March 11, 1997
INDIAN WELLS, CALIFORNIA
Q. You seem like you're getting stronger after each match. You seem to be in great shape. What do you do to stay in condition?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't do the threadmill. I don't do the Stairmaster. I am forced to ride the bike for ten minutes, but usually I don't turn it on. I live in Florida, so I think that is enough. Actually, I am not too much into aerobics. I really don't know how -- it is just being 16, just playing tennis everyday, staying in shape. But I think most of all the gym. I enjoy riding the bike most.
Q. How about the whole issue of being competitive. Venus, when you are out there in an intense match like that, is some of what -- some of the fuel you are running on competing, you know, you are in the heat of competition out there?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, I think that some of it is also because no one goes out there to lose or give a match away. And certainly, today, Iva didn't give me that match. I had to work for that. And the crowd was on my side today and I really wanted to win.
Q. Could you have won that match a year ago, do you think?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Probably so, yes. I wouldn't say anything negative about me.
Q. You don't think there is something -- you got more mature in the last year?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I definitely think I am much better, but I definitely don't think I would have lost it last year.
Q. What about the year before (laughter)?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I really would have won it that year (laughter).
Q. When she came over at deuce and took off her shoe and started -- were you getting upset or --
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I mean, if she was hurt, then she probably needed some medical attention. I just needed some water. (laughter).
Q. You just went and got a drink of water and relaxed?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Actually, someone behind me yelled to get some water. I wouldn't have thought of it. (laughter) So, I went and got some water.
Q. You are going to play Lindsay Davenport next. Talk a little bit about playing her.
VENUS WILLIAMS: I am going to go out there and play my game, get more first serves in and improve the second serve a little bit. I know Lindsay attacks the second serve a lot of the times. And, most of all, I am going to go out there and have fun because when I do that I can stay relaxed. And, when I am relaxed, I can hit my shots. If I do that, then that is the recipe.
Q. This was your best match on the circuit, would you say? It is about the 26th match?
VENUS WILLIAMS: 24th.
Q. You feel good beating a top-10 player?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, I feel good beating a top-10 player.
I always felt that I could beat anyone who ever came my way. I never -- I don't go out there and say that I am going to win. I always go out saying -- I feel that if I go out there and say I am going to win, I am really tight and I can't stay relaxed and I am busy thinking about winning. Then it becomes a chore and when I go out there, I don't think about thinking top-10 players; I got all these points; look at all this prestige, I don't do that. I try go out there and stay relaxed.
Q. Do you know the reason why you didn't get a wildcard in the main draw?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I didn't want a wildcard in the main draw. I feel that when I get a wildcard in the main draw I am not as relaxed. When I go out and play qualifying, it is kind of actually a real good warm-up; play some matches; get some points by different players. And I just requested a wildcard to qualify.
Q. Lindsay was saying she watched you in your first qualifying match; she said the difference between that match and then watching you play against Sugiyama was almost like watching a different player; that you didn't --
VENUS WILLIAMS: That match I was more tight. And, even in this match today, I wasn't playing anywhere near what I can play. I wasn't attacking the short balls. The high balls I wasn't taking those out of the air. And, on the return of serves, I wasn't attacking those. It was nothing near what I can do and I know that if I can go out there and just go for broke, "Venus, go ahead," it doesn't matter then. You guys will see a real match.
Q. Did you ever play Kournikova? Did you see her? She was watching you today.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah.
Q. What do you think about her?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Good player.
Q. You had a bead problem today. What was that all about?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Got to get some attention for that.
Q. Just one strip came out?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Actual what happened, sometimes the rubber bands that hold the bead, it just comes loose somehow. From there the beads just come falling.
Q. Did you have a special goal for this year or what is it?
VENUS WILLIAMS: My goal for this year was to be in the top-20. And, the way I am playing right now, I believe I can do a little better than that. But, I think it is important just to have a goal because you have something to work toward and you are not blind aiming this way and stumbling that way.
Q. Are you still in the regular school? Are you going to continue with that at this point?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't to a public school. I go to a private school because it fits my schedule more and get a lot more done. Public schools teachers are always baby sitting more or less.
Q. So you are not home school anymore?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No.
Q. When did that stop, not going to school?
VENUS WILLIAMS: When did that stop? 1994, September.
Q. What tournaments do you play between now and U.S. Open and will you play the U.S. Open?
VENUS WILLIAMS: That is a moot topic. I don't know. I don't know if I am going to play the U.S. Open.
Q. What other tournaments before then are you thinking about playing?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Before then, I definitely want to play Manhattan Beach, and San Diego. I will most likely be there, good chance. Before that, Wimbledon. Eastbourne, I had that on my list, wow. Before that -- okay, then Italian Open, French Open. I really think I am going to play those, Italian and French. And, then there is Amelia Island. And, Lipton, I think I am already in that tournament.
Q. Do you know how you get into the French Open and Wimbledon if your ranking is not high enough?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I will definitely get in there.
Q. You stayed positive there in the third set when she was up; it seemed like you were exchanging breaks. What was your frame of mind in the middle of that set?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Actually, these days I stay calm. I just try to relax. I try not to get on the run too much. Because it is kind of hot out there and if you start all that running, you start cramping, things like that. So that was my main goal, stay off the highway. (laughter). I was the beginning driver. If I could have the right technique on my serve, I knew that could pull me through. In a lot of other matches against two in the qualifying and second set, when I was playing second round qualifying, my serve pulled me through. I knew that if I just stayed calm, I could do some magic, pull it out of the hat.
Q. Did you get even a little pumped up at the end there because you hit a couple of big serves?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I definitely was. I was pumped up. I mean, it is not like I was nervous. I was extremely happy and that my serve kicked in because it went on vacation, but we met (laughter). We met after the game; got back together. So last two matches it was, you know, separated, but things are going well.
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