Tennis Forum banner

21 - 40 of 71 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
15,624 Posts
Discussion Starter #21


Charleston, SC: Family Circle Magazine editor Susan Ungaro and WTA Tour CEO Larry Scott pose with Serena Williams, recipient of the annual 'Player Who Makes a Difference' award
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15,624 Posts
Discussion Starter #26
VENUS WILLIAMS (w) vs. SAMANTHA REEVES 4-6, 6-4, 6-3
Tuesday, April 13, 2004


Q. That was some welcome to Charleston. What happened that first set?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, definitely a slow start. I had a good service game to start out with, but I've been trying some new things in practice and I was trying to take them out to the match, and I just started missing big time and then I started to get fairly disgusted. And by that time it was a set and 0-3, so I had to find a way to calm down and really work it through. But I just didn't want to stop trying my new techniques and my new strategies, so I did keep going throughout the match and it just got better and better.

Q. What other new techniques distracted you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I can't share that with you because it's supposed to give me an edge with the rest of the players, know, so I started to play better, but I also started to rush a little bit. I think if I would have just calmed down, just hit the shot, I just feel that I could have been more superior today.

Q. You were down a set and a half, and all of a sudden I noticed your father showed up into the box and it looked like there was a lot of eye contact. And your family is close and this is legendary, your foot work improved all of a sudden. It was almost perfect. You were arranging the court like the four-time Grand Slam champion you are and hitting down on the ball. Can you talk a little bit about the effect your father had when he showed up?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. Actually he got there like I think 2-5, so I started to get some more balls in. I think at one point there I hit like ten errors in a row, and that wasn't good. What I need to do is just learn, and I think it's good for me to have matches like this and have a great battle and enjoy the competition, enjoy the fight and get out there the next day and just enjoy it and learn from it and not make the same mistake twice.

Q. It seems to be common for these first round matches for a lot of players, they have a little trouble in the first rounds and then they're able to go through quite nicely. Is there any way to explain why that is? Is it the new surface, the new settings?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know about everyone else, but today it was definitely me, and I think when I first got out there, she was playing quite normal, and throughout the match as she got more confident, then she started to lift her game and really play. And once you get to 4-4 in the second set or 4-4 in the third set, then it starts to be -- it doesn't matter if you're maybe No. 1 or No. 200, as long as the person you're playing as the confidence is going for, then it's a different ball game.

Q. Any comment on Henin-Hardenne's withdrawal this morning?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Not at all. No comment. Just hope she gets better.

Q. Do you notice the wind down there on the court? I mean you can tell it up in the stands and everything, but does it affect you guys on the court?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. In a few shots it did. It blew the ball away from me or into me, and especially on the serve you do have to try to wait until the wind dies down a little bit or else it starts to move your toss around. But other than that, pretty much fine with the wind.

Q. What's it like being here in Charleston playing in the Family Circle Cup?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It just seems like everybody's a fan. I'm like, oh, my gosh. People are so nice here. And it's just my first or second day here. So I'm looking forward to the rest of the time I'm here.

Q. Getting back to the game again, initially your serves were 101, 104 and then all of a sudden they jumped up to 111. You had a second serve in at 107 when you just started to take over the match. Can you talk a little bit, was that something that happened when the sun went down or did you say, we go?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know what happened there. They just started to come in harder. I just wanted to serve well, and I think throughout the match that's something that was fairly consistent with my serve. I had a couple of bad service games in the match, but started to go well. If I was losing it, it was off the ground I think more or less.

Q. Now, will you change pace more than your sister does where a little bit I saw of that where she pounds, pounds, pounds and then today a few times you were changing pace?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I like to change it up. I like to flip the script, but if it's working, possibly I should keep with the same thing. If it's not, I like to change it.

Q. Have you noticed that maybe since the late 90s or so the depth in women's tennis, do you notice it being a little tougher?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think that women take a lot of pride in each match that they play. I think each top player comes out and gives 100 percent each time, along with all the other players also. I think that the depth has definitely raised a lot within even just the last six months. I also know that if I don't go out there and play my best and play well, I won't see the next day in a draw.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15,624 Posts
Discussion Starter #27
Venus Williams defeated

Marie-Gayanay Mikaelian

6-4, 6-1

Thursday, April 15, 2004







Q. Did you find it hard to get in a rhythm early on?



VENUS WILLIAMS: I -- yeah. Maybe. I just was missing a few shots, and I just really continued to try to elevate the level of my game and to really play at the potential that I know I can play at, and then once I leave the court, I can be at least happy with my game. If I leave off the court and I haven't performed the way I have, then I just can't let it go. So now I did better and I can let it go and I'm going on to the next match.



