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August 24, 2001

Venus Williams


THE MODERATOR: First question for Venus, please.

Q. How is your back, Venus?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm okay, thank you.

Q. Can you talk about the resolve you showed in the third set, coming back after dropping the second set like you did?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I just think the whole match I played inconsistently. I played, you know, some nice points, and I played three or four bad points. And I'm just looking to play more consistently at this point.

Q. Is it a serious hardship to have to play day and night like that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, normally you don't want to play like this. It's not a normal circumstance. So it's unfortunate, but it has to be done.

Q. Have you done it before, and how many times has this happened to you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I've never done this before in professional tennis.

Q. What will you do between now and tonight?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Eat, stretch.

Q. Sleep?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No. (Smiling.)

Q. Are you upset with the way you played?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I wasn't too happy with the way I played because I just feel I can play a lot better. But in a way, it's good for me to have a match like this so that way I at least get more of a rhythm.

Q. How much difficulty did you have serving into the sun playing on that side of the court?

VENUS WILLIAMS: At times it was a lot harder to hold in the sun, but I changed my positioning and my toss to get around it the best I could.

Q. Mentally, how are you going to feel for tonight taking on Jennifer? Physically, we know your story. But will you be able to come out with the same intensity tonight?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I definitely think so because if I'm going to compete, I have to compete as a professional. I have to be ready for all things, so I can accept my responsibility as a pro.

Q. What about the crowd? I noticed they almost sort of turned against you when Henin got hot. Did you get a sense of that at all? What was your reaction to that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: You know what, half of the time I don't even hear a crowd. Especially in a match like that. So mostly I'm focusing on my game or my shot or what I did wrong or what I did right. So a lot of times I don't hear at all.

Q. What happened at the end of the second set when she won four games in a row, 11 to 12 points? Was it because she came on so strong, was playing so well? Did you lose focus or what?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, I guess I had a matchpoint at 5-3, and then at 5-4 I was serving into the sun which was difficult. And she just played well. She did play well. And I made a lot of errors, so that never makes it too hard for your opponent to play even better, to feel better, so (inaudible) started hitting out more.

Q. Did you have a problem with your wrists?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I'm feeling okay.

Q. Does this schedule interfere with your plans for the Open at all?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I still plan to be at the Open on Monday. (Laughing.)

Q. But your preparation, did you have to alter your plans at all?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, not at all. That's why I'm here - so I can play a tournament and feel good before going to the Open; hopefully, win the tournament and be at my highest going into a Grand Slam. So for me, I'm here to have the competition.

Q. Did you change anything at all in the third set? You went down 1-love, and then I think you won four of the next five games to take control of the set.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, yeah, I just stopped missing as many shots. I really just tried to string together a few good points, at least stop making errors for three points in a row. If I could just do that, I'd be okay.

Q. If you should go on and win tonight, does it give Lindsay a big advantage, not having to play today because of Clijsters pulling out?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm in good shape. I should be able to play tomorrow if I'm able to win tonight. But most of all, I have to focus on this match, and I've done some amazing turnarounds in my time. (Laughter.)

Q. In some ways is it a good thing you're able to go back on to the court tonight and maybe put this match behind you?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I prefer to play one match every day, but... At least in doubles it's kind of you're doing half the work. You don't have to even move in doubles at times. So...

Q. You said it's good to have a match like that. Could you elaborate on that?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, if I'm not playing well, then maybe it is a good thing for me to have a longer match so that way I can just get my groove, just play a little better, start making better decisions.

End of FastScripts....

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