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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old Jan 7th, 2008, 12:38 PM Thread Starter
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2008 Australian Open Interviews

INTERVIEW-Tennis-Champion Serena leaving nothing to chance

Mon Jan 7, 2008 1:00am GMT




By Simon Cambers
MELBOURNE, Jan 7 (Reuters) - When Serena Williams came back out of obscurity to win the Australian Open last year for her eighth grand-slam title, she not only confounded her critics but also surprised herself.
Having won the title despite being under-prepared, however, the former world number one arrived in Australia early this year looking fitter than she has in a long time and told Reuters that she wanted to leave nothing to chance this time.
"Last year was cutting it a bit close," Williams said, having begun her season in style by helping the United States to victory in the Hopman Cup, the eight-nation mixed team event held in Perth.
"It definitely pays to be here early. I'm glad I'm here. I have four matches under my belt and I'm definitely excited about that."
Twelve months ago, Williams arrived at Melbourne Park ranked 81st and looking well short of optimum fitness but still walked away with the title, demolishing Maria Sharapova in the final.
But knowing that she can win grand slam titles when she is not fully prepared can be a double-edged sword, Williams said.
"It's definitely been a vice of mine, my biggest vice," said the American, who is now ranked seventh. "I can win without working this hard, it's a blessing and a malediction, so to say.
"(This time) I think I've been training a little more. I am more confident. It's all coming together. I took maybe one week off, if that.
"Other than that I have been training every day. I feel like as long as I play like this, I'll be solid (at Melbourne Park)."

MORE FUN
Williams stressed in Perth that she is enjoying her tennis more these days and the way she laughed and joked her way through mixed doubles matches with her partner Mardy Fish at the Hopman Cup suggests a new attitude.
"I started this last year," she said. "Last year I had no pressure on me and I just enjoyed myself and had fun in every match that I played. I like that feeling.
"I put so much pressure on myself because I am a perfectionist, but I realise not everything's going to be perfect in life, there are bumps you have to deal with.
"I wasn't dealing with it last year. I had a court case, eight hours of every day and it was very difficult." Williams, her sister Venus and their father, Richard, were accused of reneging on a deal to play an exhibition match.
She added: "It's hard to sit down for eight hours, sometimes even longer, for over a month. The fact that I didn't have to do that (this year) pretty much explains it (her relaxed attitude)."
When Williams won the title last year, the only top 10 player missing from Melbourne was Belgian Justine Henin, who captured the French and U.S. Open titles later in 2007.
Henin has beaten Williams in their three most recent meetings and will be the favourite for the title in Melbourne, starting on Jan. 14, but Williams said she had another motivation to win the tournament.
Victory at Melbourne Park would take her to nine grand-slam titles, level with Monica Seles, Williams's hero growing up.
"That would be awesome," Williams said.
"She was definitely a big factor. I love her and I think she's a great person. She was my favourite player.
"I'm feeling really match fit and ready. I am never where I want to be. I am getting there. I can't put a percentage on it right now, but I am getting there."

http://uk.reuters.com/article/tennis...080107?sp=true

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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old Jan 12th, 2008, 03:05 AM Thread Starter
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Re: 2008 Australian Open Interviews


Serena Williams 12.01.08 Saturday, 12 January, 2008

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Serena Williams bioTranscribed Interview
Start of Transcribed Interview

Q. What do you think of your first‑round opponent?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I haven't looked yet, but I don't know. I'm sure Venus has played her before.

Q. How has your preparation been going into the Grand Slam?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, my preparation's been really good. I've been, you know, just training every day and just getting out there on the court every day. So it's been really good and really positive.
It's good. I like my preparation this year.

Q. Do you feel much pressure? You have a title to defend?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I don't feel any pressure at all. I feel just, you know, excited to be here. I don't feel like, Oh, my God, I have to win, win, win. I just feel like I'm having so much fun every day.

Q. How deep do you think you can go?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm just taking it one match at a time, see how it goes from there. Obviously, I always come in thinking, you know, I want to go all the way and I want to win. You know, I have that potential. We'll see what happens.

Q. When you arrived here, did you get some sort of flashback to what you did achieve here last year? It was quite a monumental achievement.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I did. And I always do. Every time I walk down the hall, I see the picture on the wall, it's such a good moment, such a good memory. I love having the picture on the wall. It's my favorite thing. So it's cool.

Q. Could you talk about coming in last year sort of under the radar and coming in this year as one of the favorites?
SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, last year I was completely under the radar. I had, I mean, absolutely no expectations from anyone, and that really made me want to kind of prove everyone wrong.
This year it's completely opposite where I more or less have a lot of expectations, but I'm still in here and I'm still here for me more than anything. Just like that.

Q. Can you talk about the changes of the surface?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I like the surface. I mean, I like how it's still kind of one color. It's blue now, but still I like it.
I've never been one that can really tell the difference on each hard court 'cause, you know, they kind of all feel alike to me.
It's not as bouncy as it was last year, which I like. My gosh, I was spraining my ankle so much and getting so many blisters all the time.
I mean, I like the surface. It's fine.

Q. You look to be in good shape. Is this the fittest you think you've been for a long time?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It's definitely probably the fittest I've been in a while ‑ maybe (smiling).

Q. Obviously some pretty hot days last week. Forecast is that the heat is going to be a factor. How does that affect you? Do you really hate playing in those oppressive heat conditions?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I love playing in the heat, I do. I think it's fun. I'm definitely from the heat. I play my best tennis in the hottest weather. It's great.
So I like the heat.

Q. Do you think they should keep the roof open then?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Sure. I mean, I'm not saying if it's 42 degrees, keep the roof open. I'm definitely not for that. But if it's that hot, please, God, close the roof. I'm not that insane or that drastic.

