do that.
Q. Any specific tips?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I can't reveal that.
Q. Did she give you any advice against Ana?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. I saw her before the match and, yeah, she gave me advice.
Q. How much freer do you feel right now without being burdened by injuries as far as running on the court. I mean, you're still dancing even after you win. You're on the balls of your feet. Describe what it feels like to run and hit shots that seem to be much freer.
VENUS WILLIAMS: I mean, it takes a lot of energy, like a lot of strength to move the way that I move, and that's something that I definitely realize coming back from my injury. I mean, I was at zero, super thin. Not that I'm huge now, I was like -- I had nothing and I realized, oh, my God. It takes so much strength to move like that. So coming back from that injury I realized how many blessings I have and just all the wonderful things that I was blessed with to be able to do and how hard I worked to get to there. Just starting from zero to get back to that was very challenging. It took a while. For me, moving and hitting freely and running fast is all hard work, but it's worth it.
Q. When Serena was in her first set, obviously very early match, they showed you out on the practice courts. Did you get to see the end of her match at all?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. I got to see the end of her match and she did really well.
Q. So you knew what was happening?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, yeah. Sometimes I'm saying to myself, Okay, maybe you shouldn't watch the match so you don't get tight for your match. I'm always peeking. I can't help it. I always have to peek even if I tell myself I can't watch.
Q. Did you guys spend time together? When you're at a tournament like this together do you spend a lot of time away from the court? Do you eat meals together? Do you shop?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, we shop together. Like we went shopping the first week. I just put on like jeans and a T shirt and I went to her room and she had on a dress. I quickly left and went to go change. It's like, she looks so good and I went and put a dress on. I started looking good too. We do the sister thing.
Q. How on earth can you go shopping in New York without attracting a mob?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Every day is a little different. Some days no one bothers you and other days when I'm walking the dog and like the other day the bus driver jumped out of the bus. Stopped the bus, jumped out, and was running. I was like -- that day like everybody was, you know, seeing me. Just depends sometimes.
Q. When you guys shop, is it one of you goes in and puts on something and the other one tells, do you like it or you don't? Is it like that, like going out with a girlfriend?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. We kind of compete, try to run through the store and compete to find the best outfit. If it doesn't fit the other then we switch. Sometime we try on something that's looks like we know the outfit is terrible and we try it on just for jokes. We come out looking horrible and we laugh and take pictures, so it's funny.
Q. You said before when you're out there you're in a zone and you really don't hear all the voices. But you do get a sense of how many people like to see you play and how much they want to see you win? How do you get that sense?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think well, a lot of times, you know, if I'm hitting really good shots, like powerful shots or running down shots and doing things that are just, you know, really great, then I definitely feel like I'm entertaining the crowd and I feel like they're definitely into this like, Wow, I'm getting to see something. I'm being entertained. I do like that feeling.
Q. Where is your favorite place to shop? SoHo? Bloomingdale's? Madison Avenue?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I've really slowed down on my shopping for once in my life. We went out the other day and I bought a pair of shoes. Finally I don't need anything. Feels free.
Q. What are you and Serena most competitive about with each other? You guys are such great competitors. I would imagine the problem might not be tennis but something completely away from your career.
VENUS WILLIAMS: What are we most competitive of?
Q. I asked Serena who was faster and she wouldn't answer. If you want to that's great.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Who's faster? We move different. I'm tall. It's completely different how we move. I don't know. We don't really compete. We just try to help each other more or less.
Q. If you play Jankovic, I'm sure you want to show her that you're a lot better than you showed in the last time you played her.
VENUS WILLIAMS: She's a good competitor. She played well and deserved to win. I've definitely improved since then and gotten healthier. I feel a lot better and gotten stronger. It's a progression, and ultimately the best competitor will win and one of you won't.

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Last edited by V.S.; Sep 3rd, 2007 at 03:34 AM.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old Sep 5th, 2007, 12:44 PM Thread Starter
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Re: 2007 US Open Interviews

J. HENIN/S. Williams
7‑6, 6‑1
An interview with:
SERENA WILLIAMS
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Can you explain what went wrong out there tonight?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I can't. I'm sorry. Any more questions?

Q. Do you think fitness was an issue in this match?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm very fit. I can run for hours.

Q. So what do you think was the difference tonight?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I just said I can't explain that right now. I just don't know, so I can't help you there.
You guys I think watched it. Maybe you can analyze it better. I haven't been able to watch it yet.

Q. Can you describe your emotions after the match? Are you devastated by this loss?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No. I'm very happy.

Q. You fought pretty hard to get back into the first set. She played a good tiebreak. Second set, your level seemed to drop.
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I just think she played better. I just think she made a lot of lucky shots, and I made a lot of errors. I don't think my level dropped.

Q. Isn't it making errors when your level drops?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I guess it is in a way, maybe my level did drop. I definitely made a lot of errors. I think she just played a little bit more aggressive and started hitting really, really hard balls.

Q. Were you at all surprised at just how aggressive she was? Coming in a great deal, especially in the second set.
SERENA WILLIAMS: No.

Q. What were you thinking out there in the second set? Was there a way you thought you could recover? Even then you had Love‑30 on her first two service games. Not like you were completely out of it.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, absolutely, I thought I was going to be able to recover all those things. But I guess it didn't happen, so...

Q. Do you feel the lack of matches coming in might have affected you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No. I feel I just ‑‑ I don't think that affected me.
I mean, I don't think it did. Maybe it did. I don't think so.

Q. Did she play as strong tonight as she ever has in previous times you faced her?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, she played real strong tonight.

Q. Just talk about your serve. It's the one thing you can usually depend on. It wasn't one of your best serving days either.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, it definitely wasn't my best serving day. Yeah, it wasn't my best today. I served better in my other rounds.

Q. Did you feel going into the match the way you normally feel when you're playing a big match against her or was there something missing?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I was really excited to go into it. I was ready. I was really ready to play.

Q. You've said you feel very strongly that when you're playing your best you can beat anybody in the world. Has this match done anything to change that feeling or do you still feel that way?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Do you think I played my best?

Q. No, I don't.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Okay, well, then...

Q. Are you saying that you lost the match rather than Justine won it?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think that's usually the case with me, that it's for me to win or lose.

Q. You seem much more disappointed than Paris or London.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Do I?

Q. You do.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Go figure.

Q. Figure what, though? Where is it coming from? Did you feel like you were peaking, this was your?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I mean, I'm just ‑‑ I really don't feel like talking about it, to be honest. It's like I don't want to get fined. That's the only reason I came (laughter). I can't afford to pay the fines because I keep losing.
Any more questions?

Q. How do you examine a loss like this? Do you go back and look at the tape?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I got to go back and study and figure out how to beat her. That's it. Bottom line.

Q. Is there anybody else that you feel this way about playing against?
SERENA WILLIAMS: What do you mean? Feel what way?

Q. That you have to go back and figure out how to beat them.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh. Venus. She's playing good, always.
Thanks.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old Sep 10th, 2007, 04:17 PM
 
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Re: 2007 US Open Interviews

This Henin interview is one of those cases I have learned over the years that Serena's and Venus's comments can often come across a lot more caustic than they really are.
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