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August 26, 2000

Venus Williams


Q. The way your confidence is right now, do you think Venus Williams is about the only one that can beat Venus Williams?

VENUS WILLIAMS: That is how it has always been in the past. I was defeating myself most of the times. Not to say that -- I would say four times in my career where the player just came out and there was nothing I could do, I was totally confused. But under normal circumstances, sure. But I think it is with any player, miss out an opportunity; person who makes the most mistakes usually is the one that loses. But I am getting through that. I am not doing that as much.

Q. Do you think it is the other way around now that players come out and face you and you confuse them with just your overall game?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think most of time they come out, they are playing catchup. It is like even sometimes at times they can see me, but they can't like grab a hold of me and I kind of speed up again. That is kind of how I feel. Like today I felt like I was a little step ahead.

Q. How do you think you did today and why?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think I did well. I think I played within myself. I didn't go for very much power today because my shots had been flying long all week.

Q. What made the difference today than the other days?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Definitely I was playing Monica which she is a caliber above a normal player and I know she wanted to win this match, not only going to the Open; to; win the title and because she has never defeated me before. There was a lot of good reasons to win this match. So I think I was more prepared mentally also.

Q. You said you weren't hitting as hard or far out?


Q. You looked very fast both on feet and your returns; especially your backhand was better today than the past matches?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, she served very well. But, yeah, I was keeping the ball in; not going for as much and as far as a lot of power not today. I kind of just moved it around a little bit; just kept the ball in because they have been spraying.

Q. What is your regimen? We, the media, played against each other today and I thought I was out there for an hour and it was only 20 minutes and I had left. I am trying to figure out how are you able to withstand -- what kind of exercises do you do to keep yourself together like that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I am not a big exerciser. And I think, sure, you can get in great shape, but for me like it is all in the mind during the match. I don't have time to be tired. After the match, sure, lots of time and I figure that if I play a long point the person over there, they are just as tired as I am, so I just tough it out and it is not a problem for me. And I figure soon, hey, going to have a changeover; going to have another break.

Q. Four straight tournament titles; 19 straight matches. Have you had a streak like this before?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I think my longest streak before was like 11 matches and two tournament wins and -- yeah, but this is the most fantastic or consistent I have ever played besides like in practice.

Q. Are you surprising yourself at this run right now or is this something you felt you could do?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I always felt I could play like this, but it is a lot of work getting to this level, especially for someone like me, I have to keep myself under control.

Q. Do you feel you are playing well enough to win the Open?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I definitely think so. And a lot of times it isn't always about playing well enough. It is about which points you play well. And it is about how you feel in your mind, if you feel that you are better than the next person, and especially on that particular day, all the mental thing, so, as long as I am mentally there, and I am ready to be tough, sure, my chances are really great.

Q. Do you think the presence of Serena helped you today to lift your game?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, she told me to focus, to make sure I focus because last week -- last not last week, but about three weeks ago I played her in San Diego and I won the first set 6-0 and I kind of let go a little bit, so I didn't want -- then even in the third set, I was up 4-1 and I kind of let her close in at 4-3. So today I didn't want to have to go through anything that wasn't necessary. Sure, if she was playing great and hitting unbelievable shots, but if I am just giving it away, then that is when it becomes a problem.

Q. But Serena's presence, did that lift your game at all?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know.

Q. Did that inspire you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, because I want to set a good example. Actually, yeah, because like she is a tough player and I want her to know that I am playing good tennis.

Q. How is Serena? How is her foot?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I don't think she has been hitting in the past week. I think today she is going to hit some balls, so I don't know. Hopefully it will be good enough that we can play doubles also.

Q. Yesterday we talked about after tennis is over you wouldn't have anything to do -- do you really think that is possible when you are as competitive as you are?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. I am pretty competitive, sure, but not like Jimmy Connors or John McEnroe, I am not like that.

Q. The only time you might get in trouble, fourth game, second set you doublefaulted about three times. Mental thing or --

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, it is just a technique on my serve basically I am kind of hitting down and across instead of up and out, so my mind, before I hit my second serve, it is like I want to see it clearly how I am going to hit it before I go for it. That is all it is.

Q. You mentioned that there is four players that would confuse you in the past. Who are they?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I said there has been four players -- not four players, but about four times where I have just been beat outright, where I didn't have a chance that day.

Q. You were sidelined for quite a while with the tendinitis problem. During that time did you ever imagine that you would come back so strong? Did you think it would take you a while to find your groove then?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I felt like I was going to win the French Open, but got into a tough match against Sanchez and I just wasn't consistent enough at that point. I wasn't really able to play my game. Actually the main problem I think I wasn't able to serve like I would have under normal circumstances, but yeah, I did feel like I would come out and play well because my mind was really clear.