Q. What was your reaction to Justine's win last night in Sydney, the fact she wasn't here last year?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, I didn't know she won, so... I wasn't following it. I went to bed last night like at 8, 7 or 8, really early. Isn't today Saturday? Isn't the final usually on Saturday?

Q. Final was last night. In some respects, an impressive win, to win against the No. 2 seed up in Sydney?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, definitely impressive. Most impressive (laughter).

Q. Is she your biggest concern for this title?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I mean, my biggest concern is who I practice with every day: Venus. She's playing unbelievable. She gets every ball back. I think Justine is a big concern, as well.
But I don't necessarily think about my opponents like that, who I have to be concerned about. I really just focus on what I need to do and what I need to do right. And if I can do it right, then I'll have positive results.

Q. The rankings say that she is the world No. 1. Does she feel like the world No. 1 to you or do you feel that your best tennis is the best in the world?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think right now she's absolutely the world No. 1. I mean, she's winning every tournament that she's entering. I mean, she definitely, definitely is No. 1. She definitely has that ranking, for sure.

Q. What is your opinion of Lindsay Davenport's comeback?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I mean, I'm speechless because she looks better than me and she's seven months out of having a baby. I'm convinced if I had a baby, seven months later I'd probably still be in the hospital trying to get over the pain (laughter).
I mean, she is my ultimate role model. I mean, I'm really so motivated. Like she's just taken it to a new level. Honestly, I'm really speechless.

Q. She's due to play Maria Sharapova in the second round if they got that far. Do you think she could beat Maria? Is she at that level?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I haven't seen her play since she's returned. But, I mean, she's winning. She's won like three tournaments. I mean, she's doing really well. So I think ‑‑ I think Maria's playing really well, too. It will be a good match. It will definitely be one to watch.

Q. What do you expect of the season? How many titles do you want to win, or any particular tournament you want to win?
SERENA WILLIAMS: You know what, I haven't thought about the exact number of titles I want to win. You know, my goal is to play the tournaments I'm entered in.

Q. A particular tournament you want to win?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I mean, obviously I would love to win the Grand Slams and other tournaments. I want to do well in Dubai.

Q. You've talked about wanting to get back to No. 1. Is it a goal this year to play enough to challenge for the No. 1 spot?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, my goal mainly, I figure if I play well in a solid amount of tournaments, you know, I'll be able to take that ranking. I don't think I necessarily ‑‑ I've never been the type of player that has to play 20 tournaments to get to No. 1, or 30. So, I mean, I definitely don't have to do that.

Q. At this point do you feel that your body will allow you to play?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, my body will allow anything really. It's ready for anything.

Q. When you finish a season and you know this is the first major tournament of the year, the sort of conditions you have to play in, when does your training start and how does it evolve?
SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, it's hard because, you know, it's so hot in Australia. This time of the year it's really cold in the United States. My training, you know, starts usually ‑‑ it never usually stops, especially because it's such a big tournament in the beginning of the year. I mean, you know, you take a week off if you can. But you have to always kind of keep going.
And it's good if you come to Australia, play a tournament in advance, or come to Australia at least a week ahead of time to kind of get used to the conditions.

Q. What is your reaction to the jailing of Marion Jones overnight?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I mean, I didn't know you could go to jail for those types of things. You know, I don't know. I don't know how to react to that. You know, you have a lot of people competing and trying to do their best.
I'm going to stop there. I don't even know what to say to that.

Q. What sort of message do you think this sends to athletes who I suppose choose to use performance‑enhancing drugs?
SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, I just think it says you shouldn't do it. I mean, it's definitely, you know ‑‑ it's definitely sad. You see the pictures of her; you can't help but feel sorry for her. But at the same time, it's like, what do you do in that situation.
You know, tennis is really, really ‑‑ personally, I get drug tested a lot. I know every Grand Slam, in a lot of tournaments, they do the drug testing. We really have a good system in place to keep the sport clean and beautiful ‑ that it is and has been for years.

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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old Jan 14th, 2008, 03:44 AM Thread Starter
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Re: 2008 Australian Open Interviews

Serena Williams 14.01.08
Monday, 14 January, 2008

Transcribed Interview


Start of Transcribed Interview
Q. So how does it feel to be back? What did you think of your level?

SERENA WILLIAMS: It definitely feels good to be back. I think I was a wee bit nervous out there. But, you know, it's good to be back.


Q. So level‑wise? Little bit scratchy?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, definitely. I think everyone could probably tell I was a little scratchy. But, you know, it's the first round. Just moving forward.


Q. Why do you play well here in Australia?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Why do I?


Q. Yes.

SERENA WILLIAMS: In the past, I've really liked the surface. I like the surface this year as well. I like to play in the heat. I do well in the heat. I like the crowd.

I don't know. I don't know why I play well here. But I think some of those have definitely factors to it.


Q. Do you think the surface is appreciably different this year? Is it quicker?

SERENA WILLIAMS: The only thing I feel different is it's not as bouncy, so I don't have to worry about tearing my ankle apart, so that works in my favor. Other than that, I don't feel that much of a difference.


Q. The ball speed feels the same? The bounce doesn't feel higher or lower?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think it feels higher, and sometimes I think it feels lower. I'm really not the right person to ask about a court, like I'm not the one.


Q. What do you think of the color of the court?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I like the color. I think it's really pretty. I like how it's all blue.


Q. Any special memories when you first walked out, like last year's final?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I just thought about last year, you know, my last match on that court, I was able to win it. And I just remember ‑‑ that's all I thought about. I didn't think about the ceremony, holding up the trophy. I just got right back into the swing of things and thought, I have to stay focused.


