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March 11, 2001

Venus Williams


MODERATOR: Questions for Venus.

Q. A bit of a struggle?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah. Just really got away from my game plan basically. In the third set, I really just went to doing what I had planned on.

Q. What you should have done earlier, is that it?


Q. What was your game plan?

VENUS WILLIAMS: My game plan, I don't want to share that, but I did not stick to it. When I didn't, I was just confused. It was a real bad state.

Q. In the second set, the fourth game, you were down, easy lob, hit it in the net. Seemed to deflate you. You went right out the next couple games. Did it take you a while to recover from that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I don't think so. I wasn't playing my best before that time. I guess all that matters is I was able to recover.

Q. When you say "game plan," are you just not playing the way you want to when you get out on the court? You were telling us the other day you haven't practiced enough so you're not hitting the way you want to.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm hitting much better. I'm hitting really well. Once I got away from what I know how to do, what I had planned on doing, then I didn't have a plan at all. I was just out there hitting the ball. That's how I felt. Really, the third set I said, "I'm going to take this opportunity and I'm going to go ahead and play the way I know how, just start off right away."

Q. Is that just a loss of concentration, looking around, it's a nice place to be, snow on the mountains, suddenly the set is gone? Do you entirely lose concentration?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I don't think so. I think she started to play a lot better, she started to get confident, and I started missing quite a few shots, just really not doing what I'm able to do.

Q. You came out and dominated the third set. Are you able to take something positive out of this?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, definitely. I feel good about coming out of the match because, in the end, I did go out there and do what I'm doing in practice. I served a lot better. So there's always a positive. Even if I did play badly, that's over with, it's finished, there's nothing I can do about it. I just have to move on to the next round.

Q. When a match does go to a third set, do you feel your fitness gives you an advantage?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Definitely. I just think that my mental state gives me an advantage usually because most of the time it doesn't matter to me whether I'm tired or not. At that point I have to keep on running, I have to be a professional. If I lose because I'm tired, I don't think that's a professional excuse. I would really just not admit it until months later maybe. "Yes, mom, I was tired."

Q. What in particular are you doing with your serve? Trying to mix it up more? Be a little more conservative? What?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I just find that a lot of times I'll hit a big serve and they'll just block it back. Since I'm not willing to serve and volley at this point, you know, it's really a waste of energy at times. A lot of times I'll just hit a kick serve and wait for the short ball. The past two girls I played, they weren't very tall, so a kick serve is a lot harder. I mean, even for me the kick serve is sometimes difficult, and I'm six feet.

Q. Are you still having fun out there?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, still having fun.

Q. What's home life for you? You and Serena have your own house now?


Q. Can you go days or weeks without seeing or talking to your parents? Are you always in contact?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, always in contact.

Q. How far are they?

VENUS WILLIAMS: 15 minutes.

Q. So what's the hardest thing about living on your own?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It's not very hard.

Q. Laundry, et cetera?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't wash. I don't clean. I wasn't made to do that.

Q. So who cooks?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Normally, I'll cook. But that's not very often because there's never usually a lot of time for that. I get Japanese take-out usually or I'll have a sandwich. I manage. I don't really know how. I guess that's the toughest part, you know, I have to find my own meal now.

Q. When you do cook, what is the Venus specialty of the house?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I cook nice meats and I cook good desserts. I don't really like to eat the desserts, I just like to cook them.

Q. Serena told us yesterday you were going to help her with her English paper. Did she rope you in to doing that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I haven't even written mine and it's due today. I was supposed to have the rough draft in on Thursday. I'm ready. I've started mine. I have a thesis sentence, three-topic sentence, supporting (inaudible). I've mapped it out; all I have to do is fill it in.

Q. She said you were going to help her with hers.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes. I've picked her subject already.

Q. You're going to write it for her?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Please don't write this. The teacher could read this. He could read this.

Q. You signed several endorsement contracts recently. Are you getting ready to sign a few more?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think right now I just really have to concentrate on playing because the more contracts that I may be in, the more responsibility that I have to my sponsors. I have a limited amount of time. Plus I think that we've taken all the contracts that we really believe in, things that represent us well. We just don't take anything that comes to the door.

Q. How about the sports drink contract? I was talking to your father. He said you're about to endorse some sort of sports drink. Is that going through?

VENUS WILLIAMS: You've got to talk to him.

Q. He told me you are. Has he told you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm just a dumb athlete. Come on, I'll sign anything (rolling eyes).

Q. There's still a chance you could play Serena in this tournament. Do you look forward to that or would you rather do anything but have to play your own sister?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't mind playing her. It's always a good match. You know, it's going to be late in the tournament, so that's nice, too. We've played each other actually in two finals. We're one and one in finals. In semifinals, I guess I'm up one. It's bound to happen because we're playing on the professional tour, play pretty well, always in the main draw. Hopefully one day we'll meet in the finals. We'll take those top positions and stop losing sets for no reason.

Q. Can you tell me what specifically is your favorite dish to cook?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Lamb chops. But I don't eat them, but I like to cook them.

Q. What happens to them? The dogs?

VENUS WILLIAMS: You know, either I eat a little bit and I then I forget to put it in the refrigerator and it will spoil. Sometimes I'll cook if someone's over, but that's rare. I just cook them up.

End of FastScripts....

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