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July 4, 2000

Venus Williams


MODERATOR: Ladies and Gentlemen, first question to Venus, please.

Q. Did you want to run around with the American flag?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. That's taking it too far. Most of all, it was a good win for me because I've never advanced past the quarterfinals. The two times I was in the quarters, I had some tough, heartbreaking matches. Today I was ready to pull this one out because I had a bad history. Most of all I've had a tough year. I'm still in my fourth tournament. It's been real hard for me just to be consistent. Today I was that.

Q. It looked like after you hit that ace to win the match, just your reaction was the weight of the world had been lifted off. Was it that much pressure?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Come on now, no. What do you mean? I felt going into the match confident. I felt like I was playing well. Naturally if I had won the match 6-2, 6-2, it would have been different. But I was doing a lot of running, I had some tough service games, some tough return games. When I hit the ace, it's a great way to end it.

Q. How big is this for you, both in terms of your rivalry with Hingis and your opportunity now to play your sister in a major like this?

VENUS WILLIAMS: This is great because I've never had the opportunity to win a major against Hingis. This is the fourth time we've played. Also because, just like any other competitor, I want to advance, no matter who I'm playing. As a competitor, I was ready to go out and compete.

Q. What did you tell yourself on the changeover, last changeover before you served it out? "No nerves, no jitters, just go for it"?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. I wasn't thinking too much, actually. Maybe I said to myself, "I'm not losing serve." But I felt like I was in control because I have a good serve. I was serving pretty well today - not nearly close to my best, but it was very consistent. And also because once we got in the rally, I felt like I was in control, unless of course I made a mistake. That usually was how it went. Either I was making winners or making mistake. But I was willing to take that risk.

Q. You seem very measured now, pleased with your victory. Right afterward, you had great joy. Can you take us back to that moment for a minute?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, because I had a tough match today. I didn't really expect it to go three sets, but unfortunately it did. Then again, it's a great match for Wimbledon and all the fans because nobody wants to see 6-2, 6-2's. It's not a match, you know. A match is when everyone goes head-to-head and they're really out there competing, giving their best. I think that's what happened today.

Q. Facing Serena, what's most exciting for you and what's the biggest challenge?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Most exciting is that we both are here. The biggest challenge is that Serena is extremely powerful, extremely dangerous. You know, she knows everything I know.

Q. She says she used to cheat when she'd play you.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, Serena was a cheater (laughter). I just rolled with it. It's tough to argue against Serena because she was so good at arguing, so good at cheating, it was no use.

Q. You're not going to go so light on her tomorrow if she starts arguing calls?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Not at all. Is it tomorrow?

Q. Thursday.

VENUS WILLIAMS: If so, you've just got to be ready. I don't think this time we're going to be calling. I don't think we have that choice. Hopefully I won't get any hooks, (paying any?) line judges.

Q. Serena has rolled through this tournament without breaking a sweat. You had a demanding match today, gave yourself a little more trouble in the previous two matches than you would have liked.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't understand.

Q. You yourself admitted that you let the other two women before get back into the match. Is it any problem at all you've played these more difficult matches and she breezed her way through?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I see it as opportunity - not opportunity against Serena. First of all, it's been a little tough for me. This is the first time I've been playing good tennis that I've been playing tennis. Before it was, I don't know. But then again I'm happy because I was able to play mostly players in the Top 30. Usually I have to play these players in the Top 100. When I get a win, I gather four points. This time it's been better. I get to play the high-ranked players. Sure, the matches shouldn't have went so far, but they did. In the end, the win goes down in the record.

Q. How do you feel about playing Serena? Is it awkward or bittersweet that one of you has to go out Thursday?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, sure, one of us will be bitter, but not to the degree, I guess, of usually you'd be bitter if you lost in the semifinals. Naturally, one of us will be in the final. That will be great. We're always happy for each other.

Q. Would it be fair to say that today's win was your biggest one in a Slam since you beat Spirlea?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. Maybe.

Q. What did your father say to you? Have you spoken to him? He seemed rather happy after the match.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I spoke to him. We didn't talk about anything at all really, just the regular things, "Good job, good match."

Q. Is this what you always saw yourselves doing, meeting in a major like this in an advanced round, final or semifinal?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, for sure. We always believed that most of all because our parents told us that, that this would happen, that's what we were working for. That's how we saw it. That's how we visualized it, sure.

