March 13, 1998
INDIAN WELLS, CALIFORNIA
VERONIQUE MARCHAL: Questions for Venus.
Q. What happened in the first set?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I believe I got a slow start. I was having my problems, making too many errors. I was able to pull through it the best I could in the second.
Q. What about this end so quickly, the end was very fast after so strong a tiebreak, the last two points was very fast?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I remember the last point. I don't remember the point before that one.
Q. The last two points was very --
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, yes. I remember the last one, that's all.
Q. Two mistakes?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah.
Q. What happened?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I guess I couldn't get the ball in.
Q. That's it?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, what else can I say? I made the mistakes. There's nothing much I can do about them now. It's too late. I should have decided not to make them in the tiebreak.
Q. Did you decide to make the mistakes?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Generally, I don't.
Q. After you beat her in Sydney, did you have a special game plan for today?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think my game plan was to cut down unforced errors. I was unable to do that in the first set. That's no good. Actually, should have started fast in the beginning, really ready. But I just wasn't able to do that.
Q. When is your next tournament?
VENUS WILLIAMS: The Lipton, next week.
Q. What was the injury time-out, Venus?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I was having an elbow problem.
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't think it's tendonitis, no. But I have to get evaluated by the trainers to see exactly what it is. I don't know what it is.
Q. Did it affect you the rest of the match?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I was able to come through it, but I was definitely having some problems there. I think everyone should be ready to play when they go out to their matches. It's no excuse if you're having an injury.
Q. Was it something that bothered you for a while?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No. Never had this before.
Q. Do you have a good luck charm?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, no. I don't have a good luck charm.
Q. Are you superstitious?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No. Sometimes I like to sit in the same area. If that doesn't happen, it doesn't bother me. Sometimes I like to do that. I shouldn't -- I'm not superstitious at all.
Q. Today is Friday the 13th.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Pardon me?
Q. Today is Friday the 13th.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, no.
Q. Venus, had you had the opportunity, would you play against Lindsay instead of Martina?
VENUS WILLIAMS: In the end, I would have played either one of them. I would have played Lindsay tomorrow. I played her last week, two weeks ago. So in the end, you have to play someone.
VENUS WILLIAMS: You should just be ready.
Q. Wouldn't have been partial to either one?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No. They're both close. Martina is No. 1. Lindsay is trying to get there. They're both playing very well this year. They both have different games.
Q. A year ago in Florida, Venus, you said ultimately that Serena would be your toughest competition. Do you still feel that way, and could you explain why?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, I still feel that way. Because I think that Serena and I are doing our best to learn what to do during matches, to get better and to get more experience. We're getting there definitely. We still have some ways to go, a little bit. It should be easier for Serena to come through, since I was the first one. She's come through a lot quicker than what I have. Ultimately, Serena and I, I think we have all the skills it will take. I just can't see anyone being better than us in the future. I think a lot of girls will definitely be there. We see all the young girls coming through, doing good. That is going to be motivation for us to really keep ourselves going.
Q. You said there's still some things to work on in your game. What are the one or two things you'd like to work on immediately in your game?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think right now I really have everything down pat. Last year during this time, there were a lot of things I needed to work on, like my movement and my groundstrokes. This year, I think everything is solid. I think right now I need to concentrate on taking it to the next level and seeing do I really want to get to the top, am I really willing to do that work? Am I going to be willing to make the sacrifices, to give it all? I think right now, that's it for me. As Serena, you'll have to ask her.
Q. Are you convinced you and Serena have more likelihood to be No. 1 and 2 than anybody else on the Tour?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think so. I think Serena and I, that's our plan. We don't see anyone else -- or we don't want anyone else to try to stop us.
Q. You say you have all the shots or you've got the game. In order to get beyond where you are, you have to sacrifice. What is it you're going to have to sacrifice?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think a lot of the players -- some players in the past, in the Top 10, aren't really working to get to the No. 1 level. They just aren't willing to really go out there and really give it their all, really do what it takes to get to the top. It's not that no one want -- everyone wants to be at the top. But are you willing to go to the next level? I have to ask myself to see if I really want it.
Q. What do you have to give up?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't think you have to give up anything.
Q. You said a moment ago you have to sacrifice.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Are we arguing now?
Q. Well, you said you have to sacrifice. Now you're saying you don't have to.
VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm saying, the top players, they do more than everyone else. They work a little harder, put in the extra time. That's what the top players do. That's what I've been doing to get to where I am now.
Q. What do you have to sacrifice to get to the top?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Everything.
Q. Striking similarity to some degree with the U.S. Open final. I remember you reading notes during the final last year. You don't do that anymore. You don't need that anymore?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I have my notes. I had them the other day. I had them in the first set, but I didn't use them as much today.
Q. Venus, do you have a timetable for yourself as far as when you want to be No. 1?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think it all depends on how much I play this year, to get the amount of points needed to get to No. 1. But right now I think I should just concentrate on getting better.
Q. What about the relationship with the other girls? You spend a lot of time with your sister. You meet the other girls of the circuit, the other professional players, or not?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I talk to the girls, see the girls all the time. I'm on the Tour. Serena is my sister. I don't think people should expect me to go out and find someone else different.
VERONIQUE MARCHAL: Any last questions for Venus?
Q. What in your mind makes Hingis tough? We talked about the future. But in the present, is it she seems to be kind of steady, doesn't seem to have real ups and downs?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, she really doesn't have ups and downs. Sometimes you might -- she might get angry at herself and miss a shot. It's not like a lot of other players will do, miss shots for three games. She's really working hard to make sure she maintains her position. She maintained it today against me. I'll look at myself and find out what I'm doing wrong. Obviously, she's very serious, so I have to get more serious in the future, take her example.
Q. What is your confidence level now, Venus, do you look at this match and say, "I lost this match," more so than Martina winning it?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I suppose if someone wanted to put it that way. The glass is half full or half empty.
Q. Venus, you've had some wonderful wins already in the first few months of the year, won your first tournament. How would you judge or assess the first few months of the year for you?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm pretty happy about my accomplishments this year. Every tournament I've got like to the quarters or better. What was I saying? I think today, that I didn't win today, obviously I would have wanted to win. I'm not the happiest that I would be if I had won. But then again, you can't let it get too large to where winning is all that you have because I just have to regroup and say, "Next match, I have to be better. Next match, this is what I'm going to do." This is just the beginning for me, my first years. I'm going to move on, get better, and I'll talk to y'all later.
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