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March 14, 2001

Venus Williams


MODERATOR: Questions for Venus.

Q. This is what they call a local angle question. Because you're coming to Boston on Tuesday to visit the kids at the club, I remember Billy Jean King telling me that she met you at a clinic that she gave in Los Angeles.


Q. She said she thought you were about ten years old.

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I was definitely a lot younger. I was like six, seven, like Domino's Pizza League.

Q. She said you were as tall as she was then. Does that seem right?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Might be a small exaggeration.

Q. It's a good one, though.


Q. I'm thinking of these kids in Boston. They're going to be so star struck when you walk in. Is that the way you felt when you met Billy Jean?

VENUS WILLIAMS: You know, I don't really know. All I remember, I was just really so happy to be hitting the ball. They had little drills, you got to hit four balls, moved on to the next court. I was really so excited. I was doing my best. There was free pizza at the end.

Q. You're going to be hitting some balls on Tuesday, right?


Q. What are your thoughts on playing Serena?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It ought to be a good match, you know.

Q. How do you get yourself up for a match against your sister? There haven't been that many of them.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I mean, it's pretty easy because she's really a great player and a tough player. If I don't bring my best game, I'll be defeated. So it's not very hard to get up against her.

Q. Were you surprised at how easy the first set went, considering the battles that she's given you before?

VENUS WILLIAMS: You know, I just really went out there, hopefully try to take every point. The first set was relatively easy. It was very hot out there, so I guess that made it a little bit harder.

Q. How much of this result was you playing very well, and how much of it was what seemed like some jitters and unsteady play on her side?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think she didn't have her best day today. I'm not sure why. I've had those kind of days, too. As she gets older, she'll learn how to pull through those kind of days.

Q. What's your opinion of her?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think she plays very well. I think she's very determined. She moves well. She just has the potential to just keep getting better and better. It's all up to her.

Q. Does she seem to have the right kind of temperament?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Definitely, she's very motivated. She works hard. Looks like she's willing to always do a lot better, take the next step forward.

Q. Will you have to up your level to beat Serena from today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I definitely always would like to play better, sure. I definitely think I have to play a lot better than I did today.

Q. Serena said she found herself copying you all the time, that it was ridiculous for her to do that. Could you comment on that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, when we go to restaurants, she'll ask me, "What are you getting? " "Why?" You know, I feel happy to be the big sister. I do what I can.

Q. Does it ever drive you a little crazy?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I love it.

Q. Is she a good little sister?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah -- no. Well, yeah and no. She takes a lot of my things. I can't find things and I know she has them. I guess she has the right to do that, though, the little sister.

Q. Most little sisters sort of know how to get to their older sister, press their buttons. Does Serena have that quality?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I don't think so. She doesn't do that.

Q. She also mentioned she called her mom, her coach. What is your opinion about your mom being like a coach?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, definitely. I called my mom on the phone before I played my match, too.

Q. What did you ask her?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I didn't ask her anything. I just waited to see what she would say.

Q. And?

VENUS WILLIAMS: And she just said, "Stay focused."

Q. Do you think you and Serena are moving close to a point where you'll be so much better than anybody else in women's tennis, it will cease to be competitive?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I seriously doubt that. We're great players, but there's a lot of other great players on the tour also. Because we're human, we're going to have some mistakes every now and then. Tennis is a sport that it takes a little longer. It's not like a track and field race where it's 30 seconds, one minute. It can go on and on. I think that we definitely want to improve our games. I think we definitely have a lot of room to improve. I think you just always have to be watching behind you to make sure that, I guess, even to get new ideas to get better.

Q. Are you edging ever closer to the concept of you being 1, 2, that your dad talked about two, three years ago?

VENUS WILLIAMS: None of you guys believed us anyway.

Q. That was the goal. I'm just interested, now that you are a veteran of the tour, kind of know more what it's about, and on the other hand, Serena has made such great strides that we didn't foresee, is it closer to being a reality or are you backing off?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, we're always going to put our best forward. Hopefully our best will be 1 and 2. That's what we think we can do. So far we haven't done very bad. We just plan to do better. It will come. We haven't always been the fastest at everything. We always take things at our time.

Q. How do you stay focused on the ball going point by point when playing your sister? Is it possible or are you going to know she's across the net?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, it's definitely possible.

