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V. Williams - June 22 - Interview
V. Williams - June 22

Sunday, 22 June, 2008

THE MODERATOR: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. It gives me very great pleasure to introduce Venus Williams, our defending ladies champion. Who would like to ask the first question.

Q. How excited are you to be back here again?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Always extremely excited. It's always extremely exciting coming back as the defending champion. It's nice to have the memories from last year all kind of flowing into this year.

Q. What kind of memories specifically are stirred up for you when you walk into this place?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Really just all the wonderful times I've had here on the court, too. But I've also had really great times with my family and my friends here. So I think just the combination of memories on and off the court.

Q. Do you try to put in the past the great things that have happened in the past, or keep thinking about those in terms of your current performance here at Wimbledon?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Of course it's nice coming to a tournament where you have a really good record, because obviously that gives good confidence.

But mostly I think about, What is it going to take this year and what will I have to do well this year? How will I have to adjust? How is the grass playing? What challenges do I need to overcome?

I just really focus on what's at hand.

Q. What will it take and what do you see as the biggest challenge to the defending champion?

VENUS WILLIAMS: As usual, you just have to play better. So there's really no magic to it. It's just about playing the best.

Q. What were your observations of Ana Ivanovic, and what do you see as her potential on grass?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I mean, obviously she's playing well. No particular observations.

Q. How do you feel about taking on a Brit on Centre Court in the first match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, obviously I'm excited about playing on Tuesday at 1:00. That's always the ultimate honor in tennis. So that's really - I'm going to try to enjoy that moment and obviously bring my best tennis.

The fact that I'm playing a woman from here, I don't necessarily put that into the equation. I try to prepare the best that I can for each and every player.

Q. The crowd are going to be split, aren't they?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I can't predict that. Hopefully I have some fans out there who will want to see me bring in the win.

Q. Do you scout her out, or do you know enough about her not to bother about that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know a ton about her.

Q. A big lefty.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I'm sure that she's playing good tennis, so...

I don't know so much about her.

Q. You've always had a lot of support from the British crowd. How much has that lifted you over the years, and how much are you looking to that this year?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, definitely it's always really nice to have the support. It's nice to have the support in my box, also. That helps a lot, too.

Hadn't thought so much about the fans or the crowd support as much this year, I guess. Just really thinking a lot about what I'm going to do with my game.

Q. What is it about this tournament that you like so much? It always seems to bring a smile to your face, brings you to the best of your game. What is it about Wimbledon, the surroundings, about the fortnight, that you like?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I just think it's the ultimate place to play your best tennis. The most wonderful tournament to win would definitely be here. I've been blessed to do well a few times here, so that feels obviously very good. I just love it here. It's good for my game, too.

Q. Do you allow yourself to think about winning for a fifth time, or do you try to put that to the back of your mind?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, of course I think about that. But I know that I'm gonna have to work for it. I'm willing to pay that price.

Q. There's not many people better on grass than you, are there?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Thank you very much. I take that as a compliment (smiling).

Q. If we compare this year and last year, how well prepared are you this time?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Probably pretty similar, yeah.

Q. Are you surprised you're not favorite, considering you're the defending champion?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I really don't know much about the favorites or what have you going into this year. I've been really just head to the ground, just practicing and training.

Ultimately the best player will win. I'm gonna aim for that to be me.

Q. Is there any advantage to being the defending champion when you step on the court for the first time and as you carry on during the fortnight?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Probably for me maybe, yeah. I would like to think I have that on my side, too.

Q. What are the advantages, in your mind, of being the defending champion?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think the advantage is that you won last year and it will never be taken away from you. It will always be yours, and you can hug the plate at night if it gets cold (laughter).

Q. Winning it five times, would that be better than winning it for the first time?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Probably, yeah. I'm definitely not a crier. I'm the most happiest winner ever. But, you know, maybe I would even cry.

But that's so long from now. Two weeks is a long time, especially if it rains. So my main focus is most certainly that first round.

Q. Last year you weren't very well for the last four days.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I was sick last year. But, you know, I got blessed to be able to get through it.

Q. And you're okay now?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I'm doing well. Thank you.

Q. If I could ask you to look a little farther ahead, a couple questions about the Olympics. How much are you looking forward to Beijing?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I love playing the Olympics. I think it's not necessarily a once?in?a?lifetime opportunity, but once in four years. I've had some good success there in Sydney obviously, and winning the gold was above my dreams.

Winning with Serena was above my dreams. I never dreamed of that. I definitely take it as an honor, and hopefully I can bring some more gold home.

Q. As a young tennis player, were the Olympics a goal for you growing up?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, for my dad. It was definitely a goal for my dad. Ultimately, the first time that's why I played, because I knew he always wanted us to play. That was really my main reason.

But now I want to play for me.

Q. Does 2004 motivate you going into Beijing? I know that was a disappointment for you.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, 2004 happened quickly. I'm not even sure if I played (smiling). You know, I like to learn from lessons from the past, try to do better.

Q. How much are you looking forward to playing doubles with Serena there?

VENUS WILLIAMS: We always love playing doubles. We haven't been able to play for so long.

Q. Do you see Serena as your main threat this Wimbledon?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I mean, I have the most respect for Serena as a player on tour. Definitely I see her as a player who can produce any shot at any time from anywhere. So I would say that obviously it would be great to meet her in the finals, but we have to work at it.

Q. Why have you not played doubles with her?

VENUS WILLIAMS: We've had issues, so we couldn't play (smiling).

Q. Can you tell us about those? Is it scheduling mostly?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. We were injured and/or sick, hurt. Whatever it was, we just had issues.

Q. Was there any talk about doing it here?

VENUS WILLIAMS: We are in the doubles here.

Q. You said before that you were playing for your father, and now you want to play for you. How long did you take to understand that you want to play for yourself?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, that was only for the Olympics, to make sure I played, because he always dreamed of us playing the Olympics. After that first Olympics, I definitely wanted to play the Olympics because I wanted to play, and not just because it was his dream.

Q. What are your thoughts on what Tiger Woods accomplished last week and your thoughts on him in general?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, it's the ultimate sacrifice. So I realize that if I'm hurting, I'm probably not compared to him.

In any case, everyone has to make their own decision what they can play through. Obviously for him it's a lot, so great for sports.

Q. What do you feel when you watch him perform?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Just, you know, get it on the green (smiling).

Q. Do you enjoy watching Tiger play? Where do you rank him among the best athletes?

VENUS WILLIAMS: He's obviously one of the greatest to go down in history. That's for sure. I don't really watch that much golf, to be honest. I end up watching a lot of tennis.

Q. There was a report in the British papers today about match fixing in tennis. According to a report, it goes on at a low level. Are you concerned about that as far as the Grand Slams and Wimbledon are concerned?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. As far as Wimbledon, that's really my least concern at the moment. I don't really have a whole lot to say about that. I guess in the past there have been some issues. I'm not well?briefed on them. I might not be the one to start commenting on it.

Q. Is it a subject that players talk about in the locker room, about match fixing?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I haven't talked to anyone about it.

Q. You've been outspoken on some of the issues on the women's tour. Last night Roger, Nadal, and Djokovic were all elected to the players council for the ATP Tour. What are your thoughts about the top?ranked players being more involved in the leadership of the men's tour, and professional tennis in general?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know much about the men's tour, their council. I don't know very much about that at all.

But on the women's tour, the top players are definitely involved. Especially over the years, players are definitely very informed, and I feel like we all have been working together a lot more, players and tours and everything.

As far as on our side, I know that it's going well.

Q. When you play on the grass, do you change your tactics, particularly for this surface?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Not necessarily. Because I think my tactics work well on the grass, so I don't have to change too much. I think the grass works for me.

Q. How much will we see you at the net this fortnight?

VENUS WILLIAMS: When the chance arises, I think I better come. So that's the plan (smiling).

Q. We're not going to ask you to predict a winner in the women's tour, but what about the men? Who do you think might win?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. I haven't given it much thought. I mean, Roger's obviously an easy choice. Nadal is awesome. I guess Djokovic plays well. Surprisingly I've never really seen him play, so I don't know much about him. So I'm not sure.

Q. This year it's 50 years since Althea Gibson won the second of her back?to?back titles. You have a bit of a chance to emulate her in a sense. Is she somebody that you've thought about much during your career, her achievements?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I mean, obviously she's a legend and she definitely deserves to be remembered and honored, so that's how I feel about Althea.

Q. Maria Sharapova revealed she's wearing shorts at Wimbledon. Have you come up with something special to wear at Wimbledon?

VENUS WILLIAMS: All white. Nothing special. It will be white. Can you imagine? Oh, my God (smiling).

Q. Anything else?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I'm not thinking that much about my outfit, to be honest. I'm just like all about the yellow ball.

Q. Do you have any particular routine the night before the tournament to prepare?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I'm not superstitious. Just relax, eat. That's it.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Serena Williams Interview
THE MODERATOR: Serena Williams for you.

Q. Was this an example of having to play yourself into a match, get used to things basically?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't think I had time to play myself into this match. I think I had to start straightaway. I think I played myself into the first game. I'm really excited I was able to win that first game. But I couldn't play myself into this match. I needed to get started right away with it.

Q. The trench coat, was that an effort to keep the rain away this year?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah. You know, I absolutely love trench coats. I live in Florida. I probably have more coats than anybody. I just love coats. I'm always buying Burberry coats. I mean, I love coats. And I don't know why because I live in Florida. So it doesn't really add up. But, you know, I was talking to Nike, I walked in, had this great coat on there. We should do a coat like this for Wimbledon. I was like, Okay, cool. I was really all about it. Now I have a wonderful white coat I can wear on the court and also, you know, in New York for those rainy days.

Q. It looked almost Carnaby Street inspired. Was it a '60s retro look.


SERENA WILLIAMS: It's definitely kind of retro inspired. Buckles on the wrist, the waistband tie. You can tie it or button it. I just love coats and it's just a great fabric and a great material and it moves well. It's really nice. I really like it.

Q. It's not necessarily a piece of athletic attire. Did you have to get any special permission from the club to wear it?

SERENA WILLIAMS: It's definitely not athletic attire. But it's ladylike, and I'm very ladylike. It goes perfect with my personality and everything else. It's perfect for me.

Q. Is it going to keep the rain away, do you think?


SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't think it's going to keep the rain away, but we can always hope.

Q. Can you tell us about the fabric? It's hard to tell if it's very lightweight or heavy or porous.

SERENA WILLIAMS: It's a very lightweight fabric. It's a woven so it has a little give in it as well. On the inside it's stitched with gold. It has a little give on both ways. It's very movable. It's very light. It's just delectable.

Q. You've been at this for a long time. Do you think you and your sister would still be doing this without each other? Do you see yourself eventually both leaving at the same time because of that when it comes time to do that?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. I do everything Venus does. I've tried to grow out of that, but I still kind of do everything that she does. But she's playing for at least a long, long, long time. So we'll both be out here for a long time.

Q. A lot has been made that Roger Federer could lose, this might be the end of his dynasty, et cetera. You and your sister have been up and down, struggling. Do you look and say, We have a year or two or three here left at Wimbledon, we better get going, or do you play it day to day?


SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I mean, we have decades left at Wimbledon. We definitely plan on capitalizing.

Q. Last time we saw you were pretty low in Paris. Tough match. How did you recover from that? How do you feel about being back on the grass in general?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, you know, I had to take some time off. I took just a couple steps back. Just did some Serena recovering. I think it worked for me. And now I'm back at Wimbledon.

Q. What is "Serena recovering"?

SERENA WILLIAMS: You have to read about it.

Q. Did you fly economy like Venus?


SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I flew this great airline, L'Avion, which is all like business class seats. I was excited. It was a really cheap ticket, too.

Q. The new poll shows that 90% of white people in the USA are comfortable with a black president. I want to ask you about the presidential election. You must be excited.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I obviously am excited to see Obama out there doing his thing. I'm a Jehovah's Witness, so I don't get involved in politics. We stay neutral. We don't vote. We don't get a part of those worldly things. So I'm not going to necessarily go out and vote for him. I would if it wasn't for my religion. Being that my religion, we don't get involved in politics, so we stay neutral.

Q. Justine's absence creates sort of a void with a great champion. Do you think there's something lost aesthetically with her not in it, her size, the one handed backhand?

SERENA WILLIAMS: It's definitely different not to have the one handed backhand and top player around. I think there's so many bright faces out here, different games, different styles. I just think nothing stops; the world keeps turning.

Q. The decision by you and Venus to play doubles this year, is that partially with the Olympics in mind or you were wanting to do that on its own merits?

SERENA WILLIAMS: We pretty much always play doubles at Wimbledon. We love to play doubles here. We play our best tennis here. We try to capitalize on everything.

Q. The match was 5 All in the first set, breakpoint against you. What is going through your mind? How big obviously was that point as the match turned out?

SERENA WILLIAMS: It was huge. I kept thinking, I can't lose serve. She was playing unbelievable to me. I felt like she wasn't making any errors. I just felt like I just had to hang in there and stay positive.

Q. Are you glad to have a first match like that rather than a 1 1 match? Do you think that helps you down the road?


SERENA WILLIAMS: It probably does help me down the road. I feel like today definitely was not an easy match. I personally prefer 1 1's. I've never been a player that prefers tough matches. I never kind of got that. But, yeah.