Q. A bit of a scare in that first set when you went over on your ankle.

SERENA WILLIAMS: I didn't realize I went over on my ankle. I was just embarrassed that I fell. I had to get up as fast as I could.


Q. What did you make of your opponent today?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I thought she played well. I thought she definitely has a lot of power and she has a really good serve. Actually, I think she has a really, really good return.


Q. I was reading through your much publicized blog today.

SERENA WILLIAMS: (Laughter).


Q. Let me ask you about the second one. You were talking about change. Does that apply on court, too? Are there things you're thinking you were afraid to change on court?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I definitely think it can apply on court and it has applied on court. And I think that sometimes, you know, you're afraid to do ‑‑ you know, for me sometimes, I'm like, Okay, if I do this, what if I miss? And you can't think like that. You have to think that you can do it, not think negative, not let any negative thoughts go there.


Q. Is there a next stage on court for you? Are there new elements you feel you should be adding?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think there is a next stage. I think if I just do what I practice, then there is completely a next stage, and I could reach it if I want to.


Q. You were asked the other day about Lindsay, her comeback. Do you expect we'll see more women coming on the tour that have had babies?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I mean, I don't know. Like I said, I just ‑‑ I can't personally imagine it. I mean, I love tennis. But, I mean, I just ‑‑ the recovery level and the workout regime. When I see pregnant women walking, I'm like, How do they walk? My back hurts looking at them (laughter). It's just like I have so much respect for those players, those people.

So I just, you know ‑‑ personally, I don't know whether I could do that. But, you know, I just have so much respect for Lindsay. It's incredible.


Q. Did you correspond with her via email when she was pregnant? Are you surprised she did come back?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I'm not surprised she came back. I did correspond with her. I sent her a couple emails here and there. You know, Lindsay is a great person. I always try to keep up with her.


Q. You lost a lot of weight and you look great. What is your secret?

SERENA WILLIAMS: What is my secret (laughter)? I don't know. Maybe you'll read about it in the next blog.


Q. There's been speculation that the Aussie Open may rotate around the Asia/Pacific countries, as in China might host the first Grand Slam, or Japan, then Australia. What are your thoughts? Should it stay here?

SERENA WILLIAMS: The Australian Open belongs in Australia. I can't imagine it being anywhere else. It belongs here. I love, when you come here, you listen to the accent. My whole life, I was watching tennis. It's like, Oh, I want to go to Australia and play the Australian Open. When I'm playing my video game, I'm playing in Australia. So it belongs here.


Q. Back to the blog. I'm going to ask you about the other one. Do you feel comfortable baring your soul to the world when you're writing, knowing everyone is going to ask about it, who the guy was, how I felt about it?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Actually, the funny thing is I didn't know it would be that big. Not that many people go on my website, which is fantastic. So many hits. It was like, Oh, my God.

But, no, I was in a melancholy state. It wasn't about anyone in particular. I'm extremely happy. I was joking with my friends back at home, Apparently I have a heartbreak going on. They're all asking me like, Serena, are you okay? I'm like, What are you talking about? I think it kind of got really out of control.

For the most part, uhm ‑‑ I kind of got away from your question. What was your question?


Q. It was basically that you're baring your soul.

SERENA WILLIAMS: That's one thing with my website is I'm really interactive and I'm always writing blogs. I've written a lot of things about me. I have a part that's a relationship blog where, you know, I go through some of my friends' problems, I talk about it, what to do in a relationship, what not to do. So it's really interactive, and I always try to bare my soul so people can kind of see what kind of person I am and get a better feeling for Serena Williams.


Q. What's the No. 1 thing not to do?

SERENA WILLIAMS: In a relationship?


Q. Yes.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, there's so many things what not to do. Hmm. That's a good one. I'm going to write about that: what not to do. I definitely will be writing about that one (laughter).


Q. Seeing as some of your friends misinterpreted your state of mind, what you were saying when you were writing on the blog, does it give you a different perspective if someone writes something about you in the media and it doesn't come across the right way to you?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, whatever (laughter). No, that's not an excuse for writing bad articles about me.

But, uhm, I guess it could, you know, get out of hand if it's not really written really clear. Yeah, so I guess it definitely does give me a different perspective on people who are writing different articles (smiling).


Q. Is that pretty much the overriding theme of your life, or one of them?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I have honestly never been like in a happier state than what I am now. I'm always happy and smiling. I think because I have kind of made it all about me, I put Serena as A, and A is first. Those pictures were very old.


Q. They were?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah.


Q. Where?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know where they were taken. I was just shocked, so...


Q. Do you feel you can play your best when you feel like you don't have something to prove?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I definitely can, and I have done that in the past. I definitely feel I can play my best without anything to prove.


Q. I was reading some comments from Hopman Cup. One could have been tongue and cheek. You said, I want No. 1 again, and Justine, be warned.

SERENA WILLIAMS: I never said that. That doesn't even sound like me. Have I ever said anything like that?


Q. Well, I want to be No. 1, that certainly sounds like you.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I would never say, Justine be warned. No, I never said that.

I definitely do want to be No. 1 or else I wouldn't be playing. I do know there are a lot of people playing who do have that same goal of being No. 1. If I didn't want to be No. 1, I shouldn't be playing. I set my goals high and try to reach those goals.


Q. You pushed the bar really high in your dominant stage. Do you feel Justine pushed the bar higher last year?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I definitely think she pushed the bar really high. She played unbelievable. I think she won most of the tournaments that she entered. And that's really something that is very, I mean, encouraging and really pushing the bar really high.

