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September 18, 1999

Venus Williams


Q. Venus, how did you feel today, being this is the first match after the Open?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I felt good today. I just think it went good. I was down a break in the second, but in my life, I've been down a lot; so I know I'll come back.

Q. Venus, you're No. 3 right now in the world. When do you think you'll be No. 1, by the end of the Australian or the end of the French?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I would say the end of the French, because I won't be playing in the fall, really. My opportunities will be lower.

Q. Venus, do you think it was a well-played match today or was it up and down?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think it was a little bit up and down. A lot of unforced errors, and I definitely didn't play the best I could play. And I suppose she didn't, either.

Q. Coming off the US Open, how tough is it to get back, a week later, and play like this?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Definitely not tough at all, because Fed Cup is fun. It's a lot different than the tournament. We practice; we come here and work on our game, and implement everything we've worked on during the week in the match. It's really a good experience, especially for me, at least, because I'm going out there and working on things I need to.

Q. You figure you'll be No. 1 by the end of the French?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It's a possibility.

Q. And you'll win one of those two slams?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm doing my best.

Q. Venus, talk about your serving today. You were spotty?

VENUS WILLIAMS: A little bit, definitely. I was hitting my second serve better. And I was working on different things on my first serve. I was really flattening it out a lot more. Usually I use a lot more spin, which is a safety, but I want to work on the flat one, too. So today was just a lot of me working on things, still making some errors, but okay.

Q. Venus, what's it like compared to a regular tournament to have Billie Jean on the bench, and every time you go back she's talking to you? Do you like that? Do you like somebody helping you through along the way?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It's definitely different. I'm a good thinker on my own. With her, she definitely points some things out. But she doesn't say too much. It's okay with me. I like it.

Q. What were some of the things she told you on the bench; it seemed like she was talking to you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: She said, "What do you think happened there," if I didn't play too well. Just making sure the contact point is out in front. Just making sure about the things we talked in practice, things like that.

Q. What made Elena tough to play today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: She definitely improved her game a lot more. And she's probably more serious in life, in her tennis. And she's definitely playing better. So just all around, she's playing better.

Q. Venus, were you trying to charge the net more today than usual?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Definitely, I definitely got in more today than usual. I'm volleying well. When I got in, I didn't miss my volleys. Usually, I get out of control and start missing.

Q. Are you going to try to integrate that into your game from now on?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm really trying, and it's not easy just to all of a sudden do something that you're not accustomed to. Because it's a different ballgame, things look a little different at the net. I have to get in there and get experience.

Q. Also, Venus, your dad said at the Open that you'd win two slams next year. Any thoughts about that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think it's a wonderful prediction. I'll do my best to live up to it. It just wouldn't be bad.

Q. Do you feel like you're playing for the flag, patriotism element?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think it's a different competition than playing for yourself, because for sure, in a tournament, you're playing for yourself; it's all about you, no one else matters. And here, it's a little bit different. It's more about a team, playing for your team, and it's definitely different. I've never played a team sport before. It's a new experience.

Q. Is that the motivation, what's the motivation for the weekend, because you're so high-ranked?

VENUS WILLIAMS: We know these girls can play well, and we have to be serious about it. We definitely want to be at the end of the week holding the Cup up; that's pretty exciting.

Q. You and Serena were known for a while to be sort of by yourselves. And what's it like now to be on the American team, Fed Cup, with Billie Jean, together with your rivals?

VENUS WILLIAMS: We get along, everyone gets along. We all have good laughs about a lot of things. And Serena and I -- at least I, myself, we like to do things on our own. After the Fed Cup, things will be back to normal. We'll be by ourselves. But here, it's a team. We get along. Help each other out; work on our games. After this, we'll wait until next time.

Q. What's on your schedule after that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm playing most likely the Grand Slam Cup in Zurich, and that's it for me.

Q. Not the Chase?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I hope to be there.

Q. Venus, you said you were working on things in your gym. At what point would you have said to yourself: "Okay, Venus, this is a tight spot in the match, I better go back to winning," essentially?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, yeah, I did. So when things are more tight, that's when I really let go, and really go ahead and do what I've been doing, and play the ball when I'm actually playing the game. That's what I want to do. But I guess I could go back --

Q. So with the serve-and-volleying, which you did in the first set, in the second set did you say you're not --

VENUS WILLIAMS: Sometimes I forgot to serve-and-volley. It was my goal to serve-and-volley once in each game. So sometimes I would serve-and-volley, and I missed the first serve. But that did count because I was going in.

Q. When you forget to do it, did Billie Jean remind you, "Keep serving-and-volleying"?

VENUS WILLIAMS: A little bit. She wanted to make sure I would serve-and-volley at the point I was comfortable. I haven't done a lot of serve-and-volley in my life. I'm actually pretty good at it, but I don't do it a lot. But at the point I'm 30-Love, 30-15, when I'm comfortable, I can get in and make some nice shots, and do it at different points like 30-All, 30-40.

Q. You're talking about working on things in your game. It must not be too pressurized a situation in a Fed Cup final when you can afford to do it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It was the same thing in the last Federation Cup. We all worked on our game. And I definitely think if I didn't get better, I was definitely thinking better, more clearly. And just realizing what I want to do when I'm out there.

End of FastScripts….

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