July 3, 2001
MODERATOR: Venus Williams. Who would like to start?
Q. What happened there at 5-1 in the first set?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think maybe I got a little overconfident and then she started to play a lot better, and I felt a little rushed. But I was able to say, "You better calm down and get through it."
Q. How do you feel your relationship is with the Wimbledon crowds now that you're coming back as champion? Does it make a difference in the reaction to you?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I think they're quite nice. I think they're very nice, and very supportive. Get a lot of support here, a lot more than other places.
Q. (Inaudible) than last year?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't remember. A lot of times you don't even hear the crowd. You're really just focusing on your thing. A lot of times I'm not thinking about the crowd.
Q. What are you going to have to sharpen up in your game for the semis?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think I'm playing well already. I think today was just a different match because I was playing a serve and volleyer. She knew if she was going to beat me, she was going to have to come into the net because she wasn't going to be able to beat me from the line, from the baseline. But my passing shots were nice today, so that helps me out. But, you know, I think I'm ready. I'm feeling well. Especially in my Round of 16, I did a lot better than my first previous three matches.
Q. Which of the two girls would you like to play?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I usually pick the higher-ranked player.
VENUS WILLIAMS: It helps my ranking (smiling).
Q. Have you ever played Kim Clijsters?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I have not played her before.
Q. You saw her playing already here?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Not really. Just a few points here and there.
Q. Do you think you have a shot against her, no problem?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, I think I have a shot against anyone, and who knows. But, like I said, I'll just play the winner. If she's the winner, I think that would be sweet for her. But we'll see.
Q. What are your thoughts about playing Lindsay?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I'll be ready. I think maybe she hasn't been playing her best game. She's played a few tough players like Dokic. It was good to come through that match. But at this point I'm just focusing on myself, really just playing out there, showing no fear.
Q. Serena seemed to have a difficult time on court today with some indigestion. Did she exhibit any problems like that this morning at home?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I mean, I think you have to talk to her about that. I'm just going to be quiet.
Q. You didn't have any discussion after about pulling out of the doubles because of her problems with the singles match, did you?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No. I haven't really spoken to her.
Q. How does your form compare to last year? It was a dream year with 35 wins in a row, Olympics, US, Wimbledon. How does it compare? How are you playing now compared to your peak last year?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think I'm playing okay. A year later, I'm a little bit wiser, I know a little more. I think can I get that kind of form again. Once you've done it once, you can do it again. That's what I feel like. You know what it takes.
Q. What were the keys to last year's match against Davenport? Are things very different in your games, respective games, this year if you were to face her?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I don't think our games are different. None of us have switched from a two-hand to a one-hand or become a serve and volleyer. We're pretty much using the same weapons that we used last year. That's all.
Q. What were the keys, though, last year? What would you try to capitalize on this year if you faced her?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I just think the key is I really wanted to win, I really did. I wanted it all for me. I think that was the whole key. She was a little off, too. She had back problems last year. And I don't think she played her best. But, I don't know.
Q. How important is serving well, though, when you play against the other elite players, especially on grass?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I think serving well is important. But I think that even if I don't serve well, I can still win. A lot of times if I don't hit a big first serve, I can still rely on my speed to run down any ball. So I don't really feel threatened against my serve always.
Q. When Serena suffers a tough loss like today, do you sort of see it as part of your role as her big sister to give her some words of support? Secondly, when she does get knocked out of a tournament, does that give you a little extra motivation?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, you know, it's not my role to criticize or tell her what she did wrong. I'm sure she knows what may have happened. I didn't really see the match. I saw like the last game. But, you know, yeah, sure, I love supporting her, all the way to the end.
Q. And now that she's out, in any way do you think you'll have just a little bit extra motivation?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, let's hope so. If I can't do it for myself, I'll do it for her.
Q. What are your thoughts on Clijsters as a player?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think she's a very good player. She has great groundstrokes, a good serve. I haven't really played her. Seems like Serena plays her. I just never had the opportunity yet.
Q. You saw her play Serena in the desert.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Uh-huh, yeah.
Q. What were your thoughts about watching her play then?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think she's playing well. I think she's playing a lot better than what she was about a year ago. But she was younger then. She's been through a lot more matches. She was at the French Open final, where she almost won, I guess. So I think she's come a long way since then. She's probably feeling good coming off of that match.
Q. Can you tell us something about your long-term ambitions? I imagine when you were young, your ambitions were to win Wimbledon. What are your long-term ambitions?
VENUS WILLIAMS: As far as what?
Q. What are your long-term ambitions?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know (laughter). To stay healthy, that's one. If I can just keep playing on the tour, and without injuries, then I think I can do well. You know, ups and downs.
Q. To beat somebody's record or anything like that?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, because I didn't start myself in tennis. It wasn't like I was self-motivated. My dad started me. It was his dream before it was mine. So I think if it was the other way around, I would have different motivations. But for me, I just want to play tennis, I want to play well every time, give my best. When I'm done, I'm done.
Q. So if it was his dream, what is your dream now?
VENUS WILLIAMS: To win Wimbledon in 2001.
Q. The other day you said you had a plan in terms of winning Wimbledon last year. Do you have a plan this year? Can you share just a little bit of it with us?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Oh, I think just playing better and better actually with all my matches. And I think really it's just about the person who's going to do the right thing at the right time, who's going to be willing to do it. So that should be my plan. Really right now I'm just ready for my semifinal.
Q. Do you worry that people will misunderstand you or your family because of the kind of struggle, I guess, people to understand whose dream it is for you to be playing tennis, kind of what your dad's role is? Do you worry that people will misunderstand and maybe, I don't know, become indifferent to your success?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I don't worry. I don't go to bed at night worried about it really. No, never crossed my mind.
Q. At what time your dad's dream became your dream?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know. I was just out there playing.
Q. Was it at an early stage?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, no. I was just playing tennis. I guess once I got older, close to 10 or 11 or 12 is when I really started to be -- to really, I guess, like tennis or really realise what was going on. I really don't know, to be honest. I don't remember.
Q. Is it important for you to be liked out there as a tennis player or as a person, or not?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Wasn't that like the chief theme of Death of a Salesman, to be well-liked? What happened to them. So, I just think that you got to like yourself first. If that doesn't help, you've lost.
Q. When did you see Death of a Salesman or did you just read it?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I read the book.
Q. A while ago or recently?
VENUS WILLIAMS: It was in high school.
Q. Did it depress you?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I thought it was sad. I was waiting for the punch. And it was just -- I thought it was sad really because, you know, I think they live their lives in a way that could have been -- that was less than what it could have been. It was just a story, though. Thank God it wasn't real people.
Q. Tauziat talked about the power players. Do you think people focus too much on the power and maybe miss other aspects of your game?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I guess so. In general, I do use my power. I don't always -- I don't hit every ball as hard as I can. But for me I think it's a chief asset. Even today when I wanted to get a free point, put a little more mustard on the ball, it's mine. Not always, but in general it is. That's the way I play. I can mix it up. Whatever it takes, that's what I like to do.
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