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Day 2 - An interview with Venus Williams - Monday, May 28, 2007

Q. So little a up and down. It was almost like watching Serena play the points yesterday where you kind of steadied yourself in the match until you kind of felt the ball and then you were hitting your shots at the end?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, definitely. I think that sometimes, the first round can be like that, and I felt like I definitely got to hit a lot of balls. And I definitely was really clear, especially towards the end on how I wanted to execute.

Q. Can you just talk about the state of your game overall and how it's been the last few months and where you think it's headed.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I feel good. I think the most important thing is that I'm on tour, and as long as I'm on tour, I feel like really good things can happen to me. So it's just important for me to stay in the tournaments and be healthy.

Q. So is a lot of it about health, making sure that the wrists don't get reinjured?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Exactly, just staying healthy and that I have the opportunity to prepare, and then obviously I have the opportunity to come play.

Q. What were you saying to yourself at 4‑all in the first set?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, it's just important to stay positive, because things happen. Tennis is a game where if you let a few points go, it can become even. So I just felt like for sure I had the advantage still and I really wanted to close it out. And especially with the weather, I didn't know ‑‑ I was already fortunate to be first on and fortunate that it hadn't rained already, so just trying to stay focused.

Q. You went into the net a couple times. Was that something you were consciously trying to do, put a little pressure on her?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Definitely. I'm a good player at the net. Obviously on clay, it's a little slower, so I like to have a good shot to come in on.

Q. How does David Witt help your game and can he become ‑‑ would you like to see him become a, more or less, permanent fixture at tournaments with you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: You know, he's really a great guy. He's really nice. He hits really well. He runs down a lot of balls. But, I mean we haven't talked so much about what's happening in the future. So we'll see.

Q. Last year when you were here, you talked about being the lone flag waving in the wind. With Serena here does it feel less like that, and do you feel like American prospects will be better?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, definitely. Last year, it was a big topic about the Americans not ‑‑ not as many Americans being in the draw or not as many Americans being a threat for the title. But at the end of the day, definitely. I totally want her to win. I focus on me. That's all I can do. I can't make more Americans play or play better.

Q. Historically, I mean the number in the draw here is much lower than we've had in the past. I mean what do you attribute to that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm not sure. Everyone asks me that question and, like I said, my focus is staying on tour. And if I can do that, then the American flag should wave pretty nicely.

Q. It's 110 years since the women were allowed to play here. How do you feel women's tennis has developed in the years that you have been playing?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Always moving forward. Definitely always moving forward. We have a lot of ‑‑ obviously, a great celebration or victory with equal prize money at all of the grand slams. And that's not just women's tennis, it's just representing for women around the world. So always moving forward.

Q. Is there anything that you would like ‑‑ is there more to be done in the future?

VENUS WILLIAMS: For women's tennis?

Q. For women's tennis, yeah.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Women's tennis is a business now. We have to always get better or else we'll go out of business. So obviously, the players have to play better, and on the business side, we have to definitely run our business in the best way possible.

Q. How satisfied or not, maybe disappointed, were you with your serving today? You faced a lot of break points.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think my serve is okay. I think sometimes I just made some errors on the ground strokes. On the surface, I mean, I can serve big, but it's definitely important, the placement and to try to set myself up for the next shot. Because a lot of times, my serve is coming back, 'cause it's slower. And that's okay. I'm ready.

Q. What is the straps on your wrists? How much longer do you think you'll be having them for? Is it just a preventive measure?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I've had those straps on for years. So sometimes it varies what's under it. But I'll probably always have them.

Q. So is it kind of a psychological thing?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't wear them in practice anymore. I used to. But now, I always tape in a match just in case something happens, and it's hard to get everything done in three minutes. So I always tape before just in case.

Q. I assume it's still pretty important you practice with Serena, and I just wondered, over the years, how has that evolved and how competitive are you in practice with each other and how does that translate into how you play in tournaments?

VENUS WILLIAMS: We're definitely really competitive, and there's no one to practice with like Serena Williams. I think she feels the same as me, that she gets some really good practice when she hits with me. So I guess that's an advantage for us.

But at the same time, we both need to work on different things, so sometimes we need to have a separate practice, too.

Q. Does how you play against each other manifest in tournaments like when you won Wimbledon a couple years ago, this year was she beating you before Australia or something like that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think we have really similar games so it's almost like facing yourself.

Q. In were you surprised by the way she returned so many balls?

VENUS WILLIAMS: She definitely returned a lot of balls, but this is clay, and I have to expect that. And maybe she was surprised that I was returning so many balls, too. And I'm ready to play a lot of shots. And I think my movement is really good and my slide is fine. And really, even if the point doesn't go the way I want to, I'm having a lot of fun because I'm getting do what I love to do.

Q. What kind of expectations do you have for these sort of 18‑, 22‑, 23‑year‑olds, like Jamea or Shenay, Vania?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I really don't know their games that well. I've seen Jamea play like once in a Fed Cup tie; Shenay, I've never seen play; Ahsha, I've never seen play; Vania, I've seen her play at Fed Cup. They're all, from what I've seen from Jamea and Vania they're both solid. They just have to continue to work hard and I think just developing powerful shots, because that really makes a difference in the matches.

