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September 7, 1997

Venus Williams

Flushing Meadows, New York

Q. How do you feel?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Feel good. Thank you.

Q. Pardon me?


Q. Glad to hear that. Were there any nerves, Venus, at the beginning of the match, on your part?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, probably so. I think so. I think it's natural to be nervous in a situation like that.

Q. What happened? What happened out there?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I went out there. Lost first set 6-0. Second 6-4. Then awards ceremony.

Q. I don't mean it like that. What were you thinking to yourself after the first set, mentally?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I just felt that I should have pulled my game together, maybe slow it down, do something a little bit different.

Q. Have you figured out how to beat her the next time?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I just think I'll probably have to play a little better, be a little bit more consistent, cut down my number of unforced errors a little bit.

Q. What makes Martina so tough?

VENUS WILLIAMS: She's an all-around player. She's consistent. She has a lot of shots. She's doing real good this year.

Q. What could you learn from this day?

VENUS WILLIAMS: A lot of things, but I really haven't even thought about that right now.

Q. The Associated Press this morning quoted your father as saying that the incident with Irina Spirlea was racially motivated. Does your father reflect your thoughts on that? Do you have thoughts on that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I mean, I didn't even read the paper.

Q. Venus, on opening night, Arthur Ashe's widow said the most important message that Arthur Ashe had was inclusion of all people into the sport. Could you take a moment and say whether that is of importance to you and something that you'd like to achieve now and over your years?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I mean, if someone wants to play the sport, they shouldn't be put out because of their race or religion, social status. That really is part of the American belief. It really should be part of the world's belief. I definitely think that is something representative of Arthur Ashe.

Q. Venus, the first game of the match, you were up 30-Love and 40-15. You looked very, very solid. Then you had four unforced errors. I hate to say it, but was that an early turning point in the match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, probably. Yeah.

Q. Do you want to elaborate a little bit?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes. It was a turning point in the match.

Q. Are you surprised that there were so many unforced errors?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I wasn't surprised. It was kind of maybe one of my weaknesses, maybe one of my only weaknesses, I will start hitting unforced errors. That's something I cut down a lot on in this tournament. I really improved on that. I'm just going to have to keep working hard. I'm one of the players who will just start doing that at times. Maybe in the future, six months from now, that will be something that will pass. I'm just going to have to keep working on that.

Q. Was some of that nervousness?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I think that maybe I just thought I had to do too much, maybe I wanted to end points a little bit quicker. Sometimes I'll tend to play like that.

Q. When you played at Filderstadt in a few weeks?


Q. You're scheduled to play. Are you going to play that tournament?

VENUS WILLIAMS: If things go well, yeah.

Q. Venus, was the whole two-week experience what you anticipated, what you thought it might be like, or did anything catch you by surprise, either negatively or positively?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I mean, I never spent two weeks at a tournament. I really didn't imagine anything about it. I mean, everyone has their own ideas, but I wouldn't have imagined a lot of things that happened.

Q. Venus, what were you proudest of today? Your ability to come back in the second set after the first set doesn't go at all the way you want it to?

VENUS WILLIAMS: That's just like too early to answer. I haven't even had time to think about it.

Q. Venus, after you broke back in the second set, you were tied 4-4, up 30-Love on your serve, you double-faulted, had a few unforced errors. Were you thinking ahead at that point?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Probably just a little bit, yeah.

Q. What were you thinking?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think everyone thinks ahead. It's just natural.

Q. Venus, the few moments leading to the time you go on court, very important for every player. Happened to be next court to you when you were warming up. Were you happy with your routine to go on court?


Q. The first day of the tournament, Venus, you said your goal was to play the entire tournament without losing a bead. How did we do during the tournament?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I lost some beads in the quarterfinals, so I did not fulfill my goal. That's what obsessed me most of all. I was in tears. I'll have to work harder next time.

Q. You said on CBS just now that that was it for the year, you wouldn't be playing anymore. Now you just said you might play Filderstadt.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I never said that.

Q. What did you never say?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I said that I entered all the tournaments I was going to enter this year. The tournaments that I've entered, those are going to the tournament I'm going to enter this year.

Q. Venus, what's going to happen, do you think, in the next year or so with your coaching? Do you think it's going to continue with your father?


Q. Is there a chance that Rick Maci might get involved again? What's going on?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I have a good coach right now. I don't see any need to change. I think that all the coaching thing needs to stop because, as you could see, I made it to the Finals. I did okay. My coach is very competent. My mother's very competent. My dad is competent. They know the game. So I think the criticism and things like that has to stop because people are taking it a little bit too far and it's not part of your life. You guys are getting overly involved.

Q. Do you think it's the fact that you are so confident, when you're confident, sometimes folks feel that you are arrogant?

VENUS WILLIAMS: That my coach feels that?

Q. No. I'm saying it seems to like some degree the press here in New York City has to some degree said you are somewhat arrogant.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Everybody has their own feelings, the way they see things.

Q. I'm saying, is it confidence, does it have to do with the fact that you're an African American?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think it has something to do with people are finding something to pick with.

Q. Do you have any friends among the girls on The Tour?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, Serena. I'm not really on The Tour hardly.

Q. Do you feel like they ambushed you yesterday on CBS?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I didn't feel that way. I never knew it happened. It was weird. Didn't ambush me, I don't think.

Q. Did you talk to Althea Gibson at all during these two weeks?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I have not.

Q. Venus, when you lose the first set 6-Love, is there ever a feeling or a wonder, "Gosh, am I ever going to get another game"? Is it that sort of feeling? Or is it a hacker's feeling on my part, do you wonder if you're going to get anything?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I was just trying to think of what I could do to get in the match, what I could change, what I was doing wrong. That's basically all.

Q. Did you have a sense that the crowd was behind you, was helping you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Definitely, they were, since the first point. They were there.

Q. If there were one thing you could change about either how you prepared for the match or the match itself, what would that be?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I generally don't even think of things like that. There's nothing I can change.

Q. Venus, the only two matches Hingis lost this year were the two big hitters, Majoli and Davenport. Is it possible to out steady here or do you have to have to blow her off the court?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think whatever game you have, you just have to go out there and play your game. You don't have to have a power game or soft game. So just have to play well, that's all.

Q. Your father is also quoted by the Associated Press by saying you have experienced racism on The Tour. Could you comment on that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I really -- I don't think that's even part of it right now. I don't want to answer that question.

Q. Venus, are you disagreeing with your father then? Because he has definitely charged that there's racism. He told the bumping was a racist incident, the whole attitude here, racism. Are you disagreeing with that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think with this moment in the first year in Arthur Ashe Stadium, it all represents everyone being together, everyone being -- having a chance to play. So I think this is definitely ruining the mood, these questions about racism.

Q. Your father didn't have to comment yesterday.

VENUS WILLIAMS: You didn't have to bring it up.

Q. Yes, I did. Excuse me, who brought it up?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I said that how many times?

Q. Don't worry about it. That's exactly what you're trying to do right now.

End of FastScripts….

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