Q. At what age did they start telling you that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: From the very beginning.

Q. Four to five years old?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, sure. My parents were really positive. We were always taught to believe we were the best, even if we weren't the best. We feel we are the best. But under all circumstances, we've always believed it. You come into a match, you come into the tournament, you believe that no one's better. As a competitor, there's no way you should believe that someone is better than you.

Q. When you were Juniors, you met in a final, you didn't play each other.

VENUS WILLIAMS: It happened once.

Q. I thought when you played each other in a final of a tournament, there were times where you didn't actually play the match.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Serena and I were in two different divisions. But it happened once. Serena and I were both entered, I think it was the 10's.

Q. You didn't play the final?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, we played the final.

Q. Who do you turn to for advice before playing your sister?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't even think we're going to get advice. At this point my dad will probably say, "Here's the balls, go practise." That's what he did at the Lipton last time. I tell Serena, "Give me an overhead. Okay, let's go." The rest of the day we just enjoyed ourselves.

Q. The scouting report on your sister is?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I just hope that I'll be able to play better than her. She's really been blazing her past opponents, no mercy. I want to go in with that same attitude.

Q. I understand that Gladys Knight is a big fan of yours. Will she be here Thursday watching?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. Maybe so, if she's still in town. That would be nice.

Q. You said that a competitor should never believe that the person she's going to compete with is better. Where do you think Serena rates with you? What beliefs do you have going into the match against her?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Serena and I are a lot of the same player, but then we're totally different. With the stroke, it's almost the same also, but we execute it differently because we have totally different bodies. I have long arms and long legs. She's more compact. But in the end, we have the same coach, so it's going to be who's better technically and who makes the less mistakes.

Q. Serena said in New York after she won that she always thought that the US Open was probably her best chance of a Slam. She felt that this was yours, Wimbledon. Do you think that's right?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think we both just had dreams to win that. She had a dream to win the US Open. I had a dream to win Wimbledon. But as far as I'm concerned, we have the best chance at any Grand Slam we enter.

Q. Do you feel especially comfortable on the grass? Having had so long out of tennis, six months, you look particularly well-suited at the moment.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Because I'm more willing to come in. Every year that I've played here, I feel better on the grass. The first year was great, but I never disliked the grass. Every year I like it much more, much more.

Q. When you come back from the kind of injury you've had, what's the hardest thing to find? Is it your touch?

VENUS WILLIAMS: For me the hardest thing was consistency, because in my mind I was there, but with my strokes I just wasn't there. It was all I could do usually to keep the ball in. I had no control.

Q. Will your father watch the match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Will he be watching the match?

Q. Yes.


Q. He was saying he might not.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. You'll have to ask him. He'll probably say, "Go, Venus. Go, Serena."

Q. Were you aware at what point Serena came in to watch you today? Did you know she had won?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I figured she won, it went so fast. I suppose it was 3-2. It was like, "Wow." I thought, "I have to do the same thing." But it didn't go that way.

Q. Any added pressure to see her sitting there?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, because I know Serena is going to be really supportive. If I start making mistakes, she was really going to clap and say, "You can do it, Venus." She's a great supporter.

Q. Serena said she didn't think you played your best today.


Q. Do you agree?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I didn't play my best, but I played okay. I got the job done.

Q. Does Serena have any kind of mental edge because she's won a Grand Slam at this point?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. You'd have to ask her. Seeing I've never won one, I don't know how it feels. I won a few tournaments. I know how that feels. We'll see.

Q. How important is it to you to win one?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Sure, everyone wants to win Wimbledon. Doesn't matter if I'm playing Serena or I'm playing Pete Sampras, I'm going to want to win Wimbledon.

Q. How do you think you'd do against Pete?


Q. Don't you think that sometimes you are too anxious to finish the point, that you should wait a little bit?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, yeah, for sure. But that's my game. I'm going to go for it. If I stop going for it and start spinning, I become the average player. If I don't take advantage of my power and my ability to move forward, then that's a minus to me. I actually play a lot worse. If I actually just go for it, I play a lot better. I don't know how to play holding back really.

Q. Both you and your sister have said that neither one of you guys have played your best tennis. Is it possible we'll see it when you guys are playing each other?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Neither one of us have, I would agree with that, because we both have kind of came back from injury. We haven't been at the top tier of our game. We're hoping to get there tomorrow. Hopefully it will be a good show.

End of FastScripts....

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