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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old Jan 17th, 2008, 04:37 PM Thread Starter
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Re: 2008 Australian Open Interviews

Venus Williams 17.01.08
Thursday, 17 January, 2008

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Venus Williams bioTranscribed Interview

Start of Transcribed Interview

Q. Looked like a tough match on the score board. How did you assess it?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Definitely got to hit a lot of balls. She plays a really feisty game, brings a lot of balls back, and a lot of balls low. And she was definitely on her best tennis today. So she played well.

Q. A few unforced errors?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I had a few.

Q. Why was that?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Because I guess I made some mistakes.

Q. Is that the sort of game you need to bring you to your top, progress further in the championship?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I mean, to be honest, at this point, I feel like I know how to play tennis. And whether or not I have my best match or a match that's not so good for me is not something that worries me for the next round.
So either way, it's just important for me to get to the next round. I feel like I can always play better, even if I play well.

Q. You play Mirza in the next round. What you do you know of her? Have you played her before?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, actually, I have. A little while ago. She's a good player, also. She tries to play aggressive. Looks like she enjoys herself out there.

Q. Venus, there was a lot of breaks of serve in the match. Were you concerned about your serving?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, not really. Like I said earlier, nothing worries me anymore. I feel like I know how to play. If I make a few mistakes, I'm not going to freak out. I'm fine. I feel good.

Q. That kind of match is a good test for you, don't you think, because she makes you play a lot of different shots, you use different parts of your arsenal?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, she definitely played well. And at first, I think I wanted to rush a little bit too much. But finally, later in the second set, I finally realized, Whoa, she wants to run. Well, let her run. So it became a side‑to‑side kind of thing, I finally got a little smarter in the last few games, I felt. So all in all, it was fine.

Q. You've been coming in a lot, which happened last couple years. Looks like you're much more comfortable at net than you were, say, a decade ago?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, definitely, because I don't like practicing my volley. I never did. Of course, you don't want to come to the net if you don't. Practicing volleys is kind of boring.
So last time in the off‑season, the first thing I did is I practiced volleys, no excuses. So now I come in more because feel like volleying because I practiced it. I definitely will be at the net a lot more this year.

Q. Practicing against hard hitters all the time when you play. Against Camille, she has a soft serve. Must be hard to get used to that.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, definitely. Even for us, like when I'm warming Serena up, I'm trying to hit soft, it's hard because I don't know how to do that. I'm always saying, Softer, softer. And they are missing because they don't know how to hit the soft ball, which is a different kind of ball. If it's soft and low, then you have to adjust. And just because it's slower doesn't necessarily mean it's easier.

Q. She gave Sharapova a hard time last year. I don't know if you saw that match. Why does she give people a difficult time?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think she'll challenge anyone that she plays. You definitely have to beat her. She brings the ball back no matter. You have to hit that winning shot. And she can pressure you into hitting it a little too close to the line.

Q. I don't know if you talked about this on Day 1, but can you talk about what happened towards the end of last year when you were forced to pull out of The Championships and you were get getting those dizzy spells. What did the doctors actually say?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I don't talk about that very much. I try to let it be the past.

Q. But is it something that is going to continue to affect you, or was it just a one off or...
VENUS WILLIAMS: I hope to God not.

Q. You don't want to say directly? Because there was some reports out there that it might have been anemia.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I don't really like to talk about it, to be honest. I just ‑‑ yeah, that's all I have to say.

Q. Venus, I'm doing a little feature on Mark Hlawaty. Can you express a couple of words on what he means and how he fits in?
VENUS WILLIAMS: He's great. We're all jokesters. We all laugh and joke. We all, you know, make fun of ourselves. So he fits right in. He works extremely hard. I think he really cares about Serena and I. I think he loves tennis. And right now he has, like, really great hair. So Serena and I were both very upset. It was funny, because as soon as I got here to Melbourne, I was like, Your hair is great; I hate it. Serena said, I said the same thing. It's funny. We have a lot of fun with him.

Q. What's making his hair great?
VENUS WILLIAMS: We don't know why it's happened. He let it grow out. He said it grew like that. We said, Are you serious? It's not fair. It's the perfect color, the perfect cut. This can't be right. But, you know, it's good fun.

Q. Fashion things aside, he's pretty handy as a hitting partner, as well. How important is he to you girls?
VENUS WILLIAMS: He's great. He brings a lot of balls back. He can adjust his game, depending on who we're playing. And he really is, you know, on our side. No matter I think who he is with, I think he works hard for.

Q. Venus, I saw your sister's blog yesterday and she said she read 'Who Moved My Cheese'. Do you read books like that or did she try to get you to read it?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I read that book. My dad told me to read it. And I think he told her to read it, too. And I read it like around '05 Wimbledon, and I was, like, praying for some inspiration. So then I read the book. And I was, like, Okay, God answered my prayers.
Whatever you can be inspired from, I feel I can learn from anything. I haven't read it in a couple years. She keeps quoting it.

Q. There aren't too many big hard court titles that have eluded you in your career, if any. Do you bring that kind of awareness into a tournament like this?
VENUS WILLIAMS: A little bit. Maybe a little bit, especially since I didn't get to play last year. So definitely a little bit. But, I mean, I definitely have the ability to win. That's the good part. So I feel positive in that way.

Q. How do you feel about television commentators making comments about your rear‑end? I mean, not in a negative way.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I think Serena is the Williams sisters that is famous for her derrière. She makes all kinds of songs, Kanye West and Snoop Dog, all kinds of things. She's renowned. So I guess I'm getting a one‑up on her, maybe. (laughter.)

