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July 6, 2000

Venus Williams


MODERATOR: Good afternoon, everyone. Venus for you.

Q. How difficult was it playing each other?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, it was very difficult because the pressure was always on. You know, we're both shot makers. It was a tough match. It was a very powerful match.

Q. What about the dynamics of being sisters, being on the court together?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Maybe I knew her game more.

Q. You seemed very calm, didn't show much emotion out there at all. Where did that come from? How did you maintain that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think in general, Serena is a little more emotional than what I am. I don't know. It's different if we were playing in the final, but it was just the semifinals, yet it's such a big deal. But if it was in the final, it would have been a lot more joyous moment.

Q. We may all be conspiracy theorists, but was there any arrangement out there between you two today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, not that I'm aware of.

Q. You used the dry volley a lot today - swing volley.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Swing volley.

Q. Is that one of your favourite shots?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I love that shot. It's one of my favourites.

Q. Do you practise that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I practise it a little bit at the end of practise. Actually, most of the practise in that shot came when we were like 9, 10, 11, 12, before we went pro. It's always been in our repertoire. It's always been a shot we hit. I love that shot. It's one of my best shots.

Q. You came off the court and talked to the BBC about being the big sister. I was wondering if you could talk a little bit more about that now.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I'm always the big sister. I always take care of Serena, no matter what. I always make the decisions. I'm always a role model for Serena. Sometimes, I wouldn't say it switches, but sometimes, you know, I do what she does, she does what I do. But still I am the big sister, so I'm always worried about her.

Q. What did you say at the end of the match today? I saw you put your arm around her.

VENUS WILLIAMS: "Let's go, Serena."

Q. Kind of looking out for her even at the end?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, yeah. I didn't want you guys to harass her or anything.

Q. Did you change the way you reacted outwardly when the final point was struck because of that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I don't think there was any reaction. I didn't even get to play the point. You know, it ended so abruptly.

Q. You weren't happy that you won?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, and the umpire , he said "match" right away. It was kind of hard to believe the match was over already.

Q. How bittersweet is this? How much is sadness about Serena losing and how much is joy about you winning at the conclusion of this?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, it's really bitter, but someone had to move on. It was either going to be me or Serena. In this instance, it was me. I really think she showed me how to play today actually. I was just doing what she was doing.

Q. And what are your duties now as big sister, seeing how sad Serena looked? She was obviously sad walking off that court.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, yeah, yeah. You know, she's a younger sister. You know, that's the way it is when you're younger. You always get your way. You know, anyone who's had a younger sibling knows that. When they don't get their way, mom and dad step in, "Give her the ice cream." As far as the older sister, you know, or the older brother, you know, you roll with the punches. If you win or you lose, you don't get the ice cream, it's okay.

Q. How much did seeing Serena's sadness take away from your enjoyment of the moment?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I know Serena lost. She's a real competitor, probably even more than what I am as far as when it comes to losing. She hates to lose. So that really hurts her deep.

Q. You put your arm around her. What did you say to her?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I said, "Let's get out of here."

Q. Was there a real turning point in the match for you, the point where you thought it was yours?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, no. Last two matches I played, I've been pretty focused, not giving up too many points. Playing Serena and playing Hingis are two totally different things. Serena and I are usually going to play on that line and go for it. Hingis is going to camp out far behind the baseline against someone like me or Serena and just run down a lot of balls.

Q. How would you characterize the way Serena played today? You came in and talked about how she played the other day.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think she just put out her best game today, just like she played the other girls. Today I was able to pick up the level of my serving, and then I had some pretty tough holds of serve in the second set, too, where I went for it because my mom said, "You have opportunities, you just have to go for them." I knew Serena would take the opportunity if I didn't, so. . .

Q. You said you just wanted to get out of there. At the end you didn't curtsy to the Royal Box. Was there nobody there?

VENUS WILLIAMS: There was no one there.

Q. What are the differences in the emotions of beating just anybody else and today beating Serena for you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I would have been much more happy. But it was like when we beat Martina Navratilova the other day. It's tough to see her go, but we had no other choice except to win the match. The same thing today. It's tough to see one of us go, but there was no other choice, unless we both said, "Hey, we're not going to play. See you later."

