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June 24, 2004

Venus Williams


THE MODERATOR: Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. Present Venus Williams. Who would like to ask the first question?

Q. What happened? What went wrong for you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I just think she played really well. She deserved to win.

Q. You had three set points in the second set, two set points in the first set. Is that painful?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, it's not a whole barrel of laughs. But I've had some great results in this tournament the last -- since 2000. Obviously, I would have loved to have done better. But it's impossible to be a winner or finalist every year. She played some good tennis.

Q. Are you aware of the situation on the point in the second -- in the tiebreaker? She served. Fault was called. The umpire then gave her a point. Yet she served from the same court. You both sort of stood around. Nothing happened.


Q. It should have been 2-1, yours. It was 2-2.

VENUS WILLIAMS: It was very confusing, yes.

Q. Did you think about going to the umpire or saying something? You both looked a little confused but nobody said anything. Why didn't you question it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Because sometimes I do lose track of the score, and I just felt that maybe -- maybe I had lost track again.

Q. Is it a question, the intensity of battle, you're so focused on what you're immediately doing, that kind of thing doesn't enter your head?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Right. I don't question a lot of calls. I just play and do my best at that point. And really, that's what I did at that point also.

Q. Did that nag you throughout the tiebreaker? Did you think something was wrong? Did that affect the way you approached the rest of the tiebreaker?


Q. Are you not left with the impression that it made a difference?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I'd like to think that one point doesn't make a difference. But, obviously, it was a wrong call, yes.

Q. You played Karolina before. You won in three sets. What did she do differently today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think she played just the same as she played the last time. The last time I was able to make a few more shots, and the bounce is very different on this court. But I think that's what she does, is come out against me. I guess she feels like she has nothing to lose. So she just plays her best.

Q. On grass, did the surface help her?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think the ball just stayed really low. So I was always hitting from, it seemed, under the net instead of up higher.

Q. Did you see her play in the second round? Were you aware right then it was going to be a tough match considering what it was like in Berlin?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I was ready to play. I was ready to play. That's all.

Q. It was being suggested that you were not really focused these days because of outside interests. What do you say to that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I work hard at everything I do.

Q. Outside interests do not have any effect on your play, your practice?

VENUS WILLIAMS: You know, I play tennis, but also am a normal person, so I do my best at everything.

Q. Does this make you think at all that it's time to change your tactics, to come into the net more, serve and volley here? A lot of people seem to think if you do that, you'd be unbeatable on grass.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Could be. But, I mean, it's so easy from the stands. Really, it is (smiling).

Q. What are you going to do tonight?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Haven't thought about it yet.

Q. The skirt, it was almost looking like yours. Did you notice?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I wasn't looking too hard at the skirt (smiling).

Q. Where is the state of your tennis game right now? I mean, obviously, you want to have a bunch of matches. You've had injuries. Is this a step in the process? Where is your tennis right now?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I feel like I was playing well. I definitely didn't hit all the shots that I wanted to hit. But even when I was down in the match, I always found a way to get back in. I just think I, you know -- sometimes it happens, you run into a player who plays very well.

Q. How is your wrist?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Doing good, thank you.

Q. In reference to the error in the calling of the score, has anything at all like this -- I mean, there was the small bead incident in the Australian Open when you were losing beads, but that doesn't really apply. But can you think of any other incident that possibly related to this in your career or, for that matter, anyone in women's tennis.

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, usually, if the score is called wrong, usually the umpire catches himself normally.

Q. Do you think you'll reflect on this and fault yourself for trying to do anything differently than you did?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Not really, because at the time, I did my best. That's all, basically.

Q. The way it turns out in the tiebreak is, she had just served the one point. It's actually 2-1 for you. She just ended up just serving the one point on that side and made it, they said, was 3-2. Then you both went to the side you thought was right. Then you ended up going back over to the other side and you serving after she just basically served from one side. I guess that was all part of the confusion?

VENUS WILLIAMS: That's pretty much what happened, yeah.

Q. You had no instinct at any point to question it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, but I just didn't want to lose my focus. And a lot of times, like I said, I just felt that maybe I had lost track. I couldn't be sure. But it did seem -- I thought I remembered her only having one serve, but then again, you know, it's a long time ago now, so...

Q. You have all the attributes. But do you still want it anymore? Are you hungry for it? Or are you just playing for fun now?

VENUS WILLIAMS: What do you think?

Q. You just were so...

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. I think you should just write what you think. But I fought very hard. Even if I'm well or not well or injured or have had setbacks, I still did very, very well. Unfortunately, this won't be my event, but I'll be ready for the next one.

Q. What's your frame of mind now? Are you angry? Disappointed? Determined?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I just think from here I need to figure out what I did wrong and not make the same mistake twice.

Q. Do you think you will start paying close attention to the score in your future matches?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I always do. I always do. But I'm not an arguer either. If the ball's called in or out, I stay with the call unless it's on clay. Other than that, I just let the umpires and the -- I guess do their jobs, pretty much so... Like I said, I don't think one call makes a match. I feel like I had some opportunities there, and it's unfortunate but I'll learn from it.

Q. Will you watch a replay of the match?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Guess I should, huh?

Q. Would you like to?

VENUS WILLIAMS: (Smiling). Like I said, I should.

Q. Do you think people in the locker room look at you now and think you're vulnerable?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think that -- I guess I'm not really thinking about what the next person thinks. I only really care about what I think. And I think, like I said, I thought I was playing very well at this event. She just came out and felt like she had nothing to lose, which, you know, she played -- plays me like that. And, hopefully, she'll be able to do well for herself.

Q. Basically, you're still trying to gain height. I mean, coming back from injury. But how long do you think it will take to get to your optimum best, I mean, coming from this injury spell?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I feel good. To sum it up, I feel good. I mean, obviously, I started to play better I guess during the clay court season. Then I got another injury. So also I felt like I was playing very well at this event. But just like last year, you see defending champion, sometimes it happens. Sometimes you don't always win. So I just feel like, you know, I'm going to find out what went wrong, what didn't go right, what I did right. Do it like that.

Q. I mean coming back from injury, there's a physical and mental side to -- I mean, for you to come back. Do you think you've attained both, or it will take a little while? That's exactly what I want to know. Which is more difficult? Is it the mental side that's not up to par yet or is it the physical side? Practice is different, match play is different. You're just coming back?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It's all important to be a complete player. It's all very important.

Q. When people say this woman is in a "decline" now, would you agree with that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think that's pretty harsh.

Q. Do you feel as dominant as when you were at the height, whatever that moment was in your career, where you felt like you could beat anybody? Do you still feel that way when you step on a court? Do you feel exactly the same as you always did?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I feel like when I step out on the court, that the person playing me has to really believe that they can win against me. It's going to be very tough.

Q. So disregarding what other people might think in the locker room, what do you think about going a year without making even the semifinals of a major?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, it's been a little while. I enjoy playing. I enjoy my life. I enjoy all the blessings that I receive. I think there's so many people who would love to be in my position. So I'll take advantage of it and keep enjoying it.

Q. Does having the other stuff, the fashion and you and Serena, you know, the celebrity status you have now, help to ease the pain of a loss like this, knowing that you've got other things going on?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No loss is fun - at all.

End of FastScripts….

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