March 28, 1999
KEY BISCAYNE, FLORIDA
VERONIQUE MARCHAL: Questions for Venus.
Q. Congratulations. You got to 4-3 in the second set, then you seemed to come apart. What happened there?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I really don't remember at this point. I guess I came apart there. I guess Serena was playing better tennis. She stopped missing as many balls. I started missing more balls. Tough to say. I lost it.
Q. Is there any chance you may have subconsciously let up on her because you didn't want to embarrass there?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I would definitely say there's no chance because Serena always comes back and defeats people. I didn't want to become another victim. So it was all I could do to hold her off.
Q. You're the defending champion and older sister, kind of double pressure there. Did you feel any of that?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I felt good. I felt kind of good coming in. I was making my shots. I didn't feel any pressure at all. I think the only match that I was feeling pressure on was against Anke Huber. I was just pretty ill, so. It wasn't easy at all.
Q. How much satisfaction is there in beating your sister?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Serena is a great player. Of course, there's great satisfaction because she takes players down left and right. So to survive such an onslaught is just great.
Q. Was it any different for you today in any way, emotionally or mentally, to look across the net and see your sister?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I look across the net and see her all the time, no.
Q. But not for a championship of a tournament, with everybody watching. Did anything cross your mind at all about how big this was?
VENUS WILLIAMS: It's not too big. In the end, we go home, we live life. You have to be happy after that, so. You have to remind yourself it's a game, and there's only one winner. Of course, next week there will be another opportunity. That's how I feel.
Q. What did you say to her when the match was over?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. Maybe I'll just keep that for me.
Q. She didn't really look happy when she came to the net. You put your arm around her. Can you talk a bit about that?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I mean, it's tough when you lose a match in the final, it's a tough match. It's tough for anyone, no matter what happens. Serena wants to win. She always wants to win. That's her personality.
Q. How is the day before the game in your house with your sister or family? Are you talking about the game?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, what actually happened was we woke up like at eight. We didn't hit till like 11. We didn't practice at all. We were playing around, joking. We didn't practice too hard. We didn't even hit serves. I gave Serena some overheads. It was my turn to hit some overheads. I hit one bad one. I said, Give me one more and I'll be done. We left. We didn't even hit in the afternoon like we planned. We knew we were playing each other. We were going to give ourselves the best effort.
Q. Did you notice Serena picking up her game a little bit early on in the second set?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I already knew Serena was going to pick up her game. It's a trend. Serena just doesn't play a whole match bad. She usually plays every match very well. If she happens to start out slow, she always makes herself pick it up, no matter what the circumstances are. That's how she's going to play.
Q. What do you think happened at the end? Serena came back, broke you, tied it at 4-4. Her game just fell apart?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't think it fell apart. I just think I happened to win that game. It was great to win that game. I had to serve it out. I guess I played a tough game there. I had to if I wanted to win at that point, unless I wanted to go to 5-All, which wouldn't have been very good tidings for me against Serena.
Q. Do you think all of us, the media, are making too much out of this sister thing?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. Serena and I, we've been doing a lot. Maybe you aren't.
Q. What did you think when she nailed you with that short ball at the net?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, I was ready. I have great hands. We play doubles all the time. I really didn't know where the ball was going, so I just wish I could have got it back. It's too late now.
Q. You hit the edge of your racquet?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know what happened. I just didn't win the point. I do know that.
Q. Was there any part of you that was glad to get this over with?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I was ready to play.
Q. After the match ended, didn't seem like you celebrated that much. Was there any part of you that it wasn't as fun because your sister had to be the loser?
VENUS WILLIAMS: It's just a competition, two players, two great players. That's how I felt.
Q. You have such a complete game. Do you think you could improve your overhead a little bit?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I usually never miss overheads. But today I remember I had one overhead. One of the main problems for me is I'm so tall that if it's not high enough, it's going to hit my racquet. It's quite odd. Then there's another one, Serena hit it up so high.
Q. You do have confidence in your overhead?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, yeah. I just have to hit it. If you don't hit it, it's your own double-fault.
Q. Don't you think the older sibling always has an advantage?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know.
Q. Come on.
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. Come on.
Q. You said you'll be enrolling in fashion design school in the fall.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes.
Q. Have you designed any of your outfits?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I've only designed a warm-up suit. But I will have some of my designs at the US Open. I find it very exciting. It's my career choice. It's a great thing. I enjoy fashion.
Q. Was there more pressure on you than her today?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I really don't think so. I don't think either of us had pressure on us at all. I just think we went out there and started playing.
Q. Serena has said before, before some of her other big matches, you gave her advice. Obviously you didn't do that today.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Probably not.
Q. Is it hard to be a mentor to your little sister when she's going to be an opponent?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I teach her everything I can. I know that I'm a good player. I believe in my game. When you play someone, you just have to worry about what you're doing. If you worry about what they're doing, it's going to be a little more tougher. But I do everything I can to make Serena the best player that she can be and that I can be.
Q. Your father said that perhaps you and your sister were maybe not as focused as intensely as it might have been if it had been another opponent who wasn't your sister across the net. Do you agree with that?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Perhaps. Perhaps. I like to use that word, too. I think Serena and I, we both wanted to win. Serena wanted to win this title. I guess it would have been her largest title. This is my largest title. I haven't been able to excel at any Grand Slams yet. We both wanted to win.
Q. What did you think after the first set when your daddy held up the sign, "Go, Serena, go."
VENUS WILLIAMS: I couldn't see the sign. My eyes aren't that good.
Q. What do you think now in retrospect?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't see anything wrong with it.
Q. Your dad seemed quite emotional today. Looks like it was a huge accomplishment. Now can he let go a little bit, let you make your own decisions. Do you think this was for him and for yourself a point where he can be a little more relaxed around the tournaments, enjoy it more, less responsibilities since you both have reached a higher point?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah.
Q. Two days ago you said you wanted this to be a really good match. I'm wondering, do you think this is the best match it could have been?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Things could always be better in my eyes. I could have played better. Serena could have played better. It's what happened. It was good enough. It was two hours.
Q. Will you and Serena enter a lot of tournaments the rest of this year together or not?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Basically, yes. We'll be in a lot of the same tournaments. We still take days off and time off, weeks off. We're nice to ourselves, in other words.
Q. Were you always aware of who your opponent was or did you lose yourself in the match and play the ball, as she said she did?
VENUS WILLIAMS: If I was always aware of who my opponent was, obviously I am aware. Gee, I was trying to compete for points. That's all in the end. That's all I was trying to do.
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