Q. In general you peak at the majors. This year your best tennis has been in between the two majors. Can you talk a little bit about that and how you approach Wimbledon this year.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, it's definitely been in between. But here is Wimbledon. I hope to keep doing well here and hopefully doing well outside of the majors as well.

Q. So doing your 'Serena recovery' period, thinking about what happened in Paris, obviously not one of your better matches, what were you thinking about your own performance and why that would happen?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I just thought I didn't play well, I played a lot of errors, I panicked. Anything I could have done wrong I did wrong. I can go on and on. But, you know, I just tried to let that go for the most part.

Q. Did you practice on grass at all back in Florida?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I did not. But we practiced on hard courts, which some are very fast. It's like getting used to the fast court.

Q. Once you get over here, how big is the adjustment for you?

SERENA WILLIAMS: This year wasn't big at all. I felt like I was on it straightaway. I've never felt that way. So I felt good making that adjustment so quickly.

Q. Any thoughts on Roger's cardigan?


SERENA WILLIAMS: I haven't seen it.

Q. Exactly how do you and Venus prepare? You don't play a tournament after the French. I don't know if you ever played a tournament before here. What goes on and how do you try to get yourself ready for this event?

SERENA WILLIAMS: We just go home and practice in the hot sun. We're so ready to leave Florida. We're like, We're going to do anything we can to stay at the tournament as long as we can so we don't have to go back in that heat. That's pretty much our preparation (laughter).
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Wednesday, 25 June 2008


S. WILLIAMS defeated U. Radwanska 6-4 6-4
An interview with Serena Williams
Q. Could you please tell me a few words about Urszula Radwanska. Was she a good opponent?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I thought she was a really good opponent. I think she has a very bright future.

Q. Two matches in, can you just talk about how you felt you played today and your level overall.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I felt I played okay. I felt like I was a little tight out there, and just, you know, didn't want to go out on the Court 2. But I was just happy to get it over.

Q. Do you think about that, Court 2?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I did. I never really think about that, but that did kind of cross my mind. I was excited to get the first set under my belt.

Q. Could you hear those bones rattling around out there?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, and then it was windy, too the conditions weren't great. I felt like I should just get it over with.

Q. How was the doubles yesterday? Did you enjoy that with Venus?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, of course. I love playing doubles with her. I was especially proud of myself because I lost two points on my serve. So I was like, Yes! So that was really cool.

Q. How has your mobility been tested so far, and what are your thoughts about it at this point?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It's definitely been tested, especially today. I thought she moved the ball well, but I felt like I was moving fast. I felt like there was no ball that I couldn't get to, at least have to make an effort to get to. I'm feel good with my mobility.

Q. At this point in the tournament, the cliché question is: Are you where you want to be? More specifically, what have you come in thinking you really needed to do well that you see you are doing well at?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think the only thing I need to do well is just stay positive and just, you know, not get down on myself and put too much pressure on me, because I tend to be a perfectionist and I want everything to go right.
I think it's just really important for me to just relax and realize that not every point is going to be perfect. I think that's mostly what I need to do.

Q. So in these early rounds, how much pressure is there on you that you put on yourself and have to avoid?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I mean, it's ‑‑ only pressure that's on me is the pressure I put on myself. Like I said, I'm a perfectionist and I want everything to be right. I've been really trying not to do that and just relax.

Q. How do you do that? How do you relax?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. I don't know. I haven't mastered that. I'm open to suggestions.

Q. Did you watch the marathon women's match that was going on with Ana Ivanovic?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I saw little bits and pieces of it. Not too much. Not really. I wasn't really watching it.

Q. Will you be playing doubles with Venus at the Olympics and repeat the success from Sydney?
SERENA WILLIAMS: We hope to. We definitely will be playing doubles. We're most elated about that. We cannot wait. I'm playing singles, too, so it's good for me. We can't wait.

Q. How do you feel like you're serving? Your serve is such a great part of your game, can bail you out of trouble, particularly on this surface. Do you think about coming into the tournament that your serve is going to be key to making a deep and successful run here?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Absolutely. If I'm serving well, my whole game is better. I haven't been serving great yet, but in practice it's unbelievable. So I'm like waiting on it to come in the match.
I figure it's going to come when I need it, sooner or later.

Q. Is it first‑serve percentage, consistency, location?
SERENA WILLIAMS: In practice I don't miss a serve and I'm hitting all aces, and in the match I'm missing 'em, my first serves. I don't know why. I'm gonna figure it out, though.

Q. Looks like you might play Mauresmo in the next round, an experienced grass court player. Has a one‑handed backhand that will present some different challenges.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I haven't played her in a while. Look forward to it. I had no idea I might play her. I'm excited about that. She's been struggling a lot this year. So you can only hope that she does well, especially being a past champion here, and a past champion in general. It will be a good match.

Q. Is that low slice problematic for you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, no. I've developed a slice myself. I'm really excited about it.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Friday, 27 June 2008


Serena Williams def. Amélie Mauresmo 7-6 (7-5), 6-1
Q. Bethanie Mattek, who is your next opponent, she's into fashion, too, in a way. I was wondering, when she was wearing all those, let's say unusual costumes on court, whether you thought to yourself, This is my kind of person?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Actually, I did. I mean, granted they were unusual, but I really appreciated her courage, you know. Her personality is so good, and the courage you have to wear something like that in fashion goes a long way to me.
Q. What do you think of her as a player?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I've played her before. Venus has played her before. I think it was a while ago, but I remember she gave me a good match. I thought, you know, it's good to see some more American players playing well.
So it's good that I've played her before.
Q. How about what you just said about Americans. The American men didn't do well. You know, about having an all American match.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, it's a shame it couldn't have been later. But it's good, you know. Obviously she's a nice girl. I normally would like to see the best for her, but clearly I want to be able to win, too, so...
Q. Do you ever get surprised when other top players go down, like Sharapova and Ivanovic?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, not really. I really mostly focus on me and my results. Try pretty much not to go down myself.
Q. The whole thing of great players coming into tournaments and losing early, and it's happened to you, to Venus, to them. Your thoughts on why it can happen.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, everyone seems to be out to win these days, and no one seems to be, you know, just giving away matches. Everyone wants to beat a top player.
It's always been that way for me. Whenever I go out to play everyone wants to win. They seem to bring their A game against me. I'm kind of used to that.
I guess when you get to be a top ranked player it gets to be more like that.
Q. You had a string of slams in a row. Now it seems like it's tougher to pull that kind of string off. What else do you think might account for that in the women's game?
SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, just staying injury free. You know, it's hard to play so much and not be injured. Very few people can do that.
Q. In pro tennis there are not only injuries but the tough schedule and tough losses that you have to face. Of those three things, what do you think is the toughest?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think they kind of all go hand in hand. The tough schedule goes with the injuries. The more you have to play, the more injured you become. And the traveling is not easy.
But it's a great opportunity for me. I mean, this is a wonderful sport. I get to travel all places. For instance, I saw the Taj Mahal. I probably would have never seen it if I hadn't been a tennis player. And I saw the Wall.
Q. The Great Wall of China.
SERENA WILLIAMS: The Great Wall of China, thanks. My dream has always been to see the Seven Wonders of the World.
Q. What were your thoughts about the Taj Mahal?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It literally took my breath away. When I first saw it, it took might breath away. It was beautiful. It was really beautiful.
Q. We're on course for an all Williams sisters final. Would you look forward to playing big sis in another Williams final?
SERENA WILLIAMS: That would be an ultimate goal. Right now I'm just taking my next match, Bethanie Mattek, who is going to be pumped to be this far. She's been playing better tennis and better tennis.
Q. When you've won your slams, you've probably peaked at different points in the slam. Is there generally a point during the slam when you begin to hit your peak for that final run to the championship?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, you know, you just start playing every match better and you start focusing in, don't get excited about a little win, just stay focused for the whole two weeks. That's pretty much how I've been able to do it.
Q. Are you there yet?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I feel like I am, but I'm just taking it one match at a time.
Q. Since you won the Australian 2007 you haven't gone beyond the quarterfinals at any of the slams. You've had some injuries. Do you put a lot of pressure on yourself now that you have to get past that? Are you really thinking about that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't keep up with those stats. I definitely do put pressure on myself, but not to get past the quarterfinals or anything, just to win and do well. I've been trying not to put so much pressure on myself.
Q. Do you remember what it was like when you won your first major as a young player and then went to the next major, what that felt like?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, it was about three years ago (laughter).
Yeah, it was exciting. I mean, I won the US Open first, so I had a few months to get ready for the Australian. So, yeah, I don't remember much.
Q. Did you feel extra pressure or extra excitement that you were going to win?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I felt like I would win, and I felt like, you know, I could do well. Yeah, it didn't work out.
Q. Justin Gimelstob, your teammate at the Kastles, had a few comments this week for some of the female players on the tour. What did you make of those?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I haven't seen those comments.
Q. He called Anna Kournikova a bitch and said Miss Vaidisova was very well developed. He called another female player a sex pot.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Who was very well developed?
Q. Vaidisova. Is that the kind of thing you want to hear coming from another professional?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think that those comments probably aren't necessary. And being pro women's rights, you know, I just think we've come farther than to be referred to you know, I don't cuss. Unless you see me on the court, but traditionally I don't use that language.
But Anna is a great girl. For anyone to say that about her is kind of you know, what can I say? It's not professional. You know, it's just totally uncalled for. I mean, unless you really know these people, you talk to these people, you never know what people go through. It's not good to say those things about people.
Q. Is it the kind of thing that makes you think twice about playing beside him in Washington?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I haven't heard about it till now.
Q. But is it?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I haven't heard about it till now (smiling).
Q. When you're playing with your sister in doubles it isn't all business. You might have a conversation about where you're going to eat or whatever. Can you recall maybe the most unusual conversation you've had with Venus in the middle of a doubles match?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I mean, gosh, we talk about boys. We're like, Okay, what do you want to do? I'll tell her like, Okay, one time I met this guy...
I mean, then we'll talk about random things. We hardly ever talk about tennis. We just talk about you know, gosh, sometimes I'll talk about Aneras. Yesterday I was talking about Aneras and I was laughing really, really hard.
Q. Between points?
SERENA WILLIAMS: This happened on the changeover. Sometimes it does happen between points. We try to play serious doubles now. We try not to have too many of those conversations any more.
Q. Do you stay together or have separate lives when you're at the tournament here?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, we definitely stay together. We're roommates. It's pretty cool.
Q. You mentioned that Jehovah's Witnesses don't vote. Presuming you win the upcoming US Open tournament and on that Saturday night there's someone to present you with the trophy, would you rather have it be Senator McCain or Senator Obama?
SERENA WILLIAMS: What a question. I couldn't answer that. I mean, I would have to listen to each of their debates and see what is what. But you can't trick me.
Q. How would you sum up Serena Williams' ideal man? What kind of qualities would he have to have?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Gosh, I would have to say someone who is really close with their mom, because I think that builds a good relationship with me. That's just what my mom said. And, uhm, someone that's nice and you can dance with and laugh with. I think that's really important, because I laugh a lot.
Q. The match today, two ex champions. Do you have any thoughts of Mauresmo? How would you assess the entire match?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I have a lot of respect for Mauresmo. I guess she just had her appendix removed not too long ago. I think she's playing unbelievable tennis. To win Wimbledon at any point in one's career is the highlight of one's career.
I love playing her. We always have a good match. She has a very different game, a very different style. I think we bring our best tennis with each other.
Q. It was mentioned earlier the guys haven't performed too well here. What is your spin on that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, uhm, American guys? I think Andy did great. You know, I just feel like he ran Tipsarevic, I can't believe he wasn't seeded. You know, I think James, he also played a guy who's done well, especially on the grass. It's a totally different game, so we'll be back.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thursday, 26 June 2008