Q. You have a doubles match coming up in a little while. How important is that in the scheme of things? Are you trying to win in the doubles?
VENUS WILLIAMS: We're very serious about the doubles. We love doubles. Recent years we haven't been lucky, so we're like, Okay, let's get through the singles. But we love playing with each other. Nothing like playing with Serena. It's like playing with myself. So it's amazing.
And we love winning the titles. I mean, when we were playing doubles, we were racking them up. Grand Slam titles are wonderful things to have. We hope we get to play more. We definitely are going to try to play a lot this year.

Q. When you came on the circuit a decade ago, you were only surrounded by your family, your sister. You didn't have too many friends in the circuit. How this has changed in the last 10 years? Do you have other people you like to see outside of the tennis court, even if they are tennis players, or you never see them?
VENUS WILLIAMS: It's a little bit hard. No one lives where I live, so in that way it's a little bit challenging because everyone goes home after the tennis, you know.
So I'm definitely friendly with a lot of girls, but it's not like we live in the same area, and that makes it challenging.

Q. In the locker rooms, they're more friendly or let's say people you have lunch together here if you have a chance or not?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, definitely. The girls are really nice. Everyone's nice. I haven't met one, you know, person that was mean or that, you know, totally gave me the evil eye or something.
Everybody's, you know, happy in the locker room. I mean, you lose, not so happy, but everyone gets along.

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Re: 2008 Australian Open Interviews

Venus Williams 15.01.08
Tuesday, 15 January, 2008

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Venus Williams bioTranscribed Interview

Start of Transcribed Interview

Q. How did you assess your opening match?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I felt good out there. Had a lot of fun. Got to hit a lot of balls, which I felt was good. I think she challenged me on a lot of points. She really stayed in there and played a lot of shots, definitely made me play some balls that I wasn't expecting to come back.
It was definitely challenging.
Q. Plenty of room for improvement as the tournament goes on?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm always looking to improve throughout my whole career, so... I'm looking to get better every time, every tournament I play.
Q. There were some errors in the game. To be expected?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I mean, errors happen. That's tennis.
Q. You walked out there with your own line of clothing. How satisfying is that to walk out with clothes you designed yourself?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I was a design student. I'm now a graduate. It's my field of choice besides tennis, so I'm very proud. There's a lot of great things coming out with EleVen soon.
Q. What about your jewelry, is that your design as well?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No. Maybe I'll wear EleVen jewelry the next match. I didn't have any on tonight.
Q. That's not an engagement ring on your finger?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I've been wearing this ring for like four years.
Q. You missed the tournament last year. This is one you haven't won. Serena did well last year. Do you come in here with your sights set for some unfinished business?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I felt wonderful about Serena's win yesterday. I watched every match, so I definitely feel like I was part of The Open last year. I'm definitely physically here this year so I'm looking to definitely improve on my results. I've come close to winning. I'd like to try again.
Q. Serena mentioned you were playing really well during practice. Do you feel like you are, that you're coming into this in really good form?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I felt like I was hitting really well in practice leading up. I felt she was hitting really well, too. We always challenge each other. It's definitely great to be able to hit against Serena Williams.
Q. The thing in Madrid that kept you out, what exactly was that? How are you feeling now?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I never talked much about that, and I still don't. It's the past now.
Q. You're a hundred percent physically?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm definitely doing my best for me, so it's good.
Q. We always hear wonderful words by Serena to you and you to Serena. When you are both in the house, what do you say terrible to Serena that she becomes angry?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, we don't fight.
Q. Never?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No.
Q. For nothing?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Huh-uh.
Q. C'mon.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Huh-uh.

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Re: 2008 Australian Open Interviews

Venus Williams 17.01.08
Thursday, 17 January, 2008

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Venus Williams bioTranscribed Interview

Start of Transcribed Interview

Q. Looked like a tough match on the score board. How did you assess it?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Definitely got to hit a lot of balls. She plays a really feisty game, brings a lot of balls back, and a lot of balls low. And she was definitely on her best tennis today. So she played well.

Q. A few unforced errors?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I had a few.

Q. Why was that?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Because I guess I made some mistakes.

Q. Is that the sort of game you need to bring you to your top, progress further in the championship?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I mean, to be honest, at this point, I feel like I know how to play tennis. And whether or not I have my best match or a match that's not so good for me is not something that worries me for the next round.
So either way, it's just important for me to get to the next round. I feel like I can always play better, even if I play well.

Q. You play Mirza in the next round. What you do you know of her? Have you played her before?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, actually, I have. A little while ago. She's a good player, also. She tries to play aggressive. Looks like she enjoys herself out there.

Q. Venus, there was a lot of breaks of serve in the match. Were you concerned about your serving?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, not really. Like I said earlier, nothing worries me anymore. I feel like I know how to play. If I make a few mistakes, I'm not going to freak out. I'm fine. I feel good.

Q. That kind of match is a good test for you, don't you think, because she makes you play a lot of different shots, you use different parts of your arsenal?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, she definitely played well. And at first, I think I wanted to rush a little bit too much. But finally, later in the second set, I finally realized, Whoa, she wants to run. Well, let her run. So it became a side‑to‑side kind of thing, I finally got a little smarter in the last few games, I felt. So all in all, it was fine.

Q. You've been coming in a lot, which happened last couple years. Looks like you're much more comfortable at net than you were, say, a decade ago?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, definitely, because I don't like practicing my volley. I never did. Of course, you don't want to come to the net if you don't. Practicing volleys is kind of boring.
So last time in the off‑season, the first thing I did is I practiced volleys, no excuses. So now I come in more because feel like volleying because I practiced it. I definitely will be at the net a lot more this year.

