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March 12, 1997

Venus Williams


Q. Was it a little bit of experience or did you make too many mistakes?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It could be a lot of things. Serve, could have been experience. It was a lot of mistakes. It was a lot of things.

Q. Was it fun, Venus?


Q. Was it fun, the match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, it was fun.

Q. Why was it fun?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Because I went out there and I played the best I could, and I played hard. I had a good match. I was really challenged. That's fun.

Q. When you're playing seeds like Lindsay, does anything intimidate you at all, any player intimidate you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I'm really not intimidated on the court, no.

Q. What are you trying to take from each match as far as like learning?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I never really answered that question before. I never really try to take anything from each match, to be truthful.

Q. We talk a lot about you, Lindsay talked a lot about you. Can you tell us something about her? How is it playing with her this night? Can you point out some of her qualities?

VENUS WILLIAMS: She hits the ball really hard and pretty deep. She keeps the pressure on. She doesn't hit the ball to you; you're always on the run. She serves some pretty good balls. She has a pretty consistent serve. Lindsay is a very solid player. She's one of those players you're not going to run through too often. Today I didn't run through her. She didn't run through me; she pulled the match out.

Q. You started serve and volleying in the second set. How come you abandoned that when it worked for those couple points?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Because I didn't want to do that anymore.

Q. Even though you were effective at it; you won those two points?


Q. Venus, do you go out there with a game plan or do you go out there just trying to hit your shots?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Generally I go out with a game plan, yes. I feel it would be somewhat unwise not to do so. I go out there and I try to go for my shots. Usually I make them. If I don't, just the next time.

Q. Venus, I notice you seem to have an international following. I saw you at Manhattan Beach, you seemed to appeal to old people, young people, different races. Is this about the same thing everywhere you go?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, it is. It's like that everywhere I go. Maybe I have an international name. I don't know (laughter). People generally seem to be on my side. I try to be on their side also. I try -- they're good fans, everyone is always a good fan. I like it when I have good fans. I try to be fair to them and give them autographs, whatever they want, if I can.

Q. Venus, can I ask you a business question?


Q. Your racquet didn't have any stencil or logo on it up till today, all of a sudden it had a logo today. Any reason for that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: To tell you the truth, generally I don't play with it because I just felt it made me play worse. But today I don't think it made me play any worse. I don't know why I thought that. I think maybe because I had some racquets before, and the strings were loose. It had like the stencil on it. I just thought "This is making me play bad, I don't like it on the strings." That's why my dad wanted the racquet stenciled. I was a little hesitant, but I went ahead and had it done.

Q. So it worked okay?


Q. Venus, with your success this week, are you thinking of scheduling more tournaments this year?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, not at all. I might add one tournament because I missed one tournament in my schedule, but not much more than that, I don't think so.

Q. You talked about playing Wimbledon, with it's history and tradition, is that something you're aware of or for you would it be like any other tournament?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think when anybody ever goes to Wimbledon, it's a special tournament. There's a certain air over there, a certain feeling. I don't know. I haven't been there. I should ask someone else and get the information on that. Definitely, when you walk out there on that stadium court or hit the grass when you go out there, you definitely just feel probably like you can do anything. When you go to Wimbledon, it's just definitely something different. Everybody's heard of Wimbledon. That's just the premiere tournament.

Q. How do you keep yourself from getting too anxious? You say you're thinking of adding one more tournament. Some people might play as well as you did against Davenport and say, "I want to get out of there more often." How do you keep from getting too anxious?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I've been here like ten days. I missed school, I missed midterms, I missed my dogs, missed my car.

Q. Are you going on Friday?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I go to school this week. I promised myself two things if I did well in this tournament. You were asking about being anxious. No, I don't get too anxious. Actually, it's a very long time to be away from home. I was going to play four tournaments in a row, but I didn't because I was going to school. I was going to play this tournament, Lipton, Hilton Head and Amelia Island. I probably most likely can handle that. I usually am pretty calm about it, stay relaxed, but it's a lot, especially for someone my age. I'll miss a lot of school, a lot of homework. I definitely don't get anxious over all the things I'm going to miss.

Q. Do you think you'll be giving up too much to play more?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Not too much, I think it's just a lot of strain to travel, work for the ranking, where I can get that ranking next year, the year after that, ten years later. I mean, I don't plan to be on the Tour too long. It's always going to be here, so there's nothing for me to be anxious about.

Q. Do you think that given your serve and return, ability to volley when you decide to do it, that grass is potentially your best surface?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think grass definitely is a great surface for me and also I'm working on my slice. I don't hit it much. I don't pull it out of the closet very often, but it's definitely there. I think I just forget to hit that slice in the match, except when I'm on the run with my forehand. I definitely think about the slice. I think grass is a great surface for me. I have the hard strokes, on a hardcourt they stay down low when I really strike it. On the grass, it's not going to come up. Also I'm very fast, where other people wouldn't be able to get to the ball when it skids, I might be able to get there. So grass, I think, we'll get along.

