November 18, 1997
MADISON SQUARE GARDEN, NEW YORK
Q. Looking to next year to play in this tournament?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I sure am. Very much so. It was one of my goals this year. But I felt that it would be nice to play in this tournament. My goal would be to be in the top 20. I felt if I can do as well to get in this one, that would be definitely great and a plus.
Q. Venus, are you going to play a full schedule next year or is it going to be limited?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Next year I'm only committed to 12 tournaments and two Slams right now. So right now it's not too -- not too bad. It's a lot to travel, I think.
Q. You think the last leg of play is holding you back?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I wouldn't say that at all. And plus, if I'm not doing the right things on the court, especially if I need to make improvements, I don't want to blame it on not playing enough tournaments.
Q. Which Slams are you planning to play?
VENUS WILLIAMS: So far the Australian and the French.
Q. And you don't plan to go back to Wimbledon or the U.S. Open?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I just said that those two are now on the list.
Q. Do you have a projected date or timetable to be No. 1?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I just said that for the end of the year. Obviously, this year, I've done okay. And next year, I plan on getting better. And by next year, I'll be like 25th in the world. So it's not that long of a way to go. You know, 24 more spaces, it's not too hard.
Q. You seem to have had a little let down after the Open. Is that mental or what is that?
VENUS WILLIAMS: It wasn't that easy, because I had to go overseas to play. And I guess I really didn't practice that much. I got lazy. I didn't want to practice. I guess I just felt that my momentum, which is keep on going, was a mistake and I didn't get my game together 'til, like, three weeks after, which is not so good, because you can't practice so much on the road. It's like you can't correct mistakes. You have to correct them before you leave and go to play tournaments, so... That was my downfall. I guess it won't happen again.
Q. When you look back on this year, what were the things that you think that you learned, the most valuable lessons or things you learned this year?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I learned a lot of things this year. I learned somehow to change my game. I learned what to do in different situations, especially if you're not winning or having a bad day. Just a lot of different things. I've had some problems with consistency in my game earlier in the year, and that got much better. I worked on that. I had to be conscious. My parents kept telling me that I wasn't serving well in some matches, things like that, so I've worked on some things. And they still can get a lot more better. There's always room for improvement for me.
Q. What do you think about your sister's improvement
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think she's doing a lot better than what I did at the beginning. That was her 11th match or something like that. I really haven't counted, but it was her 4th tournament. But she was really going at it and being serious and learning fast, so it was really good. She's going to come through next year.
Q. Are you going to add any coaches along the next coming year?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Am I going to get another coach?
Q. Yeah. A lot of people with big entourages; a trainer or coach?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, things are good now. Things are good. I'm getting better. My parents are helping me. I have no problem with that. I don't have a problem; some people do.
Q. Have you spoken to Irina since the Open?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, yeah. Things are the same. I mean, all that happened was that, you know, we both went to the net and we had a small collision. And before that, we got along, and after that, we got along. It was the same as before. It was just that something blew up over here.
Q. Where are you going to keep your vase at home?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. Top of my drawer. I don't know.
Q. Venus, do you know which tournament you and Serena will both be playing at and what will be the first time you both will be in the same tournament?
VENUS WILLIAMS: We played in the same tournament before.
Q. I mean on the tour with each other.
VENUS WILLIAMS: I mean, it depends on how the draw is made, so... We've played in the same tournaments before this year. And we could have met each other in, like, the first round or the quarterfinals, so...
VENUS WILLIAMS: Eventually it is. It is. Be ready.
Q. Venus, I'd like to know if you're involved in any way in bringing the game to the inner cities, like minorities?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I do clinics, especially when I'm in the States, for kids, especially the more -- the less fortunate kids. And I enjoy to do it. It's a plus for me that I'm able to give back as much as I can, even though a lot of times I don't have that much time. But it's fun, and I enjoy it. And they seem to enjoy it when I do go, and I'm happy about that.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Thank you all very much.
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