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September 9, 1999

Serena Williams

Venus Williams

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

WTA: Questions for Venus and Serena.

Q. Do you enjoy playing doubles?


VENUS WILLIAMS: We love playing doubles. We'd never play with anyone else.

Q. Is there a lot to carry over from singles to doubles? Are you thinking about what you'll do in singles?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm thinking singles, definitely. I'm ensuring that Serena thinks singles also.

SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm definitely thinking singles when I'm out there, most certainly.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Definitely getting the practice in. But yet playing great doubles, working on your shots.

Q. Are you worried that it might make you lose energy for tomorrow, take a little something out?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No. No, I don't think so. We're pretty strong physically and mentally. We're definitely very physically strong. If it takes something out, we have a problem; we need to go fix that.

Q. Your next round match has been changed till tomorrow, is that right?


Q. So you'll play your singles matches and then play your doubles?


Q. Venus, do you think there's one thing you don't know about Serena's game?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. I hope she's telling me everything (laughter). Not really maybe. I hit with her a lot, but we both have things that we do very well, strong points. Everyone has that, things you do a little better than the next person.

Q. You had a little problem earlier in the year playing an opponent whose game you didn't know. You're not going to have to scout Serena's game?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Probably not, no.

Q. If either of you wins tomorrow, will you play a doubles match later in the day, given that you'd be in the finals the next day?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, we will.


VENUS WILLIAMS: We'll try to keep it at a minimum. Get a quick win.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Try to do our best, for sure. It's really a good practice, if you're not hitting. A great practice.

Q. Even to go back out there at 5:30 or 6:00 or something like that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, no problem.

Q. Can you talk about what you think Serena has to do tomorrow? Serena, can you talk about what you think Venus has to do to win tomorrow?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I think Venus just needs to go out there and play her game. If she plays her game up to the way Venus can play, I really don't think there's too many people out there that can beat Venus.

Q. Including Martina?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I really don't think -- if Venus is playing on - we've seen the way she plays sometimes - I don't think there's anyone out there that can beat her.

Q. Venus, can you talk about Serena's match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I just think Serena will go out there and start fighting, that's all that matters. As long as she wants to win, is going to put the effort forth, I think that's great, that's good.

Q. Are you both aware of the magnitude of your drawing power and what the effect has been on women's tennis?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm not sure exactly at all times if we quite understand how much we do for the game. We just are trying to do our best for ourselves. We're trying to get some Grand Slams under our belts besides, let's say, mixed doubles or doubles. We want to do a little better than that.

Q. When you go in to play doubles this afternoon and you see the Louis Armstrong stadium filling up, how do you feel about that?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, it's a very competitive match, Venus and I, Monica and Mary. We're all Americans, so an all-American match-up. I wouldn't know anyone who wouldn't want to go out there and watch that match-up.

Q. What does that say about women's tennis right now?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I mean, you guys -- I think you guys should evaluate that. You see it. I don't necessarily think you have to hear it from us.

Q. Venus, are you going to be able to watch Serena's match from the stands? You're back-to-back tomorrow. Where will you be when Serena is playing her match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I probably won't be in the stands, most likely not. Who plays first?

Q. Serena is playing first, then you're next.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, yeah. I probably won't be in the stands. I'll probably be watching somewhere in the locker room.

Q. I'm sorry?

VENUS WILLIAMS: The chances are, I won't be in the stands.

Q. You'll be in the players' lounge?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Most likely.

Q. Will you be thinking about your match, also watching Serena? Is that going to be tough for you? Are you going to watch all the points?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'll watch all the points. No need to get nervous and shaky. That's just wasting time. Go out there and start hitting. I don't want that anymore for myself.

Q. In terms of women's tennis, can you kind of describe the influence you two have had and how great the competition is, how great the players are? It's at its peak. Why is that?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, there's a lot of young people out there. Everyone is interested in seeing what the latest generation is doing. So far, Venus and I are part of this generation. Everyone wants to see it. If you're doing something and it looks good, I mean, if someone was going --.

VENUS WILLIAMS: People want to be part of what's happening.


VENUS WILLIAMS: Right now, this is what's happening. People are running to be part of it.