V. WILLIAMS/A. Keothavong
7-5, 6-2
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Venus.
Q. You have just played Britain's top woman's player. Do you think Great Britain is getting better?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I played two really great girls in the first two rounds, and they were very challenging. So I think it will be great for Wimbledon and great for British tennis if they would continue playing as they did here. So it looks really bright.
Q. Marathon first set. Did you think it would be over very quickly after the first two games?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, after the first two games I was definitely feeling good, but no match is predictable. I do like to -- obviously everyone, I like to have it go my way and I'm glad that it did go my way, but that's not necessarily exactly how I planned it.
Q. Your mom told me she thought you probably weren't all that happy with the way you played, and that you need to tighten up things, that you're going to have to work on certain things. Do you feel that way, and what do you think you have to work on? Or did mom say the wrong thing?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I mean, I think that every match is a little different in the slams. Personally, I try to prepare, so that way it's exactly how I'm planning, but it isn't always. So I just take that into effect, and I don't weigh too much into every match.
It's just about getting through to the next round.
Q. Serena and you come in at Wimbledon, regardless of whether you're playing really well before in the year, not so well, kind of mediocre, you are always considered the favorites, the two of you, you're the really strong favorites. How does that make you feel, and is that how you think you both perceive yourselves?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think that we really have a positive image for ourselves, which is always important. I think no matter what tournament we play, we always feel like we have the opportunity to really do something great. So we definitely bring that self-confidence wherever we go.
Q. Do you feel it more here? Obviously, this has been Williams ownership for most of the last eight years.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Maybe a little more here, yeah.
Q. How much change, if any, have you noticed in the grass in the time you've been here coming as far as the speed of the rallies?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think the grass is getting a little slower. But it still bounces low, especially if you put a certain spin on the ball or not a lot of pace. Every year you have to figure out how it's playing.
Q. Do you have a preference as to faster, slower? Does it matter to you?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Each one has its challenges, I guess, and grass, in general, you might not get a good bounce. So either way you got to be on your toes and ready for the unexpected.
I don't necessarily have a preference.
Q. You got the unexpected in the second set. You seemed to take a nasty smack in the face from one volley from Anne. Did that hurt? Were you a bit surprised she played that shot?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I mean, it hurt. This is tennis. You've got to be ready for whatever, so...
Q. It looked like you almost didn't see her (raising hand apologetically).
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I saw her, yes.
Q. How much more are you going to have to improve to go all the way in the tournament?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm looking to improve every round, so that's really not a huge secret.
Q. So how far off do you feel you are at the moment?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I mean, I'm not really taking a measurement. I'm just playing day to day. Then as things come up, if I need to make a correction or make a change, in the middle of the match, in the middle of the tournament, that's what I do.
So it's not really a number.
Q. Going back to when you got hit, what were you thinking at that moment and what were you thinking about your opponent?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I don't know -- what was the score, 4-2 or something? So I think I was just looking to solidify my break and close out the match more than anything.
I've hit some people, too. That's just how it goes sometimes.
Q. Did you think there was anything more there?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I don't think so. I don't think she was aiming for me. And if she was, she didn't tell me about it. I don't think she was aiming for me.
Q. Did you see what happened in yesterday's Ivanovic match when she saved a match point on a net cord?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I wasn't watching, so...
Q. Have you ever had a net cord decide a very important point in a match for you?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I need to get a little luckier first, so...
I'm working on it.
Q. You and Serena often talk about what's great about having a sister on the tour. One would imagine there has to be some kind of downside to that. What would that be, if somebody asked you?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think the downside to having a sister on tour is she's just as good as you are. If she's that good, you have to figure out a way to beat her. That's probably the only downside of it.
Q. So far you've had a bee attack you, a tennis ball in the head. Are you worried what might come next?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Whatever comes, I still manage to get through. So it would be a really nice trend, you know, to keep going through.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Saturday, 28 June 2008


Venus Williams def. Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez 6-1, 7-5
Q. Satisfied with that?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I was happy with that one. The first set was pretty clean. The second set she just changed her strategy, started playing better, and got that break back. Played aggressive to get the break back.
You know, I was pretty happy because she started putting some pressure on. I had some good answers.
Q. The service ace to finish it off. Did you look up at the board to see how fast it was?
VENUS WILLIAMS: How fast was it?
Q. 127.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Okay.
Q. Which I think might equal your best. How important is that power to your game?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I mean, if I don't have the power that I have, then I get a lot closer to average. I think the power with my movement, and obviously with my strokes adds a ton to my game. It's a real blessing. Yeah, 127's a good way to end it.
Q. Do you and Serena have contests to see who's fastest?
VENUS WILLIAMS: If she did break my fast serve, then I would definitely be trying to break it.
I'm actually never really trying to serve that hard, if that makes any sense. It just comes big. It's just how I serve. It's just me, so...
Q. Big chances for both of you now in this tournament.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, the chances were wonderful, you know, from the beginning, from Round 1. That's how we see it. The more we progress, obviously the closer it gets.
But I know personally I'm really focused on my next round.
Q. You ran through the first five games in 17 minutes. Then did she just pick up her pace? All of a sudden you get broken and are trailing. What happens there?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I just knew that whenever I had a chance to serve for it, I was just was gonna serve it out.
I was, you know, disappointed not to have that chance at 5 4. She just hit a lot of good first serves, a lot of good first volleys. When that ball's bouncing low and I'm having to hit up, she has a good chance to hit a good volley.
She just really made her shots, and I think that's what counted. She changed the strategy, made her shots, and that was good for her.
Q. You've been such a clear spokesperson for equal pay and also for gender equality. The commentator Justin Gimelstob has made some very controversial comments about Kournikova, Vaidisova, women in general. What are your thoughts about those?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I heard about it. You know, I don't know that much about it. I played mixed doubles with him and won some slams. Came close to winning here.
I don't know in great detail what the whole issue is, but I've heard that he issued an apology and is donating some money to I think, the women's sports foundation, what have you.
So I think that we should accept his apology and allow him to move on and continue to contribute to tennis.
Q. You and Serena reached four majors in a row. A lot of big players have struggled here. Is it getting harder to have that kind of consistency in women's tennis?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Four majors in a row?
Q. You and Serena were in four majors in a row.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Finals, you mean?
Q. Correct.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Okay. Is it difficult?
Q. Yes.
VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm not sure what the challenge is for the next player. My challenge in my career has been my injuries. That has been, you know, my major problem. It hasn't always been easy coming back. It's not always easy working hard. Sometimes it's not easy even figuring out what's wrong.
So that has been challenging. I'm just praying. I want to be healthy. So that way if I lose, at least it's because I lost, and it wasn't because I wasn't feeling good or unhealthy or struggling.
Q. Do you think the tour is deeper than it was five or ten years ago?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think all the girls have desire. I think they all want to be No. 1, no matter what her ranking is, no matter what her name is. I think that it's good to have competition. I love a challenge, personally.
I think it's nice to see everyone playing better, and that's good.
Q. It's not been the best of weeks for American men. Do you feel the pressure on your shoulders to try to deliver in the women's?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, actually not. But it hasn't been. I'm always rooting for the fellow Americans. We just aren't so lucky right now. But maybe soon.
Q. Do you know what's going wrong?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I don't.
Q. Do you think if you did know what was going on you would be paid a lot?
VENUS WILLIAMS: If I did know what was going wrong I don't even know if I would if it would be the right thing for me to call up somebody and say, Hey, look, I saw what you were doing. Don't do it any more. Got to just pay attention to what's happening in my own camp.
Q. You were talking about staying healthy, which of course is the main object of every athlete. When you go out to practice, are you worried that all of a sudden it may show up again, or are you in good enough shape with physical therapy, et cetera, where you feel confident it won't happen?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I mean, pretty much the only things that you can do in practice would be like to, you know, blow your ankle or your knee, and I'm not too worried about that. But when there is a problem, I have to be smart about how I'm practicing.
In the past, I had the tendency to practice till it hurt too much to continue, so now I know, it starts hurting, stop. But that's only been the last few months. I'm getting wiser.
Q. You obviously enjoy doubles a lot. But when you're playing singles, what is the dynamic and what is the appreciation of that one to one competition, and what do you enjoy most about it?
VENUS WILLIAMS: What I enjoy most about the singles is all the room that you have. In singles, even if I hit not the best shot, I'm pretty confident I'm going to run down that next shot. On the run, I feel like I'm just as good as standing still.
In doubles you don't have as much space. If you don't hit the best shot you're in trouble. Put your partner in trouble, too. So I think that's probably the biggest challenge.
Q. And how about the competitive aspect? What do you appreciate most about being in competition against just one other person? What do you thrive with most in that aspect of it?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I like that I'm in control of exactly what's happening. I do like that. I definitely feel very liberated in singles. Sometimes in doubles I feel a little like closed in, if that makes any sense.
Q. Tennis players have to deal with three major hassles in a way: There's those devastating losses that come, incredible travel, and then injuries. Can you compare them in any way as obstacles in your career?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Wow, injuries, yeah.
Q. Travel and tough losses.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Tough losses. For me, tough losses just make me go work harder, so I can deal with that. I think if you get tough losses four or five years in a row, never get a win, that can becoming a complex. Thankfully it's not mine.
The travel, I mean, this year, at the beginning of the year I was everywhere. I was in Australia, and then the Middle East, then Bangalore. Then it was like, no more long trips. It was too much.
So probably the injuries are the toughest because it's out of your control. I think a lot of athletes, we are very controlling and high achievers. When there's something out of your control you just can't accept that, and that's the hard part.
Q. In terms of the travel, do you sometimes wake up and have no idea where you are?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I usually I don't know the day. Like today I didn't know it was Saturday. I just knew it was third round. That's what it's all about (laughter).
Q. You've looked fabulous all week in your EleVen dresses. Is it exciting wearing your own creations at the world's biggest tournament?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, it definitely is. I love EleVen. EleVen is my baby. It's not even a year old. We have a funny little shirt. It's like "EleVen since '07." It's really only been out like about eight months, so it's pretty exciting.
I love what I'm wearing here, and I'm looking forward to just being really creative off of the court. That's what I do.
Q. Don't you think that women tennis players should go back on tennis and less fashion, because that may be the reason why so many failed this year, Sharapova among others?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think women in general, we like fashion. It's a huge industry, I think, for the athletic companies. It's always getting more competitive with the designs and the styles, and right now the trend is to do something different.
The trend in sporting right now is to take elements from ready to wear and incorporate them into athletic wear. So every company has to keep up, especially EleVen.
I think that's just really about business in general, and the product is that us women get to wear wonderful clothes. I think in the past, Billie Jean King and Rosie Casals, they wore wonderful things that brought a lot of attention to women's tennis, and that's what they needed at that time.
I don't think in any way that it subtracts from the competition level or how well we're playing. The fact of the matter is someone's got to win and someone's got to lose. Some days it's not who you think it's gonna be that's gonna be the winner.
Q. Has EleVen been going well in the States?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, it's going well.
Q. Given the difficulty of the sort of traveling that you do, could you tell us again why the Olympics means so much to you that you would make such a difficult trip and one so close to the US Open?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Right. Well, actually, like before the French I started realizing how scary my schedule was. I was going to be home about 11 days between, you know, Rome and the US Open. But that all got worked out when I lost early, so no worries now (laughter).
But, anyway, I love the Olympics. I love the thought of being able to win gold. It's just extremely special. It's beyond it has been beyond my dreams to play the Olympics. I always thought of winning here and then winning there, and competing there was really special.
It takes a while to set in. You know, a few years after you win you're like, wait a minute, this is my gold. Oh, my God, yes. So it's exciting.
 

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Monday, 30 June 2008


V. Williams def A Kleybanova 6-3, 6-4
Q. You must be fairly happy with the way your tournament's progressed so far. Haven't dropped a set. Going quite nicely.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I'm actually pretty excited. I did lose serve today. I was almost not about to lose serve. And I think that's four times this tournament. So I try to keep it to a minimum. That always helps. But, yeah, I'm happy with the progression. Every player's challenging. I didn't know what she was going to do. I'm very happy to have gotten through.

Q. What did you make of the top seeds dropping out, and how do you explain it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Because the reality is that every player is ready to play, especially at these slams. Everyone comes out with double vengeance, so you just have to be ready. Every match is not a given. The matches that you win, even if it's an easier score line, you do go out there and you work for it. So you just have to play better on that day.

Q. Were you disappointed to see that you were playing on Court 2?

VENUS WILLIAMS: You know, there's not too much that I'm going to say about that in press. I think that obviously, no matter where we play, we realize we have to play well. That's pretty much all I have to say.

Q. When you get the opportunity to play your sister, what are the pros and cons? What is the balance of excitement because it's just the two of you out there, versus the negative aspects?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I think the best part is that I love having her here and I'm always sad when she leaves and she's gone. It's not the same. I think that's the bad part of both of us not being here to the end. And the best part is that we're both in the finals. You know, both of us have an opportunity to live our dream, so for us it's a plus.

Q. What are your memories of what you last competed against one another here at Wimbledon in a final?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think I had an injury, but I still came really close to winning. I guess if I would have had that extra something I could have done it.
But ultimately it was an awesome time for us and our family, and I think also for tennis.

Q. How late this week will it have to be before it goes through your mind, if it's not already, that this could happen again, especially with all these other top players falling?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Uhm, I'm extremely focused at this point on the doubles, and, of course, tomorrow on my quarterfinal.
I realize that nothing is a given. If it was, then every single seed would be lined up ready to play each other now, but it's not.

Q. Can you understand if neutral outsiders, they worry if it brings out the best in each of you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I'm not really worried about that. No, not at all.

Q. Not your concern?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No.

Q. Can you see why to other people that might be the case?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't get all involved in that. That's not my everyday, wake up in the morning, like, Oh, my God, what is that person thinking? Definitely not.

Q. Do you think it brings out the best in you when the two of you play?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think that we both play really similar games, and I think that we play against each other a lot. So, yeah, it makes it easier for us to know who's going to do what. But at the same time, we both can pull a shot out of our, you know, anywhere. So we're both being on our toes for that. I'm mostly thinking about trying to win.


Q. When you saw that draw and you've been put on Court 2, the graveyard of champions, was that fear in your mind?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I've played a lot of matches out there, a lot of matches last year out there. The court does play differently than the other courts. For me it was just really focusing on that and taking that into effect when I was playing today, into account.

Q. On the scheduling, it may not be anything personal against you, but it seems some of the top women - Jelena Jankovic was on Court 18 - have to play out and around the courts, whereas certainly Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are never asked to leave centre and No. 1.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, you said it. It's true.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about your quarterfinal against Tammy. You've never lost a set against her in six previous matches.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Obviously she's playing well here. She's just marching through to the quarterfinals. I have not seen her play this year, but I have played her a number of times. I think I'll be more prepared as far as knowing how my opponent plays than my first four opponents. That makes it a little bit easier, I guess.

