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January 16, 2006

Venus Williams


THE MODERATOR: First question for Venus, please.

Q. Can you talk about your feelings at the moment?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I'm very disappointed, obviously. I just seemed to get to a point there, I just couldn't pull my game together. Just I don't know what happened. I don't know. So I'm really disappointed, but I feel like in general, I was in good form. I just somehow fell off my form. But it's the beginning of the year, and I feel like I still have a lot of success ahead of me. It's just my first event.

Q. You played this kid in Istanbul, I believe. Were you surprised by the way she played today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: She played well in Istanbul and she played very well today. She really did. Obviously, managed to play a little bit better. Actually, I mean, I had so many unforced errors, I just was struggling to keep the ball in today. Just couldn't get it right. Obviously, she benefitted from my largesse. You know, if I had just a third less errors or ten less errors, I think this match is a different story. Obviously she's a very good player and, you know, she stuck in there.

Q. What happened after the first set?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Like I said, I lost my form and I just -- I feel like I could have been a little more positive. But she played better. I just started hitting the ball out, out, out. I just I don't know. It just happens sometimes.

Q. Is that as poorly as you've played in a Slam that you can remember?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Uhm, yeah, I remember playing better in different Slams. In this Slam, too. But obviously I'm disappointed for today. But just like I said, in general, I was playing well in the first set. I was playing well coming into this match. That's sport for you. You know, it's not just one set, it's not over till it's over. That's one of the best parts about sports. I didn't benefit from that today, but I've benefitted from that fact so many times. Looking forward to benefitting from that, too. But, obviously, I'll just get ready for my next event.

Q. Serving for the win at 5-3, what did you tell yourself you had to do then, then what happened?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I just tried to tell myself to stop missing. I could not keep it in. I just was struggling so bad at that point. Just I don't know. I just lost it. I just told myself to get it in, pretty much.

Q. Have you got any idea how you've gone through dominating the game for so long to losing in the first round of a Slam?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, it happens to the best of us.

Q. Do you think your inactivity, not having played since September, had something to do with this?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Uhm, not really because even if I had of played, I would have still had that little time off. No, I don't think so.

Q. You came to Melbourne seeded 10th. Serena is seeded 13th. Did that feel a lot different given where you guys have been in terms of the top of the pecking order?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, we just have to try to play more. I mean, last year I played like 12 events, and I think Serena played 10. It's a little tough when the next girl ahead of you is playing like 18, 20. We'll just try to stay healthy and stick in there. That's the plan.

Q. What happens if Serena wins, will you hang around for a while to watch her, or will you head home?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Obviously, I want her to win so I'll do my best to support her.

Q. Are you going to stay around the rest of the tournament?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know.

Q. They're using a different ball at the championship this year. Does the ball have any factor in getting used to?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, the ball didn't have any factor. I didn't -- you know, to me, they all play well, so it was all good.

Q. How much more difficult is it for you to practice and prepare now than when you were younger? Is it more hard?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, no. This tournament's always a little tricky to get ready for because there's less time usually, and it seems I never really hit my -- unfortunately, I haven't got quite right on hitting my peak here. I usually do a lot better in March. I wish this tournament was in March. That would suit me really well. But I just feel really positive. I just feel like I just didn't get it right. I couldn't get it right today. But in general I am playing really well. It's just like, "Wow, it was the wrong time to hit wrong." So it is what it is.

Q. Where do you read her court coverage in terms of her ability?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think she's really -- like I said, I think she's a very good player. She's a very good player. But also I had close to 70 unforced errors. I mean, if I'm not shooting myself in the foot like that, then I'm going to be able to most likely be the victor. She is very good and stayed in there. That's what it takes to beat someone like me. But obviously it was not my best day. It's like, you know, we'll obviously play again. I just feel like I'll make a few less errors next time around.

Q. Your presence of your father was helping your game other times. When your father was present, this help your game? You think his absence make it worse?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I like it when my dad's at the tournaments. I do. But, you know, at the end of the day, I'm out there on the court. I've trained and been told what to do, so I have to get it right. So it's not really my dad or anyone else. It's just one of those days, and it's me so... That's it.

Q. The studies and extracurricular activities, do you think you might have a bit too much on your plate?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Uhm, I try not to push myself too hard, but also my personality is a bit that I have to be. This is the way I am. I'm not happy unless I'm doing what I need to be doing. That's tennis and also includes other things off the court. This year I'll be finished with all that, too, so that will be nice.

Q. What do you mean?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'll be finished with school this year.

Q. You're still attending? I didn't realize that.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, yeah, I'm on the down low.

Q. This is fashion school?


Q. Is this result an indication that no one's safe in women's tennis now, particularly in the first week of a Slam?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think this result is an indication that you cannot make 70 unforced errors and expect to win a match. That's pretty much what it is.

Q. Why should we believe that you'll be back to where you were?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I think that at the end of the day, I don't care if you believe or anyone else believes in here, because it's me. So believe what you want to. There's always going to be nay sayers. You may be one of them, I don't know. Guess what, I don't care.

End of FastScripts….

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