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March 9, 2001

Venus Williams


MODERATOR: Questions for Venus.

Q. Good start to the tournament?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes. I'm trying to make a change from my starts this year, in general.

Q. Have you felt that it's been a slow start to the year?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, yeah. Just had a very slow start. I don't feel I played up to my potential or my personal best in the previous two tournaments. There's only room for improvement. I felt that I could move forward in this tournament, in this match.

Q. I spent a lot of time on the golf tour earlier this year. You and Tiger had similar years where you just had wonderful winning of Grand Slams. Everybody has been asking Tiger, "What's wrong," because he has not won a tournament. Has that been a problem with you? Is there any pressure on you to repeat from last year? Do you feel, "I have to win something right away"? Can you wait until the next major, next Grand Slam?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I would prefer not to wait (laughter). If I could have a guarantee that if I did wait, I'd win the next Grand Slam, sure I'd wait. But it doesn't work out in life like that. All the other players aren't willing to make that deal with me. I definitely would love to have this title, and the next one after that, you know, really just get in a rhythm, get a lot of confidence on my groundstrokes, just play very competitively.

Q. When the year ends, this is what happens obviously, both in golf and tennis, you then start the whole thing over. Do you notice a big change, like a new year, or does it just seem to keep going?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. I don't know how I feel about it. I think it feels like a new year. I think for some people who play a lot, it just seems to keep going. For me it's definitely a new year, time to do new and better things. You know, hopefully I have a nice year. Had a nice year last year. To improve on that would be nice. There's no Olympics this year, so that will be different.

Q. What has happened in between the time that you lost to Lindsay - I think it was in October, she broke your winning streak - through now, with your game?

VENUS WILLIAMS: What happened to my game?

Q. Yeah.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I didn't practice that much. I was extraordinarily lazy and I had a lot to do. All that put together, my game went down a little bit. But I've been back on the practice court. Right now I don't have too many distractions. I think I'll do better.

Q. How does that feel, to be so dominant like you were, then get to a point where your game isn't quite where you want it to be?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, I've always been at that point - not always - but I've been at that point before in my career. I know how to pull out of a slump, how to pull out of a bad match. Really, I just think it's refocusing yourself, always setting new goals so that way you move forward.

Q. Do you scold yourself when you get lazy?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I like being lazy. I think my dad does. He calls me every day. I feel pressure to go practice.

Q. What are you doing when you're lazy? Watching TV? Eating potato chips?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. Obviously nothing.

Q. Shop?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm trying to cut back on my shopping. I don't do too much shopping in Florida anymore. I buy a lot of fabrics. That's mostly my shopping in Florida. I do my shopping while I'm traveling - tax free.

Q. You do need some sort of a break, though, otherwise it just becomes one long, continuous stretch? After the great year, you need a little period to relax, calm down, start over?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, yeah, definitely. I do at least. Maybe not everyone else does, but I have to, or else it gets boring for me. I have a short attention span, so things always have to be different and lively for me. I guess a good way to do this is just always adding new things to my game, having new challenges, really just getting beat a couple of times. That becomes a challenge, too, to stay on my streak, I guess.

Q. Do you really have time to study? You're attending university now. How is that going on with the game?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I had school in October until December. Now I have an online course, which is really irritating, but I'm getting through it. It's writing. I just don't like doing it. I don't know. I just don't like doing it. Hopefully I'll get through it. Two more weeks left, three more essays. That reminds me, I've got to write one when I get back. I'm writing an illustration. If there's anyone out there that wants to write it for me, I'll give you a great interview for it (laughter). Serena, I'm sure she'll do the same. She is really struggling, worse than what I am. I've helped her a lot, but she's just no motivation at all.

Q. What's the nature of the course?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It's English II. We just write essays, using MLA format. You know, thesis statement, topic sentences to support it, transitional sentences, all that fun stuff. You guys are professional at it, I guess.

Q. Does that mean that you're not going to enter the media as a writer at the end of your career?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Definitely. I have to get that speak-and-say-it thing. I have it, but I haven't installed it. It's where you speak and it types it out for you. I definitely need that.

