March 23, 1997
KEY BISCAYNE, FLORIDA
DEBBI EDWARDS: Questions for Venus.
Q. Sum up the experience.
VENUS WILLIAMS: I made a lot of mistakes and lost the match.
Q. Did you have some fun?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Pardon me?
Q. Did you have some fun?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, I did.
Q. In what respect?
VENUS WILLIAMS: It's always fun to go out and play a match anyway, win or lose.
Q. What did you think of her?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think she's a very good player, and she capitalizes on your errors, basically, yeah.
Q. How much of it was you having an off day with the errors and how many of those errors does she force?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't think I was having an off day. I usually make that many errors. I just think she didn't give me those errors back. Everyone else I play usually gives me the same amount of errors.
Q. You've played the current No. 1, Steffi Graf. Can you compare or contrast her to the coming No. 1, Martina Hingis?
VENUS WILLIAMS: They're very different players. Steffi Graf has a real good serve. Hingis' serve is a little bit weak right now. Steffi Graf uses a slice. They're very different games. It's quite obvious.
Q. Which one would you rather face?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Any one that comes my way.
Q. Do you have the sense that this is the start of a rivalry, Venus?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Until my sister gets here, yeah.
Q. Do you respect that kind of game, that kind of counter punching, a little bit of off pace, change of tempo, because you're so opposite yourself?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, I guess I respect that type of game. I don't know. It's her game. Everyone has a different game. She probably can't play the game I play. I probably wouldn't be able to play the game she plays as well, so everyone is going to be different.
Q. Venus, you made a big effort to go to the net more. How would you evaluate your performance there?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think that maybe I was getting a to the net a little too slow. After I hit the shot, I decided to come to the net instead of deciding when I hit the shot I'm going to the net. That made me go in a little slower, get the ball late. Sometimes I probably wasn't doing my split, I'm not real sure. That's probably another reason. Basically I wanted to just come in. At least I learn to come in. I'm going to try to do that every match.
Q. Apart from her consistency, what would you say is her greatest strength out there?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Maybe her down-the-line shots. She pulls those out sometimes, especially in long points.
Q. Does this get you all fired up to go back to the drawing board and practice and work at things you can do?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Uhm, yes, it does, because you can always improve. There's a lot of things I need to improve on, my consistency, making the shots that I need to make. I'm going to get there.
Q. Could you tell us your thoughts when you went up 3-Love, two breaks right away.
VENUS WILLIAMS: I just started making a lot of mistakes, maybe rushing some of my shots, not using enough spin at times.
Q. But what were you thinking at the time that you went ahead so quickly?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't remember right now. I'll have to think about that later.
Q. Next stop Hilton Head or Amelia Island?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Amelia Island.
Q. Serena is coming along and we'll take your word for it. But right now, do you have a sense of the importance of this match in two such young players meeting for the first time?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I don't.
Q. Why not?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Could you tell me what's important about it? You know, I don't know why you're asking me that if you didn't answer the question yourself. I don't know the importance either.
Q. There were great expectations about it, two players of similar age, different styles, different backgrounds, and meeting for the first time. You go back sometimes in history like Chris Evert playing Evonne Goolagong.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Maybe it's going to be in the history book, of some importance.
Q. It will be.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Probably so.
Q. Had you seen her play matches before?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes.
Q. Did she show you anything different on being opposite her that you were surprised by or startled by or even disappointed by?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I don't think she hit as many double-faults in the match, and that's probably because I was trying to attack second serves, probably not. But I don't recall her hitting as many. I guess sometimes she does, sometimes she doesn't. I haven't seen too many of her matches. I guess not as many are televised, at least during the hours that I'm awake.
Q. Venus, did your father have anything to say to you before you went on the court today, and if he did, would you share it with us?
VENUS WILLIAMS: He just said to go out there and relax, don't put any pressure on yourself, hit the ball.
Q. Is that the way you felt out there?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes.
Q. Did you feel any nervousness across the net when suddenly you're ahead 3-Love with on a couple of breaks, did you think she looked or felt tense?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I don't think she felt tense. She might have been a bit upset, but not tense, I don't think so.
Q. A lot of players like to listen to music to relax. What's your favorite sort of music, and who are your favorite artists?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't listen to music to relax.
Q. Do you listen to it at all?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, sometimes.
Q. What do you listen to? Venus, what do you think was the turning point of the match, you had a 3-Love lead, attacking the second serve. What happened?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Didn't someone ask me that earlier?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Really, I thought someone asked me what I was thinking. Okay. I think I made a lot of errors.
Q. What do you like to listen to?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I listen to a bit of everything. Even sometimes classical music.
Q. Do you know a lot about it?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No.
Q. Do you know what you're listening to?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I don't know a lot about it. Just change the channel all the time.
DEBBI EDWARDS: Any other questions?
Q. What will you be working on now?
VENUS WILLIAMS: My serves and return of serves, as always, and probably my consistency, just coming to the net. Probably work on my slice a little more. I don't use it very often. Basically that's about it.
Q. Venus, looking at the big picture, what do you think you're going to take away from Lipton, these three matches, the whole experience?
VENUS WILLIAMS: It was a lot of fun playing in Florida. At least Southern Florida, I never played down here before. I'll take away a lot of experience because I played three different players, three different matches. When you do that, you always learn a little bit more about players who play similar.
Q. Do you expect more of yourself today?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think everyone always does, yes. I did. Myself didn't come through.
Q. I've just come in. Are you playing the French or have you already said that?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, I plan on playing the French Open.
Q. At the moment you do plan on playing the French?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Uh-huh.
Q. Thank you.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Thank you.
Q. Have you ever played on red clay?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I have not. Not the real deal. I've played on a hard red clay, just red. Never felt the real stuff. And, yes, I've played on grass.
Q. Venus, how long does it take you to get over a loss?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm over it right now. If you can't get over a loss, the next thing you'll know, next match you play, you'll be tight and tense, think about the things you lost. "Last time I was up 3-Love, can't let it go back to 3-All." When you have that type of thinking, you can't move on, can't let go. I have let go. I've said good-bye to the match. I don't think we'll meet again. I don't want to meet that type of match again.
DEBBI EDWARDS: Is that all? Thank you.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Thank you.
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