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June 30, 2001

Venus Williams


MODERATOR: Who would like to start?

Q. You didn't waste much time out there. Do you feel you're hitting top gear?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm definitely getting better and better. The only thing, I feel like I can get the job done even if I'm not playing my best. I feel confident in my shots. I like playing here more than anything, so I don't want to be out.

Q. What sort of an experience has it been this week as a defending champion? Do you feel it's tougher to try to repeat getting through that first week?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, definitely not at all. I don't feel any pressure at all. More than anything, I just enjoy playing. I love this tournament. I really would just like to take it this year. I don't feel any pressure, and I'm happy that I don't. I know a lot of players do. And for me, I just don't feel any pressure.

Q. Has it been the week that you wanted, as you look back now and you head toward the second week of the tournament?

VENUS WILLIAMS: There's a few things I would like to work on, I would like to see myself do better. But I am hanging on and winning, so that's most important.

Q. What do you want to improve on, Venus, what parts of your game?

VENUS WILLIAMS: A lot of technical things really. It would be just a lot of technical things. It's not anything like my concentration or my return of serve, my serve, although I would like to improve my return game. But everything else is like technical.

Q. You're No. 2, Lindsay is No. 3, Jennifer Capriati, who is going for her third Slam, is No. 4. When this tournament ends, Martina Hingis will still be No. 1. Is there a concern about the ranking system?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I'm not concerned at all. I think the results have shown that she is No. 1 at this point, and I think everyone else at this point probably hasn't deserved to be No. 1. And right now, even though she hasn't won all of the big events, she has played quite consistently and she hasn't been injured, so it does reflect how consistently she's been playing.

Q. Your dad wasn't overly happy apparently, despite Serena winning very easily the other day. Was he happier today with you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. I haven't seen him. I thought he was happy with her win.

Q. Billy Jean King, I believe it was said the other day that it's the job of every generation in women's tennis to advance the game. What would you say? Do you agree with that? What do you think is the job of your generation to advance the women's game?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I think, sure, I think it's really brave and actually a good idea for all the current players to advance the game. But I don't think it's really happening today, not in the way it used to. I guess priorities are different. Even in the fact that kind of tennis runs on its own, whether you're here or not. It's become more commercial. So there's some different variables involved.

Q. So are you saying the game is not being advanced these days?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I definitely think the game is advancing, for sure. But I don't think the players have to do as much maybe as they did in the past for it to advance because at that point, the game really grew, back in the '70s and '80s. Now it's kind of stabilized.

Q. Are you always supremely confident when you walk out on any of the courts as Wimbledon?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Depends on how hard I practised before I got here. At this rate, yes.

Q. You feel confident at the moment?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yes, I do. Thank you.

Q. Although you won the match quite easily and simply, you made a number of unforced errors. Were these because you were going for the shots more or were they, as it were, inadvertent, that you played loosely?

VENUS WILLIAMS: How many were there?

Q. I would have thought about eight or nine that you wouldn't have wanted to make.

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, that happens sometimes. Really, once you get in the more important matches, you would like to close out in those kind of things, really not make those errors. You know, that's something I'm going to have to work on. I've been kind of doing that this whole first week. But I know it's something I can clean up.

Q. Do you feel going into the second week it's like a different tournament now?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, not really because the matches I've played, no one has given me anything. They've tried to beat me. If anything, it would be more dangerous because at times you do play players that you have not heard of who are extraordinarily motivated because they're trying to move forward in their careerrs; you play younger players. I think in both weeks you have to be equally as serious because no one wants to lose, no one wants to walk off the court a loser, no one wants to go home anymore. That's something you have to realise. I play hard every time.

Q. What do you think of going to the WTA Championships from New York to Munich?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I kind of like Munich. I've been twice, once for the Grand Slam Cup, that's no longer. So now The Championships are there. More than anything, I had good memories in Munich, so that makes it kind of a happy place for me.

Q. And the World Championships, that would be just another title or is it something special?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, it's definitely something special, the World Championships. It's the year-end event. Don't want to end the year with a loss; I want to end the year with a win, on a positive note.

Q. I was surprised to hear you say that you felt that Hingis was the best player in the world, if I heard correctly. Are you saying that not being hurt, playing consistently, reaching quarters, semis and finals is a more important measure than doing well in the biggest events in the sport?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I wouldn't say -- as a professional for me, it's more important to win the big ones than to finish well. Finishing well for me isn't enough, especially at this point in my career. When I was younger, maybe it was okay, but now it isn't for me anymore. But I think at this point everyone else has been injured or in and out or up and down. At this point she has played the most consistently. And I don't think at this point anyone else would exactly deserve to be No. 1. She deserves the spot, and that's why she's there. Anyone else deserving will be No. 1, and they'll stay there. So at this point it's her.

Q. Even Jennifer?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, she's working her way there, just like me, just like everyone else. Really, you just have to play well for quite a while to get there, to prove that you are the best.

Q. Is getting to No. 1 for you very important? How does it compare to maybe winning a championship like Wimbledon again? Which would be more important for you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Winning Wimbledon, more important for me.

Q. Why is that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Because I love it here. I like this Grand Slam. I don't like to lose at the Grand Slams at all. Sure, if you can play well in the Grand Slams, it's pretty much a guarantee that you can have the No. 1 ranking.

Q. What of Petrova?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm playing her?

Q. Yes.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh (smiling). Serena has played her in the last three Grand Slams. Petrova has not been the victor. She might take her anger out on me. I hope that doesn't happen. But she's a good player. She gets a good hit on the ball. I think that she's playing pretty well and she's playing better with every tournament. She's quite young. But, I'll walk on the court, just going to concentrate on me.

End of FastScripts....

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