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August 30, 1999

Venus Williams

U.S. OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP, Flushing Meadows, New York

WTA: Questions for Venus.

Q. How did you like your game today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It was very windy, and I had to improvise some, change some things up. I'd have liked to have played better. I'd like to have a tougher round match. Under the conditions, I guess it was okay.

Q. What has changed about you from two years ago when you reached the final here?

VENUS WILLIAMS: About eight titles. My ranking is about 61 places better.

Q. How about your game?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I have a bigger serve, make better decisions, cover the net more, those type of things.

Q. I'm sure it's a little warmer now. Was it chilly out there with that outfit you were wearing?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, it wasn't. It wasn't cold (laughter). Don't worry about me.

Q. Pretty chilly and windy out there, though.

VENUS WILLIAMS: It was very windy. But this morning, it was cold. By the time I played, it was actually okay. The weather was fine. So windy.

Q. Do you have a different outfit for each match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I always have a different outfit, definitely. They're great.

Q. How difficult is it playing someone coming from a qualifier, as compared to someone who is more experienced?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It really wasn't difficult at all, especially since I knew that I was much more experienced than her. Whenever I faced a breakpoint or she had a game point, I knew exactly what to do with the ball.

Q. How would you describe your draw at this tournament and your feelings about not being on the same side as your sister?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think I have a great draw. I have to play well, because at any given time, any player can come out and play great matches. I have to be prepared, too. As far as Serena and I on the other side, we can just get our work done on each side, as best we can.

Q. About your match, your father predicted you and your sister would be in the final. What do you think of that prediction?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I hope we can do that well. It would be great.

Q. Have you and Serena decided that other than the Grand Slams, you will not play singles in the same draw?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, not really. We've played some tournaments together this year: lipton, Australia, Rome. It just depends on where we go.

Q. You've had several tournaments where you could have played in the same draw, but chose not to do so after the French Open.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, we did.

Q. You named a bunch of good reasons why your confidence should be higher. Obviously, since two years ago, the expectations have gotten greater as well. Do you feel added pressure from that or does that motivate you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't understand the question.

Q. You have done very, very well over the last two years. With that, I think expectations would be higher than they were two years ago. Do you feel more pressure from expectations?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, not at all. People say, "Venus is a favorite." People actually think Venus is going to win. For me, I'm just out here playing.

Q. How important was it winning the tournament before here?

VENUS WILLIAMS: For me, I love winning tournaments. That was great (laughter). It's another title on my list.

Q. How important was it in terms of beating Lindsay coming in here?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I guess it was a good move for me, probably not the best for her. She wasn't playing her best tennis in that match. I don't think I was playing my best tennis either, but she probably played not as well. She'll probably want to raise the level of her game a little more. But for me, it was great.

Q. Are you disappointed at all in your Grand Slam showings over the last five or six?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Very disappointed, yes, very.

Q. How does your level of confidence now compare with earlier Slams? Has it been a progression?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I was feeling very good at the French until I was ousted. This year I'm feeling good, too, at this US Open. At Wimbledon, I was never, ever able to play my best tennis. I don't know why. I was just off. But those two Slams, the French and right here, I'm feeling very well.

Q. What have you done differently since the French to prepare yourself?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I underestimated my opponent. I didn't take it seriously. You can't do that. I've learned my lesson. I had to learn it the hard way, in a Grand Slam.

Q. Any thoughts on perhaps meeting Irina Spirlea in the quarterfinals now that she's beaten Coetzer?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It will be good for her to get to the quarters in a Slam. I guess we'll both be ready.

Q. Do you think the press is obsessed with your father? He's probably the most famous tennis father of all time.

VENUS WILLIAMS: You guys write what he says. I guess you are obsessed.

Q. I get the feeling he seems to enjoy it. Is that the case?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, he never said that.

Q. You and Serena were going to play doubles together at New Haven before she hurt her shoulder, is that right?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm not sure if we were going to play. We said we might play. It was a 50/50 chance. Then she had a little injury.

Q. But you would not have played in the same singles draw in New Haven?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, probably not.

Q. Why not?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Because she had already played two weeks in a row. She was going to take a break.