Q. Did you feel any pressure with Serena dropping out of the tournament, like you had to carry the family torch?



VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. Sometimes it's easy to think of it that way. I love playing in the same events with her. I love having her here. We've had so much fun here. We've gone shopping together and we've just been doing everything together, and I usually spend the night in her room. So yes, that could be like a little bit of a factor, but in the end I'm out there on the court on my own and she's out there on her own and we've gotta do our separate things.



Q. Did you get any words of encouragement before your match?



VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. She did. She said, "You're the best and no one can beat you." Quote, unquote.



Q. Was she here tonight? She said she was going to be a cheerleader.



VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I didn't talk to her since this morning, since 10, and I didn't think she should come out.



Q. What was your reaction to the fact she had to drop out and that her knee is not doing real well?



VENUS WILLIAMS: Usually I have a little bit of an inside scoop. So I know before you guys do. But really was an ambitious schedule. Really is a schedule that she committed to before 2004. So normally if she had been healthy, she would have played that schedule, and she tried to stick to it, but coming from a surgery -- or coming even from just being off, if you try to play that much, your body just doesn't -- it says no, because it happened to me just this year also. My body said "no, Venus," and I had to listen to it.



Q. Can you just tell her we appreciate her trying?



VENUS WILLIAMS: I'll tell her.



Q. And appreciate her bringing you here too this year.



VENUS WILLIAMS: Thank you.



Q. You started out with a 6-4 win and looked like it was going to be another match like earlier in the week, and then all of a sudden you exploded again. It looked like you heated up a little quicker. Can you talk about that, your slow start and then that slow start seems to be --

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I think my service games were good, and I think on my return games I was trying -- going for too much, and finally at 5-4 I was thinking, okay, Venus, just take some off, because each return game I was making two and three errors off the return, and that makes it harder to break. So finally I took some off and then was more aggressive in the rally, and finally in the second set I started to find more range and I could gradually go for more. So for me it was the return games that was key because the service games were easier for me to hold tonight.



Q. Is this now your tournament to lose do you think? Do you think you're the favorite now?



VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, I don't know. I'm just a loan warrior.



Q. I saw your -- what you said about your service, the speed range from 86 and a lull all the way up into the 110 plus. It looked like you were even varying your speed, flipping, as you say, more than you did earlier in the week.



VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. Today my serve did go a little off in the middle of the match. I was just hitting second serve after second serve after second serve, and it's too much pressure. So I was trying to get my first serve back in basically, and I think the last two service games were good. So I did pick it back up, and now what I need to do is just keep it always at one level.



Q. As far as the match length goes, is it the quicker the better early on, kind of keep fuel in the tank?



VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. "The Apprentice" is on at nine, and Serena told me she had to be there. My physio wrote me a note saying, "I have a family emergency. I must leave at 8." No. I'm going to be out there as long as it takes, whatever it takes, just like the other day. But I am glad that I was able to play better because I am used to these kinds of results.



Q. Venus, next week you won't be a loan warrior. You'll be with your teammates in the Fed Cup. Does anybody know who's going to replace Serena at this point?



VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. I have no idea. Have to talk to the captain.



Q. And one more thing on Fed Cup. For you is it kind of as important? Is it right up there with Slams and capturing the Cup? Where does it sort of fit in as a priority for you?



VENUS WILLIAMS: I really try to play as much as I can. It's not always possible because of just my commitments off of the court and things that I have to do and need to do, but I definitely try to go, and I love Billie Jean and I love Zina, the new captain, so makes it easier for me to want to go, too.

And honestly I learn so much. It's like a whole week of practice and then some matches on the weekend. Throughout the week you're just getting better and better. And it's nice to hear something different, like I've been working with Mom and Dad all this time, but sometimes someone else can say it a little bit differently or you can be a little bit more inspired, so it's good.



Q. Venus, they named the club court after Althea Gibson this morning. Can you give me what your best memory is of Althea? I know you guys met with her a couple of times, and what did she mean to you?



VENUS WILLIAMS: You know, I didn't know her that well. She was really a private person, and growing up I grew up a little more like knowing Zina and Lori and things like that, and so I didn't know Althea as much.

