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September 3, 1999

Venus Williams

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

WTA: Questions for Venus and Serena.

Q. What's the best part of being the Williams sisters?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I love being me. I wouldn't change it. I can't pick anyone else out.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah. You always have a friend around. You always have someone to hang out with, always do everything with.

Q. Did you know your father was going to ask Martina Hingis for her autograph?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Did she give it to him?

Q. She gave him a T-shirt.

SERENA WILLIAMS: That's nice, yeah.

Q. But you haven't been asked for your autograph by Mrs. Hingis?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm sure she'll come up soon.


Q. Venus, your dad told us you have the flu; he doesn't want you to be playing doubles. Can you deal with both of those aspects of the effects on your singles game at this point in the tournament?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Definitely so . I think I'm able to handle it. But I'm not feeling too fatigued right now when I'm playing on the court. So if I feel that the doubles holds me back, I guess I'll have to pull out of the event. But so far, so good.

Q. Did you give any thought to not playing doubles after your dad told you, "I don't think you should"? He said he told you this before the tournament.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I did. I was feeling tired. But once I get out on the court, I feel okay. I feel okay till I start sitting down. Once I start playing, I feel great.

Q. Are you running a temperature?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't think so.

Q. He said you have a fever, runny nose, the works.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, sometimes I feel hot, but I'm not sure if I have a temperature. I don't think I have a temperature.

Q. Do you have any regrets at this point about entering the doubles?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I love doubles. Serena and I have won Grand Slam doubles. We love it. No one else has that title.

Q. Serena, did he give you the advice not to play doubles also to focus on the singles because for both of you this is such a good opportunity at The Open?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, he told us both, he recommended to us, but in the end, he said it was our decision, so. I don't know. We'll see. So far I'm feeling good. I think Venus is feeling good. Just have to see.

Q. Do you plan to play any more mixed doubles?


VENUS WILLIAMS: I haven't really -- yeah. We really kind of retired. We got all the titles that we could get.


Q. Serena, do you keep Venus at arm's length because you don't want to catch whatever she's got?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think I actually passed it to her because I had it first.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. Kind of got worse with me. I don't know why.


VENUS WILLIAMS: Did you have it last week?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah. I had it at the beginning. I just recovered.

Q. People are still talking about your wonderful Wimbledon quarterfinal, where you did come up short, but what quality that Steffi has do you think will be missed? What did she really bring to the game?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, people loved watching her play. She just became someone that people were used to seeing. When you think of tennis, when people come out to see tennis, they want to see Steffi. It's like something that's always been there all this time. So now people will probably just feel like something's missing because Steffi's not here.

Q. Your dad says that he would talk to both of you about emulating Steffi, her work ethic, her professionalism. Could you talk about that for a moment?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah. My dad was reading an article about Steffi and said her coach, I believe it was Pavel -- I was reading the paper, and it said - I'm being redundant here (laughter) - that she never had one bad practice. He showed me that article. He said that I should try to emulate that, try to be like that, just go on the court and never have one bad practice. That's what he really admired about Steffi.

Q. Do you think it was necessary to have this display with your dad and Martina to show there was no ill will? Is there any ill will between you two sisters and Martina Hingis?

SERENA WILLIAMS: We are philanthropists and we love everyone.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I would have to agree.

SERENA WILLIAMS: We're the philanthropists. We love everyone.

Q. And your thoughts on your dad getting involved in this publicly?

SERENA WILLIAMS: We love him, too.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Great guy, wow (laughter).

Q. What do you think of him getting together with Martina in this public show of affection?

VENUS WILLIAMS: My dad is friendly with everyone. He's the most friendly, outgoing person. He'll talk for hours after hours of hours, if you have the time. That's just the way he is, no matter who it is.

Q. Do you ever tell your dad, "Cool it, don't talk that much to the media, don't talk about my flu or not playing doubles, any disputes with another player"?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I wouldn't have said anything about my flu. But he said it, okay, no problem. I'm not going to tell him what to do. It's his life. He's a parent. He's doing what he loves. That's making sure we're okay.

Q. What does Oracene think about all this?

VENUS WILLIAMS: We're all just together.

SERENA WILLIAMS: We all kind of think alike.


SERENA WILLIAMS: What are you thinking (laughter)?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Whatever you're thinking.

SERENA WILLIAMS: See (laughter).

Q. So Billie Jean says that you should be Venus and you should be Serena and forget the Williams sisters. What are your thoughts about all that?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I mean, I definitely agree that I'm Serena and she's Venus. But we're always together. We always get along. It's like she's just a best friend.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think that it's not us that say Williams sisters. When they say, Who are you? I don't say, Williams sisters.

SERENA WILLIAMS: That doesn't make sense.

VENUS WILLIAMS: You guys are writing Williams sisters, so you guys are making us plural now. I'm just one person.

Q. Was it funny timing that your dad had this press conference with Martina while your match was going on?


VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know anything about it. I was out there playing tennis. We were fighting.

Q. Did a doctor diagnose your condition as the flu?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. He said it could be --.

SERENA WILLIAMS: -- A Serena virus.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Or more or less a cold or infection, something of that nature. I don't think it's a flu. If it is a flu, I'm not feeling like it exactly.

Q. Are you on antibiotics?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I'm supposed to be taking them.

Q. You are taking them or you're supposed to be?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm supposed to be. I kind of forget.

Q. Are you sleeping well or not?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, I sleep well.

Q. Did you feel a hundred percent out on the court today? You mentioned if things got to a certain stage, you might consider not playing doubles to focus on the singles. How bad do you have to feel before you would really consider not playing doubles?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I would just have to feel just to the point where I'm just tired and I can't run or I feel like I can't put the full effort in because I'm just too tired. But right now, I'm not feeling really tired.

Q. Serena, last year you turned the tables on us and asked us the origin of the word "ghetto." This year I brought my dictionary.


VENUS WILLIAMS: It's an Italian word.

Q. There you go, the Venice ghetto?

VENUS WILLIAMS: The first ghetto was in Italy, Venice.

Q. Well, some say Venice, some say Russia. Are you going to have a word this year?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I'll think of a word for you guys in the next press conference. I'll have a word for you. I know you love it, so I'll make sure I have one.

Q. What's the status of the newsletter?

VENUS WILLIAMS: The editors have been on strike.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Chief editors are on strike.

VENUS WILLIAMS: There's been a couple disputes about cover stories.


VENUS WILLIAMS: Type of interviews. Right now we're working with a labor union, too.

Q. Are you going to ever include an interview with a sports writer in your newsletter?

VENUS WILLIAMS: If you want to be interviewed, okay, just submit it.


Q. Any feeling you have with Pete Sampras and Patrick Rafter out, a lot of focus away of the men, such glamour players being out, that you kind of have to take things a step further to exalt the game right now?

VENUS WILLIAMS: We were sad that Pete had to pull out. That's really tough. He had to be in a lot of pain. But I don't know --.

SERENA WILLIAMS: It's okay (patting Venus' shoulder).

VENUS WILLIAMS: Thank you. The men's game was doing good. I still think it is. I think people are just as interested almost, just about. The ladies still have the appeal because there's so much going on.

Q. How much attention do you think is on you right now?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. You tell me. A lot (laughter).

Q. You guys going to go to Stanford to play Fed Cup?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah. We're scheduled to go.

VENUS WILLIAMS: We're trying to go. We want to.

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know if the team is picked yet. I think they're still picking the team.

VENUS WILLIAMS: If they'll have us, we'll be there.

End of FastScripts....

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