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June 26, 2000

Venus Williams


MODERATOR: First question for Venus, please.

Q. How do you feel after your game today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I feel very good. It got a little bit chilly toward the end. Other than that, the sun was a little bit out. I'm just happy that it didn't rain, and hopefully it will continue this way.

Q. Is your sister one of the main dangers to you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, yes, she was extremely dangerous in practise. The best thing is that we had the best practises because we always are hitting with each other. If anything, we should be the most prepared for the next opponent or if we play each other.

Q. You've both been injured this year, and are both fully fit now.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, we both are feeling very good. Especially myself at the French. Serena doesn't seem to be having too many side effects. That's the most important thing because you're not losing a match because you're hurting or because you're not feeling up to par.

Q. How much better did you play today than you played against Arantxa in Paris?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Come on (laughter).

Q. You have to make the call.

VENUS WILLIAMS: It's a world of difference. It's really tough for me. I had no control over any of my shots at the French Open. I tried to think positive and be positive. It was very, very, very trying. But now, like in the French Open, I couldn't and wouldn't serve. But here I can. Things are much better for me.

Q. Is that because of the surface or just because you've been serving better in practise leading up to this?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Because I've had the opportunity to serve a lot more. It really makes a big difference. When you can't serve, especially for someone like me, I have a huge serve, and I rely on that. Just not to have that is handicapping.

Q. Both you and Serena were out for a chunk this spring. You mentioned at the French Open something about maybe getting a physical trainer or somebody to help you. Have you thought about that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, we have one.

Q. When did you pick one up?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I guess by the French Open. But I started looking this year.

Q. And who is it and what are they helping you with?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Her name is Kerrie Brooks and she does everything for us.

Q. Put you on a workout program?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes. I don't like the gym. I don't think I ever will. So it's important that I would have a trainer, or else I will not work hard in the gym. I'll work hard on the tennis court.

Q. She makes you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: She doesn't make me. I go and I do it. I'm not a lazy person, but I won't go by myself.

Q. Do you feel like the work you're doing is going to help prevent future injuries?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Definitely, because we're not just pumping weights, we're doing different exercises on key areas that we've had problems on in the past and strengthening so that way we don't have any more hurdles with injuries.

Q. How far from kind of full pace are you at the moment? Do you need a few more matches?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, most certainly. I'm getting the hang of just serving. I think also when I'm at the baseline, I'm rushing a bit too much when I can just take my time, lift the ball. Today I was doing a little bit more rushing. Everyone knows, when I was lifting the ball, she was having a difficult time, just missed it right away. I'm just going to try to slow down and start placing my return of serve well. I think mostly I did very good today. I think I was moving very well today also. She was having a tough time hitting winners.

Q. What was your original impression when you first came and played at Wimbledon, both the place and the atmosphere, then the grass courts? How has that changed?

VENUS WILLIAMS: The first time I played Wimbledon, I didn't play my first round match until Saturday. You can only imagine my impression. I can't use words to say it. It was a very, very difficult time. I was very bitter. Actually I don't hardly remember the experience, blocked it out.

Q. You lost your serve twice during the first set. Did that worry you at all?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. Because I was trying something new and different. You know, it's okay to fail. But if you don't try, that's the worst part. I believe I'll be doing better. I need to really hold serve. I'm very good at breaking, but if I can hold, it just makes it so much more easier. But I'm really just happy to be serving much better.

Q. You seem to be serving and volleying almost every point in the second set.

VENUS WILLIAMS: My dad told me to serve-and-volley every point.

Q. Is it hard to keep that up when it doesn't work sometimes?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Not really, because I have a very good volley. I'm confident in my volleys. The only thing I think that you worry about is getting passed, but the person can't pass you every time. It's going to be difficult, especially with my wingspan. These things I realise. I'm just going to try to keep moving forward on the short balls, floaters, the serve, hopefully the second serve.

Q. You and Serena finished 3 and 4 last year in the world. You were sort of on course to be No. 1. Is that something that you still think can happen this year or is that somewhere in the future?

VENUS WILLIAMS: You know, I don't know this year because my opportunity to gain points will be few and far between. This year, I didn't play the first five months, so I can just run through the tournaments and gain points, whereas other girls will be losing some. Next year I can get closer, because I'm getting more back on track.

Q. Serena didn't come in hardly at all in her match. Are you a better listener?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Not really. I would say mostly Serena is a better listener or maybe a better executer at listening. But you have to remember also this is her first match since I guess the Lipton, or the week after the Lipton. All you want to do is just go out there and play well and get through it. That would probably be the main difference.

Q. How different is it having your dad here at Wimbledon with you? Does it make it any different?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Not really. Not really.

Q. How about having your doubles partner with you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: This is great. I expect to play singles, but I can't wait till we play doubles. We haven't played since US Open. We actually had to get a wildcard in the tournament, Serena and I couldn't believe it. We were driving in the car, the WTA said, You want a wildcard, you can't get in? I said, No, it doesn't make sense. We were somewhat upset, and it was funny to. Before the French Open, we were still ranked No. 20. But now I don't know what we're ranked. I'll have to see.

Q. Serena said she'd only really be satisfied with her tournament if essentially she won it, meaning winning her next six matches. Is that the same case with you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know lower ranked players. Most of the top players, you're only happy when you win. If someone goes out there and comes out there, just beats you that day, they're better that day, there's an exception. If there's something you can do about it, that's when you feel down.

End of FastScripts….

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