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March 15, 2001

Venus Williams


MODERATOR: Questions for Venus.

Q. I saw what happened out there. What was the name of the trainer, I saw you went to her and talked immediately? What did she tell you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't quite understand.

Q. While you were practicing.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I was just doing my best to warm my knee up, to stretch, to do what I could to compete. She's my trainer. She knows what's best for me.

Q. What's her name?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Carey Brooks (phonetic).

Q. What did she say while you were doing the stretch?

VENUS WILLIAMS: She just said, "Stretch." I was stretching my shoulder out and my arm, my quadriceps, a normal routine, then a little bit more.

Q. When did you first start hurting?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I've been really having some knee problems since I played in Nice. I got a lot better. I took a week off after Nice. I've been playing with it taped since then. You know, it's been sore. Finally got to a point where I just couldn't continue, not confidently and not effectively.

Q. So when you went out to hit today, you just couldn't move very well?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I was moving like a grandma.

Q. It's your right knee?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, my right knee.

Q. Every time you're moving to the right, you're getting a shooting pain?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm having a difficult time bending. At my height I have to, if I want to compete well. Just stopping and changing directions. Movement is one of my strengths. I just don't have a chance against Serena if I can't move.

Q. Was that something that got worse as the match went on yesterday?

VENUS WILLIAMS: As my match went on yesterday?

Q. As your match went on, did your knee feel worse and worse?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I feel a lot worse after matches usually, especially if I have to extend myself in a match, do a lot of running and bending, then I do feel a lot worse. But yesterday, I didn't have to run and bend as much as normally, as I would have.

Q. What have they said you need to do to get rid of it now? How long might it take?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Just strengthening.

Q. How often?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I have to strengthen my quadriceps and my hip muscles, and ice. I have a new pair of orthotics. You know, it's really sad because it's kind of a setback. I used to have knee problems with my left knee. I finally got rid of those. I thought that after Nice, you know, I was moving on. Hopefully I'll be able to compete at the Ericsson.

Q. Did you think about just trying to get through it and get through the pain, how much did you think about that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Normally that's really not an option for me because I really don't like to play through pain. I think it just makes the problem a lot worse. You know, I did everything that I could do, different tape jobs, to be able to play tonight, but .

Q. Why wait so long? Why wait until right before the match to make the decision?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I made every effort to be on the court, you know, like stretching, warming up, taping, seeing the doctor. He didn't have a magic pill.

Q. When did you make the actual decision that you weren't going to play tonight, how long ago?

VENUS WILLIAMS: When did I make the actual decision?

Q. Yes. At what point in time did you inform the tour that you weren't going to play?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know what time it was. It was very close. I would say 10 after -- 10 before, maybe 15 before. I'm not sure because I didn't look at a watch.

Q. Did you take that decision or did the doctor say, "I don't think you should play"?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I take the decision. The doctor, he didn't know me. I guess he didn't know what my injury was like and what I could do and what I couldn't do. So I guess he wasn't in a position to tell me whether I could compete or not. I've had this injury before, so I knew what I could do and what I couldn't.

Q. Do you think you would have played had you been scheduled to play somebody other than Serena?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I don't think so.

Q. You and Serena often don't play non-Slam tournaments together. Elena yesterday, and a number of people before her, made the charge that your dad decides the matches. Some people putting these two things together are saying that this was something decided within your family. What would you say to people who would make that comment?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Everyone has their own opinion.

Q. Is that opinion a false one or otherwise?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, it's not a true opinion at all. Everyone makes their own comments. That's how rumors get started. I guess rumors are more exciting than the truth.

Q. And the truth is?

VENUS WILLIAMS: The truth is I'm suffering from an injury and I'm really looking to get back for the Ericsson. Once Wimbledon comes around, the rest of the year, I have a lot of points coming off. For me this is really the prime time to get some points and really to move up.

Q. Is this going to keep you out of the Ericsson?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I hope not. I'm just going to ice and rest and tape because I love playing down there, my family's down there, I live down there. I missed it last year because of injury also. I'm going to do my utmost to be there.

Q. In the back of your mind, you've had a problem with the other knee, now this one, does that concern you long-term?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I just think I have to work a lot harder as far as just strengthening weaker areas in my body. I think everyone has weaknesses. Especially when you're playing an abusive sport like tennis, I'm more visible, everyone has some injury they're going to deal with.

Q. Will you need surgery?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I'm not going to get surgery. I'm going to pray.

Q. Why do you think there's a perception amongst some of the other players that when you play Serena you guys aren't always giving a hundred percent against each other?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I have no idea.

Q. What do you say to them? Do you say, "That's not the truth. We play as hard as we can. Whoever wins was the best woman on that day."?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't say anything to them. For me it's not an issue at all. I don't even think for them it's an issue. I just think they come in here and you guys ask them a question.

Q. The crowd in the grandstand was pretty vocal when they made the announcement you weren't playing. Pretty angry response. If you never pulled out of any tournaments before, I don't think there would be that kind of response. Do you think you're getting a reputation with the fans as somebody who doesn't always show up?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I don't think so. It's very disappointing for me and most of all for the fans. I'm scheduled to be there at 6:00, and I can't. What more can I do? I can't send Venus No. 2.

Q. I understand some are down at the ticket office asking for their money back.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't have any money to give them back.

Q. Did you have any idea this would be the case when you finished playing yesterday, "I might not be able to play tomorrow"?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. There's always a measure of soreness after any match. Your back gets sore, especially if it's a tough match. If you have an injury, you always get sore. But, no, I didn't expect this at all.

Q. After you withdrew, did you talk to your dad at all?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. He wasn't here. I think he left around a couple hours earlier. I haven't talked to him yet.

Q. What did Serena say when you talked to her?

VENUS WILLIAMS: She started telling me something funny that happened to her. She's supportive.

Q. What do you think your dad will say?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Nothing. Nothing at all. He just wants us to be happy and to be healthy. That's one of the main reasons I didn't play a lot last year is because I was just ready to come back earlier. He gave me a choice to come back, but I just never did because I guess I felt it was better to --.

Q. He made some statements last year during the Chase that some of your problems and Serena's were more in the mental line. Talking about TV revenues. Do you see how this flows into questions about what you're doing?


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