Q. Do you feel like you've done that successfully almost every time you've played her?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Uh-huh, I definitely think so. At the Wimbledon semifinal, I really wanted to win Wimbledon, so I guess I played a little better that day. She played me in a final at the Grand Slam Cup. That day I really just was scraping to get that one set that I got from her. She was playing well that day. So definitely it's easy to focus because if I don't, the result will be terrible.

Q. She's had a tougher time doing that against you, wouldn't you say, especially Wimbledon, was so emotional?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. I don't know. I think maybe I put a lot of pressure on everyone that I played at Wimbledon last year. I guess she became another victim.

Q. Martina has talked before about the difficulty of beating both of you in one tournament. This time it's the other way around. You might have a tough match. Does that give the survivor in the other bracket an advantage?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I don't think so. I think you have to approach every match as a professional. We're both professional players. Whether or not I play the No. 1 or No. 2 player in the world, that should be no excuse whether I win or lose, because professionally you have to be ready to do anything that comes my way.

Q. Will you practice with her?


Q. Before your match?


Q. That's not a problem?

VENUS WILLIAMS: (Shaking head negatively.)

Q. From the time you debuted many years ago, you and your sister have gotten tremendous press, in my opinion. What is behind your thinking now that the press didn't believe that you would become dominant players? Are you serious about that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, yeah, all you have to do is just go back and read the articles. But in my opinion you have to believe in what you're doing because if you don't believe in what you're doing yourself, why should the next person? In the end, I have to have confidence in what I'm doing. We have to have confidence in what we're doing. That's the most important thing because, you know, no one's going to get us out of bed and make us go practice. We have to do that ourselves.

Q. You guys understand that unless you play a full schedule all year, it's pretty tough to become No. 1.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm lazy (laughter).

Q. So do you see maybe this year or next year that you're going to put the school aside a little bit, the other activities, play the full schedule and attain No. 1?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I don't know, sure, who knows. Just depends on how I feel at that time.

Q. How much does being No. 1 mean to you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I guess it should start to mean a lot more to me so I can work a lot harder to be there. I did okay last year. This year I've had a slower start. Definitely I'd like to do a lot better, do a lot more. I think I would love to play well at the Grand Slams. I think when do you that, as a result you are able to have No. 1 ranking, usually.

Q. You talk about going to school. You're studying fashion. How long have you been studying fashion?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Two years now.

Q. Tell me, what in the world is a dart.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't have a dart right now. A dart is used to shape the areas that are round on the body.

Q. Girls have more darts than guys?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Let's hope so. If you look at the back of your pants, maybe you'll see where you have a little seam line about this long. That's a dart. You can put them for styles. You can put them to shape. Serena applies very good darts.

Q. Did you design the dress today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I did not. Normally, Reebok does their designing because they know what they want for their markets, they know what they're shooting for. Normally they'll do the line. Maybe now and then I'll do a dress. But I really leave it up to them because they have their own goals as far as how they want their product to look.

Q. Do you have approval?


Q. Is your stuff available in stores, retail? Serena's, there's very little of it.

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I don't think mine is just yet. I didn't sign my deal until later in the year, so I don't think they had the opportunity to sell the clothes to the stores.

Q. If somebody sees what you're wearing, they want it, it will be a while?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think maybe in August.

Q. When you're playing Serena, does there come a point in the match when you're not conscious it's your sister you're playing or are you always thinking, "That's Serena across the net"?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I'm always conscious of everyone that I'm playing. I'm not really thinking if this is Serena out there or not at all.

Q. Martina was No. 1 last year without winning a major. Is there a part of you that respects or even admires her ability to go out week after week and play the tournaments?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, that's really admirable because I haven't done it. She goes out there and plays consistently every tournament. Normally everyone has a bad loss every now and then. That happens to everyone. She plays well every tournament. She really doesn't have any ups and downs. Maybe she'll have a tough set every now and then. As the No. 1 player, she should be able to do that. I'm looking to get there.

Q. You mentioned after your first round match that you had this laziness problem. Is that something that has to be overcome or will you overcome it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm lazy in certain aspects. I think everyone needs their own lazy time. Too much laziness can really bring you down, I guess.

End of FastScripts....

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