Q. So the problem is the typing, not the writing?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Both. It takes time. It takes time to do it, ideas. After a while, you start filling paragraphs with nothing. But the teacher's been real nice.

Q. Are you in the two-year or four-year program?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Two-year. Our school in Florida only has the two-year program. Others around have four.

Q. Do you intend to go beyond that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No (laughter). I'm tired of it. It's all I can handle right now. Really, I think fashion is something where you just have to have experience, hands on work.

Q. Why not give it up and do it later?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Because I like it, it's interesting, it's always changing. It suits my personality, I think. I just like to get a lot of things done, as much as possible. I'll be done in four or five years, you know. Oh, Lord, I don't know. Maybe three.

Q. Are you still in the newspaper business?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, yeah. Serena and I, we're thinking about putting one out. Like I said, I'm lazy. I've really been thinking about writing. This time, though, we're really going to get it professionally done. We did it ourselves, did the whole layout ourselves. Now I think we're going to have like a graphic designer for us, put pictures in it. The next time around it will be nicer. It will only be six times a year instead of every month.

Q. One minute you're telling us you're lazy, the next you're telling me you like to get a lot done.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I do. It's just that I like my lazy time. I still like to do a lot, just be busy. That doesn't mean I like to write.

Q. What are the new goals you have this year? You said you want to set some new goals.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Definitely, my new goals are to play consistently, as always. That was something I was really working on last year, throughout the whole time that I had all those wins, just play consistently always. If I were ever to take the top position, something like that were to happen, naturally I'd want to be consistent in every match. That's something I want to work on also, just improving my serve. Other than that, I'm pretty good.

Q. How did you like playing at the stadium for the first time?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It was real nice. I like it.

Q. How come you didn't play in this tournament for two years? Last year I know you had an injury. You weren't able to fit this tournament in the schedule?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I guess I just didn't play. I was here one year. I played doubles with Serena. After that I just -- I was injured. It's been a couple years. But I'm back.

Q. You're fashion conscious. How do you like the purple court?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I like it. It's nice. It's mostly blue - a little bit purple - mostly blue to me.

Q. It looks purple from the press box.

VENUS WILLIAMS: To me it looks blue.

Q. Given how you beat Martina at Wimbledon and the US Open last year, what exactly happened in Australia? Think back about it a little bit.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I was just tired - just too tired. That's all.

Q. Was your conditioning not where you wanted it to be?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't think it was where I wanted it to be. After just giving it my all for a little while, I was just tired. So many things went wrong for me, a lot of glitches in Australia. In the end, I just wasn't able to do it. That was a long time ago. I gave it my best. Just wasn't successful that day. I don't think anyone really remembers that match. I don't.

Q. I do.

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, you don't (laughter).

Q. At least one person here did.

VENUS WILLIAMS: The rest of you don't.

Q. Kind of shaking it off, saying, "It's just one match"?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Really, it's not going to be in history. I don't really feel bad about that match because I was just tired. There was just nothing I could do that day. I was tired before I stepped out on the court.

Q. Did you like your match today? Obviously, unfortunately the largest cheer is when she got her one game.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I hated giving that game up, really I did. Things like that happen. She played well. It's not like she played badly. I was able to get all the important points.

Q. Do you find that you and Serena have lazy moments at the same time?


Q. When you're going through a lazy period. Is she out there working harder and you're not?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, we're usually lazy at the same time. We motivate each other. If I get out and start practicing hard, she will, too, vice versa.

Q. Are you motivated now?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I have to be, yeah. This is my job. If I don't play well, I have no income. I don't want to live paycheck to paycheck.

MODERATOR: Are you serious?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, my God. I think my mom would kill me if that was happening.

Q. You must buy some expensive things.

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, every now and then.

Q. According to Forbes, there is a tennis player who makes more money than you, it's Anna Kournikova. Do you have any comments about that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: She must have a large tax bill. She's probably looking forward to that tax cut. I'm hoping for it myself. Need some relief.

WTA: Last question, please. Thank you.

End of FastScripts....

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