Q. This tournament, from what I've been told, they give rather nice gifts to the players. Is there anything you've gotten this week?



VENUS WILLIAMS: I haven't been picking up my gifts.



Q. You haven't been picking them up?



VENUS WILLIAMS: No.



Q. When you do, will you let us know?



VENUS WILLIAMS: Okay.



Q. I can pick them up for you. Back to the Althea question, I mean is it important that she's honored here? I mean she was born in South Carolina. How important is it that she be honored here?



VENUS WILLIAMS: I think it's important just to recognize the heritage and history of the sport, no matter what race or color anyone is. So I really have kind of been a tennis history buff, but I think everyone loves and appreciates what she's done and what she achieved and what she stood for.



Q. Did Serena design your outfit?



VENUS WILLIAMS: No. It's a Diane Von Furstenberg, and I think it's a playoff one of her first prints like in the 70s. So I had nothing to do with this one.



Q. What's the shade of green called?



VENUS WILLIAMS: "Venus."
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15,624 Posts
Discussion Starter #28
http://images1.*************/images/thumbnail/2558301.jpghttp://images1.*************/images/thumbnail/2558302.jpghttp://images1.*************/images/thumbnail/2558303.jpghttp://images1.*************/images/thumbnail/2558304.jpghttp://images1.*************/images/thumbnail/2558365.jpg
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15,624 Posts
Discussion Starter #29
http://images1.*************/images/thumbnail/2558369.jpghttp://images1.*************/images/thumbnail/2558366.jpghttp://images1.*************/images/thumbnail/2558367.jpghttp://images1.*************/images/thumbnail/2558371.jpghttp://images1.*************/images/thumbnail/2558394.jpg
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15,624 Posts
Discussion Starter #30
http://images1.*************/images/thumbnail/2558652.jpghttp://images1.*************/images/thumbnail/2558651.jpghttp://images1.*************/images/thumbnail/2558650.jpghttp://images1.*************/images/thumbnail/2558649.jpghttp://images1.*************/images/thumbnail/2558648.jpg
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15,624 Posts
Discussion Starter #31
http://images1.*************/images/thumbnail/2558398.jpghttp://images1.*************/images/thumbnail/2558394.jpg



http://images1.*************/images/thumbnail/2558395.jpg
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15,624 Posts
Discussion Starter #32
Venus Rallies Her Way into Semis of Family Circle Cup
Former Champion Martinez Still in the Running

CHARLESTON, S.C. (April 16) -- Venus Williams advanced to her first semfinal of the year Friday, beating Vera Zvonareva 6-3, 6-4 in the quarterfinals of the Family Circle Cup.



Venus Williams fought her way back against ninth-seeded Vera Zvonareva after falling behind 2-4 in the second set.


Williams, seeded fourth and the highest remaining seed in the event, has become a crowd favorite.

"I've never played in front of a crowd that's really, really been so behind me, ever," Williams said. "It's almost to the point of, 'OK, how do I deal with this?' So it's definitely, definitely nice."

Among those in the crowd cheering Williams was her sister, Serena, who was forced to withdraw from the tournament Thursday due to a sore knee.

Williams won four straight games after falling behind 2-4 in the second set to the ninth-seeded Zvonareva.

"I was a little disappointed that I had been in that situation," she said. "But at that point, all I could do was try to rectify it."

In the semifinals, Williams plays Jelena Kostanic, a 7-6 (7-4), 6-2 winner over Petra Mandula.

Kostanic, ranked No. 53, is looking for her first tour win. She was a finalist at Helsinki last year.

In other matches, 16th-seeded Conchita Martinez, celebrating her 32nd birthday, advanced with a 6-3, 6-1 victory over Nadia Petrova, the No. 8 seed.

"It's awesome. I mean it's just a great birthday present," said Martinez, who had a walkover in the third round after Serena Williams withdrew.

Martinez, who won the Family Circle in 1994 and 1995, is the only former champion remaining in the field.

"It was a big surprise yesterday when Serena didn't show to play," she said. "I knew I had a big chance and I just took the chance and it's good when you can burn those opportunities."

Martinez, who hasn't won a singles title since the German Open four years ago, meets the winner of Friday night's match between fifth-seeded Lindsey Davenport and 11th-seeded Patty Schnyder in Saturday's semifinals.

Petrova, who made the semifinals at both Miami and Amelia Island in her last two tournaments, made 39 unforced errors on Friday. The Russian said she was tired.