Q. It seems like at Wimbledon you manage your game and your emotions and your nerves better than you do in any other place. Can you just talk about that.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I just love playing here. I love it here. It's what I like best. So I think that helps, that I just love it here. It's just that simple.

Q. Game-wise, too. Last year you had some problems in the first week. This time you've had a couple sets that were fairly close, but it seems like you know exactly what you need to do at the right times. Can you talk about that.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I mean, Serena says all the time that if you pick a tournament to win it should be this one, she says. I wish I would have picked this one to win so many times. So I guess this is a tournament where I'm really, really go for it and really do what counts. So I think consciously and subconsciously, that's what it is.


Q. On your last match point you really took it to her. You came into the net. On the previous match points you've stayed back. She hit a couple big winners. Is that sort of knowing what to do at the right time and taking it to her in that situation?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Today, you mean?

Q. Yeah, today.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I mean, in that last game she did hit a couple winners. She brought the level of her game up. Obviously, she realized it was either then or not at all.
So it's nice playing, I guess, in some ways in that situation because the competition is what you practice for, what you've trained for. It's always even more exhilarating when you come through it. So for me it's just, of course, finding that balance of what to do and playing the ball.

Q. You mentioned you liked it here so much. Could you go into a bit more detail of what you do like.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I like the surface. I think I like the fact that this is the most important tournament in tennis as far as history and I guess prestige, and it's just wonderful to win here. This is the place to win, so I think that's really what it's all about. It's a nice and relaxing feeling actually being here, even though it's on the biggest stage.

Q. You spoke a minute ago about the similarities in your game with your sister's. How about on the other side? When you see Federer and Nadal, what impresses you most about the differences? If there are any similarities, what do you see as the similarities between those guys?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I think Federer is so confident, and he brings it out with him on the court. When it's breakpoint or game point he's got that edge because of that. And Nadal, I love his tenacity. He just never stops trying. It doesn't matter what point it is. He's just trying so hard, so I love that about him.

Q. Is there anything atmosphere-wise that you like about playing on Court 2, which is kind of a more intimate kind of setting?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm actually really tall, so I feel a little cramped (smiling). Will I have room to move my legs around?

Q. There's less of a back?

VENUS WILLIAMS: There's a lot of back. There's less side, yeah.

Q. The women's tennis this year at Wimbledon is just amazing. Are you excited about the depth in women's tennis?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm excited about my advancement, every step closer towards closer to the final. That's what I'm excited about. In general also I'm pretty excited at any tournament where I'm playing well. A little less focused on what my opponents are doing. Just more focused on my results.

Q. The crowds are going out to see the women. Like at 18 they were queuing up to get in there.

VENUS WILLIAMS: That's awesome. That's awesome.

Q. Do you and Serena sort of see like you're flying the flag for America against these eastern Europeans?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, we don't see it that way. No.

Q. How well are you playing compared to last year? At this stage, I think you weren't feeling too well.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Pardon me?

Q. Because you weren't feeling too well. There was a period last year where you weren't feeling too well.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, yeah, well, I like to think that's behind me and that I only feel great and awesome and only be healthy, only win from now on. But I've tried not to compare my game from this year to last year, 'cause obviously I was playing so well last year. To play at that level is tough, so every year's different, every opponent's different. I focus on that mission at that moment and not try to compare anything at all.


Q. Nadia is playing in your clothes. Do you find yourself pulling for her, pulling for the line?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, actually. I think she looks really good. So, yeah.

Q. So who gets the better outfit if you happen to play in the semifinals?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I think there's things that she feels comfortable wearing, so that was important because there were things I think that she didn't like as much. So I think that she likes what she's wearing now. In Eleven I love pleats, so pleats are always in the line. It's kind of a motif that's continuing. So she's in the pleats and I'm not, but, of course, throughout the year there will still be pleats.

Q. How much of your presence, your success here, is mental? You like the grass. All of a sudden does your whole mental outlook change when you come here and you feel much more relaxed and confident than other tournaments?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I mean, I probably feel more relaxed here. There's no super secret, I guess. By the time this tournament comes around it's also six months into the season, so kind of honing my game at this point. I think that's really a lot of it, too. By this point I really kind of worked out any errors. A lot of times I'm feeling healthy, or if I haven't felt healthy in the beginning of the year. I think a lot of times it just culminates here.

Q. We were talking about the rescheduling. Is it something you'll talk to the referee's office about?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, no, you guys want to know everything about that. Let's keep it on the real real. I'm here for the tennis.

Q. This is where you're being asked to play your tennis as defending champion.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm here for the tennis on all courts, so I'll be going back out on Court 2 to play my doubles. And I'm, yeah, hoping for a win then.
 

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Monday, 30 June 2008


Serena Williams def. Bethanie Mattek 6-3, 6-3
Q. Can you imagine the defending champion here at Wimbledon, Roger Federer, playing on Court 2?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I haven't seen him on Court 2 in, like, six years. So, no, I couldn't imagine.
Q. What are your thoughts on all three Williams matches today neither being on Centre or Court 1?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Initially I thought, for sure Court 2. You know, I'm here to play the tournament and just focus on winning my match more than anything, just trying to do well here. So that's really my main focus.

Q. Was there an explanation? Did they explain why they were putting you on Court 2? Was it a scheduling thing with you playing doubles also?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I haven't gotten an explanation. Granted, I do think it's weird, especially having a female champ who has won this tournament four times. I've only won twice. But, hey, that's not so bad (laughter). For the most part I think that's a question that will be best asked to the All England Tennis Club because I think they could address that better than what I would be able to answer that question.
Q. Is it a matter of just sort of implied disrespect being on Court 2? How familiar are you with the Graveyard Court thing, big players who have lost there?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I didn't think about that at all today. Again, I didn't do the schedule, so I don't know what the thought process was. Again, I thought it was granted, I thought it wasn't what I would have liked to see. But at the end of the day, I'm going to have to focus on winning my match. I don't want to go out there and lose because I'm angry that I'm on Court 2. I want to go out there and perform my best and be able to win.
Q. Did you care you're on Court 2?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Of course I cared.
Q. Did it bother you you were put on Court 2?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Initially I thought, Okay, is this the right schedule? I thought maybe there was a mistake. But, you know, I can't dwell on that. I have to really focus on winning. I have to focus on just doing the best that I can do whether I'm on Court 2 or Court 20.

Q. Does that give you extra motivation to win on that court?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think it definitely does give me extra motivation to win and to play well.
Q. What is the challenge of playing on Court 2?

SERENA WILLIAMS: The challenges of playing on Court 2? I don't think I've ever played a fourth round match on a court like that in my career. But I think as the tournament goes on, it gets a little slippery out there. But that's the only challenge I've had.
Q. The noise from other courts, the clatter from the dining room?

SERENA WILLIAMS: That doesn't bother me. I've done with a lot more. I've dealt with a lot more stuff. I didn't even hear any clattering or other noise at all.
Q. Does it feel more hemmed in? Do you feel you have the latitude to run and reach as you would on the show courts?

SERENA WILLIAMS: There's obviously more room on the show courts. But I think that I had a lot of room today to run and to spread out. And hopefully I'm not doing that much running.
Q. What point do you and Venus begin to sort of wink at each other, like We're getting pretty close to the final against each other?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, not until we're there. We're just really trying to stay focused. We both have some tough opponents coming into the quarterfinals. You know, I'm just trying to keep winning, to be honest.
Q. What do you remember most about the last time you did play Venus in a final here?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I told you that was a long time ago. I don't have a good memory. I need to get another memory. I'm desperate to get another memory (smiling).
Q. When you do play, what is the feeling of both of you being the only people on the court competing for a championship versus the difficulties?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I feel good. I mean, first of all, I feel good that I'm in the finals. Then I don't feel so good because I'm playing probably, for me, the toughest player in the draw for me to play. I mean, she's serving well, moving well, returning well. So this is always difficult.
Q. When you and Venus play, there are many similarities in the styles. On the other side, if it's a Federer/Nadal final, there are pronounced differences. When you look at them, what do you see is the biggest similarities and differences?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Between who? Me and Venus?
Q. Federer and Nadal.

SERENA WILLIAMS: I watch women's tennis (smiling).
Q. This is the first time in the Open era that none of the top three women seeds in a slam got to the quarterfinals. We're told it's the first time since 1927, if that's true, at Wimbledon. What do you make of all that?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I never thought about that until now. I feel like I should be one of the top seeds. So I feel like, you know, I'm living up to it, so...
Q. You don't think it's more depth in women's tennis; you think the seedings were a little bit off?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think there's a lot of depth. I actually never said that. I think there's a lot of depth in women's tennis. I mean, everyone, I've been saying for a while, is playing so well. You can't underestimate anyone, no matter who you're playing, wether it's the first round or you're in the finals. You have to play everyone with that same tenacity.
Q. Do you still feel you can become an exponentially better player?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Absolutely. I never felt like I reached my peak. And I feel like I can still get there.
Q. What sort of things do you work on?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I work on a lot of things. Most of all now I'm just working on, uhm, just being confident and staying relaxed.
Q. What are those differences and similarities between you and Venus when you play each other?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think Venus hits harder serves than I do. You don't have to nod your head that vigorously (laughter). I've tied her record. We have a tied record for the hardest serve, just so you know, which I'm really excited about (smiling). What else? We both run fast. I think the differences, I play more trick shots and dropshots and stuff like that. I don't hit as hard as V. Sometimes I'm watching her practice, I start thinking, Okay, I can play that game. But I feel like my game is really totally different than hers.
Q. Are you scouting each other when you play doubles?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No. I mean, like yesterday when we were practicing next to each other, I kept looking a little bit at her to see.
Q. You said you thought you should be seeded higher. Do you think they should do the seeding in a way more relating to performance on surface?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No. I meant by that I should be seeded higher, meaning I feel like my ability is better than what I'm ranked right now. I'm just trying to play the tournaments, just trying to do well consistently to get me where I think I should be.
Q. What memories do you have of Court No. 2 through the years? Do you remember any of the big upsets that occurred there, watching when you were a little kid? Is the mythology in your head at all?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Hmm. Again, I really don't have a good memory. But I've been I mean, I remember I played Jill Craybas on Court 2. I think I was destined to lose. It wasn't for me to win that year. That's pretty much all I remember about Court 2 (laughter).
Q. Do you feel sympathy for Jankovic, on Court 18 today, the No. 2 seed? Did you think that was strange?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I don't know. I didn't I really didn't even know. I'm really here to play my game. I had to play a tough opponent today, who was trying to win the match. So I really had to try to focus on that.
 

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Tuesday, 1 July 2008


Venus Williams def.Tamarine Tanasugarn 6-4, 6-3
Q. What's the situation with the hamstring? Is it the right one? When did you notice it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm fine. I mean, I'm walking around on two legs, doing good, so I'm not really concerned right now, no.

Q. Did it happen in that match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I mean, there's really nothing happening. I think just regular maintenance and I'll be fine I think for the doubles.

Q. Looked like you were limping off at the end of the match. A little bit of a slow pace.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I guess so. I mean, I just had to run on the last point, so I guess I was tired. I don't know. But I promise, I'm fine. Thank you for your concern, you guys.

Q. Can you say, was it the right that the temporarily bothering you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, the left.

Q. What are your thoughts on the match today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think it was a good match. Obviously she was playing well to get to the quarterfinals.
You have to play really well to get to the quarters of a slam. I think her game is really suited for the grass. Her serve is a slice that turns into you and it stays low. Her shots are really, really low to the ground. A lot of time I think I was battling just to stay down on the shots, and I felt good when I got one up in my strike zone.

Q. What do you think makes your game so well-suited for the grass?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Uhm, I think I have a lot of power, so it helps (laughter). Definitely the power helps, yeah.

Q. What are the other attributes of your play that really help when you play on this surface?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think that I'm aggressive, so that helps a ton. The ball's gonna go through the court if you're moving forward. My serve is very difficult to return on this surface. Once it bounces, it's just going even faster maybe. So I think all those factors help a ton.

Q. And how does your serve compare with Serena's?

VENUS WILLIAMS: We're different. I serve big almost every time. She goes for a little more placement. She might mix it up a little more. I mix it up, too. But I serve a little bigger, I think, more consistently.

Q. You were serving bigger than you normally do. Cracking the ball today. Is this one of those days where you started out and the rhythm felt so good you just pumped up the volume on the serve?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think my key has been serve in this tournament. Any time I'm down breakpoint, double break or something like that, my serve gets me out of it.
The challenge this year has been the sun. I've never had to serve in the sun at this tournament. I've played every day at noon or 1:00 and it's always cloudy, so I'm over there trying to serve. I can't see the ball after I serve. I'm blinded, so it's pretty interesting.

Q. Did you feel the one place where you somewhat got into trouble when you had some odd points were when you let her play into the points and you had longer rallies?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I mean, she was good off the rallies. You know, she was hitting the ball really deep, and then they were just going high and then it bounces in on the line. She was moving the ball around very well. I think that's what got her obviously to the quarters here. So I think I have a little bit more I think in my game than maybe the players she played before, and that helped me get through it.