VENUS WILLIAMS: Honestly. If you saw something good, wouldn't you want to be in it? I would.

SERENA WILLIAMS: I definitely would.

Q. Are you thinking of the matches as we speak, or were you just thinking the doubles? How is it influencing you inside?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. It really doesn't have too much influence on me inside. Does it have one on you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, we've played the players that we're playing before. I've been in the semifinals of a Grand Slam before. Serena has been in the semifinals of pretty large tournaments before. She's seen me in large matchhes before. We've been here. If, for some odd reason, we can be unable to come through, there will be other opportunities.

Q. When you were kids, spending so many hours on the court practicing, did you let yourself think about playing a Grand Slam final against each other? What would you do when you were that age?

VENUS WILLIAMS: We always thought we would. That's what we were practicing for.


VENUS WILLIAMS: We weren't practicing just to be practicing aimlessly; we had an aim and a goal. It was a given what we were going to do in the future.

Q. Lots of kids growing up playing basketball talk about taking that final shot with the clock running down. They imagine it's Madison Square Garden. Did either of you guys have that image in your minds?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I mean, naturally you would have that type of image; you're hitting a backhand down the line or a forehand, overhead, whatever the case may be. Naturally, yes, I have had these feelings. Have you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I've actually never had that.



Q. Has anything surprised you this year at the US Open or has it been predictable? Any surprises?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Not really. I mean, there was a lot of surprises on the men's side of the draw. On the ladies' side, everything is going smooth. The top four seeds were almost in the semis. Everything is going smoothly.

Q. You guys have talked about how great it is to be on the Tour together, growing up together. Others have talked about it. Can you reflect on one moment where it was particularly great having your sister there, in the stands, being your buddy on the Tour?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm sorry, I didn't hear what you were saying. Did you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I heard the question. I think the question was, was there any great times when you were happy I was here on the Tour.


VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, sure. When I'm down in the stands -- not in the stands, but on the court, losing a match, playing awful, can't seem to do anything right. Serena is there, "Let's go, let's go." I find a new hope.

Q. Was there one time when you recall when that happened, any particular tournament or match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. I was playing in Australia. I was playing a terribly sick match. 85 unforced errors.


VENUS WILLIAMS: Still won. It was insane (laughter). She was really supportive there.

Q. What has been the hardest moment for you, since you are playing so well the last two years, for each of you? One moment you would like to forget, but you haven't forgotten.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yes, there's a moment that I'd like to forget. Actually, I don't remember it.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't talk about those moments because I deny those things ever happening, so I just don't talk about them.

Q. A lot of kids think about making the last second shot in a big game. They don't ever get to the NBA or get the opportunity to do that. You guys are pretty lucky.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah. Tennis, it's your choice to make it or break it, it's all you. Whereas the NBA, you have to really, really have inside you a really special talent or else it's really hard to make it. Whereas in tennis, you work hard, you get a chance. You can go out and actually prove yourself. In the smaller tournaments, you're not well-known, you can actually make it. These other sports, it isn't.

Q. You think because it's an individual sport?

SERENA WILLIAMS: It's individual. It's up to you; it's not up to anyone else.

Q. I know this is probably hard to imagine, but if you weren't playing tennis at all, what would you be doing?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'd be in school.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I'd be in school.


SERENA WILLIAMS: As we speak, I'd be in school.

Q. Have you guys hit against each other this week or during The Open at all?



Q. Who is playing better?

VENUS WILLIAMS: We're both -- we're both playing pretty good at times.

SERENA WILLIAMS: My dad, he's playing the best. He's really serving well.


SERENA WILLIAMS: Hitting the ball also.


Q. If you reach the singles final, which you both assume you will, who are you going to hit with going into the final? With each other?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. We haven't got there yet. We're just still taking it one day at a time.


Q. Unless I'm mistaken, there's been virtually no mention, no discussion that there are two African American women through to the semifinals. What are your thoughts on that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It's super because there's about five black people on the Tour. So for two to be in the final, that's great -- the semifinals.


VENUS WILLIAMS: Hopefully, if we get to the doubles final, there will be three black persons on the court. That will be just amazing. "Really, what's going on here? We haven't seen this."

End of FastScriptsâ?¦.

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