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August 28, 2000

Venus Williams

U.S. OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP, Flushing Meadows, New York

MODERATOR: Questions for Venus.

Q. What is the feeling in having your first match here under your belt with such high expectations that you have and people have of you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't feel any pressure at all. I feel like I'm playing good tennis, and all I can do is add on to it. It's nice to be moving on to the second round.

Q. You've won 20 straight matches now. Serena rang the Stock Exchange this morning. You're on a serious hot streak. Do you feel like a hot commodity?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Stock's up, high tide. Trying to keep it that way.

Q. The WTA, everyone says it's like the Williams Tennis Association now. Is that a family ambition?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I guess we've kind of won two of the last four Grand Slam singles in the last year, so that's pretty good. We want to take this one, too. Either one of us. That would be nice.

Q. With your streak since Wimbledon, what kind of confidence do you feel now?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I feel really confident. Even when I'm playing badly, I feel like I'm going to win the match or for some reason, one way or another, things are going to go my way. It's a good feeling to have. It's when you know you're confident, when you can play well on most of the big points.

Q. When your serve isn't quite up to the standard you want it to be, as it was tonight, is it usually one thing that's off?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, usually just one or two things: a bad knee bend, usually I'm pulling my head down, or my toss is too low. I think also like I'm not seeing it clearly in my mind how I want to hit it, and I feel jumbled.

Q. Can you self-correct it in the match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I can. I think to self-correct also takes a little bit of slowing down, taking some pace off the ball, stepping back, then kind of starting from A again.

Q. On an off day, when you have a practice day, how do you iron that out?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Get serious. Mostly I have to tell myself I have a great serve, ^ where is the problem, Venus? Usually like in a larger match, especially this year, I'm serving quite well. I cut down on my errors. I think mostly it's just mental.

Q. You've had six months off, haven't you, yet you still won Wimbledon. How do you do that? How do you win matches with all that time off?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. Start happening. I was a good player all along. I just was unable to win some of the larger matches for one reason or another. Then I started coming out on top. I think that was the main difference. I was just tired of walking into the locker room as the loser.

Q. What do you think of all the hype? So much has been said about you and Serena rather than Lindsay and Martina who are the 1 and 2 seeds.

VENUS WILLIAMS: You write it; I didn't. What do you think? We got some good records speaking for themselves. We didn't make it up; our racquets did it all.

Q. How inconsistent would you say your serve is? How big is the gap from when you're serving your best to when you're serving your worst?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, I don't know. I think today a lot of my balls were going long on the first serve. A lot of them I didn't think were long. I didn't like that. But as far as my serve, the gap, I don't know. Sometimes it's quite large. A lot of times it's pretty even.

Q. What has been the most fun thing you've done since winning Wimbledon? Did you celebrate any way? Did you wear your dress to the party?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I went to an amusement park. I didn't get on the rides because they give me a headache, but I ate as much as I could. I mean like just all types of junk food, candy, fries, everything I could eat that was junk food. Pickles, that was really fun. I'm not a big eater. To have a lot of junk food, that's fine. I went surfing once. Finally there was some surf in Florida. I was at home. My knees weren't sore like in the past so I went surfing.

Q. Which beach?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Melbourne, Florida. Central Florida.

Q. You talked a lot about how Wimbledon was a dream come true for you. Serena talked about how The Open was her dream. Now that you've fulfilled those things, what do you want now?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Right now, to win The Open, more than anything at this particular moment.

Q. How important is becoming No. 1?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think it's definitely a goal of mine, especially since I'm a competitor on the tour. There's no way that I'm going to say, "I'm happy at No. 3, I like it here." Definitely I'm trying to move forward. I've been trying hard to, just been moving at a slow pace. You can see I've been trying. It's just not coming till right now. To do well here, I would be able to begin a lot of points, and starting next year at the Australian and even the French.

Q. You're one of a handful of players who are undefeated here under the lights. Can you talk about the experience of playing under the lights?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I like playing at night. There was a point in my career when I was young where I had never played in the daytime. When I played in the daytime, it was very strange. But, yeah, I'm kind of used to it. I thought I would play first night match on Monday, so I was ready for it.

Q. Given what happened prior to Wimbledon, have you been surprised by your injuries?

VENUS WILLIAMS: As far as what happened?

Q. Your injury, not playing that much. I think you played the French, then you played Wimbledon. Winning Wimbledon, then having the run of success that you've had, does that surprise you at all, your winning streak?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Not really. I've worked hard. I feel I deserve this. It would be different if I hadn't worked hard and all of a sudden it's here because all those who aren't working hard and working hard on the right things, it's just not happening for them. So, sure, everybody has their opportunity. Hopefully I'll keep playing like this and my opportunity will be for years to come.

Q. Did you feel like it was maybe beneficial to be away a little bit?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Sure, I guess so. I can't change what happened. Maybe it did help me. Who knows, maybe I would have won Wimbledon anyway or even the Australian or the French. It's tough to say. Whatever happened, it happened for the good. Now I'm healthy.

Q. You and Serena are planning a fashion course. Can you tell us about that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm going back to school in October. After this October, I'll be halfway finished. Going to be some long nights, but I'll get through it. It's only 11 weeks.

Q. Why do you want to do that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Because, first, I have a short attention span. I have to be doing something different at all points. This is what I want to do. I don't want to play too many tournaments in the fall, as far as going overseas, things like that. I don't really feel I want to do that.

Q. You're talking about going back to school at Fort Lauderdale?

VENUS WILLIAMS: (Nodding head.)

Q. You won't be playing --?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm going to compete in two tournaments. That's about it. I'm not going to go overseas for another four or six weeks.

Q. You will play the Chase Championships?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. I feel that my best bet is just to start next year at the Australian and all throughout the spring and some of the summer. I have no points to defend. I can start strong there.

End of FastScripts….

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