Q. I believe she converted just one of 10 breakpoints. Could you speak about the mental process you go through when you are facing a breakpoint? Because it does seem when you must you absolutely produce an ace or something unreturnable.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I really expect that from myself. I expect when times are tough to really get going. That's, you know, been the basis of my game I think for a long time. Just in those breakpoints you've got to play better, so I'm really blessed to be able to have a serve to get me out of those issues.

Q. You had the one really long game in the first set. When you came through that, do you think that was a key to the match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think that was a good game in the match, because if I would have lost serve there I would have been disappointed because I'm not used to losing serve twice in a row. It would have been a little bit different, I think, the dynamic. You know, I was a little bit disappointed to be facing those breakpoints. But it's important to not think about the past, but look forward and think about the present. So that helped me in that game.

Q. You've won a lot of different tournaments at a lot of different places. Do you think a person has a special relationship with a place, with a tournament?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think so. I think some players have played well in different places. Obviously for me it's here, and that's awesome. I think here and probably the US Open are my best slams. And I don't mind. Those are the two biggest ones, so it's good for me.

Q. At the beginning of the year is this the tournament you are looking for? You are already thinking during the other tournaments of Wimbledon? In Rome you were playing aggressive on the net a lot. Is it a process to Wimbledon?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, not really, because it's so far away at the beginning of the year. No, not really. I think my dad thinks that way, though, to be honest. He's always talking about that.

Q. Have you and Serena consciously decided not to talk about a final until you get there?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, 'cause we don't really talk about tennis a lot. The most we talk about tennis is when we're on the doubles court. We discuss the strategy and pump each other up. But, no. We want to deserve to be there. We have to play the best tennis to deserve it, so our aim is just to play better than our opponents and really deserve to be there.

Q. What are your thoughts on the Dementieva? What is most challenging about her game?

VENUS WILLIAMS: She tries really hard. She fights really well. She has good movement. I think that's really some of her strengths. And she's a very consistent player, so I think that that's what she does well.

Q. Do you have any special empathy, given her difficulties in closing out matches that are pretty well-documented? In fact, when you were out there today, she had great trouble closing out her match. Do you recall some of the problems she's had?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I really haven't watched her that closely.

Q. With the top four players going out, is there a feeling among you and your sister that the two of you can back to the very top of the game and perhaps dominate as you did a few years ago?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I think it doesn't matter for us how the next player's playing, we believe that we're the best on the court at that moment. So it doesn't matter who's in the tournament or not in the tournament. This tournament or any other tournament, it doesn't play a factor in how we feel about ourselves.

Q. A lot of people are making you favorite. Do you feel favorite now for this tournament?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It's nice to be favorite, that's for sure. But I'm gonna go out there and work just as hard as if I was or if I wasn't the favorite.

Q. Tomorrow is going to be the 20th anniversary of Steffi Graf's first win here in Wimbledon. You played her in her last appearance in Wimbledon. What do you remember of her or that match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I missed this volley, forehand volley. Yeah, I didn't know that much at the time. It was tough. I was very young and hadn't played a lot of tennis. I mean, I think I was 19, but it was really only my second full year on the tour 'cause I went to high school and stuff. I learned my lessons, and by the next year I won.

Q. Which comes first, proving you're the best grass court player at Wimbledon or proving you're the best grass court player in the family?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't have anything to prove at all. I'm very happy and blessed as a person in my life. I think just to be happy and healthy enough to be here playing, that's really all it's about.

Q. After the US Open last year you had some medical issues. Your mother talked about getting you up to someplace for a complete workup. What have you found out about your body and what you need to do to stay completely healthy?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I need to pray continuously and hope for the best. I don't know. I've been really unlucky. I just want to feel good all the time, just be healthy. That's all I want.

Q. Any repeat of the anemia that you had at the US Open?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Has there been a repeat? I mean, it's just something that you have to always be working on. It's not overnight cure.

Q. Walking upstairs, there are pictures of the past champions. There's 2000, you. Eight years is a long time to dominate in tennis, isn't it? Are you a little surprised that you're still up there, having won here is 2000 and back in 2008 with a chance to win?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm very excited, surprised. I'm not sure what that girl in 2000 was thinking. I think she was reading like a Harry Potter book. You know, the 27-year-old Venus also read the Harry Potter book, so not much has changed. It's still good times, and I love that.
 

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Tuesday, 1 July 2008


Serena Williams def. Agnieszka Radwanska 6-4, 6-0


THE MODERATOR: Serena Williams for you.


Q. It's all going according to plan at the moment, cruising through this competition.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm trying. Just trying to peak at the right moments: not too soon, not too late.

Q. Did you watch Venus and how she overpowered her opponent?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I saw Venus' match. The match before me went a little bit longer than I expected, so I did get a chance to see a little bit of her match. Watching the competition a little bit.

Q. She said you don't really talk to each other about tennis apart from when you're playing doubles. Is that right?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, we don't necessarily talk about tennis too much. We talk about everything else. Lately on the doubles court we've been really talking about strategy. I think it's paying off.

Q. There are pictures of all the former champions. Venus won eight years ago. You won five years ago. Do you say, My, God, it's already five years? Did you think you would be here again five years later, the two of you dominating the way you did then?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I always expect to be here. I always expect the best. Time flies, you know. I feel like 2001 was just like two years ago, but it wasn't.
So time's flying.

Q. She was talking about the girl in the beads and reading Harry Potter when she won here in 2000.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I kind of just read the last one, so... I think I need to grow up.

Q. In one way or another, do you think the name "Williams" is going to be on the trophy this year?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I surely hope so. I've got to say that I believe so. I'm just fighting to win my, you know, next match.

Q. You will be playing Zheng Jie of China. Do you have any thoughts concerning your opponent?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I've been watching her play. I think she's doing a fabulous job, and I don't think it's luck, her doing so well. I think she's a really good player.
I'm definitely not going to underestimate her, try to fight, do the best that I can do.

Q. What did you expect from Radwanska? Do you feel that was your most dominating performance so far here? Do you feel you stepped it up a notch?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I definitely felt I stepped it up a notch, mostly with my serve. I expected Radwanska to get a lot of balls back, like she did, and make some good shots, like she did, you know, hit an extra ball, like I had to do out there.

Q. Do you think you and Venus can become No. 1 and 2 again? Is that still your target?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, my target is obviously to be the best in my sport. I don't really know what her target is.

Q. You were way down the rankings only a year or so ago. Are you amazed how quickly you've come back up?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, no. I mean, I have the potential I think to play with anyone. I'm just trying to stay focused, you know, focus on the shot and focus on my match, just focus on tasks at hand.
I think that really helps me to propel myself from ranked low into being ranked higher.

Q. Does this surface demand more aggressive serving and returning from you, in particular?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think it does. I mean, the ball, especially later on in the week, the balls get so low and you never know what kind of bounce you're gonna get. You kind of got to just be aggressive, I think.

Q. There's a fine line between being aggressive and also keeping the ball inside the court. How do you work with that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, it's important to definitely stay aggressive, but I guess add spin and keep it in the court. The longer you play, the more important and the more easier it is to do that.

Q. Do you feel the serve click in today? Earlier in the tournament you said you served well in practice but not in the matches. Was today the match where it really came together?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I felt my serve really clicked. I think that was the turning point of the whole match. I just really served a lot of first serves.
I mean, I placed 'em well. You know, this is how I'm used to serving. Just like I want to keep this serving up.

Q. If you and Venus advance to the final, sharing a flat, what is that breakfast like on Saturday morning?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm going to sabotage her and eat all the breakfast. I'll eat all the Wheaties so she doesn't have any chance, if we get that far.

Q. The Bryan brothers focus on tennis, but they have a sense of knowing what the next move is. Do you have the sense with Venus, ESP, or is it more clunky?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think I do have that sense, but just because I've practiced against her so much and I know her game and I watch her game and I kind of know what's going on. You know, she's an opponent. You scout your opponents.

Q. Unlike some other slams, this one you haven't really been able to go into wild celebrations because you beat Venus in the finals. Obviously when you beat your sister you don't want to go too crazy.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I never went too crazy after any of my Grand Slam wins. I've kind of always just been kind of reserved. After I win I feel like I have another match, so I'm always still focused. It's a weird sensation.
So, yeah, but it's always good to win. There's nothing like that.

Q. Do you remember when she beat you here for the first time? You were none too happy. She put her arm around you and consoled you.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I hate to lose.

Q. Is that a bittersweet memory?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I feel kind of weird. Like why was I crying? It wasn't that serious. I think it was in the semifinals. I should have been happy. But I felt like I was playing so well that year. I don't know. I guess I just didn't want to lose.

Q. Can a Williams win the summer slams, here and in Beijing and at the US Open?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, we definitely hope so. Right now I'm focused on my next opponent and Venus is focused on hers. That's the only thing we look forward to next.

Q. Does it hurt you more to lose to Venus than to others, or does it hurt less?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It definitely hurts less to lose to her. I mean, I'll be bitter, but at the end of the day it's a lot easier to losing to someone that I feel I should normally beat.

Q. Do you see your sister as the favorite for this tournament now?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I would never sit here and say she's the favorite when I'm still in the draw. What are you on?

Q. The oddsmakers are 11‑5, 13‑5. She is the favorite slightly.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, well, she won last year. Maybe that has something to do with it. But I'm not going to sit here and say she's the favorite when I'm still in the tournament. That's not me. I always believe that I'm the favorite. Even if I'm not the favorite, I'm always going to believe that I am.

Q. When you come in here, you're seeded 6 and 7, everybody is talking about other players, the belief that you can win all the time has driven you forward?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I mean, I always believe I can win. When I lose no one is more disappointed than I am.
I feel like I've been working really hard lately. I'm just waiting on the results to come. I had some really good results earlier this year. You know, I just was waiting.
I feel like, you know, I deserve this, because I don't think anyone's been working harder than me, except for maybe Venus. I mean, that girl works even harder than I do.
I just feel like it's about time.

Q. Considering the weather here so far, do you feel like that raincoat was a little bit in vain?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I feel like I should make one for next year because it's been a good omen for the weather.

Q. Do you feel you're more competitive than Venus, or do you feel like you each show it in a different way? You express it a lot more. How would you explain each of your competitive spirits?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I'm definitely more expressive with my competitive spirit. Venus is definitely competitive, but more low‑key, where I'm more out there.

Q. Was it like that when you were young, playing games as little girls?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It's kind of always been like that. She's always been a little more quiet and I've been a little more outgoing personality‑wise.

Q. If you could have one of Venus' characteristics or qualities, what would it be?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Wow, I would have her legs. She has the sexiest legs.
 

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V. and S. Williams Interview - 2 JulyWednesday, 2 July 2008