"I played a lot of matches in the last three weeks, so I felt physically and mentally tired," she said. "You could see the amount of unforced errors and also a little bit of frustration in my face. I just couldn't find the energy inside me."
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15,624 Posts
Discussion Starter #33
Williams, Martinez, Kostanic, Schnyder advance to semifinals
April 16, 2004
AP

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) Venus Williams advanced to her first semifinal of the year Friday, beating Vera Zvonareva 6-3, 6-4 in the quarterfinals of the Family Circle Cup.

Advertisement


Williams, seeded fourth and the highest remaining seed in the event, has become a crowd favorite.

"I've never played in front of a crowd that's really, really been so behind me, ever," Williams said. "It's almost to the point of 'OK, how do I deal with this?' So it's definitely, definitely nice."

Among those in the crowd cheering Williams was her sister, Serena, who was forced to withdraw from the tournament Thursday due to a sore knee.

Friday night, Patty Schnyder beat fourth-ranked Lindsay Davenport 6-3, 6-2.

Schnyder, seeded 11th, needed just 52 minutes to dispatch Davenport, who was coming off a victory at Ameilia Island last week. Davenport fell behind 0-4 in the first set and never recovered.

"Some days you go out there and it's not your day," Davenport said. "I really felt almost wiped out - I don't know if it's from the last two weeks and I just wasn't on top of my game."

Schnyder reached the final here two years ago, in the process beating Jennifer Capriati, who was ranked No. 1 at the time.

Williams won four straight games after falling behind 4-2 in the second set to the ninth-seeded Zvonareva.

"I was a little disappointed that I had been in that situation," Williams said. "But at that point, all I could do was try to rectify it."

In the semifinals, Williams plays Jelena Kostanic, a 7-6 (4), 6-2 winner over Petra Mandula.

Kostanic, ranked No. 53, is looking for her first tour win. She was a finalist at Helsinki last year.

Making the semifinals "feels good of course," Kostanic said. "I didn't expect it before I came to this tournament that I was going to advance that far. But I knew I'm playing good tennis and I can do it."

Schnyder meets 16th-seeded Conchita Martinez in Saturday's other semifinal.

Martinez celebrated her 32nd birthday with a 6-3, 6-1 victory over Nadia Petrova, the No. 8 seed.

"It's awesome. I mean it's just a great birthday present," said Martinez, who advanced to the quarterfinals after Serena Williams withdrew.

Martinez, who won the Family Circle in 1994 and 1995, is the only former champion remaining in the field.

"It was a big surprise yesterday when Serena didn't show to play," she said. "I knew I had a big chance and I just took the chance and it's good when you can burn those opportunities."

Martinez hasn't won a singles title since the German Open four years ago.

Petrova, who made the semifinals at both Miami and Amelia Island in her last two tournaments, made 39 unforced errors on Friday. The Russian said she was tired.

"I played a lot of matches in the last three weeks, so I felt physically and mentally tired," she said. "You could see the amount of unforced errors and also a little bit of frustration in my face. I just couldn't find the energy inside me."

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15,624 Posts
Discussion Starter #37
Venus Williams defeated Vera Zvonareva6-3, 6-4

Friday, April 16, 2004



Q. You started out with you had four aces, and they ranked in speed from the high 80s up to the 108, 109 miles an hour. Did that have anything to do with the secret weapon you were talking about the other night?



VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, no. Come on. There's no secret weapon. I'm just playing as hard as the next person, and I'm just trying to supplement my game with extra stuff, but no, I'm hoping to serve even more aces in the match.



Q. The speed change is what I was particularly interested in, especially with clay. Somebody was telling me it's like a chess match out there compared to the hard court, which is where your power comes into effect. Can you talk about that a little bit?



VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. You do hit a few extra balls, and sometimes you try to hit the ball deep and next one short and next one at an angle and definitely think about the placement a little bit more because there's more time out there. But other than that, I still stick to my normal game and not really change too much.



Q. On to the semifinals and looking at the bracket there, you and if Lindsay wins will be only two of the Top 10 players seeded here. Talk about, I guess, the lack of Top 10 seeds being there.



VENUS WILLIAMS: It's been a good tournament. Obviously there's been some unforeseen circumstances, but that's life. You always have to be ready for plan B, C and D.



Q. Venus, it seemed like in the second set when you were able to get the break back and even at 4-4 that really seemed to turn the momentum in your favor. Did you feel that at the time?



VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I was a little bit disappointed that I had been in that situation, but at that point all I could do was try to rectify it, and she was playing well and she's a good player and very determined. So I definitely had to be on top of my game and not really anything below.



Q. You looked pretty upset at one point in the second set. Was there something wrong or were you just frustrated?



VENUS WILLIAMS: Do I look upset?



Q. You looked really upset, looked like you were about to cry.



VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, shocker. Well, I don't know. I don't quite remember that point in the match, so --



Q. She double faulted twice, you know, after she got the early break, and then she double faulted on set point. When you see people doing that, do you think they're stressed out? Do you feel like you have them at that point? I mean those are obviously huge points to double fault.



VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. It's hard these days on court. You have to play well, and I think I was putting a lot of pressure on her serve and her second serve. So maybe -- I don't want to talk too much, but that was probably, you know, her alternative.



Q. Three matches this year, how good do you feel going into Saturday?



VENUS WILLIAMS: I always want to be better. What I'm trying to do these days is take the positive out of my matches and not really focus so much on what I could have done better or the mistakes that I made because then I get too bogged down and I take that into the next match instead of taking a really positive outlook. So what I'll do is just focus on all the good things I did and focus on that tomorrow.



Q. At the same time I think this is your first match where you won in straight sets.



VENUS WILLIAMS: Here?



Q. Yeah. Here.



VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh. Maybe not.



Q. Venus, since some of the seeds have been taken out at the top of the draw, do you consider yourself a favorite now to win?



VENUS WILLIAMS: I just really want to do well for myself. And to be honest, in the thought process, I don't consider myself a favorite at any tournament. I consider myself the one who has to fight harder than the next person. I think as long as I'm thinking that, I'll be fine.



Q. How close do you think you are to playing what you normally consider your best? Are people intimidated the way they once were with you?



VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't think anyone exactly comes and says, yes, I'm really happy that I'm going to be playing Venus. I don't think it's that way, but I think a lot of players probably think, wow, maybe I can get a win against her now. But I think that a lot of points I am playing well, and then there are some points where I haven't played as well as I could and I'm just going to focus on definitely playing each point more consistently than the last one.



Q. You overcame early breaks in both sets. Did you feel like, especially at the run at the end of the second set that you were playing more at the level of your potential right now?



VENUS WILLIAMS: I just -- I don't know. No. I really felt like I could have played a lot better, but then I played a really good player and she played some good points and she had some good lobs when I came into the net, so it was a challenge out there, but I definitely would like to even just take it from there and go play better.



Q. Do you think people are more confident against you now than they might have been before?



VENUS WILLIAMS: I guess you'd have to ask them, but really when I step out there on the court, my main focus is me, and whether the next person is confident or not just doesn't affect how I'm hitting the ball. So as long as I'm confident and hitting the ball, I'm really okay.



Q. In that way do you play -- it's my perception that you usually play pretty much the same way against everybody, that you don't worry a whole lot about counter punching what other people do. Is that a fair description?



VENUS WILLIAMS: I think it's important to recognize your opponent's strengths and weaknesses, but definitely I feel that my game is strong enough that I don't have to go out there and change it for any player that I do play.



Q. Were you concerned at all about the quick turnaround from an evening match to early afternoon?



VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I like the day matches. So I was happy to be on at day.



Q. The sun doesn't bother you at all? When you're serving into the sun at all didn't bother you?



VENUS WILLIAMS: Sometimes, but I'm a professional tennis player. No excuses. You have to get out there and I have to play. Sometimes you're a little bit blinded after serving in the sun, but you have to keep playing the point; and she's playing under the same conditions I am.



Q. Are you healthy now? In your mind are you healthy now?



VENUS WILLIAMS: It's hard, but I'm trying.



Q. The other day you talked about you said, even in the last six months the depth in women's tennis has certainly improved a lot. Who would you actually go pay to see play a match? I know you don't have to, but --



VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I don't have to pay. What?



Q. Neither do I, but my point is that like maybe are there players you enjoy watching just for the sheer love of the game, hey, I'd like to go watch her play?



VENUS WILLIAMS: I just really love women's tennis, to be honest, and I like watching everyone play, just to see people compete against each other, and not necessarily even to scout players or what have you. I just like to see women's tennis matches. So for me all the matches are good. I'm kind of biased maybe.



