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September 7, 1999

Venus Williams

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

WTA: Questions for Venus?

Q. Was the wind out there at all a factor for you tonight?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Actually, I had one shot that was definitely going out and the wind blew it in. That was a good thing. I think the serve, it was a little bit, because it kind of blows your toss around. But it was okay. Actually, every match I've played, I had to play in the wind except for one. So I was ready for it.

Q. Three US Opens, you've made the semifinals in each one. How is your game different this year at this US Open from the other two?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I'm definitely a better player. I've had better results, more tournament wins. A lot of things that happened to me in between. I think that's some of the main difference. And I'm looking forward to trying to do better this year. Last year I was unable to go past the semifinals. But this year, I'm looking forward to doing better.

Q. What is it specifically about your game that you think can get you beyond the semifinals this year?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think I'm serving better than I did last year. I'm moving well. I'm returning well, also. And I think, also, I'm playing the breakpoints a lot better.

Q. You were sitting in this chair a couple days ago. You said you've looked at a lot of other players, try and look and watch what they're doing?

VENUS WILLIAMS: There's a lot of great coverage on TV. I can see everything.

Q. What is it about Martina Hingis' game this Open that you've seen that's made it so effective?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, she's really been able to have some easy matches. She's been not giving away too many points. She's really been capitalizing on her opportunities. Not making herself work too hard. That's some of the best tennis you can play.

Q. Barbara said that Martina gave her a couple pointers to how to play you before she went out there. I guess it didn't work. Are you happy about that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I think you can get all the pointers you want against me. But unless I give the match to you, a lot of unforced errors, it's going to be tough to win.

Q. Do you think Martina was trying to take you out early there or what?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I mean Barbara Schett is Austrian. Martina is Czech. I'm sure they're good friends. They hit a lot. Maybe, yeah. (Laughter).

Q. You mention you had a chance to go up 3-0 in the second set there and you didn't. You said that's something you'd like to be doing now and get that over with now. Does it concern you at all, does it bother you that you weren't able to do that when you wanted to? Does that mean anything?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I would definitely -- I wanted to capitalize on the opportunities quick. When I get up 40-Love, just go ahead, take the game, sit down at the changeover and get my break. There's no need to struggle back and forth. In that game, I believe I had about six breakpoints. In the end, it doesn't help, especially for your future matches, if you don't close out on those. I'm looking forward to doing better in my next match.

Q. Does it concern you at all? Are you angry at yourself for not having done that? Does it --?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I discipline myself by eating a few doughnuts on my next match. I won't be able to run, and I'll know better next time.

Q. How are you feeling, Venus? You had the flu?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm feeling good. It's gone, and I feel great.

Q. Did you give it to anybody? You got it from Serena?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I hope not. No, I don't think so.

Q. Venus, you and Martina are two of the most confident players, it seems, every time you play anybody. When you play each other, what are the keys to the match? And is there an edge in terms of confidence for either player?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm not sure if there's an edge. We both go out there knowing we're going to have to play good tennis. We both go out there ready to play. And we both have different games. So there's different things that we capitalize on each other. So... I'm ready to go. I'm sure she's ready to go. Who knows, she's probably on the practice court right now. (Laughter).

Q. What are the keys for you to be successful against her?

VENUS WILLIAMS: The key for me is definitely to abandon all unforced errors. If I can't get rid of those, then that will be working against myself more or less. So, in order not to play her and myself, I will have to stop making errors.

Q. If she's playing her best and you're playing your best, who wins?


Q. Why?

VENUS WILLIAMS: If I'm playing my best, it's tough, guys. Come on. (Laughing).

Q. Venus, Pete says about Andre, there's something about playing Andre that lifts his game another level. When you play Martina, does she push your game to a higher level? Or really, does it not really matter who you're playing?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I definitely think so. When you go out there and you're playing someone who plays well, either you go to another level or accept a loss. So, I think it's a -- definitely a true statement that when you play someone on a higher level or someone who plays well, it brings out in the best in you. You have to play better. You have to as a competitor.

Q. Does she do that more than anyone else because she's No. 1 when you play her? Or because of certain volleys in her game? Or is it only somebody like Serena who pushes you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Even some players who are having a great day can push you on a certain day; they might be a good competitor. We know Martina is a good competitor; doesn't like to lose. So we both are going to go out there and take the W.

Q. How would you characterize the rivalry that's kind of developed between you and Martina?

VENUS WILLIAMS: How would I characterize it? (Laughing). I don't know. You tell me. I'm just out there trying to win some matches every now and then.

Q. Do you think there's a rivalry that's developed between you and Martina?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. I guess. Whatever you say. Just depends on what the papers write. If they write about Martina and I, there's a rivalry.

Q. She said today that she thinks there's more pressure on you in your match because you're an American and this is the US Open. Do you agree, disagree?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. Just playing. Trying to do well. I've never won here before, so for me, I'm trying to get a title. And for her, I guess trying to get another title. She hasn't won here for a couple of years, since '97, when, unfortunately, I became her victim. (Laughter).

Q. You said your serve is working particularly well now. What's really good about it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think right now I'm really just hitting the ball well, as far as I know exactly what it takes for me to get the ball in. If I don't do that, then I know the next one, "Hey, Venus, you have to keep your head up or throw the toss up a little higher." That's mostly what it is, I think.

Q. You look like you had some that were 97, then back down to 60. Were you purposely changing the speeds of it (serve)?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Sometimes. Sometimes, like in the second serve, I add too much spin and the space goes down and then I mishit it. I have to take some of the spin off.

Q. When you've been successful against Martina and you've won three of the last seven, so it's been pretty close to even in those last seven matches, what's been the key in terms of adjusting in the middle of a match? Have you had to make adjustments, and are your smarts as a player really coming out when you play her?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Sure. I made adjustments, and, yeah.

Q. What are some of those adjustments that you've had to make?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Stop making unforced errors in the middle of the third set is the main adjustment that I made. Because when you give the match away, it just makes it so easy for your opponent.

Q. Does losing to Hingis bother you more than losing to another opponent?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't like losing. It bothers me. It bothers me so much that I start working hard, and I don't lose the next time. But this time, I should start working hard before I have to lose.

Q. Anything that she can do that can surprise you, do you think? Or do you pretty much know all aspects of her game?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, she's been on the Tour a long time. Of course, everyone adds things to their game. But I think that sometimes she comes up with some great shots. But as with anyone who's in the top position, you come up with some great shots in different positions. So you just have to be ready for that and move on to the next point.

Q. Anke Huber said today she thought Martina Hingis was probably the smartest player on Tour. Would you agree with that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think that everyone has to capitalize on their abilities, and she probably -- she might be able to, but she probably can't hit the ball as hard as, say, myself or Serena or maybe even Anke. So she has to use the other things, because if she's not smarter, it's most likely she'll get overpowered. So she has to use it.

End of FastScripts….

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