Venus and Serena Williams def. Bethanie Mattek and Sania Mirza, 6-4, 6-3
Q. How would you describe the relationship between you and the bond you two have?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I think we have a great relationship. We really support each other and we're there for each other no matter what.
I think that's what sisters are about, so we definitely are role models for each other. We're extremely motivated by each other, win or loss, on or off the court.
Q. Serena?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I completely zoned out. I don't even remember the question.
Q. How would you describe the relationship between you and the bond the two of you share?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I just think our relationship is just really close. Obviously a sisterly relationship. Just we're like two peas in a pod.
Q. What inspires you most that you see in Venus?
SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, just everything that she does inspires me.
Q. And, Venus, about Serena?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I think she's really fearless, and I learned a lot from her on that.
Q. Venus, if you could sit back and get one characteristic or attribute from your sister, what would that be?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think she has a real joy for life, and I think she really does that really well. I would totally do that, if I could.
Q. Venus, do you still feel a lot like an older sister? You're sort of equal in your tennis world, but do you still feel like big sister over your little sister?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, absolutely. That's my job. That's a huge part of my life, is being a big sister. I love that job. It makes me really proud. I'm always happy when I can help out. It's definitely one of the joys of my life.
Q. Do you give advice, solicited or unsolicited?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, I do give advice. It doesn't matter, we laugh about everything and anything. It's more about happy advice.
Q. Do you think it's more important for you to be a big sister because you're also a little sister?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, yeah, I guess so. I guess whenever I need a big sister I have one to go to.
Q. Serena, it's not always easy to be the second one, the younger one. Do you ever wish that you might be the older one?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, never. It's good being the youngest. You get away with a lot.
Q. Like what?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Whatever I want, I get away with it, so...
You know, it's the best thing in the world.
Q. Do you feel like you were kind of the spoiled baby of the family?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Totally, for sure. It's perfect. I love it.
Q. Can you tell us a little about your domestic arrangement here. Are you cooking for each other, sleeping back to back? What's the setup?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, we just live together. We don't do any cooking. I usually do all the cooking in Florida for her.
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't cook.
SERENA WILLIAMS: But here we haven't done too much cooking. We just eat out every night, get take away, watch TV.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, you cooked last year more.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I cooked a lot last year, not this year.
Q. Do you generally go to dinner together or eat dinner together?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, not this year, because we've been playing doubles so late that our life is confined to the tennis center and to the house. But it's a privilege.
Q. When it comes to choosing a doubles partner, obviously you don't have a choice here, but the couple times you played mixed doubles, how have you got into playing with Justin Gimelstob or Max Mirnyi? How have those partnerships come together?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, we just look for people that we feel we would get along with both on and off the court, because it's important in doubles to have a great dynamic with that person.
And then I always look for someone who has a big serve so I don't have to work so hard. Hence, my doubles partner.
Q. I saw Serena's picture in the Olympic book that the ITF did as an ice skater. Why did you choose not to be a part of that project?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I was honestly so busy, I had no free time. I was happy that Serena was in the book.
Q. What would you have picked as a sport if you had a choice?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. A diver.
Q. You mentioned sometimes you get take away. What's your favorite take away this year at Wimbledon?
SERENA WILLIAMS: This year we've been eating a lot of Chinese food. Just lots of, you know, chicken and rice, so...
Q. What do you learn from playing doubles together? Do you feel like you learn a lot about each other's single's games, too, for when you play each other?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think the doubles gets us really amped for the singles, and the next day we're all tuned and ready to go. And I think that we just we love playing doubles.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think the doubles I think for me it helps my singles. I feel like I'm not necessarily out there scouting her game for singles although maybe I should.
It's like we're so intense and so in the moment because we really want to win the doubles and just win our matches and do well. So it's just like we're focused on that.
Q. Speaking of doubles, when it comes to that all important area of love life, who gives the best advice?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I'm a relationship expert, so... .
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm a certified relationship expert.
Q. So you're the go to person?
SERENA WILLIAMS: If they ever have a relationship problem, they always come to me.
Q. What has been the biggest challenge that tennis has provided to your relationship as sisters, do you think?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I think we don't get to see each other as much as we would like. If one of us is playing in another place or another person has a commitment with one of our sponsors that's a challenge, because we're really close and love to see each other. That's the biggest challenge.
Q. Serena, what would be your answer?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I would agree. You know, sometimes I go five, six weeks without seeing Venus, or I'll be home and then I'll leave the day she comes. We always miss paths. We're always playing or somewhere working.
Q. How is competition sometimes between each other challenging to your relationship, if at all?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, it hasn't challenged my relationship. I mean, we leave everything on the court. We're sisters the moment we shake hands.
Q. How do you think you've come by this? I don't get along that well with my sister, but you seem to be rather attached. We have more of the sibling rivalry. Is it something you think your parents did in raising you that you seem to have a healthy attitude?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think our parents did that. It's not only with us, it's all of our sisters. It's really just our whole life is surrounded by our sisters. That's just how it is for us, so we're blessed.
Q. Could you imagine where you would be in your lives if your father hadn't introduced you to tennis?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I would do whatever she would be doing, so...
VENUS WILLIAMS: I would have been in college, I would have probably been modeling, and then I probably would have been a music producer and a choreographer.
Q. Serena, you mentioned you normally get what you want in the family relationship. Do you think that will extend to the singles title?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm gonna hope so, but I doubt it.
 

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Thursday, 3 July 2008


Venus Williamsdef. Elena Dementieva 6-1, 7-6
Q. You were jumping up and down like a little kid out there. What was going through your mind?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I mean, I guess it started to set in a little bit about being in the final, which is always exciting. When I'm excited I always jump. That I guess will never change. But still I felt like the tournament was not over. I'm still in the doubles tomorrow and still have that final match to play, still one step further. So definitely would like to celebrate even more if I'm good enough to take that title.

Q. Do you ever feel like jumping up and down during the middle of a match? You're pretty contained until after you win.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I'm really contained. I mean, I don't fist pump a lot because I expect to win the point. It's not like if I win the point that it's like something that I wasn't expecting, so that's why I don't fist pump a ton. I mean, there's definitely some points where, you know, you need that point, and it's just exhilarating. For me, that's when the pump comes. But if I'm feeling up or down no one can tell. I can hardly tell, so... I just stay even-keeled no matter what.

Q. Serena said if you play she's gonna steal your breakfast. What kind of match do you expect between the two of you? She's leading 5-2. Looks like she'll win. What sort of tactics and strategy?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Uhm, obviously I rely on my serve a lot. When I get it going it helps me out a ton. I think being able to go out there and return really well will be key for me. I'll definitely use my speed. As always, to win a title, you've got to play aggressive and not just hope that your opponent misses. So all of those things.

Q. Force the issue?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Always. Every day.

Q. Will you and Serena talk any more or any less between now and the final than you would normally?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. Just normal.

Q. How have you seen her change in the last few years, both personally and as a player? What differences do you see in Serena?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I think that we share even more things together off the court. We definitely rely on each other's advice even more. You know, I was a big sister. I was kind of like, you never make mistakes. So then I think sometimes it put pressure on her like to be perfect, too. Not that I'm perfect. But I'm just really like a nerd (laughter). She wasn't exactly that way, so I think we both now know our roles in the relationship and we support each other.

Q. Away from the relationship, just her away from Venus as a person and as a player. Have you seen her mature?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think she's definitely matured in a lot of ways. I don't really worry about her that much. I respect the decisions that she's gonna make. I don't worry that she's gonna make a decision that I'm going to try to be trying to et her not to make. On the court, she's always Serena Williams. She's tenacious. She's got every shot no matter what. You can't bet against her.

Q. Several players have said they can't even imagine the idea of playing against a sister on a grand stage. What has it been like for you and for Serena and what strain, if any, has it put on each of you as individuals?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I don't think a lot of players could imagine it. I think that a lot of players never have a sibling that's a world-class athlete, and they also find themselves a world-class athlete at the top of their game. That's a blessing in itself. And I think, you know, if other people did find themselves in that situation, I think that they would be happy for their sister or brother or their sibling because they really would want to see them do well and that they wouldn't want to see them have a tough loss or not win a match that they should have won or have a close loss or anything like that. They'd want to see them go all the way. They would want to meet them. It's really just about wanting the best for your sister and just really wanting to see her do well - until she plays you, obviously (smiling).

Q. What factor in your mind is the fact that Serena beat you here the last two times you played in this situation?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Uhm, of course I respect her as a player more than anyone else on the tour. I think that's really the only factor that goes into it. I actually do respect her as a player.

Q. Some have noted, believe it or not, there's still a skepticism in the public in terms of one Williams sister playing another. Elena Dementieva just said that she felt the outcome of the final would be a result of a family decision. Could you talk to the public in terms of what happens when Venus plays Serena and whether there's any family decision, any discussion beforehand.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, the main thing is that I find the question pretty offensive because I'm extremely professional in everything that I do on and off the court. I contribute my best in my sport, and I also have a ton of respect for myself and my family. So any mention of that is extremely disrespectful for who I am, what I stand for, and my family. That's pretty much how I feel about the whole subject.

Q. I think Elena --

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm not talking about her. I'm talking about the question.

Q. I think he had it wrong. I think Elena didn't understand it. She was talking very complimentary about both of you. She said it's going to be a family decision, that someone in the family is going to win. I think it was a language issue. I don't think she was saying it was a family decision.

VENUS WILLIAMS: We need to move on from this subject because it's ridiculous.

Q. Venus, it's been five years since you and Serena have been in a Grand Slam final, primarily because of health issues and what have you. I wonder if you would take a moment and reflect on what it means, assuming she wins, for the two of you to get on to the very top of the tennis world once again?

VENUS WILLIAMS: At this point our main focus is obviously both of us was getting to the final. Then from there it's every Williams for themself. I mean, our goal is just to be healthy. I think if we can be healthy, then we can do well and continue to climb the rankings. So of course we believe we can be on top, but we just have to keep our fingers crossed, keep working hard, and go for it.

Q. Is it ever awkward when you're playing your sister and, like you said before, you don't want to see her down, you don't want to see her play poorly. If your sister is all of a sudden playing poorly against you, you're creaming her, do you ever feel sad for her?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, no. Not even when I was younger.

Q. You played her 15 times. Can you just talk about a couple of the moments or matches that most stand out for you.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Geez, where do I start?

Q. You started in Australia in '98.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. I mean, I remember the Australian Open final. I really played the best that I could and she was just better. I mean, there were a series of matches where I just -- she was just better than I was at that point, you know, on that day. She was definitely on a high. I had just came off of a couple years of just winning everything. I was tired. And then she had come off a couple years of not winning everything and she was more pumped. So it was kind of like this, you know, balance of her going up and me kind of being a little tired, a little burned out probably. But, you know, I think obviously playing here were some great finals. I think some of my best memories are here.

Q. Tomorrow night when you have finished on the doubles court, will you go your separate ways?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, we live together, so we'll go home together.

Q. Even though you're living together, will you spend the whole night together tomorrow night?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I mean, we both prepare in different ways. I usually read a book. She usually watches a video. I mean, just the normal. Just the same preparation.

Q. Do you say anything to each other right before? Is there something you always say to each other before you're going to play each other?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I mean, at that point there's no more advice. I'll give her advice for this match, but she's not gonna say, Okay, now make sure you play my forehand because, you know, my wrist has been hurting. You know, none of that.

Q. Can you imagine having a career on the pro circuit without Serena?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I don't think I'd be as good, because I was so inspired by her so many times. She really helped me to really be a fighter and to really dig deep. I think that's really what she gave me.

Q. It's no secret that your family came to tennis in a different way. You didn't play the juniors. Barring injuries, you've taken more time off, scheduled yourself better. A lot of people didn't do that. Yet you're 26, Serena is 26, and you're still in the thick of things. Is that an endorsement towards taking an unorthodox approach to the game?

VENUS WILLIAMS: We have really good genetic. I think it's all in the genes, to be honest. My mom and dad were really good athletes. I think it's just a blessing in the genes. I actually do think the time off did contribute. We didn't really start off very fast. All of it rolled in one.

Q. That first final at Key Biscayne seems so long ago. What do you recall about the tension, if there was any, before that match, then maybe the relief after the match was over?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I definitely wanted to win. I think that my family wanted me to win because I was the older sister. So they thought I should win this title because I was older, and then Serena would have a chance after. Personally that's what I felt. They didn't say anything. There have been other times where I felt like they felt like, Serena hasn't won, so it's her turn to win.

Q. It was like a coming out party for Serena?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Was it? I don't know, because she had been playing great tennis before that, so I guess it was just a way on the road to glory for her.
 

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Thursday, 3 July 2008


Serena Williams def.Jie Zheng 6-2, 7-6
Q. You looked as though, towards the end of the match, as you really want to win this now in case the third set gets dangerous. Were you feeling like that?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I definitely felt like I wanted to win it now, but at the same time I was ready for the third set. I felt like I would have had -- I would have had a lot of confidence going into the third set. Any other questions (laughter)?

Q. This will be the seventh Grand Slam final between you and Venus. Could you give us your reflections on sort the previous finals. There doesn't appear to be a classic final, Grand Slam final, between the pair of you.

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think you're stating opinions. I've had a very classic Grand Slam final against her at the Australian Open. It was three extremely tough sets. It was a long match. It wasn't very easy. And I think also at the US Open it was fast, but it was a very high-quality tennis. So I look forward to it.

Q. Now that you are in the final, do you think you really are going to steal Venus' breakfast?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm thinking about it. I really am. I obviously really, really, really want to win. But most of all, I'm gonna just try to stay focused.

Q. Which weaknesses will you be aiming to exploit?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, yeah, I don't talk about my opponent's weakness for fear she might read this interview.

Q. None of us can imagine what it's like to face a sibling with so much on the line. How do you pursue something you want so badly without thinking, at the same time, I'm denying that to my sister?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, it's easy, especially with sibling rivalry. It's like, you know, I personally want everything that Venus has. So, you know, she wins a trophy, I would desperately want it. I would be really, you know, eager to have it. We're good at this now. We just leave everything out on the court. This is the finals of Wimbledon. Who doesn't want it?

Q. How much is this just simply on serve and return?

SERENA WILLIAMS: It will definitely be -- I'll have to definitely come up with some big returns, as well as she. And definitely will have to serve well.

Q. Are you surprised it's been five years since you played a Grand Slam final against each other? And why do you think it's been five years?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I'm definitely surprised. It's definitely been a while. Unfortunately our ranking fell. We've been on the same side of the draw a few times. You know, I unfortunately lost a lot. But it's good. I mean, this is a new start for us.

Q. Is there any reason why it is at Wimbledon rather than the Australian or the U.S. or the French?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I lost in Australia in the quarterfinals, so it didn't work out.

Q. I mean you get into the finals together.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I mean, we've been in the finals at all four of the slams. Maybe in the US Open a couple times. Here a couple times, or three times now. So, you know, we've both been working extremely hard. It's just coming together.

Q. Will you discuss the final at all with your sister?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think we're both so elated to be here, and we're still in the doubles. Tomorrow we're going to be fighting to win our semifinal in the doubles, so that's the only thing on the schedule next.

Q. In what way has your relationship with Venus changed or evolved over the past few years that will make this easier to play her, for both of you to play your best tennis?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Actually, I think we've gotten closer in the past few years. We talk about a lot. We talk about everything more so I think now than we've done in the past. It's just gotten easier for me personally because I just realize that I want to win. Again, this is Wimbledon. If it was the US Open, it would be the US Open. This is a Grand Slam. This is history. We both are trying to make our mark.

Q. Venus started out on the circuit earlier than you. Do you remember in your early life when you first realized that you two could become the best players in the world?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I just always assumed we would be the best because we worked so hard. It was kind of like natural, like we just expected it.