Q. What about the men when you're at a mixed event?



VENUS WILLIAMS: You know, men's tennis is awesome, too, but I really only watch the women.



Q. There's a general disappointment that Serena's not playing, that Henin-Hardenne and the other players have dropped out. If you're a big fan of women's tennis, does that make this week less exciting for you?



VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I don't think so. I think the tournament is wonderful. We have a wonderful facility, and there's a lot of exciting matches, and definitely opportunity to see two Americans in the final. So I think there's a lot of things that are definitely happening here.



Q. Is there a sense of relief that, oh, I don't have to meet Serena in the final?



VENUS WILLIAMS: Not really because I would like to get there first, so why be worried about something that hasn't happened yet?



Q. The crowd was pretty well behind you today, I mean squarely behind you, and you talked about how they cheer for you a lot down here, you like to play. Did that help you at all, because the match was -- you were down, I think, 3-1 in the second match and then 4-2 you came charging back with two breaks to take it all. Did the crowd have any effect helping you with that?



VENUS WILLIAMS: Everyone was so positive, saying "Venus don't let up" and "go get her" and what have you, and I've never played in front of a crowd that's really, really been so behind me ever, and it's almost to the point, okay, how do I deal with this? So it's definitely -- definitely nice.



Q. One person in the crowd today was Serena. I mean did she say anything to you this morning or did she talk to you at all, and could you hear her cheering for you out there?



VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. I always hear her because I know her voice.



Q. Did she say anything to you before the match?



VENUS WILLIAMS: No. She just said, "remember what I told you yesterday," and that was all.



Q. Is it hard when you're -- I mean when you're good enough that people are constantly rooting for your opponent, you know, and you made it sound like this was a rather unique situation for you today.



VENUS WILLIAMS: It is. I always -- of course, I don't expect everyone to be a Venus Williams fan, go Venus. Everyone has to have their favorites, and that's what makes women's tennis women's tennis. But I've never played in front of a crowd that the majority of people wanted me to win I felt like. So like I said, I had to adjust.



Q. Do you think that was because of the injury? I mean I know McEnroe was loved at the end.



VENUS WILLIAMS: No. Serena told me, like last year she came here and everyone was definitely for her, and I was like, "Wow, Serena, that's great."



Q. Are you coming back next year with your sister?



VENUS WILLIAMS: I want to. I want to make it a priority.



END OF INTERVIEW
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15,624 Posts
Discussion Starter #38
Venus moves into first final of year with easy victory
April 17, 2004
SportsLine.com wire reports

CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Venus Williams beat Jelena Kostanic of Croatia 6-4, 6-1 Saturday at the Family Circle Cup, capitalizing on a strong serve to reach her first final of the year.

Advertisement


She will next play Spain's Conchita Martinez, who defeated Switzerland's Patty Schnyder 6-4, 6-3 in the other semifinal. The players at times taunted each other across the net, and Schnyder refused to shake her opponent's hand afterward. Martinez, seeded 16th, won this tournament in 1995 and 1994.

Williams was playing in her first semifinal of the season and first clay-court event. She struggled with unforced errors in the first set but had no trouble in the second. Kostanic left the court with a trainer at the end of the first set to treat a cramp in her hip.

"It wasn't that painful," she said. "You know it's there and it made me scared a little."

The fourth-seeded Williams is the highest seed left after the top three seeds, including Serena Williams, withdrew with lingering injuries and illnesses.

Williams said her goal entering the tournament was simply to stay healthy.

"I don't feel any pressure," she said. "I just want to play better with each match."


Venus Williams uses her booming serve to take control in the second set. (Getty Images)
She wasn't at her best Saturday, with 34 unforced errors and five double faults. But she hit 65 percent of her first serves, which were consistently more than 100 mph. She won almost 80 percent of the points off her first serve and only 26 percent off her second.

This was Kostanic's first semifinal in a Tier I event.

"My concentration was going up and down," she said. "Experience was key in this match."

Kostanic tried to mix her shots against Williams, including several drop shots.

"When I'm playing good, my drop shots are really ... pretty good and a lot of people struggle with them," she said.

Williams seemed a little perturbed at having to chase down so many balls at the net. After Kostanic lobbed over Williams following a drop shot, Williams responded with a 111 mph ace and a 110 mph serve that Kostanic couldn't return, making it 4-1 in the second set. She won the next two games easily to end the match.