Q. You started to say that you were going to promise yourself something.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Two things. At one point, I was buying too much jewelry. It was out of hand, so I just had to quit. I said if I could do well in tournaments, I could get something. I'm going to get an Omega necklace, 18-inch, six millimeters, and a green Tourmaline ring. I was going to get Aquamarine, but I'm going to wait till after Lipton. I have to keep it out of control. I know this. You have to go to a 12 Step program for that. It was terrible, though, because I was buying Serena things, buying myself things, my mom, my grandmother. I looked at this, "Wow." I had to stop. You should see the jewels on Serena.

Q. You said that you don't plan to be on the Tour very long. Why would you say that? What makes you think you might not play that long?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I can't see myself playing through pain and injuries, year after year doing the same thing. I can't see it. I can understand it would be hard to quit, especially when you're on top of things and you're the best. I'm not going to stay there that long because I don't want to say that I spent all my youth on tennis and didn't do anything else.

Q. What's been the biggest sacrifice you've made for your tennis?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I haven't made any big sacrifices.

Q. Are you planning on going to college?

VENUS WILLIAMS: College? I really can't go to college full-time. It's a lot of work, to go to college and play tennis and have high school. It's not going to be a full-time thing. Probably mostly after tennis.

Q. What effect do you think you've had on young black women playing? Do girls come up to you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think that I've had a good effect. Generally, you don't see too many black people playing tennis, not on the Tour, not anywhere you go really. It's mostly because tennis is kind of an expensive sport at times, like ice skating probably is, too, where you have to keep stringing the racquets, buying the balls, buying the shoes. Usually the most common courts are hardcourts, and your shoes wear out quickly on that. It's just an expensive sport. If the parent doesn't know how to play, they have to pay for lessons, which are very expensive every hour. A lot of times most people, black, white, Hispanic, can't afford that. Tennis, it was generally basketball or hockey -- not hockey. Baseball, football, track, things like that, which everyone does. Those are common things on the playground, all those sports. Tennis really isn't a common sport. I think I've really helped bring it. If they see me on TV. "Who is this? This is Venus? She plays tennis? I've never seen a girl playing tennis." I think so, probably.

Q. So you would follow in the footsteps of Zina Garrison and help the community in the way she did also?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes. I feel I should give back to the community because generally not everyone has a role model that is actually doing a lot of positive things, just staying out of trouble. Everyone's just falling into trouble these days. I want to be a good girl, be a good role model.

Q. Has this week been different because you played through the qualifying, all these matches in the main event, coming into press conferences, all this nonsense? This is how it is if you're a real champion.

VENUS WILLIAMS: This is my sixth singles match. I was playing doubles with Serena. In the singles I'm not nervous at all. In the doubles I am. I don't know why. Sometimes generally in the first set. Doubles is a lot of fun with Serena, because we don't talk that much. We just nod to each other like that (indicating). It was really crazy. We were losing the first set, coming back 7-6. It was a lot of fun. I played like ten matches this tournament. Usually I play about three.

Q. Do you plan to keep up the doubles with your sister?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, yeah. We're going to play doubles. I always had a built-in doubles partner. We would probably play some mixed doubles, the Slams. It's definitely a lot of fun. We didn't practice that much for doubles. We played about maybe 15 sets, that's it. We came out here. Sometimes you could see that we were pretty much novice at doubles. Sometimes we wouldn't cross in time. We are definitely going to work on it because we saw what we needed to do.

Q. On the tiebreaks, too?


Q. Work more on tiebreaks? Do you like tiebreaks?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Do I like tiebreaks? That was my third tiebreak. I won one and I lost two, so. Tiebreaks don't bother me. I like tiebreaks.

Q. Who would you like to play mixed doubles with?

VENUS WILLIAMS: A lot of people. A lot of great doubles players. I don't know. Serena and I, we don't know. There's a lot of people to play with. We really don't know. Do you have any suggestions?

Q. Do you like playing with the men here at the same tournament?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think it's a lot of fun. You get to watch the women's matches, men's matches, learn from all of them. Usually when I go to tournaments, I don't watch matches, I play my own and get out. This tournament I've been watching all the matches. It's a lot of fun.

Q. Did you watch any of Pete's match today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Actually, I was there on and off. I was matching the Philippoussis match over there, then I would turn around and watch the stadium court match. I guess he went ahead and lost it. I don't know, maybe he was tired. I really didn't see a lot of it.

Q. When you watch the men's matches, do you pick out things that you might try to work on? Do you emulate any of the men players?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, yeah. Serena and I are watching saying, "No way would I have gotten to that ball. We have to do this, play like a man." Especially in doubles, saw say, "This is real doubles, let's watch this, get this together." We really need to improve on our doubles. We watch the men and take up some tips, watch everyone and take up from everyone the best we can.

Q. Usually so far this tournament your top has been out. Tonight you started with it tucked in. Your clothing manufacturer putting pressure on you?


Q. The other night when you played doubles, your top was out.

VENUS WILLIAMS: This one right here is like a full body suit. Generally, when the top was tucked in, it didn't look nice. Plus, I'm very uncomfortable with the top tucked in. I feel very uncomfortable. That could make me lose, you know.

Q. But your sister had it tucked in.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Like when you wear this, it's like a full body suit. It goes all the way down to the leg. I'll show you. It goes all the way down here (indicating). It can't help but be tucked in unless it broke or something. Wouldn't want that.

End of FastScripts....

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