Q. Having struggled so much with injury, how satisfying is it to be now in a Grand Slam final, looking very fit?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, it's really satisfying. I can't even begin to tell you. You know, it's just been a long time coming for me. I mean, I have won a couple Grand Slams in between, but I feel like now I'm just really fit and I'm just on the right level, you know, to continue to play tennis on a consistent basis and high quality on a consistent basis.

Q. Do you think the level has changed in the last few years? Do you think it's more intense?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I definitely think the players are more intense and everyone's traditionally (sic) just playing a lot better.

Q. Emotionally when you play her, do you feel any different? Because she's pretty contained when you play her. You against other opponents, you let out the big Serena yell. When you play her, you're either focusing more or you just don't want to scream?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, traditionally I haven't screamed as much when I played her. I don't know why. Maybe I just want to stay focused. I don't know what I'm gonna do. I just know I'm just gonna try to go out there and do my best.

Q. Are you just afraid she's going to yell back at you and say, Stop that screaming, Serena?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Venus is not a yeller at all. No matter what I do, she won't yell.

Q. What was the India match like?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh man, I wasn't fit at all. She wasn't fit. It was three tough sets. It was really intense. I was lucky to win, and hopefully I'll win again.

Q. It's 4-2 to her in Wimbledon titles. Do you think you still have it in you to finish with more titles than she does at Wimbledon, or would that matter to you?

SERENA WILLIAMS: God, of course. But right now, we're just talking -- we just go on a Grand Slam total (smiling). That's what counts.

Q. You've been in so many slam finals, is still very special when you walk out there, when you have the feeling? Today you won the semifinal, you know you're going to the final. Do you get that feeling in your gut thinking, Yeah, this is just fantastic?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I was especially excited today. I don't know why. I guess usually I am excited to get to the Grand Slam final. But today I was really excited because I feel like it's just coming together now. Like my game is doing better, as well. Like I was serving better and moving better. You know, so, I was just -- it's always exciting. I think anyone can say that to be in a Grand Slam final is great. I mean, everyone wants to take it to the next level.

Q. The top four seeds falling out early, did that make it any easier for you guys to get to this point?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I think it might have even made it tougher. When a top player goes out, it's like the spirit and the whatever in the locker room is like, Okay, I can -- the lower-ranked players are like, I can take a top player out, too. It's like it just keeps going on and on. When we're playing someone that isn't ranked as high, they're especially like, If these other top players went out, I can beat another top player. So it's like everyone is even playing better.

Q. Will it be more comfortable for you to basically not communicate a whole lot with Venus over the next day and a half? How are you going to handle that?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, no, I'll be fine. I mean, we're living together. It would have been kind of weird if we didn't talk to each other. Maybe I should try that. It will be like really intimidating or something (smiling).

Q. Did you watch any of her semifinal today?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I did. She was playing right before me. So I was kind of watching to keep the score, trying to warm up, as well.
 

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S. Williams / V. Williams interview - 4 JulyFriday, 4 July 2008

Serena Williams- Venus Williams def. Nathalie Dechy- Casey Dellacqua 6-3, 6-3
Q. Serena, how is your leg feeling now?

SERENA WILLIAMS: My leg is good. Yeah, it's really good.

Q. No problems in the course of that match for you?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I had no problems in doubles today, so that's really good news.

Q. Did your dad decide to leave today? If so, did he say anything before leaving about your doubles and your singles competitions?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, he went home. He always tries to give us the best of advice, so I'm sure he said something to Serena, I guess. She didn't tell me, but basically he's coach all the way through.

Q. Serena, anything you'd like to share?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No. He said he did his job and his job was done, so I guess he's feeling good. No matter what happens he's for sure going to be a winner.

Q. Where will he be when you're playing the championship match, if you know?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I assume he'll be in Florida, because I knew he flew back to Florida. I don't know if he'll watch it, but I know he'll be there.

Q. You've dominated this tournament. Two finals tomorrow and day after tomorrow. It's the first time in 42 years since Althea Gibson. In this tournament there are no African American players except for you. What do you think of it? Do you have any idea?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, we just try to celebrate world spirit, so we feel like we are carrying the banner for good people around the world.

Q. Do you think there's anything that can be done to encourage more African American players on to the tour?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Hopefully Serena and I will keep winning and that will be some encouragement to all good people.

Q. Can you recall an occasion when you've played doubles together the day before you're due to play each other in a Grand Slam final? Can you tell us if there has been a case, whether there are any unique feelings about that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. I'd have to sit back and think about it, but I don't know.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Must have been the last time we played Wimbledon. Maybe in '02 or -- maybe '02. I don't know. But it's good. It's good practice for our singles. We're just enjoying every moment.

Q. You haven't played a major final in five years. Has this gotten any easier? As an outsider, it always seems strange. First time you did it, did it feel differently than it's going to feel tomorrow?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Uhm, I think that the opponent hasn't gotten any easier, that's for sure. So, uhm, it's gonna be a battle again. That's just how it is. We're going in there playing, for me, the best player - and I hope for her the best player - so it's gonna be a tough match.

Q. Emotionally is it quite a bittersweet experience playing each other in a Grand Slam final?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I think this is what we've been aiming for. We haven't reached this achievement in a few years now. This is what we're always aiming for, and it's great that it happened.

Q. In a way, is it easier that one of the you didn't have to knock the other out in an earlier round? When you see each other on opposite sides of the draw, is it in a way better for you because you know that when you finally do meet it would be at the pinnacle for both?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Absolutely. That's the only thing I look for in the draw, is to see if we're on opposite sides. I think it definitely makes it a lot easier for us both.

Q. How often do you talk about tennis, generally?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Never, really. No.

SERENA WILLIAMS: There's so many other things to talk about.

Q. What will you be talking about from now till the final?

VENUS WILLIAMS: There's a few things to clear up outside of tennis that we're going to be discussing (smiling). We'll figure it out, though.

Q. No arguments, though?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. We refrain from that.

Q. How will it work tomorrow? Will you be together the whole day, breakfast, practice together?

SERENA WILLIAMS: We live together, so I assume we'll be together.

Q. Will you travel together to the court?

SERENA WILLIAMS: We usually get two cars. We usually travel separate, but for the most part we'll definitely be together. You know, we're used to it. We're just excited to be in the final, and we think it will be a great match. We think that we're finally, you know, getting the results that we deserve and that we hoped for.

Q. You mention you think it will be a great match. Have you spent any time, either of you, looking at the tapes of previous matches? If so, what have you seen that you think either made them good or not so good matches?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I looked at my tapes of my previous match just to see what I can do better, where I can ameliorate. That's what I look for in general.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I like to look at mostly matches that I won.

Q. Serena, were you referring to matches against Venus or previous matches this week?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I was referring to previous matches this week.

Q. How about matches you've played against one another. Have you either alone or together looked at matches that you've played each other in?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, a couple months ago they had my match against Venus in Australia on ESPN classics. I guess I TiVo'd it. I saw it. It was pretty intense.

Q. What did you think?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I thought, Gosh, I should have made some easy shots I missed. It was frustrating. I thought it was such an intense match.

Q. Have either of you watched the matches here at Wimbledon that you played against each other? If so, what goes through your mind about them?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I personally haven't.

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, it was a long time ago.

Q. You're two very different personalities. Venus, you like to read books. Serena likes to watch videos. What book are you reading and what film are you watching at the moment?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't remember the name of the book I'm reading right now. I'm just on the first page. We'll see what happens.

SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm trying to watch 10,000 BC. I rented it on my computer.

Q. You're going into this match both having won many titles. Do you think it would feel differently if you were both going for your first Grand Slam title here?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, we've never been in this situation, so we can't answer. I won my first Grand Slam almost 10 years ago, and Venus very soon after that. So this is like we're just going for history now, trying to make the history books that we definitely want to be a part of and stamp our name in those pages.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Saturday, 5 July 2008


Venus Williams def. Serena Williams 7-5, 6-4
Q. We know that you don't like to lose. Is it any easier to lose to your sister or is it just the same?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Uhm, it's definitely not any easier. I just look at her as another opponent at the end of the day.

Q. Is it harder in any way?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Uhm, I don't know. I don't think it's harder, but it's definitely not easier.

Q. But you're happy for her, aren't you?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, of course.

Q. What's going through your mind when she's celebrating? Did you sense any sort of difference in her celebration because she knows it's you that she just defeated?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I didn't see, you know, any celebration. I just kind of went over to my chair, so... I wasn't paying attention.

Q. You were up in the first set and then something happened. Did you get tight? Did you lose some rhythm?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think I just lost rhythm and then I just made a lot of errors. Uhm, I just couldn't get the balls in. You know, nothing I was doing was seeming to work.

Q. Did you feel tight at all?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I didn't feel tight. I didn't feel tight. I just felt like -- I felt good. My balls just started flying, and then she started serving really well, I think.

Q. Can you find any satisfaction that it seemed to be a very well-played match, balls going everywhere, both chasing down shots, or does the result sort of leave you a little numb?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I definitely don't feel numb, per se. But, I mean, I don't think I played well. I don't think I'm satisfied with the way I played today. For me there's nothing to be satisfied about.

Q. Did she make you not play well with her shots, or was it you disappointed in the way you played?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I don't think she made me not play well. I think the conditions were really tough out there. I know she was under the same conditions, too, but, you know, it was just really, really tough. She started just playing -- she lifted the level of her game and I should have lifted mine, but instead I think mine went down.

Q. So you just played this match with her. You lost; she won. Now you have to somehow, a couple hours later, put that behind you and be on the same side of the court with her to play doubles. What do you think that's going to be like? How are you preparing yourself for that?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm prepared. I look forward to it. I'm ready to play doubles, you know. I'm a little tired, but I don't think it's a problem.

Q. What does this win say about her as a grass court player?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, it says a lot about her. I mean, she's won five Wimbledons now. She's beaten me on grass now, so that definitely says a lot.

Q. Did you look up at your family at any point during the match? If so, is what you see in their faces any different than when you're not facing a sister?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, it's kind of hard to look up there because I don't know what they're thinking, like if they're gonna say, you know, do this or do that, c'mon, I don't know. I just really try to gather strength from myself.

Q. From yourself?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yes.

Q. Venus was serving serves into your body. Is there anybody out there who serves into the body as well as Venus Williams?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No. I think that was her tactic, was to serve every ball into the body. I'm glad she did it, because next time I know what to expect. I think I did good with getting them back. I mean, I think I got a lot of those in-the-body serves. I knew what she was doing. It was very readable. I knew what she was going to do, so I was able to read it much better. But I know next time playing what to expect, and I'll be even more ready for it.

Q. What are your expectations as far as the two of you meeting again in finals of majors? How much do you think this is a likelihood in the future?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Uhm, well, I mean, if we stay on the opposite side of the draw it probably will be a likelihood. We're always trying to get to the finals and do better than that.

Q. Do you at any time forget you're playing Venus?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I didn't think about that at all today.

Q. How would you rate your game today on a scale of 1 to 10?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, I don't know. I hate doing scales. I'd rather not.

Q. Third game of the second set, worked really hard, a lot of breakpoints. You finally break her to go up 2-1. The next game you lose your serve. What do you think happened there, and how important was that?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I was really hoping to hold serve there, especially since the game was really long. But I didn't. I just didn't hold serve, so...

Q. Were you tired at all or...

SERENA WILLIAMS: I wasn't tired. I didn't play well. I did not play well today. That's all.

Q. Part of a lot of your big matches is a kind of free-form expression, fist pumping, talking to yourself. Did you feel like you were drawing back a little bit today since you were playing Venus, there was a limitation there?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I didn't feel that at all. I felt like I was pretty emotional out there. I didn't feel like I was -- I didn't even think about that. I just tried to play my game and just do what I do normally. I didn't change anything.

Q. A few years ago when you and Venus were meeting pretty regularly in finals. Did it feel different five years later in terms of the two of you sort of being more on your own, whereas before it was happening regularly, it felt like it was all in the family, and this time it felt more like, as Venus said the other day, every Williams for themselves?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I felt like that all the time, and I feel like that again today. I mean, I was out there playing for Serena, you know.

Q. What message do you think the two of you have sent about the two of you as competitors and as sisters with the way you've shared details of your closeness?

SERENA WILLIAMS: What message did we send?

Q. About your closeness as sisters and how it becomes a competition when you're on the court.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I think they just know that we're close, you know. I don't know what message I sent. I just try to send a message that, you know, play your best -- do your best at whatever you do.

Q. If anyone else had caught as many or aborted as many service tosses as Venus did today, would you have been irritated enough to talk to the chair umpire about it?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No. I think it was just so windy out there. You know, she has a funky toss, so I guess she has to catch it a lot. Uhm, you know, it wasn't like -- I mean, what can you do about it?

Q. What exactly happened on that let call, from your perspective?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know.

Q. Did the ball land in or out? Do you know?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know.

Q. When you came over to the side of the court, did you have a discussion with him?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I forgot about the match pretty much (laughter).

Q. Since the match ended have you been kind of alone to deal with it, or have you been hanging out with Venus after the match?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think she did -- you know, I haven't been hanging out with her because she does her own thing after the match traditionally, as well as I. We kind of do different things, so...

Q. Have you talked at all?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I saw her. I mean, we weren't involved in a big conversation.