The other semifinal was far more contentious. The 11th-seeded Schnyder took exception to Martinez's habit of looking for a winning ball to use for her next serve. Schnyder tucked one ball in her tennis skirt to keep it from Martinez.

After the match, Schnyder would not shake Martinez's hand at the net and again as the two were walking off the court.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15,624 Posts
Discussion Starter #39
Venus Williams defeated Jelena Kostanic

6-4, 6-1

Saturday, April 17, 2004





AMY BINDER: Venus is actually going to make an opening statement about her match today. And you can follow up with questions.



VENUS WILLIAMS: I feel great about getting to the finals of this event, my first clay court of the year, first finals of the year. Also love Charleston, had a great time with the fans, and really just looking forward to taking another step tomorrow.



Q. How badly did you want to end that 14-month drought since the last time you've won? I mean how big would a win be to you in terms of your comeback and everything?



VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't even see it that way. I just see it more or less as a final, and for me it's very good to be here.



Q. Venus, is it kind of different having to play a left- hander? Do you prepare a little differently or is it the same game plan no matter righty or lefty?



VENUS WILLIAMS: Definitely pretty much the same game plan, but it is pretty important to realize that they are left-handed, I mean when it comes down to deciding which side you're going to throw the lob up to. So it's important.



Q. Do you feel like you're moving better as you keep progressing, sliding better?



VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm trying.



Q. How does the ankle feel? Everything feeling all right?



VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm okay. Thanks.



Q. She was talking about early in the match when you started creeping in inside the baseline on the return of service. She said that she noticed that, and she said I think players do get intimidated, you know, the fact that you can do that, you can really force things that way. Do you think you get inside players' heads when you do that? Do you think players get tense when you can return serve so far inside the baseline?



VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I suppose the whole point of the game is to apply pressure and to not make mistakes and to play better than your opponent. So that's really what I'm doing out there is applying pressure the whole time.



Q. How much pressure on you tomorrow being as you haven't won for 14 months?



VENUS WILLIAMS: I actually don't feel any pressure. Just want to go out there and play really well and play better, and I actually do mean that I want to play better with each match.



Q. Do you feel like you played better today?



VENUS WILLIAMS: I tried a lot. I'm very happy to have won the match today.



Q. Do you care who you play tomorrow?

VENUS WILLIAMS: The higher ranked players would be nice.



Q. Why?



VENUS WILLIAMS: Because then

it helps my ranking. I don't know who's higher ranked, though. Probably Patty maybe.



Q. Talk about what it's like to play against Patty. She's obviously kind of a changeup type player.



VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. I think I've played her on clay before. I don't quite remember now, but played her a number of times, and I'm sure she'll be eager to get a win against me, and obviously I'm very eager to get a win against her.



Q. Jelena said experience played a big deal, her lack of experience played a big deal today. I mean when you play somebody who's I don't think ever played you before who's playing a Tier I semifinal for the first time, can you sense their nervousness or do you take advantage of that at all?



VENUS WILLIAMS: I definitely at this point sense a lot of what my opponent's going through. Just even through experience, I should be able to relate to maybe what the next person is feeling. But all in all when I'm out there, I'm definitely concentrating on my method of success.



Q. You were saying this is your first clay tournament this year?



VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes.



Q. Did you have any expectations coming into the first clay tournament of the season and have you exceeded them, have you met them?



VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I guess my expectations was try to stay healthy more than anything.



Q. Earlier in the week I asked you about the gifts, and I think at that time you said you hadn't opened anything you'd been given by the tournament. Is the status the same with that?



VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. I'm going to work on it today.



Q. Will you tell me perhaps tomorrow?



VENUS WILLIAMS: Exactly. I will. I'll be ready.



Q. Okay. I will too.



Q. Venus, I just wonder being out and around in Charleston this week have you run into any of these Confederate re-enactors around town?



VENUS WILLIAMS: No. Why do they have reenactments?



Q. They're burying some sailors who were brought up with the HUNLEY. That's a Confederate submarine that sank off the coast here. And they're burying them today. There are like thousands of Rebel re-enactors in town. You haven't run across any of them?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No.






END OF INTERVIEW
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15,624 Posts
Discussion Starter #40
Venus Williams returns a shot to Jelena Kostanic, of Croatia, during a semifinal match at the Family Circle Cup in Charleston, S.C., Saturday, April 17, 2004. Williams won 6-4, 6-1.
 
21 - 40 of 71 Posts
Top