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April 24, 2005

Venus Williams


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Venus.

Q. Can you clarify what the team meeting was all about on whether you would go to Russia or not. What is your status or Serena's?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Isn't that like the hot topic? Obviously, I haven't had a formal conversation with Zina, so I prefer to have a conversation with her first before I speak with anyone.

Q. Can you give us a little indication of what you're thinking at least right now?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, we've all been talking about how it would be good luck and karma to take the same team. Looking at the next match, it will most likely be on clay. I think it would help Lindsay out a lot if Serena and I are there because we move well on clay and are fairly consistent grinders. That's all I want to say.

Q. Is it at all helpful that you'll be at Wimbledon probably before then, so it would be a quick trip?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Helpful? Especially if I win the title, it's all good. Everything will be strawberries and cream. I love Zina. That's why I was here this week. That's what I keep saying, she wanted me here.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about Zina as the captain. Obviously, you like her personally as well. You played under Billie Jean, so you have experience. What does she bring to the role as Fed Cup captain?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, this is my second time playing under Zina actually. I played under her last year in Slovenia. I think the experience for me also is Zina I feel has walked a whole mile in my shoes, and I've probably walked half a mile in hers. I think that common understanding, just having similar circumstances, similar backgrounds, is great. We both just -- we just keep it real. Zina is straightforward. She understands also a lot of the demands on the players. She tries to protect the players from, you know, sorry, too much media, too many activities, because in the end we need to be on the court practicing, focusing. And also that it's a week to get better. Not only is it great to play for your team and win the title, but also Zina makes it a week of working on what you need to work on. But just all in all, I love her. She's a great person.

Q. Obviously there's a lot of press about how good the Russian women are. Do you think if you did play in that tie it would be a chance to really show the world in a one-on-one situation how good the US compares?

VENUS WILLIAMS: First things first, I'm not trying to show anyone anything. If so, I'd be doing that the rest of my life, so... The thing for me is I feel like I have good records against all of the players from Russia - not only them but most of the players on tour. So it's all good for me. I'm just ready to play. I'm looking forward to a few rematches. I'm not going to mention any names, but I'm ready.

Q. Barring injury, which we hope you wouldn't have, what would be sticking points for you not to go to Russia?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Sticking points? The only thing that I wouldn't go to Russia is the schedule is just too tough. That's the only hard part. That's all.

Q. Is it just difficult to play a match after you know the tie has already been decided, like today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Was it? No. Well, this match, Zina and I were talking about that it was important for me to try different things that I've been trying in my practices, moving forward and serve and volley. I think at a point I got too loose, just the ball was flying, so I had to settle down once it was 3-4 and kind of close it out, which I did.

Q. Brittany and Asia that were here this week. What was that like talking with them?

VENUS WILLIAMS: They're great girls. I wish I would have had more time to spend with them. It was very good. Brittany has a great work ethic. She's there every point. You see the intensity in her footwork. She's grunting. Just the effort. I was under the understanding she only started four years ago, which is amazing. She definitely has the opportunity to be professional just if she wants to be. Asia is just kind of a more laid-back player, it seems. She has a lot of power, though, a lot of natural athletic ability for both of them actually. Good serves. They have a lot to learn, and that's a good thing, because you can see they have so much potential to get better.


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