Q. Did that kind of serve as an opportunity to kind of get away and refresh yourself?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I felt refreshed, but I think in the end it was maybe a good thing because I had time to think about my game instead of just entering the Australian Open and getting into the rat race all over again, so I felt like I had time to think things over and had to figure out why things weren't going right for me.

Q. You talk about the mental part of your game. Do you feel that you are in a zone right now mentally? Do you feel like you are just there at the top of your game?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I just feel like mentally I am really prepared to play everyone and most of all, I like to play those 30-All points, 3-All or 30-40, 40-30, things like that. I feel like I am to ready for the big points and I have the extra advantage.

Q. Do you think you wore her down there especially on that point where she shot the ball down-the-line and you kind of outstretched and hit the winner?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think that sometimes I was hitting some great shots or having some great gets, and that can be discouraging at times. Be like, wow, hey, I am doing my best; I am not doing anything wrong today; is just not my day; maybe that is what she was thinking.

Q. What does the Open mean to you and what would it means to win it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: My first Grand Slam that I got to the Finals, my first -- my best appearance before Wimbledon. So it is a nice tournament, only Slam in the States; nice to win at home.

Q. You said that against Arantxa it was your serve and then all week you have been working on the serve and it has been getting progressively better; yet some of the biggest serves today were the slowest; it was all location. How big was that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: These days I am not going always for a lot of power. When you go for a lot of power you really have to focus because you will slam it in the net instead of, you know, getting it over, so, really making the girl take a few steps is more important than maybe hitting the ball -- of course a lot of times I do try to hit the ball right at the person because it kind of throws you off, but if you can get them to move a couple of steps, they are off balance; that is probably more important than all types of power because it is just in there and in their zone --

Q. How important a role does your height play in your game?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It is an advantage especially the fact that I move very well and that I can bend very low, but, say, if I was slow and not very flexible then it probably would be a disadvantage. And also my reach like at the net, I feel these days, confident that if I come in - I don't come in that often - but if I do, most likely I am going to win the point because of my reach.

Q. When you made that running forehand winner in the third set, did you kind of recognize that was pretty special? Can you sense that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, that doesn't happen very often. It doesn't happen very often. I was just going for broke. I had no other opportunities except for that shot and it happened. At first I thought it was going to go in the net, but it just kept going over.

Q. Do you think you'd get to the ball? She is up there ready to, you know, put it a away?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It was all very surprising (Laughs) because a lot of times there is players who are always scrambling like that and maybe always hitting shots, but I am usually on the offense and I am not usually running, dead run with no opportunity, so for me that was really great because I don't always do that and so it was definitely a shot that doesn't happen very much.

Q. Is that part of that mental toughness you were talking about because probably most other players wouldn't have even gotten to the ball?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I just-- I was in the corner, she had a great opportunity, hit a winner, so just took off and it is really not like me to run out of a corner; I usually watch both sides, but this time the court was so open that I had to get over there and surprised I didn't over run it because I got their pretty fast.

Q. You were moving though that corner before she hit the ball?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, because I was so out of position I was almost in the alley; that if she would have hit it back to me that would have been not the smartest shot.

Q. You said out on the court hopefully will be back if all things go right. I mean, are you thinking of your tennis future in the short-term now or still looking to play as long as you can and then decide later?

VENUS WILLIAMS: You never know what is going to happen. Like I didn't foresee that I was going to be out for the first part of the year. I would have never guessed that this time last year, and you never know what is going to happen. So under all the right circumstances, I will be back. Things don't go right, hopefully I will still be alive and happy and healthy.

Q. You talked about last year taking the Australian off rather than jumping back in the -- any decision to hold the Australian trip, the Olympics that (inaudible)--

VENUS WILLIAMS: IT is tough for the players, but for me it would be a good strategic move as far as playing the Australian Open because I don't have any points coming off. I will be just ready to rack up points, so it would actually move me closer to the No. 1 spot. Because now I am trying hard as I can, but in the last three weeks I haven't been able to gain any points and won here last year and San Diego and Stanford I had final appearances last year, so I have only been able to gain about maybe 300 points after all these wins, so I am trying hard. Next week actually will be a big opportunity for me to capitalize so I got to focus in.

Q. How bad do you want to be No. 1?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I want to get there, but most of all like right now I want to prepare myself to be No. 1 because -- I have never been there. From what I heard, it is tough to stay on top once you get there, so I started thinking that my preparation is coming now by learning to play consistently day in and day out so, when I get there, it will be a good time because I think it will happen. But not this year, that will be tough unless like the girls ahead of me lose a lot and I am not going to play very much in the fall.


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