Q. What's confusing is why exactly you don't seem to want to play in the same singles draws outside the Grand Slams, even though you're both healthy.

VENUS WILLIAMS: If it's a crime, I should be arrested.

Q. It's certainly not a crime, but it's a little confusing. Can you explain why that doesn't happen?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Tell me what's confusing about it.

Q. You're both available to play singles. You're both a major attraction on the Tour. We don't get the two of you in the same Tour, outside of Grand Slams.


Q. So?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think we're both kind of on a different wavelength.

Q. Is it a conscious decision that you and your sister have made not to play in the same tournaments?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Make your own evaluation. You're going to write what you want.

Q. Let me rephrase that. Did you have a good time at the Lipton last March? Did you have fun?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, we had fun.

Q. Could you talk about your impact on attracting African American kids to the game? Several inner cities have shown tennis programs expanding. Kids are looking up to you.

VENUS WILLIAMS: We definitely have a large impact. Before, you never see that many black people at a tennis match. Like today, there were quite a few there. In the past, two or three years ago, it wasn't happening. People are watching what Serena and I do. I guess they want to be a part of it.

Q. Does that lead you to do anything special to help out kids?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. I do as much as I can. I have a busy schedule, but when I have time, especially in the States.

Q. You get asked a lot of the same questions over and over again.


Q. What is a question you wish you would get asked?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Hmm, what did I say last week?

Q. Someone asked you that question?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, someone asked me that question (laughter). I said last week I wish people would ask me more questions like, "When is the last time you've been to Dunkin Donuts?"

Q. When was the last time?


Q. When you're not playing tennis, what are you doing to get away from it? What is your social calendar like? What do you do to socialize?

VENUS WILLIAMS: When I go home, I get everything done that I couldn't get done because I've been away two months, so I have one week to get everything done.

Q. Do you rent movies? Do you go to clubs?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. We don't see too many movies anymore. We used to go every week and see all the movies. No, I definitely don't go to clubs. Doesn't seem like the right place for me right now.

Q. What's fun, aside from tennis, for you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I do a lot of shopping. Serena and I, we always find something new to do. What do I do when I'm at home? When I'm at home, I just rest. I stay with my dogs and things like that.

Q. Videos, computer?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I kind of got over that when I was a little younger. Not too much video games.

Q. Before you said you learned at the French not to take an opponent too lightly. How important do you think that lesson is going to be here?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I've learned my lesson. Each player, like today, I'd never seen her before, so I was just -- really kind of going out there to be serious about it. Maybe she was a little bit nervous today, wasn't able to play her best. I'm not sure who I play next or who I have the possibility of playing. I'm definitely going to go into the match as serious as possible.

Q. Did you ask anybody about her today? Did you try to scout it out a little bit?


Q. So you went in there basically not knowing anything about her?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, not at all.

Q. Can you go to a mall back home without being mobbed by people? Is that a problem for you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: We go in the afternoon, three or four o'clock when there aren't a lot of people there, when people are at work or at school. We pick strategic times. Like Saturday at twelve o'clock, that's not a good thing, it's packed, people are turning their heads. We just rush in, buy our sandwich and get out.

Q. Does a loss to Martina Hingis this summer at San Diego, does that bother you? What would you have done differently?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I wasn't ready. I should have been ready, but I wasn't ready. This time I'll have to be ready. I'll be working hard.

Q. Is that the one match from this summer that frustrates you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, it didn't frustrate me. I just was unable to play my best. I just definitely got fatigued. I had a lot of tournaments in the summer. Just have to learn from everything that I do. This time I'll make sure I'm not tired, because that's not an excuse for losing. Whether you're tired or not, you have to play and compete.

Q. If you're at your best, is there anybody in the world that can beat you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Not in my opinion.

Q. Would you have answered that same question if I asked it last year at this time?


Q. Is this a friend of yours, the fellow in the beaded dress?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I've encountered him before, last year. He was in New Haven. As far as a friend, no.

Q. Do you know who he is? Do you know his name?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I don't. I know he's from Brazil, but I don't remember his name.

End of FastScripts….

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