September 1, 1998
U.S. OPEN, FLUSHING MEADOWS, NEW YORK
Q. Ever been underhand served before in a match?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Not that I recall. I really don't think that happened before. Not sure what I would have done, I guess I would have taken it and come in.
Q. Did you laugh?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh yeah, I was laughing. (Laughs) It was really funny. She was laughing too. Everyone was laughing. I guess there was no other alternative available for her at that moment in time.
Q. You dropped, I guess, if my count was right, half a dozen matchpoints after that. Was that a tactic you might try in the future, seemed to work against --
VENUS WILLIAMS: The underhand serve?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, thank you, I think my serve is pretty good.
Q. I'd like to ask on a more serious vein, in many ways you have sort of broken the mold in terms of a new generation of tennis players, by and large past most of the junior tournaments, tall, athletic, serves 125 miles per hour. Sort of stated your own goals very clearly. What do you see the player of the future in tennis being like five years down the line?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, five years I will be like 23 and. (Laughs) It is really all the players are improving, everyone is getting more power as the years pass by, and those who don't improve are just left behind. So I think in the future the girls are going to -- should be more willing to come to the net. I have made more of a dedication to be there. And I think that the girls are going to have more power, be faster, just going to keep improving.
Q. Do you think some day soon you will be facing serves that are as big or bigger than yours?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I don't think it is possible.
Q. You don't think there is some kid out there who --
VENUS WILLIAMS: You never know, there might be someone who comes bigger than me and taller and who has better form, but I don't think it is going to happen. It could. (Laughs) I think that right now I am only 18. I am just going to get stronger. My serve is going to get bigger. I have quite a few more years of growing.
Q. Is that something that you are blessed with or something you developed?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think definitely I was blessed. I don't think -- it definitely has a lot to do with technique, how to generate the power because you can't have your serve stopping and going and just different things that you have to have to generate the power on your serve, but also I am naturally strong even though I -- I am not as built as Serena, my strength is a little more secretive.
Q. Do you have more fun in a match where the outcome is never in doubt or where you have a tooth-and-nail struggle and you come up winning?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Everything is great. Especially when you win, sometimes when you lose, you might need to lose in order to move on and to be a better player. But like in a match like that you can really work on things that you might want to do in more pressured situations, like your serve and volley, your slicing and coming in, or just different things like that, angles and drops. And then you will be able to do it in other matches that's where it really counts.
Q. Just a follow-up on that, not to be negative, but what matches that you have lost, I don't know, first round Wimbledon year before, year before last --
VENUS WILLIAMS: I want to just say that this year is my first year playing Wimbledon. Okay, go ahead.
Q. But my question is what of your matches that you did lose did you learn the most from and what did you learn?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I really can't tell you. I have lost some sad matches; sick matches; matches that I have had to move on from and so it is tough to say -- some matches I have played bad. I have made bad decisions because I didn't know how to make a good one.
Q. On the court though don't you feel you are making bad decisions like, okay, two dropshots you missed, but then you kept doing it until --
VENUS WILLIAMS: Today?
Q. Yes, today.
VENUS WILLIAMS: I thought I missed one drop shot off of return of serve.
Q. Well, anyway you missed one then you just --
VENUS WILLIAMS: I was up 40-Love.
Q. I thought it was two.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Plus I have been working on adding more variety in my game, dropshots, slice, coming in, so it is something you have to work on and there was a perfect opportunity I was up 5-Love 40-Love why not, I had -- if things came to the worse, I had five games to blow.
Q. How did it feel to get back on that court and did you think about last year at all when you walked out there?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I just thought about which seat I was going to take and which seat I sat in most last year and I think it was the seat I sat in this year against Wagner.
Q. How much have you progressed as a player from this time last year, what is the difference in your game and your mental approach between today and a year ago?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think I am able to recognize my opponent's abilities and what they might do, some specific patterns, their weaknesses and I am able to play more strategy, simple things like that. I am a better thinker, make better decisions, I am able to recognize the situations.
Q. Of all the players over the years, has there been one who gets under your skin, kind of irritates you, who or you find the toughest?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No. What do you mean over the years? I have hardly had any years. Not yet. Three years from now.
Q. Are you receiving any treatment for your knee? Can you give us maybe a percentage of how well it is?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I am not receiving any treatment. Well I think sometimes you should have maintenance, but things are going pretty good now. I think that I have to take good care of myself, take all the precautions, and so that is what I do.
Q. You didn't feel any pain out there tonight?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I am feeling very good.
Q. You have got a new outfit for every match this week?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, I do.
Q. Planning on wearing all of them?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, I am.
Q. Is there -- if you had to pick someone in the entertainment field or a writer who you feel you have a connection with or identify with, is there anyone that you particularly like out there that really speaks to you?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes.
Q. Could you tell me, please?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Serena.
Q. How so?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I think that we have like some of the same experiences and we are someone in the same. I think we can really share our thoughts.
Q. Do you have a certain ESP thing going where you know what she is thinking without her saying words to you?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think that mostly Serena. I think my other sisters, also we think mostly similar, and I think that because I spend the most time with Serena, we are only a year apart, my other sisters are somewhat older than I am - but like we are really close also. And I think Serena and I somewhat think the same. We are different persons, but almost the same person. So..... Just different people. Thank you.
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