Q. The lacking the power?

VENUS WILLIAMS: They aren't my size; they aren't Serena's size. They're a little shorter. But it doesn't mean that they can't have power. It just means that they're young.

Q. Considering that you and Serena are about all the United States has in this tournament, is that a matter of pressure or of pride that you're the ones?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, it's not pressure. I think the only pressure that I feel is pressure that I may put on myself. So I try not to do that. I do expect a lot from myself. But just as I was saying earlier, I'm just very happy to be healthy and to have the opportunity to play. And that's very important because I haven't had a lot of good luck with injuries in the last couple years.

So for me, if I can do well for myself and for America, it's fantastic.

Q. Did you sweat it out yesterday with Serena?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No ‑‑ what do you mean, like watching the match?

Q. Well, yeah, watching and feeling for her and so on. It wasn't going well for a long time.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, she ‑‑ the girl she played played really well, and it happens, especially on this court. So I'm always feeling for her. Sometimes it's tough for me to watch, but I hang in there.

Q. Did you watch?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, of course. But it was cold. I couldn't be out there.

Q. Because you're just happy to be healthy, did the losses you've taken this year, the tough loss of like Maria, Jankovic, did they hurt a lot less because the perspective has changed?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, it bothered me for sure, yeah. I'm a winner, and I'm used to winning most matches. So definitely losing any of those matches is like a foreign feeling. But I definitely count my blessings. I definitely expect just as much from myself. I still have the same big game and there's nothing less. It's just like I said, I haven't been as fortunate to be on tours as much as many people.

So I'm very excited to be here to do my job and have the opportunity to do it well.

Q. But do you feel it coming? I mean is it going to click in soon, I mean, your game, where you feel like, Okay, a week or two, three weeks, I'm going to be playing at 100 percent, or maybe it can happen here?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm not exactly focusing on the clicks because I feel like I know what I need to execute on the courts here. I just need to go out there and do what I need to do, whether it's clicking or not, because I've played lots of matches where I didn't feel like I was at my best, but I still have to play.

So for me, it's not about that, if I'm feeling absolutely on Cloud 9.

Q. When your forehand ground strokes aren't working the way you want them to, as they were for some of that first set, what adjustments do you make? Do you try to hit the ball a little more conservatively or do you just keep hitting them the way you're hitting them and hope they drop? What's your method of operation?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't try to be too conservative, maybe for a point or two, but I'm not a conservative player. That whole mentality doesn't really work for me. So, yeah, sure, sometimes I try to play percentage tennis, but I still like to force the point because really, that's how championships are won. You can't just sit back and wait for something to happen.

Q. And then after a number of unforced errors there, you win the first set with a forehand cross‑court. How much of a confidence‑builder was that for your forehand for the rest of the match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I really wasn't thinking about my forehand, to be honest. So it wasn't a big deal for me. If I make a mistake on my shot, then I try to correct that mistake. And in the next shot, if it's a different mistake, I correct it right then and move on. I can't live in the past.

Q. Do your expectations change according to how many matches you've played and how many tournaments you've played and the build‑up to an event or does it matter for you tour?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I always, of course, want the ultimate result, which is obviously holding the trophy. I think most players dream of that. I'm not different than anyone else. So, no, my expectations don't change and I work hard.

Q. Would you like to have had a few matches under your belt coming in?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I've had enough matches. Yeah, I'm ready.

Q. With both Mom and Dad here, did they tell you different things? Do you like to look to Dad for a certain kind of coaching and Mom to something else?

VENUS WILLIAMS: They say pretty much the same thing, so sometimes it's good for someone else, maybe, to tell me something, because I hear it so often.

Q. Which is?

VENUS WILLIAMS: The same thing.

Q. Which is what, more or less?

VENUS WILLIAMS: The same thing, yeah. Thanks.

2,454 Posts
Thank God! It's about time. Luv her!

It's not new that they are working with David Witt. Here is a the same question being asked in Serena's interview from yesterday.

Q. Serena, two‑part question on David Witt. What is he able to do for you and how did that connection take place?

SERENA WILLIAMS: David wit is a great ‑‑ a great guy, first of all. Second of all, he's very consistent. He does very well on this surface. He's able to ‑‑ if I say hit some soft balls, he does it. He does whatever I ask and he does it very well, and he's able to play a harder game, a fast game, a slow game. He pretty much does it all.

Q. How did you connect with him?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I always hit with him in Amelia Island, always for like five years ‑‑ four, five years now, and so we decided to try him out for Roland Garros.

Q. Will this combination continue do you think or is it just going to be for Roland Garros?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. It's hard to say. I don't know. I can only think about this right now, but would love to work with him obviously. He's great. We'll see.

15,098 Posts
any picts of him??
wait.,.. is he the guy from that Gold tournament pict??

12,384 Posts
what's with the questions about David whit? who is this guy and why so much interest in him?
Also, what happened with the Turkish guy, Baris they were working with?

2,454 Posts
Apparently Baris will be joining them next week,providing they make the second week. He was with Serena in Rome.I find it strange that the reporters seem so surprise that they are working with him. Serena used two different hitting partners when she was in Australia. As Venus said in her interview, sometimes she and Serena have to work on different things so they need to have different people at the same time.

Serena's #1 Hater
19,697 Posts
As long as he's helping both of them play better ball, he's cool with me. ;)
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