Q. Practicing against hard hitters all the time when you play. Against Camille, she has a soft serve. Must be hard to get used to that.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, definitely. Even for us, like when I'm warming Serena up, I'm trying to hit soft, it's hard because I don't know how to do that. I'm always saying, Softer, softer. And they are missing because they don't know how to hit the soft ball, which is a different kind of ball. If it's soft and low, then you have to adjust. And just because it's slower doesn't necessarily mean it's easier.

Q. She gave Sharapova a hard time last year. I don't know if you saw that match. Why does she give people a difficult time?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think she'll challenge anyone that she plays. You definitely have to beat her. She brings the ball back no matter. You have to hit that winning shot. And she can pressure you into hitting it a little too close to the line.

Q. I don't know if you talked about this on Day 1, but can you talk about what happened towards the end of last year when you were forced to pull out of The Championships and you were get getting those dizzy spells. What did the doctors actually say?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I don't talk about that very much. I try to let it be the past.

Q. But is it something that is going to continue to affect you, or was it just a one off or...
VENUS WILLIAMS: I hope to God not.

Q. You don't want to say directly? Because there was some reports out there that it might have been anemia.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I don't really like to talk about it, to be honest. I just ‑‑ yeah, that's all I have to say.

Q. Venus, I'm doing a little feature on Mark Hlawaty. Can you express a couple of words on what he means and how he fits in?
VENUS WILLIAMS: He's great. We're all jokesters. We all laugh and joke. We all, you know, make fun of ourselves. So he fits right in. He works extremely hard. I think he really cares about Serena and I. I think he loves tennis. And right now he has, like, really great hair. So Serena and I were both very upset. It was funny, because as soon as I got here to Melbourne, I was like, Your hair is great; I hate it. Serena said, I said the same thing. It's funny. We have a lot of fun with him.

Q. What's making his hair great?
VENUS WILLIAMS: We don't know why it's happened. He let it grow out. He said it grew like that. We said, Are you serious? It's not fair. It's the perfect color, the perfect cut. This can't be right. But, you know, it's good fun.

Q. Fashion things aside, he's pretty handy as a hitting partner, as well. How important is he to you girls?
VENUS WILLIAMS: He's great. He brings a lot of balls back. He can adjust his game, depending on who we're playing. And he really is, you know, on our side. No matter I think who he is with, I think he works hard for.

Q. Venus, I saw your sister's blog yesterday and she said she read 'Who Moved My Cheese'. Do you read books like that or did she try to get you to read it?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I read that book. My dad told me to read it. And I think he told her to read it, too. And I read it like around '05 Wimbledon, and I was, like, praying for some inspiration. So then I read the book. And I was, like, Okay, God answered my prayers.
Whatever you can be inspired from, I feel I can learn from anything. I haven't read it in a couple years. She keeps quoting it.

Q. There aren't too many big hard court titles that have eluded you in your career, if any. Do you bring that kind of awareness into a tournament like this?
VENUS WILLIAMS: A little bit. Maybe a little bit, especially since I didn't get to play last year. So definitely a little bit. But, I mean, I definitely have the ability to win. That's the good part. So I feel positive in that way.

Q. How do you feel about television commentators making comments about your rear‑end? I mean, not in a negative way.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I think Serena is the Williams sisters that is famous for her derrière. She makes all kinds of songs, Kanye West and Snoop Dog, all kinds of things. She's renowned. So I guess I'm getting a one‑up on her, maybe. (laughter.)

Q. You have a doubles match coming up in a little while. How important is that in the scheme of things? Are you trying to win in the doubles?
VENUS WILLIAMS: We're very serious about the doubles. We love doubles. Recent years we haven't been lucky, so we're like, Okay, let's get through the singles. But we love playing with each other. Nothing like playing with Serena. It's like playing with myself. So it's amazing.
And we love winning the titles. I mean, when we were playing doubles, we were racking them up. Grand Slam titles are wonderful things to have. We hope we get to play more. We definitely are going to try to play a lot this year.

Q. When you came on the circuit a decade ago, you were only surrounded by your family, your sister. You didn't have too many friends in the circuit. How this has changed in the last 10 years? Do you have other people you like to see outside of the tennis court, even if they are tennis players, or you never see them?
VENUS WILLIAMS: It's a little bit hard. No one lives where I live, so in that way it's a little bit challenging because everyone goes home after the tennis, you know.
So I'm definitely friendly with a lot of girls, but it's not like we live in the same area, and that makes it challenging.

Q. In the locker rooms, they're more friendly or let's say people you have lunch together here if you have a chance or not?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, definitely. The girls are really nice. Everyone's nice. I haven't met one, you know, person that was mean or that, you know, totally gave me the evil eye or something.
Everybody's, you know, happy in the locker room. I mean, you lose, not so happy, but everyone gets along.

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Re: 2008 Australian Open Interviews

