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September 3, 2000

Venus Williams

Flushing Meadows, New York

MODERATOR: Questions for Venus.

Q. Tough waiting around all day?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It was pretty disappointing because that doubles match was put off until tomorrow. This is my third late day in a row.

Q. What kind of stuff did you do waiting around?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Nothing. I ate a lot. Well, not too much. At first I didn't eat very much. As the hours went on, I thought maybe I should start eating for fear that I would run out of energy, although that's never happened. Anything can happen for a first time.

Q. Did you say you were hoping you'd play tomorrow instead?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. No, I never said anything about hoping.

Q. I didn't know what you said at the beginning.

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I've had three late days in a row now; a night match, last night we didn't play until very late, today not until 6:00. I was hoping to play doubles today, but now I have to play tomorrow. It's like I can never get away from this place.

Q. You had an easier time than the other night. Did you want to get it over with quickly?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I liked actually the other night. In the first couple of rounds, I didn't feel I was playing very well, but I was happy actually to get a nice match. She actually came out and played very well. I feel very warmed up now. I feel more in a groove and more ready to compete.

Q. How much is playing at a place like Wimbledon, had you have those kind of rain delays, on the court, off the court, how much does that help you in a situation like this?

VENUS WILLIAMS: For me it was pretty easy. I hadn't started my match. A couple of guys had to stop right in the middle of the tiebreak. It has to be really tough. The only bad thing is that my whole day is gone. That's okay. I'm here to play tennis anyway.

Q. Did you have other plans?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, not at all. It just would have been nice if we would have been in the quarterfinals already. That would have been nice to have a few days not to play doubles every day.

Q. You going to get out of here right now?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm going to try. That's why I'm here right now.

Q. What did you do during the delay? You were already at the USTA Tennis Center?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I just sat down. I watched this match between Steffi and Navratilova, '86. It was a pretty tough match. Both of them had match points, so one of them had to lose. When you lose when you've had a match point, it's very disappointing. I was just watching matches. The time passed by pretty quickly. It was tough to believe it was already 5:00. But it happened.

Q. Did you feel better about your serve after the difficulties against Shaughnessy?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I'm feeling a lot more clear on my serve. Especially in doubles, it's actually great to play doubles because you're working on your serve and your return. Yesterday when we were playing, I was working on my serve a lot. Today it was a lot more effective. Also, the pace on my second serve also. Most times it was at 90 or 92. If I'm hitting it like that, I can hit it exactly where I want to.

Q. Is your game where you want it to be as you move into the second week?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Not really. I feel a little bit like I'm rushing. I want to feel like I'm in the rally and I know I'm going to win the rally, not like I have to rush through it. Doesn't matter how many balls I have to hit, I want to be able to stay out there.

Q. Donald Trump said yesterday that he was willing to put up some money for a battle of the sexes with John McEnroe. Your father was quoted as saying, "My daughters aren't interested." Are you going along with that? Is that something you might want to do? It would be at the Taj Mahal.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think that back in the '70s Billie Jean King did it the right way. Right now I'm just really focusing on trying to win this US Open more than anything, just have a good result here, just competing with the women. At some later date, I'll be ready to think about competing with men. At this point I'm ready to just play The Open.

Q. You said earlier this week that you wouldn't stay satisfied being No. 3 in the rankings. You can make the argument that you're actually the best player now. You've beaten Serena, Martina, Lindsay this year. Where do you stand in your own ranking? Do you feel like you're No. 3?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I feel like I deserve to be No. 1. I think somewhat this is the most fun part of tennis, when you see yourself moving ahead, you're working hard, getting the results. Back when I was 200, it was just nice to go to 110, 86. This is the most fun part, and maybe the most difficult, because you have to play more consistently. I'm a couple thousand points behind the No. 1 player at this point, but that's okay. I'm moving forward the best I can.

Q. I read in the paper that when you won Wimbledon, Althea Gibson sent you a telegram. Is that true? What was written? Have you ever talked actually to her?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I never received a telegram. It was just a rumor. If a telegram did come, I didn't receive it. Yes, I have talked to her. I don't really know her. I'm Venus Williams, she's Althea Gibson. The only thing we have in common is that we both played tennis. I mean, that's like you talking to, you know, someone from Italy years ago. I mean, I don't know her. I don't know her.

Q. Do you keep a record of your victory streak? Do you have a calendar, mark it off?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I didn't really take notice until someone in the press told me at a press conference. But this is real nice, to have a streak like this. Has never been one of my goals to have a winning streak, so this is nice.

Q. When you hear stories like the stories about Jelena Dokic's father, what sort of appreciation does that give you for the role your dad has played in your upbringing and your tennis career?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, he's a good person. He tries hard. I think her dad wants the best for her also. You never know what's happening. I don't know. I wasn't there. I know just as much as you know possibly because y'all wrote it and I read what you wrote. But I think he wants the best for his daughter and they seem to get on well together. So I don't know. I know I get along with my dad very well. That's all I have to say.

Q. Your last loss was to Arantxa. You may play her next. Any thoughts about playing her again?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think this time it will be a little bit different, that's all.

End of FastScripts....

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