Q. Do you think it will be difficult to get psychologically prepared for the final?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I don't think so, no.

Q. Can you speak about the history of playing a sister at this tournament? Do you have any sense of what was going on today compared to what happened in the past?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. I believe the first final was played by the sisters.

Q. How does that make you feel?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I feel regular.

Q. Were you both feeling a little bit tight in that first set? Seemed neither one of you were really playing as loose as you had in other matches.


Q. Compared to the second set.

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I didn't feel tight. I don't think she felt tight either. I think we both went for it. The first set, first game, I had like a 97 mile-an-hour second serve. I don't think that's too tight.

Q. You said to the BBC right afterwards it was not so much fun. Was it uncomfortable the whole time, the whole experience?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It wasn't fun because it was a semifinal. If it had been a final, it would have been all great fun, you know.

Q. What did your dad say to you about why he wasn't watching the match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: You know, I haven't seen him until after the match, when I went in the locker room.

Q. Was he there then?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I didn't see him.

Q. What did he tell you this morning about why he wouldn't be watching the match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I didn't ask him. He didn't say anything.

Q. You talked a lot about how you felt about being a big sister. Do you think it's an inhibition to the little sister, as aggressive as she is? How do you think she may feel competing against the big sister?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think that as a big sister, I was always able to get things first. Got my car first, you know, went to school first, things like that, driver's license first. So, you know, for like the little sister - especially because there were four ahead of her - it's like always playing catch-up maybe.

Q. She got her Grand Slam first.


Q. How has that affected your relationship leading up to this match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: None at all. None at all. None at all.

Q. Looks like you're going to play Lindsay in the final. Could you talk about that, meeting Lindsay, the defending champion?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. She's had some injuries, just like I have, so we're kind of in the same boat. Definitely we are both going to want to raise the level of our games. I feel like I've raised the level of my game already, especially in this match, and in the last match also. When the final comes, it's a grand occasion, I think we're both going to go at it.

Q. How would you compare your game to the US Open final in '97, where you were then to now? Completely different?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. I mean, that was my third Grand Slam. I wasn't even full-time on the tour. I didn't understand any strategy as far as let's say you're down breakpoint, maybe you should get your first serve in. Things like that never came to my mind. It was totally different circumstances, yeah. It's extremely different from now.

Q. Was there ever any point, any game where you looked across and didn't say, "That's her over there," where you really could forget who it was over there?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Could I forget?

Q. Yes, just play tennis.

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I didn't really forget that was her over there. You know, I know more what she's going to do maybe than other opponents. She knows more what I'm going to do. Especially since we play doubles together, we tell each other what we're going to do. But if she does something, she served the T, hits that serve, I know she's going there, not so much I can do about it.

Q. Were you aware that everybody was picking Serena to win this match, the papers, a lot of the other players?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I felt like Serena was even a favourite going into the match. She's playing more clean tennis than what I was. Probably also people thought she would win because she's won a Grand Slam before. But, yeah, I felt she was the favourite going into the match, too.

Q. Did it help you at all being the underdog?


Q. When you look back, starting out playing on a hard court in California, in a neighbourhood, now you've played her in Rome, Melbourne, Germany, Florida, you come to the most celebrated court in the world, what feelings do you have about that, starting so humbly and coming this far?

VENUS WILLIAMS: You know, it's my life. The whole time I've had a great time, I've had a great life. I haven't had a lot of problems. Sure, you know, maybe living in Compton isn't like the most desired place to live, not in the Top 100. But I had a great time. I still miss the ice cream trucks.

Q. At that court, the ice cream trucks?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, they had the best ice cream trucks. Spent all my allowance on the ice cream trucks.

Q. A lot of people have been talking about playing your sister, developing over a period of years. Do you think the nature of that competition might change over the years? If you keep playing each other and you keep playing each other, it will become less of an event, less spectacular?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think it will become less spectacular. Most of all, Serena and I have to promise ourselves to start playing solid tennis every time so that we can be 1 and 2, then meet in the finals. It will be a natural thing.

End of FastScripts....

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