Serena Williams Interview Australian Open - Jan 18


Posted on January 18, 2008


Serena Williams
Australian Open Third Round
Friday, 18 January, 2008
Q. What are your thoughts on that match? Pretty routine?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Uhm, routine? I don't know. I think it was definitely a match to be serious for. She's a good player.
Q. Served unbelievably well. Can you serve much better than that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I definitely served well today. It was much better than what I did my other two rounds, so it's looking good. I like it.
Q. Can you bottle that, figure out why it happened?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I got some treatment in the locker room earlier on my shoulder. I kind of credit it to that (smiling).
Q. She's an up‑and‑coming player. Seemed to play pretty well off the ground.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think she played really well off the ground, and she moved well, which is always good to be able to hit hard and move well. I thought she had a lot of pace on her balls, too.
Q. Are you happy with the way you're moving at this point in the tournament?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I'm moving well. I'm not even moving my fastest. You know, I can move faster when I want to.
Q. Venus is playing doubles with you. It's like playing with herself. Is that the same for you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I love playing doubles with V. It's like playing with a guy because she has a great serve. She hits these hard balls. I just stand and look like an All‑American. It's pretty cool.
Q. Who decides tactics?
SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, we kind of just do our own thing. And like sometimes I'll tell her like to look for this and stuff, look for that.
I don't know who really takes the lead. I don't know.
Q. What does it say to the teams that are out there that you knocked off the No. 2 seed?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I mean, we are a renowned doubles team ourselves (laughter), so I think the other teams out there know that. So now we consider ourselves the No. 2 seeds. We're taking it just as serious as we are the singles. We really enjoy the competition. We enjoy playing doubles.
Q. So it's not a coincidence you're playing doubles again in an Olympic year?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, we started to play last year. I wanted to play here last year as well. I mean, obviously we want to play Olympics, doubles at the Olympics. We would love to play doubles at the Olympics, and that's definitely something we want to keep in our hearts and in our minds. But we also do enjoy playing doubles.
Q. Was that one of the most exciting titles you won, that Olympic gold?
SERENA WILLIAMS: By far, it is my most cherished trophy or anything, is definitely the gold medal.
Q. Your earrings, are they officially large when you can fit a tennis ball through them?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, if you can fit a tennis ball through them or your hand, like so (putting her hand through the earrings). They serve as earrings and then I can wear them as bangles. Two purposes.
Q. Are you still working on the Althea Gibson documentary?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It's not done. They're still working on it. It's cool. It's really exciting.
Q. How would you compare Vaidisova to Azarenka? Many nuances between them?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, you know what, I actually think they both play a like. Obviously Vaidisova has had more ‑‑ has played more maybe in her career and done a little better, but I think they both have similar games. Vaidisova has a really big serve. She uses that to her advantage.

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Re: 2008 Australian Open Interviews

Serena Williams 20.01.08
Sunday, 20 January, 2008

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Serena Williams bioTranscribed Interview

Start of Transcribed Interview

Q. Can we have your thoughts on the match?
SERENA WILLIAMS: My thoughts? I felt like I didn't have a lot of rhythm out there. I felt like lazy, like I wasn't moving the way I wanted to. But overall, I think it boiled down to serves and returns.
Q. A lot of improvement to come?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Pardon?
Q. A lot of improvement to come?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I hope so, and I expect so. Indeed, indeed.
Q. What's it like playing her? You're never quite sure what you're going to get, right?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It's definitely interesting playing her. She's so unpredictable. I think that's really a good thing. Last couple of times I played her, her serve has just been really, really, really good.
Yeah, she's just, you know, really a bright future.
Q. The Police in concert next Saturday at the Melbourne Cricket Grounds.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Get out of here. Really? Next Saturday? This Saturday coming up?
Q. Yeah.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Like after the finals?
Q. 7:30?
SERENA WILLIAMS: That could be fun. I love the Police. Isn't that -- that's Sting, right?
Q. Sting, Andy Sommers and Stuart Copeland.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, oh, you know, I'm -- I don't go back that far. I just do know Sting was in the Police, and I know some of their songs. I would love to go.
Q. Do you know him personally?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I don't. I know one time he performed in Paris, and I missed that concert. It was Sting. Maybe I'll make it this time.
Q. A hundred bucks?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Hundred bucks?
Q. Yeah, to pay.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I'm hoping for a celebrity I upgrade (laughter).
Q. How much of last night did you watch?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I didn't watch too much. I didn't watch Venus' match at all. I didn't see the end of Federer's match, either. I saw, like, up into 8 or 7-All, but not too much before that.
Q. You were in bed when Hewitt and Baghdatis?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I was in bed when Venus went out on the court.
Q. Do you agree with Venus' staff threatening to leave the tournament reportedly if her match didn't go ahead?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No. I definitely agree that you put 'reportedly' in there, because I'm 100 percent sure, and as I was there when the conversation was happening, that Venus never threatened to leave the tournament.
But nonetheless, I think it was -- you know, usually at night you have to go on as scheduled. She was first on and then the next match was next on. Sometimes you have really late nights. You always have to roll with the
punches, and not everything's going to be perfect. And if it was, then I would be in Hawaii right now, you know, with a glass of lemonade looking at my $20 million home.
Q. You can verify that for us, though, there was absolutely no threat from Venus to leave the tournament?
SERENA WILLIAMS: There was no threat. I don't know where these stories come from. But I find them quite hilarious. Yeah, I'm always looking for the next headline: 'Venus Threatens to Leave the Tournament.'
Honestly, it's so funny.
Q. Did you happen to be in that conversation last night?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm definitely not here to talk about or tell what happened in the conversation, because, you know, I was just walking by, and I was just being nosey. So, I definitely -- I'm not here -- you should ask Venus and Sania that, someone else, who else was a part of it.
Q. Do you think there's a chance you'll meet your sister here in the final here in Australia?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I mean, I definitely hope. I definitely hope to play two more matches before I get there. I'm just taking my next opponent, one match at a time.
Q. What do you have to improve from today to get to the final and win?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I just want to move better and just make a few less errors like I did. I think my second round I didn't make that many unforced errors, so I want to do that again.
Q. I know you have to play whoever you get in the draw, but is it a bit of a relief not to have to play Justine in the quarters again because it's a change of pace, basically?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I mean, yeah, sure. At the end of the day, I never really get upset at whoever I play because I'm totally fine. As long as I'm not playing Venus in the quarters, it doesn't matter to me. Eventually you're going to have to play everyone else. If Venus wasn't my sister, then I wouldn't care. Just because she's my sister, I prefer to play her in the later rounds.
Q. Who do you hope to meet in the quarterfinals?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Whoever wins.
Q. Do you feel a lot quicker on the court this year, or is it just our impression?
SERENA WILLIAMS: A bit quicker?
Q. Yeah.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I definitely feel like I can get every ball. I feel like I'm running almost like Santoro - not quite, though.
Q. He's 33.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, he's definitely moving way better than me, and I'm 23 (laughter).
Q. Your sister's opponent next is going to be a Polish player. What do you know about Polish tennis?
SERENA WILLIAMS: You know what, I don't know much about Polish tennis, but I know there's a few girls coming up. Venus said she's played her before, so, yeah.

