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March 25, 1999

Venus Williams


BROOKE LAWER: Questions for Venus.

Q. What was your reaction when Jana was obviously struggling in the second set? Looked like she hurt herself?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I wasn't quite sure what to think because she had played Serena before. Serena lost the first set, came back tough in the second. Jana appeared to be hurt and was forced to retire, also had to pull out of the next tournament the next week. I wasn't sure what was happening with her. But she was able to continue in the third.

Q. Do you feel like you played your best tennis, Venus?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, not at all. I was able to come through, I was able to fight. She played well. She didn't miss a lot of balls, just giving me points; I actually had to work for my points. That was a good thing, I suppose.

Q. Would you like to go to the final with your sister?


Q. How are you feeling right now about the possibility of a Williams sister final?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I feel great, definitely. It would just be a great thing to happen.

Q. Have you and your sister talked about it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. It's not something very important to us. We work our sides of the draw, do our best, try to pull in the win. If it's not possible, then we learn from our mistakes.

Q. Why did you and your sister withdraw from the doubles?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Because I'm just a little too sick right now. Plus it was just too tough to play this match and then to play so many doubles matches. We had to play so many days in a row. I was physically unable to continue in such a manner.

Q. Are you sick?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm getting better. That's how I look at it.

Q. Did you have pain in your body when you started? It looked like you were not the same athletically speaking.

VENUS WILLIAMS: It's like you have to -- every point, you have to be there, just take yourself to the next level. It's just something you have to concentrate on, every point, do your best, just try to get what you can out of yourself.

Q. You have had water pouring , you looked for the towel very often today.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Because my hands sweat a lot. I can't hold the grip. I have to have it. Especially in Florida. The weather is starting to get warmer. You have to have the towel.

Q. How frustrating is it for you, when you're trying to concentrate on every point, in the case of both of you through much of the match today, the points were won by the other's mistakes, not by winners? There were winners, but for the most part it was the other way.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes. In general, both Jana and I are fast players, quick players, we watch the ball well. It was tough for either of us to hit a winner, especially if we didn't step up. I don't think either of us was stepping up and trying to come in as much. I tried in the beginning of the match, but I just felt I was going to have to be at the baseline this day. Maybe tomorrow I'll be at the net more. I'm willing to come in. That's a great improvement. The winners, it's not always a factor that you can rely on it each match. Every match is different that you're going to have to use different tactics.

Q. The second two sets , was it as easy as it appeared watching? You were up 5-Love. It seemed it was a lot easier for you.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I was definitely working for it. I was doing my utmost to win each point. That's how I want to play, whether I'm playing well, whether I'm playing badly, however I feel. If I feel I can't give a hundred percent, then maybe it's necessary for me to pull out. But I felt I could do my best today. That's all that counts.

Q. Are you getting over a cold?


Q. When you're up 4-Love in the second set, did you get the feeling --?

VENUS WILLIAMS: 4-Love in the second?

Q. Yes.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I thought maybe she was suffering from injuries, but I couldn't be quite sure. Players are just trying to do their best to win. I didn't know what was happening. But I did know that I would like to win. That's what I did know.

Q. How are you taking care of your cold? Are you going to see a doctor?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't think there's so much a doctor can do. Hopefully, after this tournament, I will be taking a rest. I'll go home and just have a rest, which is important. You just have to wait for it to get out of your system. That's the best thing.

Q. People don't talk only about your tennis playing, but also your outfit. Is it important for you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, I love fashion. It means a lot to me. It's something I'm interested in. I think I'm a creative person. That's what I would like to do in the future. It's great.

Q. So you want to be different on the court, as well?


Q. Can you talk a little about your next match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes. I've played Steffi twice this year and once in exhibition. Unfortunately, she had to retire. I think she got a little stomach virus, but she was ready to go the next week. I think it will be a great match. I'm ready to play. I'm trying to get my mind ready right now. I feel great about going into it. In the end, it's just a match. You do your best and learn from everything that you might have done wrong.

Q. When you say you've played her twice, that's already since January?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, correct.

Q. Serena has a tough match, too. What do you think the chances are of a Williams sisters sweep tomorrow?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I just always feel that Serena is going to win. That's just the way I feel. I would say the chances are high. We're both feeling great. We are learning a lot. Serena has just come so far in the past four weeks, it's so great. It's motivating. I'm really glad to see her there. I'm proud of her. It's great.

Q. There was speculation before this tournament that because you didn't play, Serena played and beat Steffi at the last tournament, that not playing there was maybe a mistake because you would be out of practice.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, in general, there's always speculation, especially when it concerns Serena and I. People are going to write and say what they feel. I don't really think that we're able to stop it. There's always speculation. People are going to think what they want to think. That's how life is for us.

Q. I meant, in general terms, anybody who would skip the tournament prior to this one, might have not been as sharp.

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I feel like I know how to play tennis. I know how to make my decisions. I feel confident. I don't feel I need to have a warm-up tournament every time at all.

Q. You say the way Serena is playing is motivating. Is it motivating for you to see her playing so well?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Definitely. We always expected both of us to play so well. We just knew it would be a matter of time before Serena pulled through. She's just doing so many things great right now. All her techniques are solid. It's very hard to break through her. She's a strong girl, she's smart. She has a great serve. It's really great. So if I'm making mistakes, I just look to Serena.

Q. Talk about the state of women's tennis. It seems like people are more involved now in women's tennis than even the men's.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think, in general, women's tennis, there's just so much happening right now. There's so many different players playing great tennis. The intensity level I believe in the past few years has really risen. Everyone wants a piece of the pie. They're saying, "I want to win, too. I'm no longer going to give it away." I think that's what is mainly happening. Everyone is finding that they want to win basically.

Q. Do you think it's the same in all of women's sports because they're getting more attention now?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm not quite sure. Unfortunately, I don't follow sports outside of tennis.

Q. Is it a question of personality, maybe more personalities in female tennis than male?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It's possible.

Q. So you try to be one strong personality?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I just believe in general there's more personalities on display in women's tennis. Not to say that the men players don't have personalities, but maybe the ladies are able to show it more to the press or to the people. Maybe that's it.

Q. Has the style of women's tennis changed over the years?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think everyone is trying to be a powerhouse. Oh, yeah, for sure. Since the '80s, especially since I came on, too. I believe I came and I had a huge serve, huge groundstrokes. Everyone decided, "Hey, we have to do something about this. She has this stuff and we don't have it." I think that's what happened.

End of FastScripts....

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