Q. You don't look happy at all.

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't? I wonder why.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Saturday, 5 July 2008


Venus. Williams def. Serena Williams 7-5, 6-4
Q. Could you talk about the primary emotion you felt when you won it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I mean, obviously that first match point she hit a serve that was untouchable. So, of course, I mean, that's classic Serena Williams.
But in that last one, I mean, I had a chance at a second serve: the ultimate opportunity. So I just stayed tough in that opponent, and she was going for it until the end. Of course when I saw it go wide, I'm thinking, Oh, my God, it's five. Wow.

Q. Five titles?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Five titles. Just five titles. It's the first thing that popped into my head.

Q. How concerned were you early? She came out in a ferocious mood, playing well.

VENUS WILLIAMS: To be honest, this is the Wimbledon final, so of course I expected her to play that well. And, of course, I mean, she's Serena Williams. She can pull out anything. I did expect her to just be all over anything I put out there. But I didn't really think a lot; I just kept playing, and it wasn't looking that great, you know. 3-1, 4-2, but then when it got to be even it was closer.

Q. Can you just talk a little bit about the conditions, which were obviously pretty awkward. I mean, you kept pulling out of your serve. Serena didn't seem to pull out of her serves at all.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, it was windy, and the wind kept blowing and swirling. The longer the match went on, it kept changing directions. At first, it was only windy on one side, then it was windy on both. I could see the wind blowing on her side, but it wasn't windy on my side yet. So, you know, it was tough out there, but I just needed to take my time until I got a good toss.

Q. What is your approach to the post-match celebration on court, and how does it differ when you play Serena versus anybody else?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, because I think that -- when the match is that close it's obviously more exciting to win. And, of course, if it's a 6-2, 6-3 win, the celebration isn't as elated because you're just cruising to glory. But I was pretty excited about that win because it was so close. You know, I'm definitely more in tune with my sister's feelings because one of us has to win and one of us has to lose. Of course the celebration isn't as exciting because my sister just lost.

Q. To what degree, if any, does that detract from your enjoyment of the moment?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I mean, you could never detract from winning a Wimbledon (smiling). So, of course it doesn't detract from that. But I'm definitely thinking about how my sister's feeling.

Q. With the exception of the early part of this match, your serving throughout this tournament has been very dominant. Could you talk a bit about just how much emphasis you put on your serve, and with particular reference to the number of body shot serves that you've hit in this tournament.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, body is my favorite here. You can't defend it, I mean, especially if -- I mean, I'm hitting it with a lot of pace. My second serve, I hit it with a lot of pace, too. So even if my opponent knows where it's going, if it's on the line, close to a hundred miles an hour, it's tough to return. So the serve has been key for me here. I never felt very happy about my groundstrokes here. But my serve, I felt like any time I needed it, it was putting me out of any bind. As long as I could get a return in, then, you know, the win was coming for me.

Q. You're only the third, if I'm correct, along with Martina Navratilova and Graf, to win as many as five Wimbledons in the modern era. What do you think of that? Does that make you think, I'm up there with the all-time greats, anything like that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think definitely winning this tournament so many times definitely puts you in the stratosphere, to be honest, just because of what this tournament means. I think had I had this achievement at any other tournament it would have been awesome, but not nearly the same meaning at Wimbledon. I think the difference is just because of the prestige of this event.

Q. Serena had more aces, more winners.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Really?

Q. You played bigger in the big points. She was 2 for 13 on breakpoints; you were 4 for 7. How were you able to be bigger on the big points?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I felt pretty relaxed out there today. I mean, when the match points came, I mean, I was a little tight, but that's normal. But mostly because her serve is so good, I'm hoping that I can get my racquet on it to be in that point. So it's a lot of not pressing too hard 'cause you know if you get a chance that you have to do something with it. But I think I was maybe a little bit more relaxed than her.

Q. An all-Williams final. Is this a start of a second era of dominance for the sisters at the top of the women's game?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I would love that. The main goal for both of us is to stay healthy. We've both worked really hard this year, and I think the results showed here, both in the singles and the doubles. So the goal is to stay healthy so that way we can play singles and doubles and have a lot of fun with it.

Q. Besides the number of Wimbledon titles, can you let us into any of the things that motivated you tennis-wise in the recent past that raised your level between the French and now to do so well?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Uhm, I just feel like a lot of times I'm unlucky at the French. I come in with a sickness or injury, and I try to win, but I'm just not lucky. I find that happens a lot at the French and the Australian. A couple of times here, too, when I had my early losses. But, I mean, obviously coming off those losses I'm just like, This can't be my life; I have to do better. So I think that's what motivates me.

Q. When you play Serena, do you look at her as playing and African or playing a Russian that you need to trash?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. At no point am I ever able to forget that it's Serena, because I have the ultimate respect for her game and I have a lot of respect for her serve. If I was playing anyone else I wouldn't have to face what I had to face today, so it's impossible to forget.

Q. There was the critical let call. What are your thoughts on that? Could you imagine any of the other girls on tour giving you the point?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. Serena is the ultimate sportsperson. We both are. I think we play, we keep playing. We don't take injury timeouts. We just play. We don't question too many calls. And I would expect from her to be the ultimate sportsperson. I was confused as to what was happening. I didn't know if the ball was in, out, or what had happened. So I had no idea what the call was, to be honest, until the umpire told us.

Q. Have you had a chance to have a chat with Serena? If you have, can you share some of that with us?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, we didn't talk so much because I was on the court for a minute there. You know, there's a lot of people in the hall when you pass by, so I'm going to see her after and we're going to get ready for doubles.

Q. Can you share what you're going to say to her?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No plans. Just the usual.

Q. You now have five titles. Can you allow yourself to dream of targeting Martina's nine?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, my God. That would be the ultimate. That's not easy. Her career also spanned like three decades, so I'm not sure if I have that much time. If I did, I think I would definitely dream of that. So, you know, tennis is so much different now. You know, tennis is a big business now. You know, all the tournaments, the draws, and the players, it's just so different that the pressures are different.

Q. You seem to be able to keep yourself fresh not doing as many tournaments.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I've had my fair share of downtimes. I try to stay as fresh as I can, with God's blessing.

Q. You've earned the right to go home and put the racquet down and indulge yourself for as long as you want before Los Angeles. What are you going to do?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I can't wait to see my dog. I love that little guy. He's my favorite. My favorite dog ever. I have to play TeamTennis, so I'll do that. I want to take a break from eating five meals a day. I'm gonna cut back and eat a light breakfast and maybe two meals, not five and six meals like every day I have.

Q. We can see you're getting real heavy.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I can tell (smiling).

Q. It's hard to judge when you're playing sometimes, but where would you put the level of play today compared to the other matches you all have played over the years?

VENUS WILLIAMS: You know, uhm, I think the level of play was really high. I think a lot of the times one of us was overpowering the other. So I hit a hard ball on the line, she can't get it back. Or, you know, I tried to go for too much because I'm anticipating that she's gonna run my shot down. Or I hit a huge serve, she hits one I can't return. So in between us overpowering each other we had, I think, some really competitive rallies and intense points, you know, where one player would come back and take the point, when it looked like the other player was gonna win. So, you know, we're both very powerful, and I think it showed out there.

Q. Can you tell us a little about your morning, the day before the match. Did you spend some time together with Serena?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, we said, Okay, we're eating breakfast. We always have lunch for breakfast to stay fueled. We're both trying to choke it down. Okay, only two more matches. This is the last time we have to do this. Just encouraging each other. Just that, you know, we're eating lunch again, two lunches before the match. It's like, It's the last time. It's okay. That's pretty much the atmosphere beforehand. Just still encouraging each other, not with specific advice like, Yes, serve me body, okay, because that'll work good for you. None of that. But still encouraging each other to eat and be healthy.

Q. In the middle of winter when your mind turns to Wimbledon, what is the one thing or vision that comes to your mind?

VENUS WILLIAMS: In the middle of the winter?

Q. When you're far away from here.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't think about Wimbledon that much. It seems so far away. I have my eye on the Australian, obviously. Just hopefully healthy enough to play, which in the last few years I've been hoping that more than anything.

Q. There were some points today where Serena really ran you from one side of the court to the other it seemed. You kept getting to shots it seems very few people could. When you're able to get all those balls, get them back strong, do you get any sense that this is demoralizing Serena?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I mean, to be honest, I felt like, I'm not running fast enough. I should be hitting more of an offensive shot. Why am I hitting this shot. You can do better. That's mostly what I'm thinking. The funny part is when I see the tape. I'm like, Wow, how did I do that? How did I cover that shot? So when I do see the film, then I do have to give myself a little credit. But when I'm out there I'm like, This is not good enough. It's funny.

Q. How did losing here twice to Serena sit with you, and what does today's experience do to those memories?

VENUS WILLIAMS: The times I lost, I tried. She put a ton of pressure on me. She hit my best serve back for winners, just was unbelievable, and she just played better. So there was not much I could do. I tried. Obviously today I wanted to try to improve that record, and I didn't want the same trend to keep happening and then be like 6-1. So I climbed a tiny little notch up, so it's 2-5. Still behind, but I'm working on it.

Q. If Serena had won today, you being the defending champion, how would that have affected your experience?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think I would have been happy for her. I would have been more disappointed that I didn't have -- about the number. Like five is really monumental. Like last year I thought four was incredible, but now five is -- I would have been more disappointed about not being able to make the history than actually not winning the match, if that makes any sense. So more about that.

Q. It's very impressive the way both of you honor your parents and bond as a family. Do you attribute that to your faith, your upbringing, or is it just coming naturally? Do you recommend that to youths all over the world?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, our upbringing, we're taught to respect our parents, and also religious upbringing, you know. At least in the Bible it says that you if obey your parents all will go well with you, and I respect my parents. I would never give them a hard time. I would never want them to worry. For me, I feel happy when they're happy with me, so...

Q. You've been training seriously or playing professional tennis for 18 years of your life now. Do you and Serena sometimes sit down and reminisce about the journey you've made from Compton, California, to the finals at Wimbledon?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, actually this morning I was just saying -- I was asking Serena if she remembered the match when, I don't know, I was in Sydney playing some match and Serena was watching my match and she finds out that she's gonna be on court in about 10 minutes, and so she runs from my match to go play her match.
We were just talking about that. That was maybe in '98. So we do sometimes talk about the things in the past, just some of the things that have happened have been so amazing that we definitely draw a lot of energy and inspiration from it.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
S. Williams and V. Williams interview - 5 JulySaturday, 5 July 2008

Venus Williams def. Serena Williams 7-5, 6-4
SUE BARKER: Serena, so sorry for you. But big sister was a bit good today, wasn't she?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, she was a little better today, so... It didn't work out as I planned.

SUE BARKER: But it's a great sort of celebration for the Williams family, isn't it, today?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, it's definitely a great celebration. I would like to thank my God Jehovah for allowing me to be out here today. So we're really happy.

SUE BARKER: And, you know, this year you've had sort of little ups and downs. You really proved to yourself that you're on the way right back up to the top?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I've been working really hard and I'm just really fighting for everything. And I'm so happy that at least one of us was able to win. Venus played great this year. You know, but we're just glad to be in the finals again. We hope for it to keep happening.

SUE BARKER: And you played great tennis considering the conditions. It wasn't easy out there, was it?

SERENA WILLIAMS: It was so not easy. Every time I tried to hit a shot, the wind would blow it, and it was tough. But, you know, I tried.

SUE BARKER: Well, it was a terrific final. Well done. We'll see you next year.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Thank you.

SUE BARKER: Venus, congratulations to you. Fantastic. You played so well today.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Thank you so much. I have to first of all say great match to Serena. I mean, I can't believe that it's five. But when you're in the final against Serena Williams, five seems so far away from that first point. So, I mean, she played so awesome, it was really a task to beat her.

SUE BARKER: You were the best two players in this tournament. And, as you say, you've won five now. I mean, you stand alongside some of those that are watching here in the crowd, like Martina Navratilova, Billie Jean King, one of the all-time greats here at Wimbledon.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Of course, some of my favorites. Billie, you know I love you. But, I mean, it's unbelievable, especially with some of the injuries or a lot of the injuries I've had to go through, it's so rewarding to perform here and to know that every time I come back that I have the ultimate chance to play well and make history.

SUE BARKER: You love this place, don't you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I do. I do. And I have to say unbelievable thanks to my sisters, Isha and Lynn. You guys are so supportive. And also thanks to my sparring partner Dave. He's really helped me stay positive when I made mistakes out on the court. And, of course, I love you, mom, always. That's my mom.

SUE BARKER: How difficult was it emotionally out there when you win to sort of celebrate, but sort of not wanting to make Serena feel bad?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I known, I mean, my first job is big sister, so... I take that very seriously. So, of course, I mean, my dad was really proud. He went home after we both got to the finals. He's at home watching. He's like, My job's done. Good luck to both of you.

SUE BARKER: It was a great job he did as well. And you mention your mom there. They cut to her a few times during the match and I felt so sorry for her because she obviously didn't know how to react, happy for one, sad for the other.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I know. It's hard for all of 'em. I like to think that they want me to win (laughter).

SUE BARKER: Anyway, congratulations. Of course, you're going to be back here again for a doubles final. So maybe another Wimbledon trophy.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I hope so. Serena deserves a win, so I'm really going to try even harder for that. Thanks.
 
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