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Re: 2008 Australian Open Interviews

Australian Open: Venus Williams, January 20, 2008
Venus Williams Interview
Australian Open
Sunday, 20 January, 2008



Q. How would you assess your match tonight? Were you happy with the way you played?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I felt good with how I played. I felt confident throughout the whole match. I think she played quite well, too. I think she had an interesting game plan: As soon as she got her racquet on the ball, she just hit it as hard as she could and went for broke.

I think that worked for her on a lot of points.

Q. Did she surprise you with the strength of her groundstrokes?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I think she's known for the power of her groundstrokes. I think, you know, if I chose, also, I could strike it hard every time, also. But, you know, there's different strategies against different players, and that's the strategy she chose against me.

I think it worked well, but I think ultimately I had a little bit -- little bit more than her, and that helped me in the end.

Q. Is it correct that the referee or the scheduling people gave you the option of not playing tonight and holding over to tomorrow?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'll tell you a synopsis of what happened, and I really don't want to take any more questions about that. But basically the day session went longer, and, you know, the tournament did ask if Sania and I would consider playing at Vodafone or playing tomorrow.

Both of us didn't want to, for reasons that we felt like our match was important. We also felt like we wanted the schedule to go as planned and that, you know, we are very good players and wanted to play.

Also for the fact that we were in doubles and Sania is also in mixed. So that makes it very difficult for us too. So the tournament definitely listened to us, and gave us the opportunity to go out there and play some great women's tennis.

I think we're both happy with the result of what the tournament chose, and we played some good tennis for the crowd.

Q. What was it like waiting so long for the Federer match to be over, and what do you do during that period?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I've played Wimbledon many a time. I'm very prepared. Plus my sister gave me a graduation gift, it's like an e-book, so I have all my books downloaded on it. It's really the most wonderful gift. For like a week or two I was screaming, I love this thing. Because I read so many books.

So I just have my books on there and I read, and I eat and rest, and I'm used to waiting.

Q. Can you explain the name of your clothing line, how you got that name?

VENUS WILLIAMS: EleVen? Yeah, EleVen is about being your best, so it's above a 10. And also, it's part of my address growing up in Compton: 1117. So it has double meaning. It's about being your best, but it's also like going full circle in my life of where I started and where I am now.

Q. Can you talk about Ivanovic. It will be the third Slam in a row that you've played her.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, she's a very good player. She's improved her game. I think that, you know, she's a good player for women's tennis. Yeah, I'm ready.

Q. What do you think the difference was the last couple of times?

VENUS WILLIAMS: What do I think the difference was?

I guess I managed to play a little better on a few shots. So she's definitely learning,



getting more experience. I'm definitely playing well with my own game.

Q. So you were kind of scratchy at times tonight, but do you feel going into the meat of the tournament you are where you want to be?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I'm definitely serving very well. Tonight was, you know, an interesting match because of the way that she was playing. She was definitely trying to dictate, so I just stuck with playing my game and didn't change it.

Ultimately, every time I walk on the court, especially nowadays, I feel confident with my game, whether I've played my best or not my best in previous matches. I feel like I know how to play this game, so I'm going to bring something out there that's special.

Q. So you're saying, too, that if you need to make adjustments you can make the adjustments?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, and I just -- I don't put myself through any more, figure I played well or this isn't going well. I know how to play, so I'm not going through all this mind stuff of whether or not I'm going to be able to do it when I step up out there. I've trained. I need to do it. If I don't, I do it the next time.

Q. Do you have any pity at all for Lleyton and Marcos being out there till maybe 3:00 in the morning tonight playing?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I feel like it's definitely a tough draw, the day match going so long, and no one could have predicted that. No one could have predicted that the circumstances that we all had to play under, so I definitely hope the best for both players.

Q. What's the solution to this sort of thing. Seems like it happens a fair bit where people are playing in the middle of the night.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Maybe you should ask the tournament director. I have to concentrate on my own singles and doubles. I don't have the solutions yet for the organization of the tournament.

Q. Did you catch any of Roddick's match last night? I imagine you didn't stay up till 2:30.

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I didn't.

Q. But you obviously saw some of Federer today.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. I saw a little bit. I didn't watch too much. I try to, you know. There's tense moments, and even if you're not rooting for anyone you kind of go up and down with the players. So I try to stay out of that.

Q. Have you ever thought when you see a great three-out-of-five set match, boy, I'd like to play a three-out-of-five set match someday?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I do imagine what it's like, and I've done it in practice before. I'm sure in a tournament it has to be a whole other level and set of adrenaline and that kind of thing. I mean, maybe one day we'll see.

Q. Was it with Serena, three out of five?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, no. I was playing against a guy. Actually, I think that guy is on tour now. I won't say any names, though.

Q. Win or loss?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I will not play him again. He was younger; I was younger. No, I actually won, but I will not play him again.


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