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November 20, 1999

Venus Williams


Q. What happened to your back?

VENUS WILLIAMS: First, I'd like to say that I can't stay long because, obviously, I'm not feeling at my best, and questions will be limited today. It's just something I've been having for a little while now and before I played Philadelphia, and it's been escalating. And my dad advised me not to play. Naturally, as a child, I didn't listen, and now I'm going in a worse situation.

Q. Did hurt when you were serving?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, when I was serving and more backhands and forehands; so naturally that affected my serve, which is definitely a weapon. I served okay in the first few games, but then just went progressively down and all in all, I wasn't very healthy.

Q. Was it your neck or your back?


Q. Do they know what it is, Venus?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It's more or less a strain.

Q. Have they told what you need to do about it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Rest, first. I have to go to therapy and it needs strengthening.

Q. Is it the muscle back there?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, in the neck on the left-hand side, in the upper region, how do you say it, like the shoulder blade area, in that area.

Q. When did your dad advise you not to play, before the tournament?

VENUS WILLIAMS: He said, "If you're hurt don't play and if your hurt, don't practice." And I insisted on practicing and playing.

Q. The tournament or the match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: The match. But in general, he always says that.

Q. Did he literally take you off the court during practice and say, "Don't play that match"?

VENUS WILLIAMS: He didn't say "Don't play that match today," but he advised me not to practice and just go out and play.

Q. How long did you practice for?

VENUS WILLIAMS: 20 minutes.

Q. And did you stop, were you hurt?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I went to sleep.

Q. Do you think now you made the right decision to play?

VENUS WILLIAMS: You can't change it. What's the difference? But next time, I will be healthy. The last two times I played Martina, I was healthy and I had some nice results. And hopefully, I'll see her in Australia.

Q. Do you think you would have been okay if you'd have played a third set?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I would have had to be okay if I wasn't okay. Eventually, I would have retired. But she played nicely. Unfortunately, I couldn't keep up with her today because of extenuating circumstances.

Q. Did you lose that match because you were hurt or because she played better?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think that there were a lot of points where I was unable to get my best because I just had to slow down some, and I had to speed it up more at different times. But she did play well. She wanted to win. You know, she did some good things in the match.

Q. Was she able to take advantage by keeping those rallies long?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Probably, in general, I could rally with the best of them. I hit just as many balls as she does. The different between her game and my game is I take more risks; I'm going to go for more shots. That's the main difference.

Q. Which particular shots did it affect you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: The serve and the backhand more.

Q. Do you think that your injury was caused because of serving, because of your powerful serve? Totally unrelated?


Q. She got quite a few points right off the bat, very slow pace, the slice to your forehand, slow serve -- (inaudible) you noticed that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: (Nods head.).

Q. You had such a great year this year, and you've just played your 14th match with Hingis. Would you describe your rivalry with her as exciting?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, it's exciting.

Q. Is there anybody else you'd put in that class?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think I play her the most.

Q. How much of a rest do you get to take now, and is this possibly going to affect whether or not you go to Australia?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't think so. I don't think it's that bad. It's just pretty chronic right now. And I just have to take measures -- me and Serena, we're both in the same boat. I didn't think I was going to get here, but I did. So we're sinking a little bit.

Q. Despite being hurt, would you say it was a high-quality match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I would say so because we both did what we could.

Q. Are you and Serena more prone to injury because you're playing a limited-tournament schedule?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I think we have too many muscles.

Q. When did you first notice this happening?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It was about -- at least, for sure, this week. Last week, I wasn't the best, but this week, for sure, it was escalating. But my other matches I was okay. It was at a minimum. But today, it was more to the maximum.

Q. How do you feel about your year?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think I had a good year as far as results, but as far as meeting my goals, it was a bad year in some of them.

Q. What didn't you meet?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I wanted to naturally have a higher ranking, to say the least, and naturally, take home some Grand Slams. I took home some Grand Slams, but they weren't singles. That's okay. We have something in our family when Serena wins.

Q. So are you disappointed with a No. 3 ranking?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It's okay. Next year, I can only move forward. I hope so. Thank you all very much.

End of FastScripts….

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